Thursday, April 12, 2012

Ann Rawmoney Is No Ordinary Woman

SHE'S FILTHY RICH. Ann Rawmoney hasn't ever worked a regular job outside the home, not just because it's "a choice" women make, which we should "respect." Of course. That goes without saying. But for Camp Rawmoney to suggest Ann is just like every woman out there who makes these "choices" is absurd. The vast majority of women in America do not have the "choice" (translation = means) to hire housekeepers, nannies, cooks, groundskeepers, chauffeurs, catering services, home nursing, and all the little "helpers" without which the filthy rich would be adrift in a sea of money.

Hogan Gidley, Psycho Ricky's Better Half, Being Weird Next To Alex.
That's no knock on Ann as a person. By all accounts, she's a very nice woman, very gracious, "Mitt's better half," said Alex Wagner's adoptive wingnut boyfriend, the inimitable Hogan Gidley, looking smitten as he sat shoulder to comely shoulder with Alex. But Ann's not everywoman. Nor can she speak with any real-life authority to the struggles of 99 percent of America's women juggling careers, children, housekeeping, bills, and HEALTH CARE. (The women's health care "choices" provided by Planned Parenthood — cancer screenings, mammograms, checkups, contraceptives — Mitt Rawmoney has promised to eviscerate. Typically meanspirited, considering Saint Ann suffers from a debilitating disease for which she can get the best care money can buy.)

That said, Hillary Rosen is a self-important, clueless, BELTWAY IDIOT. A CARDINAL RULE OF POLITICS IS, NEVER EVER CRITICIZE THE CANDIDATE'S WIFE! (That is, unless the wife is a non-Caucasian Democrat.)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

No Wonder Republicans HATE Science: Wingnuts Are Dumb, Lazy Alcoholics ...


1. A study published in the journal "Psychological Science" shows that children who score low on intelligence tests become wingnuts as adults.

2. A new study links "conservative ideology" to "low-effort thinking." (SEE the Daily Bawler's Jim Treacher on anything Trayvon Martin/NBC.)

And for the coup de gras:

3. "Bar patrons were asked about social issues before blowing into a Breathalyzer. As it turned out, the political viewpoints of patrons with high blood alcohol levels were more likely to be conservative than were those of patrons whose blood alcohol level was low."

Dumb, lazy w(h)iners: Or, as Chris might say, "tell me something I don't know."

Ozzie Postcript: Chris Matthews Goes Slightly INSANE

ODDLY, I WAS UNABLE to locate the Ozzie segment whose expression of "love" for Fidel Castro transmogrified Chris Matthews into a Red-Scare/Menace anti-Communist crusader expressing undying fealty to the fossilized anti-Castro (Raul now) Cold Warriors of Chris's generation. Despite the radio-generated outcry over Ozzie Guillen's comments about Fidel (see below), my sense of this is, there's a generational divide in the Cuban-American community regarding attitudes toward Castro's Cuba. Younger Cuban-Americans are just not as hard-line as their parents and grandparents. And they're certainly not monolithic:
"It is no exaggeration to suggest that U.S. policy towards Cuba since the revolution has largely been formulated in accordance with the wishes of the Cuban-American voting bloc. This has led to fifty years of confrontational policy vis-à-vis Cuba, ranging from an unsuccessful military invasion to over five decades of rigid economic embargo. These policies reflect the hard-line, anti-Castro sentiment that has been at the heart Cuban-American political culture. [...]

In recent years, however, as the community has evolved politically, traditional generalizations are no longer applicable. Demographic and generational shifts have diluted the hard-line voice in Miami, creating a community that is possibly more open to a change in policy direction towards Cuba than at any time in the past. On the streets of the Cuban-American neighborhood of Little Havana in Miami, debate now rages as to the value of the embargo and the future direction of U.S. policy. An acceptance of differences of opinion now exists, in contrast to the hard-line hegemony of earlier decades that left little room for alternative views to be aired. Today, “attitudes among the Cuban-American voters in Miami-Dade County have become increasingly complex,” and while hard-line views still exist, they do so alongside other political standpoints."
So it came as a surprise to hear Chris Matthews, author of the latest JFK biography, Jack Kennedy — An Elusive Hero, focusing on the Cuban Missile Crisis, utter this stunningly hyperbolic statement about Castro: "If the communists had won, that guy (Castro) would've been standing in Central Park watching the executions of anybody with any political talent in this country." With all due respect, Chris, I can't think of a Tom Clancy plot that could realistically accommodate your virulent Cold War fantasy. Maybe Red Dawn. But that's beneath Clancy's penchant for verisimilitude. In fact, it got me wondering whether your JFK book was ghost-written and conceived by someone else. Just saying.

For starters, Chris, if the "communists had won" as you put it, there would most likely not be a Central Park for Castro to carry out his executions. You and Mr. Castro — most of humanity — would be irradiated carbon dust that might, perhaps today, become fertilizer for incipient plant life. If any humans survived the nuclear holocaust, they would try organizing for survival as self-sustaining communities. Nation-states would have disappeared — the USSR, USA, Europe, others, and of course, the tiny island-state with a big, fat TARGET on its back named Havana. If he was lucky, Fidel might have escaped with family, friends and Che, of course, aboard his yatch Granma to parts unknown. Destination: USA — not likely.

But seriously, Chris, in the course of your research for the book, surely you must have come across intriguing documents suggesting Kennedy sought a dialogue with Cuba, an initiative which was aborted by the assassination, according to declassified documents. A National Security archive audio tape between Kennedy and his national security advisor McGeorge Bundy, "discussing the possibility of a secret meeting in Havana with Castro," was dated only seventeen days before the assassination. The history of this secret rapprochement is well documented in the link (above) to the respected George Washington University "National Security Archive" project.

What Ozzie Guillen said was insensitive to Fidel Castro's victims, yes, but still it holds special resonance for the other Latinos, who are not spoken for. They are the tens of thousands of tortured, disappeared, and assassinated victims of the U.S.-sanctioned fascist military dictatorships in Latin and South America. Those who recall the film Missing by the great director Costa-Gravas, with Jack Lemmon as an American businessman frantically searching for his disappeared son in the days following Henry Kissinger's Chilean coup, glimpsed the outlines of those days of horror. CIA horror. The CIA that, as you well know Chris, hatched countless plots to assassinate Fidel Castro. The survivors of Kissinger's atrocities, like Michele Bachelet, former president of Chile, and President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil, who was an urban guerrilla fighter in her previous life, only grew stronger through their ordeal.

Some have argued that Fidel may have been involved in the Kennedy assassination. Which is ridiculous. Love him or hate him, one thing's for sure: Fidel is a survivor; the only retired communist dictator. And he's no fool. He knew full well that were he to be blamed for killing Kennedy, the psychotic Curtis LeMay, Air Force Chief of Staff who clashed with President Kennedy over military action during the Cuban Missile Crisis, was just itching for a pretext to bomb Cuba "back to the Stone Age." Fidel's defiant stand against American plots to assassinate him, and 50 years of crippling economic sanctions, have earned him the well deserved admiration of Latinos from one end of America to the other. But unless one grasped how intimately the CIA was known to those who called the agency La Cia (pronounced see-ya), their admiration for Castro might be hard to understand.

Among those who believe that the Kennedy assassination was a conspiracy, Fidel Castro is much lower on the list of prime suspects than the rabid right wing anti-Castro groups that were operating in Florida, Texas, and Louisiana at the time. Lee Harvey Oswald was well known in those circles. Only a true ingenue like Chris could actually believe that Oswald's "Fair Play For Cuba Committee" was a pro-Castro group, as splashily advertised, rather than a Guy Bannister front for attracting pro-Castro sympathizers from whom Oswald was tasked with gathering information and spying on them at Bannister's behest. Bannister and the so-called 'Committee' shared offices in the same building and everything. A right wing fanatic with violent tendencies and a lefty pamphleteering group. Right.

But that's a whole different story. Back in my college days, the local Cuban-American student group sponsored a talk by a member of a rabid right wing anti-Castro group. I covered it for the college paper. The dude's basic premise was that we, the United States, should take unilateral, unprovoked military action against Cuba, a sovereign state, depose Castro, and "free" Cuba for the Cuban exiles in the U.S. A rerun of the Bay of Pigs, this time with direct U.S. military involvement. I went back and wrote that if they wanted their country back, they should follow Castro's example. Gather their forces, land in Cuba surreptitiously, and head for the Sierra Maestra mountains to start their counter-revolution. But don't expect America to carry any water for them or to risk American lives in their "war of liberation." Needless to say, I got some nasty mail from the same bullying types who today demand Ozzie's head for expressing a favorable view of Castro.

Fidel Castro didn't "steal" their country away, Chris. From whom? Colonel Fulgencio Batista — one in a long, unbroken string of utterly corrupt U.S. puppets soaking the taxpayers dry in a black hole of lavish palaces, weapons, and overseas accounts? Today's Batista is our mental case/crutch in Afghanistan, Hamid Karzai. Batista just happened to be our sonofabitch in 1959 — and the mob's — turning Havana into a playground for rich playboys, mobsters, drug runners, and prostitution. The country was ripe for revolution.

And to get Chris riled up: The old dictator visiting with Pope Benedict, once Hitler Youth. Perfect together. Fidel Castro and Che Guevara are reviled for conducting executions. Yet when our robotic drones shred innocent men, women, and children thousands of miles away, it's just so much "collateral damage." What's worse: Looking the executed in the eye, or killing by drone? Out of sight, out of mind. American exceptionalism.

Count me among Che Guevara's admirers. (And Fidel Castro's, too.) Bobby Kennedy tried to kill Castro, but he also admired Che — the iconic revolutionary of the 20th Century. The best ever film treatment of Che was Brazilian director Walter Salles' Epic The Motorcycle Diaries. It depicts the travels of a young Ernesto 'Che' Guevara, the asthmatic medical student, and his loyal friend up along the western flank of South America.

These scenes of Che's birthday at a clinic for lepers on the banks of one of the Amazon's tributaries are my favorites. Especially the scene in which Che impulsively decides to swim across the river, to celebrate his birthday in the leper colony on the island the lepers are kept in isolation. It was a metaphor of his life: personal struggle, determination, and selfless communion with the least among us — society's lepers. A beautiful film. Highly recommended.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Sports McCarthyism, 2012 America

POP QUIZ: For which statement was current Florida Marlins manager Ozzie Guillen suspended by his team, with Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig's support:
  1. Calling Chicago Sun-Times columnist Jay Mariotti a “fag.” Ozzie later apologized to the gay community, but not to Mariotti who, he said, “is not a man.”
  2. “I respect Fidel Castro,” Time reported Guillen as saying. “You know why? A lot of people have wanted to kill Fidel Castro for the last 60 years, but that mother f----r is still here.”
    Of course, everyone knows by now that Ozzie was suspended for five games by the Marlins for the Castro statement. Anti-gay slur ... meh, happens every day, right? Whatever happened to free POLITICAL speech?! In the past, Ozzie has expressed support for his presidente, Hugo Chavez, and Fidel Castro, I'm guessing as much because Fidel had major league baseball skills, as anything else. Isn't it ironic that hardline anti-Castro Cubans bitch about the absence of free speech in Cuba, but when it comes to silencing Ozzie, perhaps even ending his career for a backhanded compliment to Fidel, they're OK with it. Right wing hypocrites.

    Setting aside unreconstructed right wing Cuban-Americans, it should also be noted that Fidel is hugely popular in Latin and South America precisely for what Ozzie said — and didn't say: For 60 years Fidel Castro has thumbed his nose at the United States, despite multiple CIA plots to kill and depose him, and a really stupid U.S. economic embargo imposed on the “Survivor” island-state.

    Here ya go, Selig, more forbidden speech from Ozzie Guillen: “Viva Chavez!”

    Quotable, Chuckles Toddy: “I'm surprised it's just a 5-game suspension, because the financial ramifications of angering the Cuban-American community is like no other.” OH MY. Um, not only is this a very arguable 'ramifications' statement, but now we know where Chuckles gets his progressive chops.

    Nice Try, Turtle-Twerp, But Don't EVER Try To Scrabble Us


    Except that we used it before McTurtle here appropriated it. BAD MOVE. Here's what I said back on the 4th, slapping down Thomas Roberts' wingnuttery: "Fixing the GRAND DEBT problem" as you put it, is a MANUFACTURED (emphasis/WORD mine) Republican talking point, considering the political document known as the 'Ryan budget' EXPLODES THE DEBT." Ah, but the KARMA Gods are merciless, and they got Turtle-Twerp McConnell good, through Rachel, the instrument of their vengeance. Mitch McConnell's punishment — Rachel's manufactured recipe for Tortuga cocktails ... OH MY:

    BEWARE!!! There's A Turtle In The GOP Women's Salad Bar!

    Monday, April 09, 2012

    Oh Chris, Paul Krugman Has Something To Tell You ... Or Maybe Not

    PROPS TO ALEX WAGNER for picking up on this and citing Krugman's column of Paul Ryan as an extremist Ayn Rand devotée — I'll bet the latest Beltway Republican tool to unfortunately sit in on Alex's show, Luke 'The Force Is Not With Me' Russert, probably has his free copy of Atlas Shrugged handed out by Ryan to office visitors autographed by Eddie Munster himself. Russert is already parroting Moron Joe (outburst about Romney being 'unfairly' attacked by Santorum — inside wingnut joke, I guess) and internalizing the Chuckes lingo. Don't be fooled by his supposedly progressive tweet on budget cutbacks to job training programs, Alex; it's in keeping with Catholic social policy, which is progressive. Luke refers to Catholics and contraception as a "gray issue," which it is not. Has Luke seen the polls? Joan Walsh, a progressive Catholic, was trying hard not to roll her eyes every time Luke opened his mouth. In his wingnut world, climate change is a "movement" not science.

    As for Paul Ryan, no doubt one of Luke's heroes, his Ayn Rand extremism has long been known to anyone with an interest in books (which disqualifies a wide swath of Luke's right wing Beltway world) and politics. But no matter how often we say it, it falls on deaf ears. Literally. People of Luke's generation have a sense of mean-spirited entitlement and cynicism about "government" having grown up in the shadow of Reagan. Ayn Rand's "Social Darwinism" fits nicely with this brand of toxic conservatism in which the "game" is an end in itself and what happens outside the Beltway, or Catholic schools, is an abstraction. Therefore, contraception becomes a question of "religious freedom" rather than women's health. Or a "gray issue" — as distinct from the gray matter missing from Luke's brain.

    Here's why Paul Krugman is mysteriously absent from the talking head shows on MSNBC: Does this description sound familiar? “[T]he “centrists” who weigh in on policy debates are playing a different game. Their self-image, and to a large extent their professional selling point, depends on posing as high-minded types standing between the partisan extremes, bringing together reasonable people from both parties — even if these reasonable people don’t actually exist. And this leaves them unable either to admit how moderate Mr. Obama is or to acknowledge the more or less universal extremism of his opponents on the right.

    Enter Mr. Ryan, an ordinary G.O.P. extremist, but a mild-mannered one. The “centrists” needed to pretend that there are reasonable Republicans, so they nominated him for the role, crediting him with virtues he has never shown any sign of possessing. Indeed, back in 2010 Mr. Ryan, who has never once produced a credible deficit-reduction plan, received an award for fiscal responsibility from a committee representing several prominent centrist organizations.” (Emphasis mine.)
    The Gullible Center
    So, can we talk about the Paul Ryan phenomenon?

    And yes, I mean the phenomenon, not the man. Mr. Ryan, the chairman of the House Budget Committee and the principal author of the last two Congressional Republican budget proposals, isn’t especially interesting. He’s a garden-variety modern G.O.P. extremist, an Ayn Rand devotee who believes that the answer to all problems is to cut taxes on the rich and slash benefits for the poor and middle class.

    No, what’s interesting is the cult that has grown up around Mr. Ryan — and in particular the way self-proclaimed centrists elevated him into an icon of fiscal responsibility, and even now can’t seem to let go of their fantasy.

    The Ryan cult was very much on display last week, after President Obama said the obvious: the latest Republican budget proposal, a proposal that Mitt Romney has avidly embraced, is a “Trojan horse” — that is, it is essentially a fraud. “Disguised as deficit reduction plans, it is really an attempt to impose a radical vision on our country.”

    The reaction from many commentators was a howl of outrage. The president was being rude; he was being partisan; he was being a big meanie. Yet what he said about the Ryan proposal was completely accurate.

    Actually, there are many problems with that proposal. But you can get the gist if you understand two numbers: $4.6 trillion and 14 million.

    Of these, $4.6 trillion is the revenue cost over the next decade of the tax cuts embodied in the plan, as estimated by the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center. These cuts — which are, by the way, cuts over and above those involved in making the Bush tax cuts permanent — would disproportionately benefit the wealthy, with the average member of the top 1 percent receiving a tax break of $238,000 a year.

    Mr. Ryan insists that despite these tax cuts his proposal is “revenue neutral,” that he would make up for the lost revenue by closing loopholes. But he has refused to specify a single loophole he would close. And if we assess the proposal without his secret (and probably nonexistent) plan to raise revenue, it turns out to involve running bigger deficits than we would run under the Obama administration’s proposals.

    Meanwhile, 14 million is a minimum estimate of the number of Americans who would lose health insurance under Mr. Ryan’s proposed cuts in Medicaid; estimates by the Urban Institute actually put the number at between 14 million and 27 million.

    So the proposal is exactly as President Obama described it: a proposal to deny health care (and many other essentials) to millions of Americans, while lavishing tax cuts on corporations and the wealthy — all while failing to reduce the budget deficit, unless you believe in Mr. Ryan’s secret revenue sauce. So why are centrists rising to Mr. Ryan’s defense?

    Well, ask yourself the following: What does it mean to be a centrist, anyway?

    It could mean supporting politicians who actually are relatively nonideological, who are willing, for example, to seek Democratic support for health reforms originally devised by Republicans, to support deficit-reduction plans that rely on both spending cuts and revenue increases. And by that standard, centrists should be lavishing praise on the leading politician who best fits that description — a fellow named Barack Obama.

    But the “centrists” who weigh in on policy debates are playing a different game. Their self-image, and to a large extent their professional selling point, depends on posing as high-minded types standing between the partisan extremes, bringing together reasonable people from both parties — even if these reasonable people don’t actually exist. And this leaves them unable either to admit how moderate Mr. Obama is or to acknowledge the more or less universal extremism of his opponents on the right.

    Enter Mr. Ryan, an ordinary G.O.P. extremist, but a mild-mannered one. The “centrists” needed to pretend that there are reasonable Republicans, so they nominated him for the role, crediting him with virtues he has never shown any sign of possessing. Indeed, back in 2010 Mr. Ryan, who has never once produced a credible deficit-reduction plan, received an award for fiscal responsibility from a committee representing several prominent centrist organizations.

    So you can see the problem these commentators face. To admit that the president’s critique is right would be to admit that they were snookered by Mr. Ryan, who is the same as he ever was. More than that, it would call into question their whole centrist shtick — for the moral of my story is that Mr. Ryan isn’t the only emperor who turns out, on closer examination, to be naked.

    Hence the howls of outrage, and the attacks on the president for being “partisan.” For that is what people in Washington say when they want to shout down someone who is telling the truth.

    Best Kissin' Thing In The World: Invite Simmons On TRMS To Lick Rachel's Boots

    HOW COULD RACHEL HAVE KNOWN before shamelessly plugging the band for advertising to hire ONE veteran as a roadie, that the KISS frontman with the roving lizard tongue would make an appearance on Fox & Friends to endorse Mitt Romney? Must have been an especially EE-VIL day because that ad qualified on TRMS as "best thing in the world" material. Hey, it's the thought that counts, and since their best earning years are behind them, it's probably all these aging painted rockers can afford to do (they got a free promo from Rachel!). Or as Gene Simmons the spendthrift convert said: “America is a business. If you can’t afford to do something, no matter how much bellyaching everybody does — I’m so sorry, if you can’t afford it, you shouldn’t do it.” Funny. I never heard this asshole complain about Bush and the Republicans running two trillion dollar wars off-budget, let alone giving Simmons and his one percent buddies a tax cut none of the rest of us can afford.