Top of the Ticket

Political commentary from Andrew Malcolm

Category: Gimmicks

At last, a Barack Obama action figure (large gun included)

obama Rambama Action Figure

It didn't work when they tried it a couple of years ago. Barack Obama in a suit.

Think about it: A Community Organizer action figure. Doing what? Talking? Knocking on a door? Handing out protest leaflets at the mall?Obama and staff in action watching the Osama bin laden raid 5-1-11

Even after two-plus years as president, a Barack Obama action figure would be doing what? Holding a meeting? Handing out money? Talking windmills? Playing golf?

But now, finally, thanks to a band of courageous Navy SEALs and their recent assassination of the world's most wanted man, a Connecticut toymaker can depict a fictional Barack Obama action figure -- with a gun. For shooting people dead. Just like real soldiers.

But now that the nation's commander-in-chief has done some military commanding (withdrawing from Iraq and two Afghan troop surges don't count), Herobuilders can finally add an Obama doll to its now bipartisan Sarah Palin, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney doll collection.

The company says its products are all USA made.

Warning: Just like the real thing, the Obama doll requires a large amount of money -- $34.95. Or if you're among wealthy Americans and you'd like to practice paying more, there's also an Obama Joker doll for $49.95.


The Nobama keychain: Ticking off the seconds left in his last term

Yes, SEALs were in on the raid, but aides hail Obama's office bravery

Osama bin Laden's son says U.S. broke international law 'if' his father is dead

-- Andrew Malcolm

Follow The Ticket via Twitter alerts of each new Ticket item. Or click this: @latimestot. Our Facebook Like page is over here. We're also available on Kindle. Use the ReTweet buttons above to share any item with family and friends.

Photo:; Pete Souza / White House (Obama and staff in action).

Joe Biden update: Stalked by a mystery man?

A mystery man falls in behind vice president Joe Biden during a recent walk outside the White House

Amazing that this story has been missed by so many other media outlets. But we noticed in a series of photos of Vice President Joe Biden during a recent walk in Washington that he is being followed by an unidentified mystery man.

Do you recognize him? Neither do we.

In this top photo the unidentified man quietly fell in behind Biden as the VP passed a parked car.

Biden is so busy talking with a throng of one photographer covering his walk that it appears he does not notice the man, who also has a receding hairline.

In this next photo (below) the mystery man closes in on the jaywalking vice president, apparently attempting to listen in on any conversations. Note the coiled radio wire running out of the mystery man's left ear so he can communicate with co-conspirators ....

mystery man closed in on a jaywalking Joe Biden on a washington street

Biden, clearly oblivious to the closing threat, continues to chat with members of an unseen crowd of onlooking fans.

the Mystery Man attempts to Hide Behind Vice president Joe BidenBut here (right) the mystery man appears fearful that he may, in fact, have been spotted.

He increases his pace and attempts to hide behind the tall train rider from Delaware.

Biden, in turn, continues talking and also waving to no one in particular, seemingly unaware of the closing threat.

But then apparently, Biden becomes suddenly suspicious that he may be under surveillance.

The Democrat heads for a predesignated safe zone.

Biden ducks quickly through a nearby alley.

He emerges on another street (see photo below), confident that the canny maneuver from his Senate days dodging reporters has lost his tail ....


democrat vice president joe Biden emerges from an alley attempting to dodge a Mystery Man following him

But not.

vice president joe Biden gives the thumbs-up all clear signal after he thinks he lost his tracker The vice president celebrates shaking off his tracker with the secret thumbs-up sign (right), unaware the man has sidled up behind him to eavesdrop on any strategic sidewalk small talk.

The mystery man's eyes seem focused like lasers on the vice president's left hand, loosely clutching hundreds of pages of Top Secret documents or Sudoku puzzles for the tedious train ride to Wilmington.

Suddenly, with the alacrity of a 70-year-old, so fast that it eludes capture even by the camera's lightning-quick shutter, Biden whirls around to confront his clandestine stalker.

What Biden sees shocks him.

The mystery man has disappeared, seemingly vanished into thin air -- or what passes for thin air in the Washington Metro area.

The stalker has, however, assumed the notorious ninja shrubbery disguise.

Look carefully over the vice president's shoulder in the photo below.

You can just make out the shape of what appears to the uninformed eye to be a bush ....

vice president joe Biden talks strategic secrets with a sidewalk passerby confident that he has chased away his tailing tormentor

You would think in this day and age the Secret Service would be alert to any such conceivable threat to our nation's most voluble leaders.

But we are indebted to the hard work and courage of Getty photographer Alex Wong, who captured these dramatic moments just outside the White House this week.

-- Andrew Malcolm

Follow The Ticket via Twitter alerts of each new Ticket item. Or click this: @latimestot. Our Facebook Like page is over here. We're also available on Kindle. Use the ReTweet buttons above to share any item with family and friends.

Photos: Alex Wong / Getty Images

Will Scott Brown view the Osama bin Laden death photo? 'No comment'

Massachusetts Republican Senator Scott BrownYou know Northeasterners.

Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown, who once exposed virtually everything he owns in a women's magazine photo shoot, isn't sure he wants to see Osama bin Laden's death photo.

Because of its alleged gruesomeness, President Obama has decided that the American people and the world should not see the photos of the slain al Qaeda founder, killed by Navy SEALs in his Pakistan bedroom 10 days ago.

The announced fear is that jihadists will become insanely homicidal, although the White House has said it is "entirely appropriate" for the president to tout the Muslim's killing in Obama's two most recent political fundraising speeches, which raised $2 million in Texas on Tuesday evening.

This despite the likelihood that such U.S. government censorship combined with the announced hastiness of the disposal of Bin Laden's body will feed conspiracy theories that Bin Laden lives.Faked Osama bin Laden Death Photo

Last week, soon after the president's decision to withhold the image against the advice of his CIA director, Brown announced that he had seen the death photo and was convinced the terrorist plotter was dead. Afterward, Brown aides admitted the senator had, like millions of others, been fooled by this fake death photo widely published in Pakistani newspapers.

Now, however, because members of Congress are presumed adults (see mirror photo of ex-Rep. Chris Lee), Obama has decided a few select committee members may see the photo at CIA headquarters.

Asked if the freshman senator would be visiting Langley for a photo peek, his spokeman said, "No comment on this."

-- Andrew Malcolm

Follow The Ticket via Twitter alerts of each new Ticket item. Or click this: @latimestot. Our Facebook Like page is over here. We're also available on Kindle.Use the ReTweet buttons above to share any item with family and friends.

Photo: Josh Reynolds / Associated Press (Brown); unknown.

Finally, some good news for Obama: Donald Trump will not be announcing his presidential bid Sunday

Donald Trump talking as usual 5-5-11What a relief for President Obama and his staggering political fortunes!

Donald Trump, the shy, retiring developer who forced the 44th president to finally release his long-form Hawaii birth certificate after nearly four years of stonewalling other less wealthy birthers, will not be announcing his political candidacy on the season finale of "The Celebrity Apprentice."

Does this mean the finale of Trump's trumped-up presidential candidacy?.

Who knows?

Who cares?

A while back, the Queens native who would be commander-in-chief let it slip that: "I am thinking of saying on the live finale of The Apprentice on May 22 that in a few days I will be making an announcement about my decision.”

Millions of frustrated Americans, who regularly talk back at their television screens in a plaintive attempt to be heard among the special interests, got very excited.

That's because with the current crowd of pols reciting their stale lines on Washington's national political stage, Elmer Fudd would look fresh and intriguing as a candidate.

Blah-blah-blah delighted to be here. Blah-blah-blah spending. Blah-blah-blah middle ....

Continue reading »

P.S. Turns out now, those photos of Obama giving his 'I caught Bin Laden' speech were faked

President Obama reenacting his Osama bin Laden is dead speech for photographers 5-1-11Could the Obama White House communications folks have found anything else to step in over the presentation this week of their boss and the dramatic recounting and re-recounting of the execution and really rapid remains disposal of Osama bin Laden?

It turns out now that all of the non-White House still photographs of the president's dramatic entrance down the hall into the East Room and the late Sunday evening speech itself were faked.

They were not taken during the actual event, which was photographed only by official White House photographer Pete Souza during the live TV broadcast.

The widely distributed press photographs were, in fact, shot during a reenactment of the entrance, the firm presidential strides down the carpeted hall and the speaking by the president right after the real event, as reported by our astute colleague James Oliphant.

These staged news photos were immediately flashed around the world for millions to see with varying captions about the president reading his statement for photographers, distinctions that may well have been lost in translations and publications.

It is a minor matter unless truth is a concern.

Which isn't always the case in politics. (Anyone remember the planted townhall questions flap during the early Democratic primary campaign between Obama and Hillary Clinton?)

The Obama crew is not the first to bar professional photographers from a White House event and then offer a pretend presentation for subsequent "coverage."

The concern of presidential handlers is a staging one. The jostling of competitive photographers and the clatter of two or three dozen unseen camera shutters going off at the slightest presidential movement could clutter the video presentation, distracting viewers' attention as welpresident Obama delivering his Osama bin Laden is dead Speech 5-1-11l as the main actor's concentration on his Teleprompter.

Yes, of course, Obama's guys wanted maximum coverage of his proud "I got him and you-know-who didn't" moment. And independent news organizations always prefer their own material over a White House handout.

But to use this arguably misleading photo gimmick around something as sensitive as killing the world's most wanted murderer in an era of bounteous conspiracy theories about the 9/11 events he engineered is naive at best, moronic at worst.

Wasn't this the same president who only a few days ago was finally forced after four years of stonewalling to release his longform birth certificate to snuff an enduring conspiracy theory about his real citizenship?

The constantly changing details of the SEALs' courageous raid on the Bin Laden compound -- who with or without a gun was shot where and when after she was used as a shield or not -- have been accumulating all week.

This is because in their haste and eagerness to positively present the important news, Obama aides didn't gather the facts accurately, missed some changing ones and/or didn't repeatedly qualify their accounts with explicit warnings.

Take these numerous inconsistencies and conflicting details. Add them to these faked photos. Mix in Americans' chronic civic cynicism and post-Kennedy assassination susceptibility to conspiracy consumption.

Then add Obama's subsequent decision, against the advice of his CIA director, to withhold any photographic proof of Bin Laden's death and burial at sea, ostensibly from concern over jihadist sensitivities.

And all of this more than allows, it invites years of possibly groundless speculation over the historic capture, which with better handling could have been celebrated as a clean victory for Americans (and, who knows, perhaps also the presidential reelection candidate).

Now the ensuing discoveries of further PR klutziness are even more distracting than camera shutter clatters to the White House's primary goal of highlighting what one senior advisor called the president's historic "gutsiness" in sending others in to get Bin Laden.

OK, now about these photos. Which one was actually taken during the speech? And which one is pretend? Click on each to see.

-- Andrew Malcolm

The truth is you need to follow The Ticket via Twitter alerts of each new Ticket item. Or click this: @latimestot. Our Facebook Like page is over here. We're also available on Kindle. Use the ReTweet buttons above to share any item with family and friends.

Photos: Pablo Martinez Monsivais / Associated Press (reenacted); Pete Souza / White House.

The political effect of Obama's decision to withhold Bin Laden death photos over fear of foreign reaction

Osama bin laden housing Compound in Pakistan 5-3-11

President Obama, who recently expressed uncomprehending bemusement that a desire by some in the public to see his sealed birth certificate would endure and distract debate for four years, has decided to seal the post-mortem photos of the world's most wanted murderer, Osama bin Laden.

The president, who has seen the graphic photos, likened their once-promised release to spiking the football after a touchdown. In a taped interview with CBS News, which itself will not be released until network broadcast in four days, Obama reportedly said, "That's not who we are."an unidentified 9-11 victim falls to his death from the World Trade Center

The Democrat suggested the world should take his word that it really was Bin Laden who was fatally shot in an early morning SEAL raid on his comfortable living compound in Pakistan after a 10-year manhunt.

Bin Laden was the mastermind of numerous deadly terrorism assaults on Americans and others, including the bombing of the destroyer Cole and the 9/11 attacks that produced so many graphic images of the deaths of nearly 3,000 people.

Obama, who once bragged that his administration would be the most transparent in American history, said he had all the proof necessary to convince him it was the real Bin Laden who was shot in the chest and forehead after maybe or maybe not being given an opportunity to surrender in his bedroom early Monday morning Pakistan time.

"We don't think that a photograph in and of itself is going to make any difference," the chief executive is reported to say.

The presumed reason is fear of inflaming Islamic jihadists over their leader's violent demise and the hope that maybe perhaps they might relent in their so far relentless war on nonbelievers.

Obama, however, reveals an unusual priority in the interview: He says there is no doubt of Bin Laden's death among the Saudi's followers.

Who was concerned about that?

In the leaked interview portion, Obama does not mention the concerns of his own countrymen, who saw countless gruesome photographs of deaths on 9/11. Obama's profound primary concern seems to be to ameliorate reactions among a foreign audience of terror extremists. To minimize public criticism at home, Obama's team has shown the allegedly secret photos to members of Congress, presumably grownups.

Start the timers on how long until an alleged death photo appears somewhere.

The decision to withhold photographic proof was only the latest flipflop by the Democrat's administration in what has become a constantly changing story of the precise SEAL raid, and Bin Laden's demise and the disposal of his body, as detailed here earlier Wedne Leon Panetta, left, and Robert Gates 4-28-11 sday morning.

Late Tuesday Leon Panetta, the director of the CIA and future secretary of Defense, said he was sure the photos would ultimately be released.

However, in a less-than-shocking claim Wednesday, Obama said that now all of his subordinates agree with his decision to keep the photos secret.

Although he made no reference to consulting other governments, such as friendly but nervous Muslim regimes in the Middle East, Obama may also have sought and received advice from them to withhold the photos as inflammatory. But Obama does not wish to appear back home to be abiding by the secrecy suggestions of governments he's been so publicly and constantly lecturing about democracy and openness.

Obama also says that Bin Laden received the justice he deserved.

This Obama decision, like so many others, including his vow to close the Guantanamo Bay detention facility is, of course, subject to impatient reversal over time.

Politically, it will certainly prove difficult for Obama to sustain at home, where critics have long suggested he's too often an apologist abroad for his own nation. Whatever Obama's real motives, his publicly expressed ones appear to put fears of adverse foreign reactions ahead of his countrymen's reactions over a thwarted desire for closure by seeing the ultimate modern villain dead after losing so many American lives to Bin Laden and his hench-persons.

If there was any doubt about the pent-up nature of these emotions, they were killed Sunday night when so many spontaneous jubilant public celebrations broke out in this country over Obama's announcement of Bin Laden's death.

These street demonstrations involving flag waving, cheering and group sings of the "Star-Spangled Banner" occurred, among other places, in front of the White House, in New York's Times Square and, most symbolically, at ground zero in Lower Manhattan.

As it happens, Obama will travel there Thursday as part of his Bin Laden victory lap, which will now most likely include the first of many explanations over a silly photograph he's decided to keep secret.

On the other hand, 552 days before the presidential election, if political critics are discussing a secret photo, they're not talking of unemployment or amazingly high gas prices.

Which can't be sealed by this president.


Osama bin Laden's death: Clarifying the Obama administration's cnoufison and missteaks

Yes, the SEALs were in the raid, but aides hail Obama's office bravery

Rush Limbaugh on Osama Bin Laden's death: "Thank God for President Obama"

Donald Trump praises Obama on Osama bin Laden's death

The death of Osama bin Laden: Statements by two presidents who hunted him

-- Andrew Malcolm

Your mission is to follow The Ticket via Twitter alerts of each new Ticket item. Or click this: @latimestot. Our Facebook Like page is over here. We're also available on Kindle. Use the ReTweet buttons above to share any item with family and friends.

Photos: The Bin Laden compound in Pakistan (credit: AFP / Getty Images); a 9/11 victim falling from the burning World Trade Center (credit: Associated Press); CIA Director Leon Panetta, left, and Defense Secretary Robert Gates. (credit: Carolyn Kaster / Associated Press)

Countdown to Keith Olbermann's 'Countdown with Keith Olbermann' begins; calm urged on his fan

Finally, after what seems like a couple of days of waiting, the folks over at Current TV have announced the start date for Keith Olbermann's old show there.

Because of Olbermann's chronically messy departures from previous employers and the needless ego-engendered controversies, the Current TV folks have decided to take Olbermann's show in an entirely new direction, beginning with the title.Keith Olbermann smiles for the camera

It will be called "Countdown with Keith Olbermann,"* a reference to the tall but feisty recovering sportscaster with one of the largest heads in TV commentating.

He will provide predictable political commentary on the day's random events with endearingly faux outrage reminiscent of the actors in the ring of a WWF match. All designed to make his audience comfortable with its cliches.

One of Olbermann's current Current bosses, who doesn't get out much, called his new employee "one of America's most gifted thinkers and communicators."

Olbermann, in turn, called his new employer "the model truth-seeking entity."

The program will appear at 5 p.m. weeknights in an attempt to spare Pacific time zone commuters.

Olbermann will try to resuscitate a sagging media career on a little-known cable channel that claims to be distributed into 75 million homes, several of which actually watch. In lieu of a large salary, Olbermann was given an expensive title, Chief News Officer.

"Nothing is more vital to a free America than a free media," Olbermann said in a canned statement, adding in typical down-to-earth manner, "and nothing is more vital to my concept of a free media than news produced independently of corporate interference."

That's a subtle reference to large media companies where Olbermann's employments have ended. At least one of those evil empires had rules that forbid such things as show hosts contributing money to the political campaigns of guests that they also promoted on their show, if you can imagine anything so ethically confining.

Olbermann got caught doing just that and was suspended briefly, generating protest letters from all four viewers. Fortunately, that won't happen when Current suspends Olbermann because no one will notice.


Pat Sajak says he's profoundly sorry for infecting the country with Keith Olbermann

-- Andrew Malcolm

Left-wing wackos click here to follow The Ticket via Twitter alerts of each new Ticket item. Right-wing nutjobs click here for the same thing. Or follow us @latimestot. Our Facebook Like page is over here. We're also available here on Kindle now.     *June 20

Photo: Getty Images (Olbermann smiles for the camera).

Birthers will not give up on Obama's birth certificate and the White House does everything to help them out

UPDATE: The president finally released his official birth certificate. The document, his full statement and our commentary is now posted over here.)

Because the question of Barack Hussein Obama's birth certificate and true nationality is such a sensitive and completely embarrassing issue for the Democratic president that just won't go away, the White House Tuesday talked it up again.CLICK ON IMAGE TO ENLARGE Obamas Birth Certificate revealed

Our colleague quoted a White House spokesman as calling it a "settled issue."

Press Secretary Jay Carney, who claims to have been born in Washington on May 22, 1965, reportedly said:

I just think it's a distraction and it's an unfortunate distraction from the issues that I think most Americans care about.

Obama wishes the issue that makes proponents look goofy would go away so badly that he makes smiling references to it in speeches, in case anyone's forgotten.

In 2008, his campaign even gave The Ticket a copy of Obama's so-called birth certificate from Hawaii. We reproduce it here again today; click on the image to enlarge it for closer examination.

Readers will now flock in to eagerly point out that this is not actually....

Continue reading »

Dog bites man: Obama's 2012 reelection campaign announcement video

Fact: Sen. John F. Kennedy announced his presidential campaign on Jan. 3,  of the 1960 election year. He won and became only the second sitting senator in U.S. history to move into the White House.

This time everybody is saying things are starting so late in the 2012 presidential campaign. But election day is still 19 months away come Wednesday.

President Obama's campaign says it needs $1 billion to re-convince Americans that the third sitting senator to become president is the real hope and change guy. And there's still so much to do and money to spend.

But first comes the money-raising part. And coincidentally, the second quarter of 2011 starts Monday for political fundraising and reporting. A large reported number at....

Continue reading »

Weekly remarks: Boehner says spending binge kills jobs; Obama says drilling for oil is no energy strategy

Obama and his extended family board Air Force One in Chile for another trip at $181,000 an hour

Weekly remarks by President Obama, as provided by the White House

Hello, everybody.  I’m speaking to you today from a UPS customer center in Landover, Maryland, where I came to talk about an issue that’s affecting families and businesses just like this one -- the rising price of gas, and what we can do as a country to reduce our dependence on foreign oil.

This week, I released a Blueprint for a Secure Energy Future. It’s a strategy to reduce the oil we import from around the world, and to make our economy stronger at home. Part of this strategy involves increasing our oil exploration right here in America.  In fact, our oil production last year reached its highest level since 2003, and we want to encourage more safe, responsible drilling where we can.

But the truth is, drilling alone is not a real strategy to replace our dependence on foreign oil....

Continue reading »

Recommended on Facebook


In Case You Missed It...

About the Columnist
A veteran foreign and national correspondent, Andrew Malcolm has served on the L.A. Times Editorial Board and was a Pulitzer finalist in 2004. He is the author of 10 nonfiction books and father of four. Read more.
President Obama
Republican Politics
Democratic Politics



Get Alerts on Your Mobile Phone

Sign me up for the following lists: