Shire Network News Archives

Shire Network News: The Finale

The long-running political satire podcast that I was a contributor to and that I’ve recently been hosting has come to an end. The creator of the show, who goes by the pseudonym Tom Paine, is a journalist by trade, and he’d had a deal with his employer that he could do SNN as an outlet for his political views. Those views had taken a lurch to the right after 9/11. However, his employer has altered the deal and now says that "Tom" can’t do SNN, pseudonym or not.

So it’s with great sadness that SNN ends its run. But for the final show, we brought together current contributors as well as those from the past for a big windup. We hope you like it.

Podcast Goes Out in a Blaze Of Glory

I’m hosting another episode of Shire Network News, as we watch the turmoil in the Middle East. Well, more turmoil than usual. Click here to go to the show page and listen there, where we also have podcast subscription links, via your podcatcher of choice or in iTunes.

Here are the shows notes:

Shire Network News is back with a look at the historic events in the Arab world and what may yet be coming. Mubarak is gone, and Muammar Gaddafi told the Palestinians and Israel “Let’s you and him fight”, trying to avert attention from his own dictatorship. The dominos are falling.

SNN alum Andrew Ian Dodge would have thrown his hat into the ring for the race for US Senator from the state of Maine, if he wore a hat. So with some other article of clothing, he’s going to give Olympia Snowe some Tea Party competition. Find out the latest on his campaign at his website:

Is multiculturalism working? Is it helping to keep us safe from extremists? British Prime Minister Paul Cameron thinks not. Islamic groups, for some reason, take offense at this.

A large portion of the United States had to shovel itself out from up to 2 feet of global warming.

Julian Assange nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize? Pretty soon they’ll give those things out even before you even done anything remotely peace-bringing, right Mr. Obama?

And Ronald Reagan’s 100th birthday came and went, though you may have missed it, at least in the US. Another sporting event with fouled-up national anthem lyrics and expensive commercials overshadowed it. But I think Ronnie would have smiled watching people rising up to overthrow their oppressors.

Give us a Like on our Facebook page or stop by our website at

Closing song “Tom Paine’s Bones” by The Shee:

Shire Network News #183

The latest Shire Network News podcast is out. I’m hosting again, and we have segments from King George the III (pleading for a civil discourse in the American colonies), a listener contribution (Top 10 things that didn’t happen in 2010), and Gandalf. Lots of Gandalf. If you like political satire from a right-of-center point of view, you’ll enjoy this.

Shire Network News #179 has been released, and I’m the guest host! The feature this time is a look at Operation Millenium, the bombing of the German city of Cologne and how it would have been covered by the mainstream media of today.  There are also some great blog news items. Click here for the show notes, links, and ways to listen to the show; directly from the web site, by downloading the mp3 file, or by subscribing with your podcatcher of choice.

Below is the text of my commentary.

Hi, this is Doug Payton for Shire Network News asking you to "Consider this!"

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, according to its website, is a group that "brings together the governments of countries committed to democracy and the market economy from around the world to:    

  • Support sustainable economic growth

  • Boost employment

  • Raise living standards

  • Maintain financial stability

  • Assist other countries’ economic development

  • Contribute to growth in world trade"

The idea is that they invite in countries that show leadership and results in their economic policies.  In that sense, they are sort of the anti-United-Nations.  Instead of inviting any old dictator with a tin pot to stand on, you have to show you are serious about economic progress before you have a seat at the table to both get answers for your problems and offer solutions to other countries.  If you can’t keep your own house in order, no sense allowing you a chance to give building advice to others.  Get down to the hardware store yourself first, and then, maybe, we’ll see.

Which is clearly why they’re not even thinking about considering Venezuela as a member.  But there is one Latin American country that they recently allowed to join; the first one since Mexico, and the first one in South America.  That country is Chile.

Is this a result of fortune’s wind blowing favorably?  Hardly.  Investor’s Business Daily notes that just 3 decades ago this was an impoverished country, with labor unions shutting down international trade.  So much for blaming "globalists" for your woes.  It was ranked 71st in Economic Freedom.  Out of 72.  Now, however, it’s per capita GDP is over 10 times what it was then, and at the same time it’s now the 3rd most open economy according to the Cato Institute.

What brought about this huge turnaround in such a short time?  Was it more government control?  Was it dabbling in socialism, making everything completely fair (by government standards)?  No, it was free trade and market economics.

They opened wide their trade borders and didn’t, as labor unions would like you to believe, hemorrhage jobs.  They have pursued market policies and, in half a generation, have become the economic powerhouse of the neighborhood. 

So why does the Left think that moving away from that is the secret to combating poverty, or halting rising unemployment, or coming out of a recession?  Chile is marinating in a sea of neighbors that have attempted to save their economies by dabbling, to differing extents, with socialism.  How’s that working out for you guys, eh?  Chile, instead, bucked the peer pressure, stayed in school, and graduated magna cum laude from the Milton Freedman School of Economic Reality. 

Great job, guys.  Just one bit of advice:  When things get temporarily difficult, don’t divorce the lady who brought you here in the first place.  Every marriage goes through difficulties.  You just stay true to her, and when all the others around you are falling apart, you’ll come out of those tough times with a stronger commitment to each other.  You take care of her, and she’ll take care of you.  Consider this.

Shire Network News: Returning to the 1940s

Shire Network News #178 has (already) been released. This week the Anglosphere’s hardest-hitting political podcast returns to the dark days of the 1940s and wonders what would have happened if today’s politicians and thinkers had been in charge of the United States. The results are about as unpleasant as…well, as reading the news today I suppose. Click here for the show notes, links, and ways to listen to the show; directly from the web site, by downloading the mp3 file, or by subscribing with your podcatcher of choice.

Below is the text of my commentary.

Hi, this is Doug Payton for Shire Network News asking you to "Consider This!"

In case you have missed the news for the past, oh, 2 months or so, you may have missed one particular trifling development.  The United States decided that it was time to federalize a sixth of its entire economy, and force all its inhabitants to make a purchase.  Nothing big, just one small step for Congress, one giant leap towards socialism.

Now, you may think that all this forced purchasing would stimulate the economy, but there’s the rub.  See, that requirement doesn’t kick in for 4 years.  In the meantime, Americans will be paying the bill, up front, and then keep paying it.  In perpetuity.  Even if they don’t need it or don’t want it.  For starters, the first 10 years of payments will pay for 6 years of benefits.  After that, Obama will be long gone, so hey, it won’t be his problem.  We’ll just muddle along and wait for someone to bail us out.

Hey, it works for folks with mortgages they can’t afford, and banks that lent money to folks who couldn’t afford it, and car companies that can’t build a competitive product.  It’s another gilded age!  Spend like there’s no tomorrow, and the government will bail you out!

Until it’s the government that needs bailing out.  Just this month, our Social Security system paid out more money than it took in, years ahead of schedule.  Our deficit, as a percentage of GDP, is about what it was when we were in the middle of fighting the Nazis, et. al.  Who are we fighting now?

Well, apparently, we aren’t fighting enough.  It’s time to get serious about this.  Well, it’s past time, frankly, but we’ll take anyone who’s recently woken up, as well as those who have been paying attention but just didn’t think this could happen here.

It has.  Consider this.

Shire Network News #177: Guy Earle

Shire Network News #177 has finally, after a longer than expected hiatus, been released. The feature interview is with Guy Earle, a Canadian comedian who is being dragged in front of one of Canada’s bogus "Human Rights" kangaroo courts for the hideous sin of…well, telling jokes apparently. Now you and I and certain other head-in-the-clouds no-hopes might cling to the charmingly antediluvian notion that it’s not all that unusual for a comedian to tell jokes, but under close, time consuming and massively expensive legal scrutiny, this turns out not to be the case. Click here for the show notes, links, and ways to listen to the show; directly from the web site, by downloading the mp3 file, or by subscribing with your podcatcher of choice.

Below is the text of my commentary.

Hi, this is Doug Payton for Shire Network News, asking you to "Consider This!"

Back in January, for the 37th anniversary of the Roe v Wade US Supreme Court decision which federalized all abortion law in the country, tens of thousands of abortion protestors descended on Washington, DC.  For such a large protest, the US media was on the top of it’s game, reporting that …

>cue crickets<

Public broadcasting outlets, however, did manage to touch on the subject.  The PBS NewsHour did give it 3 or 4 sentences.  National Public Radio, rather than covering the abortion protests, instead interviewed Serrin Foster, President of Feminists for Life, and abortion doctor Leroy Carhart.  (Please don’t look at the crowded mall in DC, just listen to one on one side of the issue, one on the other side, and we’ll call it square.)

Carhart was asked to describe the horrible, horrible things that anti-abortion protestors do to him.

MARTIN: And when you say protests, what are you talking about? I mean, Dr. Tiller, for example, before he was murdered was – had been shot before. When you say protest, what do you mean? What are some of the things that you experienced…

Dr. CARHART: Well…

MARTIN: …in course of your work?

Dr. CARHART: It’s not protesting. It’s actually bullying. And it’s the extreme bullying that we know and wouldn’t even tolerate with high school children or grade school children. You know, yelling at patients; calling, telling them they are murdering their babies; blocking, actually physically blocking the patients from getting out of their cars. It’s blocking the clinic’s doors so patients can’t enter. They protest at the schools where the provider’s children go and yell to all the students that John’s daddy is a baby killer or a child killer. I mean, it’s just extremism; it’s religious terrorism.

"Religious terrorism?"  Y’know, I think long-time, or even short-time, listeners of Shire Network News have a slightly different opinion of what constitutes "religious terrorism" than Dr. Carhart.  When 3000 people are killed, that’s religious terrorism.  When Navy ships or embassies are bombed, that’s religious terrorism.  When buildings are burned and people die over cartoons, that’s religious terrorism.  That’s extremism.

When you have to put up with "bullying" — the horrors of being yelled at and the audacity of protest blockades — well, you have no idea what the term "religious terrorism" really means, sir.  (And apparently Ms. Martin doesn’t quite get it, either.  She blithely moves on the next softball question.  Oh, that liberal media.)

These "bullies", as you call them, believe you’re killing children, and in protest they’re merely yelling and blocking.  Sounds more like incredible self-control and restraint, if you ask me.  If Islamic radicals ever decide abortion is one of their issues, you’ll find yourself pining for the good old days. 

And a short P.S.:  If 11 abortion clinics were set on fire in one state during one month, don’t you think it would make the national news, repeatedly?  Yeah, me, too.  It should.  But did you know that 11 churches burned down in Texas last month?  Yeah, me neither.  Consider this.

Hat tip: NewsBuster.

Shire Network News #176: Pastor Ameal Haddad

Shire Network News #176 has been released. The feature interview is with Pastor Ameal Haddad of Ambassadors For Peace. His idea is that people around the world should have religious freedom. I know, crazy, right? Maybe it’s so crazy it might just work through. Click here for the show notes, links, and ways to listen to the show; directly from the web site, by downloading the mp3 file, or by subscribing with your podcatcher of choice.

Below is the text of my commentary.

Hi, this is Doug Payton for Shire Network News with a year-end edition of "Consider This!"

In January of this year, SNN contributors Meryl Yourish and I did a bit of prognostication about 2009, in which we spoke as though it were December.  Well, here we are in December and I’d like to take a look back at my predictions and find out how much of a satirical seer I was.

President Obama, while not having actually had any law enacted or treaty signed regarding global warming, managed to make this year cooler than last year.  Must have been sheer force of will.

Sure enough, some cold temperatures records were set in both Europe and America.  Indeed, it appears that, against all models, warming has stopped, and the "ClimateGate" scandal featured the head of the Climate Analysis Section at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, Kevin Trenberth, proclaiming that it’s a "travesty" that they can’t "account for the lack of warming at the moment".  Clearly, due to President Obama’s force of will.

My second prediction was a bit tongue-in-cheek.  Well, OK, they all were, but this predicted the creation of an Iraqi Olympic Shoe-Throwing Team.  While the team has yet to materialize, the Iraqi reporter that threw a shoe at President Bush was the target of someone apparently trying out for the team.  An exiled reporter, supportive of US policy in Iraq, decided to make his mark.  The IOC, however, judged that the throw was disqualified because it hit a wall, making proper distance measuring impossible, and because proper safety measure were not taken.

My third prediction was simply:

The world now loves us:  They really love us, ever since we elected a Democrat.  Iraq even allows US troops to be stationed there, thanks to the splendid outcome of "Obama’s Terrorist Intervention" in that country, which began on January 20th of this year.

Sure enough, the nations of the world have been saying such nice things about us this past year.  Well, except that they haven’t actually done anything differently.  And except for Poland who we left out of a missile shield system.  And, of course, except for everyone who hated us before; they still hate us now.  But other than that, the world loves us!

And finally…

Universal Agreement:  Both sides of the political aisle have finally come together to speak with one voice.  No longer is there any disagreement, harsh criticism or mean-spirited arguing.  The recently-passed bill, entitled "The Pelosi/Reid Equal Opportunity in Talk Radio and Radical Right-Wing Internet Commentary Act" (otherwise known as the PREOITRARRWICA), has gone a long way to make sure that the voice of the people is heard loud and clear.

No return of the Fairness Doctrine yet, but the government may yet interfere with radio station management in order to get the Fairness Doctrine in effect, if not in actual law. So, I guess I got this one wrong.  But now you see why I had to take such a happy tone in this alternate timeline; it’s not just a good idea, it was the law.

So overall, except for perhaps the first 20 days, this year has shown us that America’s best days are ahead of her, if we can just pass that new $2.5 trillion spending bill.  And I’m sure we will.

Hey, with TARP, bailouts, and a potential budget-busting health care bill, my numbers weren’t that far off.  Liberals are nothing if not predictable.  No Jean Dixon necessary.  Merry Christmas, and consider this.

Shire Network News #175: Robin Shepherd

Shire Network News #175 has been released. The feature interview is with British foreign policy specialist and non-insane person (the two tend to be mutually exclusive these days) Robin Shepherd about a new TV documentary in which the UK’s foreign policy is portrayed as completely in thrall to sinister, shadowy "Zionist" businessmen, who manipulate politicians and journalists from the shadows. Click here for the show notes, links, and ways to listen to the show; directly from the web site, by downloading the mp3 file, or by subscribing with your podcatcher of choice.

Below is the text of my commentary.

Hi, this is Doug Payton for Shire Network News asking you to "Consider This!"

US President Barack Obama has been in office for 10 months now.  While that’s not very long — heck, it’s barely long enough to win a Nobel Peace Prize — I think it’s worth taking stock of where he is on some of his campaign promises and Presidential goals. 

Let’s start with the closing of the US detention center at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba.  He said he’d close it in a year, but two months away from that date even he doesn’t think that’s going to happen.  But he did make a big splash when he moved Kalid Sheik Muhammed, the 9/11 mastermind, to the target of his mastermindedness, New York City, to try him in federal court, right alongside guys who commit mail fraud.  Yes, the guy who planned the largest terror attack on the US is going down the same path as Nigerian scammers who send you letters promising you large sums of money.  That seems adequate, no?

How about that lynchpin of his presidency, health care reform?  Well, looks like the tough sell just keeps getting tougher.  With only 38% of Americans favoring the plan proposed by Obama and the Democrats, this is looking like those mothers of yesteryear who gave you castor oil for what ails you.  The worse it is, the better it must be for you. 

Well then, how about the economy?  Sounding very fiscally conservative, he told Fox News (yes, that Fox News), "It is important though to recognize if we keep on adding to the debt, even in the midst of this recovery, that at some point, people could lose confidence in the U.S. economy in a way that could actually lead to a double-dip recession."  What he failed to note is that he is the one adding to the debt.  In a scene reminiscent of Mel Brooks’ "Blazing Saddles", he’s holding a gun to his head and threatening to pull the trigger if he doesn’t start behaving.  In Washington these days, it’s not so much that the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing.  It’s more like the left hand doesn’t even know there is a right hand. 

Then there’s the idea that the world loves us now, all because Obama is the anti-Bush.  A new day would dawn in foreign relations.  Except that it’s not.  In his recent trip to Asia, this self-proclaimed "first Pacific President" not only didn’t get any concessions from China, he participated in a press conference where questions were forbidden.  Way to stand up to those Communists, Obama.  Not even the eeevil Bush ever bowed, er, stooped that low.  Later, he lost the participation of Japan in refueling US warships destined for Afghanistan.  On the upside, he did get some pretty cool pictures of the Great Wall of China.  I’m told that, from up in space, Barack Obama’s ego is visible to the naked eye.

Oh, there was almost a foreign policy win with Iran, to get it to ship its uranium to Russia to keep it from building bombs.  Except that last week, shock of shocks, Iran reneged

Well, never mind what the rest of the world thinks!  They say they love us, but their actions say something else entirely.  Let’s look at the domestic polls to see how his own people love him.  There was such enthusiasm a year ago, when people flocked to elect the first African-American as President of the US.  Well, since then, the bloom has fallen off the rose.  His poll numbers dipped below 50% in November, 10 months after taking office with one of the higher initial ratings in recent history.  Now, pretty much all Presidents get into this territory sooner or later; even Reagan hit it in 10 months.  But that means that Barack Obama, the post-racial, feel-good, history-making, hope and change man of the hour is tied for the 3rd worst drop in ratings in the past half-century.  The eeevil Bush took 37 months to make it there.  Heck, Nixon took 25!  Nixon!

So it appears, then, that The One(tm) has fallen short of wildly exaggerated expectations.  Who’s to blame?  I’d say the guy who set those expectations.  A former Obama supporter has come out with a T-shirt of the iconic Obama poster with the word "Hope" on the bottom, but it’s smeared, as though painted in watercolors and then rained on.  Below the word "Hope" is the phrase "is fading fast". 

Something tells me that Obama is no different than he was just 10 short months and one Nobel Peace Prize ago.  It’s just that people have now actually taken the time to see who he really is.  I kinda’ wish, though, that they’d done this prior to the election.  A new face in the Oval Office doesn’t make enemies lose their self-interest.  Heck, it doesn’t even do that for allies!  It doesn’t magically turn the economy around, nor make budget-busting proposals palatable (especially when you complain about budget-busting as though someone else is doing it).  I’ll tell you one thing it does, though; it gets a populace to finally consider this.

Shire Network News #174: Ian Wishart

Shire Network News #174 has been released. The feature interview is with New Zealand journalist and author Ian Wishart, who explains why New Zealand is, if you can believe such a thing, even more PC, multi-culti and obsessed with apocalyptic global warming than Canada. Click here for the show notes, links, and ways to listen to the show; directly from the web site, by downloading the mp3 file, or by subscribing with your podcatcher of choice.

Below is the text of my commentary.

Hi, this is Doug Payton for Shire Network News, asking you to "Consider This!"

I’m in Cleveland, Ohio on business today as I record this.  (Please leave your condolences on the web site or our Facebook page.)  I watch a bit of TV in the hotel room while I’m here, mostly news channels.  And being away from the hustle and bustle of the household scheduling give me time to see a lot of news.

One thing I’ve noticed this week is that there’s so much nuttiness in the world today.  An Army officer going on a shooting rampage against his own soldiers.  Swine flu running rampant.  People unable to identify who Joe Biden is.  It’s just bonkers.  And I think those who are running their countries may just be leading the way.

And you know, we don’t hear the word "bonkers" enough. 

So, from the home office in Camillus, NY, here are the Top 9 Signs Your National Leader Is Positively Bonkers

9 – Gets the important shout-outs to his peeps before getting to the more mundane issues of a mass-murdering, al-Qaeda-loving, Muslim army officer.

8 – He wants to ship nuclear material to Venezuela.

7 – He doesn’t realize that the Venezuelan socialist utopia has shortages of food and water, not nuclear material.

6 – He’s currently running Venezuela.

5 – Spends a month on the golf course pondering whether to send 30,000 more troops to the war, or maybe 35,000 instead.  Or perhaps 35,762.  Decisions, decisions.  Fore!

4 – Thinks that if only he could chase out the corporations and citizens who have been bankrolling his socialist utopia, then he’d have his socialist utopia.

3 – Attacks a country called Georgia in order to score some chicken barbeque and pork ribs.

2 – Thinks that wiping a country off the map is a sober, considered foreign policy.

And the number one sign your national leader is positively bonkers:

He thinks that, when spending money doesn’t create jobs, the solution is to spend more money.

Yes, nuttiness can be a trickle-down phenomenon.  Consider this.

Shire Network News #173 – Tehmina Karzi

Shire Network News #173 has been released. The feature interview is with Tehmina Kazi, Director of British Muslims for Secular Democracy. Click here for the show notes, links, and ways to listen to the show; directly from the web site, by downloading the mp3 file, or by subscribing with your podcatcher of choice.

Below is the text of my commentary.

Hi, this is Doug Payton for Shire Network News asking you to "Consider this!"

Do you remember when George W. Bush, that shredder of the Constitution he, got so upset with unflattering coverage of his policies by MSNBC that he barred them from press pool interviews, and sent his minions to declare it an invalid news organization?  Yeah, me neither.  But let me ask you; if he had, don’t you think this would have caused a constitutional crisis, at least in the minds on the Left?  Right, me too. 

But let’s back up a bit and hit some recent history.  During the Sunday talk shows on October 18th, Obama mouthpieces David Axelrod and Rahm Emanuel went on the offensive against Fox News, saying they were not a news organization because they have "a perspective".  The implication being that every other news organization plays it precisely, straight down the middle.  (I’ll wait for you to finish laughing before I continue.)

Later in the week, Jake Tapper of ABC News, was apparently the only reporter remotely concerned that this was, y’know, rather chilling.  He asked the President’s spokesman why it’s appropriate for the White House to decide what is or isn’t a news organization.  The answer came back from the spokesman, "You and I should watch sometime around 9 o’clock tonight. Or 5 o’clock this afternoon."  So, what news programs are on Fox News Channel during those times?  Sean Hannity and Glenn Beck. 

OK, someone needs to explain to Barack Obama, President of the United States, the difference between "news" and "opinion".  So we here at Shire Network News … er, well perhaps we should call it "Shire Network Opinion" just to make things perfectly clear.  The distinction is apparently something of a difficult concept to the folks who are running my country.  Anyway, we’d like to help with understanding that distinction.

Glenn Beck is an opinion show.  Sean Hannity spouts opinion.  Shepard Smith is a news anchor.  Additionally, the TeleTubbies are not real, Dick Cheney is not Darth Vader, and Burger King is not an actual monarch.

The problem is that, while the presence of Hannity and Beck on Fox News is apparently enough to disqualify it as a true news organization, the presence of Keith Olbermann and Rachel Maddow, also opinion pundits but from the liberal side of the aisle, doesn’t disqualify MSNBC from being one.  I mean, heck, both of them were invited to an off-the-record briefing by the President. 

See, liberal opinion is "news", while conservative opinion is "sedition". 

Later that week, the most recent Nobel "Peace" Prize winner stepped up the war.  When the White House made a cabinet member available to the press pool, they specifically said that pool member Fox News was not allowed.  All of a sudden, all the other news organizations were roused from their slumber, got together and said that if Fox couldn’t get an interview, none of them would do an interview.  This brave, if belated, action made the White House blink, and Fox was allowed in.

It should never have gone this far.  Yeah, Presidents, Prime Ministers and Grand Poobahs from all over the world have had their issues with the press, and some organizations in particular.  But freezing them out is more for a Castro or Chavez then a leader who purportedly is preserving, protecting and defending a Constitution that includes freedom of the press. 

You want to complain, Mr. President?  You’ve got the bully pulpit.  But when you start being a bully, don’t be surprised if the kids on the block gang up, take their microphones and go home.  A truce was recently called, so the bully has learned his lesson and gone back into his house.  For now.

Odd, and slightly disconcerting, that the press had to educate our government on the Constitutional restrictions placed on that government.  But then, isn’t it always that way?  Government only responds to push-back; just ask General George Washington.  And anyone looking to give it more and more power over us should really consider this.

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