Saturday, February 25, 2012


ANIMAL KINGDOM, the Kentucky Derby winner has returned after a long absence following a minor leg injury. I fell in love with this horse the first time I saw him; he's so regal, so magnificent, so beautiful. So much like his awesome daddy, LEROIDESANIMAUX. He looks just like him, too, and may be even better. Fittingly, Animal Kingdom's trainer, the classy Brit Graham Motion who is one of the genuine good guys in the sport, resisted calls for his champion's early return, giving him all the rest time deemed necessary to make a full recovery.

This was a soft spot for Animal Kingdom's return to the races — an allowance race on a forgiving turf course, which may be his best natural surface. Animal Kingdom's next start will be the Dubai World Cup on March 31, where he will face off against the world's best thoroughbreds. In the meantime, Animal Kingdom continues turning heads and making fillies' hearts swoon back at the barn.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Lawrence To Paulies & Paulines: GIMME AN F-A-K-E! What's That Spell? RON PAUL, Ron Paul ...

As a Hollywood Liberal, Lawrence knows from REAL and FAKE Libertarians. The REAL ones are creative types, "libertines" as Rick Santorum calls them, who tend to flock to the Arts. People like Penn Jillette and Stephen Colbert. And a whole lot of non-politicos who tend to vote Democratic, on REAL Libertarian grounds alone. Hollywood is a favorite stomping ground for REAL Libertarians, and Lawrence knows a lot of them. In fact, I would argue that the highest calling of a Libertarian is not government, because they hate it and aim to destroy it, but the Arts.

Here is Lawrence schooling (you're welcome) young Paulies and Paulines on Ron Paul's FAKE Libertarianism. C'mon, kiddies. Time to fall out of love with the old racist homophobic geezer, who refers to gays as "queer". He is a flak, an agent for the most reactionary elements of the Republican Party, not the wingnuts, but the right wing CORPORATE Establishment represented by Romney. They want your energy, your boots on the ground. THEY WANT TO USE YOU to elect Mitt Romney president. In exchange for keeping you "in the fold" they'll give Ron Paul some role in the convention, maybe vague promises not meant to be kept of a cabinet post, even consideration of Rand Paul as a Veep candidate. Oh, Mittens will have Rand Paul on some list before he picks Marco Rubio, or Mitch Daniels, or Chris Christie.

So choose someone closer to your age for whom you can fawn, slobber, pine, and obsess irrationally. But not some aging snake oil FAKE who is a dead ringer for Stan Laurel and of late has become Mittens' fetch-it dog. (We all know how Mittens treats his dogs.) Not judging, but it's kinda creepy, this irrational adulation of yours, y'know. You can forget about destroying the Fed or bringing back the Gold Standard. Ain't gonna happen. Republicans love it, and Ron Paul, the FAKE, knows it.

PS — Please don't send Lawrence any hate mail, or he might think I put you up to it.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

President Obama LEADING Mitt Romney In Virginia

"For the first time in this election cycle, President Barack Obama inches ahead of former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, the leading Republican candidate, 47 - 43 percent in Virginia, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released today (February 8). Romney has a commanding lead among likely Republican primary voters in the state's no-Newt Gingrich presidential primary. Today's results contrast to results of a December 21 survey by the independent Quinnipiac University, showing Romney with 44 percent and President Obama with 42 percent.

In the Obama-Romney matchup, independent voters favor the president 45 - 41 percent, compared to a 41 - 41 percent tie in December. A gender gap is opening up as women shift to the president, backing him 52 - 40 percent, compared to a 43 - 45 percent split in December. Men back Romney 47 - 43 percent, compared to 43 - 42 percent in December."
But wait, what does the Republican poll, Rasmussen, say TODAY, February 23, among LIKELY VOTERS:
President Obama now holds single-digit leads over former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum in hypothetical matchups in the key battleground state of Virginia.

The latest Rasmussen Reports statewide telephone survey of Likely Virginia Voters shows Obama drawing 49% support to Romney's 43%. Five percent (5%) prefer some other candidate in the race, while three percent (3%) are undecided.
Can y'all spell or say ... "transvaginal probe"? Wingnuts ... Anyone Republican?

Painful To Watch: The "Miss of The Century"

In soccer, some goals are easier to score than to miss; even your grandmother could have made that one; and so on. But this is ridiculous; some sports sites are already calling it "miss of the century":

Flamengo v. Vasco is a "classic" of Brazilian football. It's one of the oldest team rivalries in the world. Flamengo is one of the world's great teams, with a history that dates back more than 100 years, from its beginnings at the turn of the 20th century as a regatta (rowing) club in Rio de Janeiro.

Flamengo's mystique is all about winning, spelled out in the club's anthem — "win win win" — and in the legend of its black and red jersey, which has been dubbed the "sacred shroud." Flamengo's fandom is a "nation" 45 million strong, making it, if not the most, one of the world's most popular clubs, certainly in dedicated fans. Flamengo has won every title there is to win, including the World Club Championship, which is the one true world series of sports clubs, because it's an international competition among the world's best clubs.

The game was tied 1-1 when Deivid had the miss of the century. Flamengo went on to lose 2-1, and with it a spot in the final of the competition.

So Deivid, pal, you're out of luck. Only this time, it won't be on the field.


THIS IS amazing hypocrisy: Newt who is one of the worst offenders in the meme that President Obama doesn't protect vital American economic interests, said this against the President's auto bailout of Detroit (emphasis mine):
KING: Mr. Speaker, come in on the conversation. It's a tough one. It's a tough one. It's a major American industry, in a time of trouble.

GINGRICH: It's not tough. First of all, there's a huge amount of the American auto industry that was just fine. BMW in South Carolina was terrific. Mercedes in Alabama was doing just fine. Honda in Ohio was just fine. So the -- Toyota was just fine. What we have is the United Auto Workers and a management system that had grown very, I think incapable of tough decisions because they were used to selling out to the United Auto Workers. And so they came in and said, oh we can't change. And this president on behalf of the United Auto Workers said, you're exactly right.

Now, the fact is, Chrysler is now Fiat. So when we talk about saving the American auto industry, let's be clear what they were doing. I think that they would have been much better off to have gone through a managed bankruptcy, I agree with Governor Romney. I think it would have happened. I think what would have happened is the UAW would have lost all of their advantages and the result was, what you had I thought was an unprecedented violation of 200 years of bankruptcy law by Barack Obama to pay off the UAW at the expense of every bondholder.
EXCUSE ME?! When did BMW, Mercedes, Honda, and Toyota turn into AMERICAN automakers? Because they located plants in so-called "right-to-work" states? Detroit, the U.S. auto industry is the crown jewel of American manufacturing. Isn't it outrageous how Gingrich conflates these foreign makers as the "American auto industry" and in the next paragraph says, contemptuously, "now the fact is, Chrysler is now Fiat." Gingrich must see a taint in Fiat owning a controlling share of Chrysler rather than the entire company.

We let them die, go bankrupt, without government intervention and a major component of our manufacturing base is finished. Gingrich knows full well that given the same conditions the Europeans and Japanese would intervene to save their auto industry. Just as we did under President Obama. And they have intervened, e.g., propping up Airbus by using government to grab market share from Boeing. Secondly, while the Republican laissez-faire ideologues attack the Affordable Care Act and unions, the fact that U.S. automakers have had difficulty competing against the foreign makers is that under these social democracies, so reviled by Republicans, health care, pensions and benefits are taken off the table!

The free market ideologues still talking up antiquated laissez-faire markets — as if they exist — would sit back and preside over the U.S. becoming a second-rate power by allowing our manufacturing base to go under, only to be plundered for parts by major players in Europe, Japan, and China. That is insanity.

America's competitors, the social democracies, provide far more generous health and retirement benefits, while liberal union-management cooperation gives unions a seat at the table. It's part of a winning business model for advanced democracies, in which their major industries are regarded as strategic assets. The Europeans and Japanese are totally bewildered that Americans, principally Republicans, would oppose the auto bailout loans and restructuring. And they're laughing heartily at their new best friend, Newt Gingrich, who would so easily sell our manufacturing crown jewels down the river to the highest bidder.

So Newt has the unmitigated, hypocritical gall to call BMW, Mercedes, Honda, and Toyota ... "the American auto industry"?! Not sure whether to call this treason or pure demagoguery. At the same time he was ripping U.S. automakers, Newt mentioned five foreign automakers by name, in effect advertising his services as a high-paid lobbyist. Utterly despicable. Two days earlier he derided GM's hybrid electric car, the Volt, calling it an "Obama car" because you "can't put a gun rack in a Volt." GM's  head of communications, Selim Bingol, shot back: "Actually, you can. But the real question is, 'Why would you?' In both examples: It looks weird. It doesn’t work very well, and, there are better places for gun racks and training wheels — pickup trucks and little Schwinns, respectively."

Why is Gingrich attacking cutting-edge American technology that keeps American plants working at full capacity and shifts, reduces American dependence on foreign oil, contributes to the alternative energy technologies of the future, and has helped propel GM back to the world's No. 1 automaker? And why is he talking up foreign automakers, known for developing compact cars, while deriding the Volt, inaccurately, (it was under development during GWB's administration) as an "Obama car"? Newt's hypocrisy is off-the-charts. Can anyone say: divided loyalties in a presidential candidate — trashing GM, the world's #1, while talking up the foreign makers.

Treason is a charge often leveled against President Obama by Republicans. But who are the real traitors here; or more likely, ambitious opportunists? Honestly, though, it's Citizens United plutocracy unleashed. Greed is good. And treason ... it's neither personal nor patriotic; c'mon, it's business. Government doesn't belong to the people; it belongs to the highest bidder.

Let's be real. Newt's not in this to be president. He's in it to make money.


JOHN KING: "Is there a misconception about you? The question is a misconception."

MITT ROMNEY: You know, you get to ask the questions want, I get to give the answers I want. Fair enough? (APPLAUSE)

JOHN KING: "Fair enough ..."

This is the effect of Romney on the media. It's different from any other candidate. How much can this guy's money influence buy? And who's on the take? With so much hidden money in politics, you have to wonder.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

58 SECOND FLAT POST-GOP DEBATE ANALYSIS: Rick Santorum Possessed By The Devil!

DUDE, WE WERE PULLING for you, and you BLEW IT.

Rick Santorum had plenty of precedent to know what was coming; hey man, you're crazy, STICK WITH CRAZY! Right now, your main goal is to beat Mittens in Michigan. Your ace in the hole is Romney saying to Michiganders, let the auto industry drop dead.


Memo To Paulies and Paulines, including the Lizard King: Some "saint" that ridiculous, preposterous Ron Paul is, eh? He's been reduced to a Romney groupie; the guy's helping Romney get the nomination so he can be appointed Chairman of the Fed, to destroy it, or Treasury Secretary, to yes, destroy the Fed. Ron Paul's not running for president and he won't be getting what he wants from Romney, either. Romney, who's an unprincipled scumbag, through and through, is tossing his new dog, Ron Paul, a bone, who in turn is tossing his supporters a bone; more like PLAYING YOU FOR FOOLS. Wake up, Paulies and Paulines, and smell the corrupt politics of cynicism played by an aging racist clown.

As for Newt, he's a case study in the corruption of Citizens United, SuperPac Sugar Daddy politics. He's totally bought and controlled by his billionaire master, Sheldon Adelson. He was under strict orders not to attack Romney, if he wants his $10 to $100 million from Sheldon. Where was all that animosity from Florida? Gone with the wind, and a new infusion of cash as Mr. 1% sat there with his snarky cheshire cat grin.

Someone's got to knock that chip off Mr. 1%'s shoulder, and we were counting on the crazy dude to, hey, GET CRAZY MAN. Inexplicably, Rick Santorum was MIA. He decided he was going to show us all what an honest, reasonable guy he is. PSST, RICK: WE ALREADY KNOW YOU BELIEVE WHAT YOU'RE SAYING; you're TOO CRAZY, dude ... no need to preach to the choir. WE'RE BEHIND YOU.

WORSE THING Santorum could have done, he did: REPRISE John Kerry trying to explain he was for something before he was against it! Pretty stupid, but we're still urging Democratic Michiganders to cross party lines and vote for Rick. We don't like to see the filthy politics of Newt and Romney, not to speak of the hypocrisy of Ron Paul, who's hitched his wagon to Romney's like a sycophantic lap dog, throwing his supporters — who despise Romney — under the broke down Gingrich bus.

Rick, you blew it. But we like people of principle, even if you're crazy. So we'll try to convince our Democratic friends to vote for your honesty, and AGAINST Romney for telling the auto industry and the workers to drop dead.

DISCLAIMER: I know, I know ... Santorum is offensive; but he's CRAZY honest, while the others are just plain offensive. Helping him win Michigan is good strategy for the Dems. What A Clown show. Srsly.

Know What They Used to Call BLUES?

THE "DEVIL'S MUSIC." That right, and I don't mean to alarm the Red State crazies out there — well, maybe a little — but that's what they call(ed) Rock, which was born of the Blues, too. I'm in the mood for a little Devil's Music ... How 'bout YOU, Rick?

THANK YOU, Rick Santorum For Bringing SATAN To The National Public Square!

“Satan is attacking the great institutions of America, using those voices of pride, vanity, and sensuality as the root to attack all of the strong plants that has deeply rooted in the American tradition. This is a spiritual war. And the Father of Lies has his sights on what you would think the Father of Lies would have his sights on: a good, decent, powerful, influential country - the United States of America. If you were Satan, who would you attack in this day and age? He attacks all of us and he attacks all of our institutions.” ~ Rick Santorum, ripping the scab off the Big Satanic Lie — In His Own Party, for starters!

Here's Martin having some fun sorting out all of these demonic Republicans:

WE HAVE INCONTROVERTIBLE PROOF that SATANIC FORCES have INFILTRATED the REPUBLICAN PARTY as well as certain so-called devout, erstwhile dormant, cells of the Beltway Media and Idiot Punditocracy. Current and former HIGH PRIESTS (like, um ... party chairmen) of the Republican Party must be viewed with particular suspicion. Without naming names, next time you see the GOP elephant logo displayed on MSNBC, check which programs boldly display the logo AS IT IS (which is, HELLO! a prima facie argument for so displaying it anyway!), with the SATANIC STAR versus those programs seeking to conceal THE TRUTH by erroneously RIGHTING THE STAR. That would be tantamount to removing the eye and pyramid from the dollar bill. OH, MY.

Thom Hartmann, distinguished liberal radio talker will try, once again, to explain it to Chris Matthews. I would've thought this an easy persuasion; I mean, it's not like ultrasound probing, which Chris likened to making women "jump through hoops" — OUCH. Those with the correct anatomy understand exactly what it means: an outrageous assault on women's bodies and human dignity that meets the statutory definition of rape in Virginia, and the nation. Period.

So here's Thom's brief tutorial on Satanism in the GOP:


Martin, you had Dr. Craig Mitchell, the Baptist Theologian on the ropes, the one who was on the Issa all-male panel on contraception. You got him to refuse to say the President "is a Christian", you made your POINT repeatedly, but you failed to go.for.the.KILL; to wit, asked the man if he considered Newt (with "his three marriages"), Santorum (with "his hypocrisy") and Romney (with "his Mormonism") A CHRISTIAN?! Was it an unequivocal YES, in which case you would have exposed the charlatan preacher, or an equivocal "maybe, I never met the man," in which case you would have made news in advance of the GOP debate, and trouble for the candidates.

C'mon, Martin, get in the game, man!

WINGNUT "HUMOR": Worse Than You Think ...

Did anyone catch SNL last week featuring Amy Poehler back with Seth Meyers to slam the Republicans' obsession with conferring rights on human fertilized eggs and probing American women against their will, i.e., legalized rape?

Amy and Seth do political satire for a living. Don't try this at the red statehouse if you're a Republican struggling to step into the 20th century. Here's the jackass who introduced the "fetal personhood" amendment trying to be funny: "This chauvinist Seth answers a question about pregnancy when in fact, it should have been Baby Momma who answers the question about pregnancy. I’ll bet Seth has never been pregnant."

Right back at ya, MORON! Have YOU?! That's the WHOLE POINT, isn't it? IMBECILE RATBASTARD REPUBLICANS.

But it gets worse. There are certain things that us normal people know instinctively not to make jokes about. Here's the creep who makes a living putting words in the mouths of roboticon Republicans:

Here’s a HOWLER, Frank. How about we start a Twitter campaign to report you to the Secret Service as a threat to the President. You and all those Republican presidential candidates who yell “FIRE!” in a crowded campaign event by insinuating the President is a secret Muslim, anti-Christian, and a danger to our national security. Maybe, instead of Secret Service protection, they should get a Secret Service interview.

How does that tickle your funny bone, wordSith boy?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Michael Moore Decodes Michigan, Offers Best Explanation For Santorum Fury

President Obama's not a "SERIAL KILLER" ... They meant to say he "LIKES CEREAL." Rick Santorum was a well-kept Pennsylvania secret (well, except for comparing homosexuality to "man on dog" sex) who lost his senatorial election by 18 points; only to double down and re-emerge as a national candidate. You can't keep a good dog down.

Michael Moore misspoke, too. He said "Tim Tebow" but meant to say, Tim Thomas. Two 'Tims', two 'Ts', no biggie. When liberals 'misspeak' it's immediately understandable!

Andrea Mitchell, wingnut Mother Confessor. — Santorum aide Alice (in Wonderland) Stewart, pretended she didn't say this on the forum that has lately become a wingnut confessional, the Andrea Mitchell Show. What is it about Andrea's sweetness that compels wingnuts not to unburden themselves of their loathsome, despicable ideology, but to try and explain it: "If only Andrea would understand (she treats us like regular, decent humans instead of the monsters we truly are) ... if only Andrea could understand, all will be swell with the world"?

Hmm ... "radical environmentalist" v. "RADICAL ISLAMIST" policies: (weighing, weighing.) A few minutes later, Stewart calls Andrea to claim she "misspoke" and Andrea, sweetness personified, believes her. Well, she ran it by Chris Cillizza who is an off-the-charts boy scout and always seems to be around when Andrea needs to restore her faith in humanity.

For those of us on the cynics "YEAH, RIGHT" camp, convinced of the fundamental EVILNESS of Republicans — specifically wingnuts, bolstered by several academic studies that prove their fearful, callow meanness (although someone should commission a study on why they are such FACILE LIARS) — we are not convinced by Stewart's lies, especially coming on the heels of Rick Santorum's Obama to Hitler comparison:

PS — Latest Beltway Media descriptor of Rick Santorum's incendiary rhetoric: He's gone "WHITE HOT". Where do they come up with these terms, and is "white" a term of art in this context? Could a black candidate ever go "white hot"? Hmm ...

RIO CARNAVAL 2012 — Best In The Planet!

BOTTOM RIGHT: Buckingham Palace Gates & Festive Palace Guard ...
A Hat Tip to The London Olympics.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Cat Sees Demon Republicans With Magic Glasses

stereo skifcha from xgabberx on Vimeo.

Beltway Media 'DUH' Moments: Chris Matthews To Susan Page ...

"Are you on my side or are you working against me here?! ... You know that thing in Austin Powers where the seat disappears ..."?

Psst, Chris ... do you want to know a secret? MSNBC Viewers reach for that imaginary button multiple times daily. And while we might give you the more benign Austin Powers treatment, there are times we'd like to drop certain talking heads into that James Bond shark-infested tank, never to be seen or heard from again.

Why is Chris Matthews always the last to know? How many times do we have to say Susan Page is in the tank for Mitt Romney before something, anything, registers?

Here's the context:
CHRIS MATTHEWS: "Wouldn’t the country like to see a mano-a-mano, Susan, between Santorum and Romney, right now just the two of them, let 'em go at it: The cultural conservative against the sort of weirdly detached presence of Mitt Romney?"

SUSAN PAGE: "Well, reporters would like that, and Santorum would like that; I don't know if the whole nation is waiting, hoping for this kind of debate — maybe."
REALLY, Susan? Why so disingenuous in the midst of this raging other-century Republican attack on contraception? See "Sparta" post for one more example of a fairly sophisticated media propaganda campaign on behalf of Mitt Romney, involving instances of identified pro-Romney bias on cable and MSM news from Alex Castellanos, Mark Halperin, and Susan Page, to name but a few.

Incidentally, Chris: That clannish Irish Catholic "protest" of yours on behalf of your racist pal, Pat Buchanan, was in really poor form. Not only was it unconvincing, but if you, Moron Joe and Mika* decide to commiserate with Pat over the last straw in a long line of nativist, racist outbursts, please go "miss him already" on your own time. NOT OURS. We pay for your microphone, and it ain't cheap.

*I rest my case. Moron Joe now has a POLITICO blog. How appropriate. Read comments to see how well that "sunshine is the best disinfectant" thing is working out. Stupid is as stupid does.

PS — Shame on you, Chris. I don't know why you're thrusting Mark Halperin, that charlatan with the smug twisted grin on the rest of us. Great "analytical look"!? Please. Enough, already.

Alex Wagner's 'NOW' ... Should Be Renamed "With The Lizard King"

Three out of four ain't bad, only for Meatloaf and Lizard King fans. For the rest of us, a panel composed of Ari The Nation's chameleon (what does he care; have you seen the dude's girlfriend?), Jimmy the fake Democrat (what does he care, he's got a cabin in the woods to ride out Armageddon thanks to his lobbyist's pay), and the Lizard King himself, is just too much. No gong, no way.

Alex, we like you, but not when you drift inexorably toward becoming a reactionary corporate tool. Not that much. It sounds counter-intuitive, I know, given the forked-tongue Lizard King rants, but think about it in context and you might figure it out. You're plenty smart enough, Alex, but lately a progressive's disappointment.

Santorum's Jihad: His Christian Crusade Against President Obama

Any takers — are there enough religious fundamentalists, bigots, and xenophobes in Michigan's Republican primary electorate to give Rick Santorum a victory for Opus Dei-style right wing fascism? Santorum is impervious to irony and blatant hypocrisy, it seems, when he doubles down on his ridiculous claims that the President's agenda is "a phony 'theology'... based [not] on the Bible... [but] a different theology."

Let's parse this statement, shall we. First, our government is not a theocracy. The Constitution says so. The Founding Fathers said so. Our foundational principles teach us so. American History 101 says so: The first European settlers to this land were escaping religious persecution by England's monarch and its state religion. The religious sectionalism then was among Christian faiths. The Puritans were conservative Protestants who revolted against remnants of Catholicism in the Church of England. It was an oppressive state Christian religion which finally compelled them to settle in the New World.

Set aside Islam, Buddhism, atheism, Hinduism, or Wicca. Would a Jewish president be acceptable to Rick Santorum? Jews worship the Old Testament Bible but reject the New Testament which proclaims Jesus Christ to be the Messiah. If Santorum pretends to be consistent about about his extremist Opus Dei Catholicism, then the answer is no. But wait. Let's stick with the familiar. According to Rick Santorum, "Protestants are gone from the world of Christianity." Note that this link is to a conservative media site. (The religious wars raging among the extreme Right of the Republican Party is totally hilarious, bordering on an absurdist Monty Python sketch.) A deist and liberal (albeit slave-owner) like Thomas Jefferson would never make it with this GOP/Tea Party horde of wingnut American "patriots."

Nice try, Rick, but there's nothing theological about the President's agenda. His policies are secular, in the best tradition of American democracy. If you're against them, because your party's in the pocket of the oil and gas industry, oppose them on policy and political grounds, not on ridiculous pseudo-theological claims blaming "radical environmentalists."

That is so old, so antediluvian. What's good for the environment is good for our lives, our children's lives, and our children's children's lives. The only argument for climate change denialism and environmental destruction is religious Apocalypse — end of times beliefs that predict total destruction for all but Rick Santorum, Tony Perkins, Fred Phelps and a chosen few, and excludes all world religions outside extremist Christianity (45 million American Protestants need not apply) as well as gays and atheists in a Rapture of puerile hatred and sanctified religious cleansing. (We're all going to Hell anyway, so we might as well speed it up by destroying our environment and killing the planet.)

"What in the world were you talking about?!" Asked an incredulous Bob Schieffer. Good question, Bob.

But the really delicious irony about Rick Santorum's crazed extremism isn't only that he doesn't practice what he preaches — that goes with the wingnut territory — but to even suggest the President is "different" as in "the other" given Santorum's family background and extremist associations should introduce a new re-definition of "chutzpah" into the English lexicon. Merriam-Webster defines the Yiddish word "chutzpah" as "supreme self-confidence : nerve, gall." But sometimes, when that nerve is as galling as the daily campaign trail pronouncements of Rick Santorum, the adjective for outrageous and inflammatory statements should be, "you have a whole lot of Santorum."

Speaking of extremist "theology" Rick Santorum has been linked to the most extreme right wing sect (more like a cult) of Catholicism, Opus Dei. Its fascist tendencies are well known and documented. Just google the name with fascism:
If Opus Dei had "never seen the need to bring itself up to date", as Escrivá maintained, Opus would today be a paramilitary, pro-fascist, antimodernist, integralist (reactionary) organization. If it is not, it is because it has evolved over time, just as the Catholic Church, the Franco regime, and Msgr. Escrivá himself evolved. [Evolved ... Really? What, since its support for fascist military dictatorships like that of the murderous monster Gen. Augusto Pinochet in Chile?]
Hilariously, here Rick Santorum appropriately channels one of the Twilight Zone's most famous episodes: "We're not here to serve the earth. That is not the objective, man is the objective." Santorum's Opus Dei connections, detailed here, include statements he gave in Rome in 2002 repudiating JFK's famous speech on the separation of church and state, specifically that Kennedy, as a Catholic, would not be taking orders from the Vatican. In an interview with the National Catholic Reporter, Santorum said the JFK speech had caused "much harm in America" and that George W. Bush was "the first Catholic president of the United States."

Finally, speaking of familial connections like the hysteria generated by President Obama's Kenyan father, to the point that the President's American birthright continues to be questioned by vitriolic wingnut crazies, including ironically, a right wing Russian emigré, why hasn't Rick railed against communists (or even socialists) in our government — the old wingnut standby? Well, when your family has such close ties to the Italian Communist Party it gets ... awkward.

Quotable: Sweet Melissa On Media's, Um ... Dysfunction

"We are suffering from premature speculation. Headlines like these — "Herman Cain, Frontrunner," to "Another Poll Confirms Trump As Republican Frontrunner," to "Ingraham: Perry Should Drop Out" — expose the media for its secret desire to skip the foreplay and get right to the main event ... And it's all left me very frustrated."

There's no FOX fix or little blue pill that can solve this. What's interesting, though, is that women can fake it better than men. Take Laura Ingraham and that high-pitched nasal whine of hers. That's how liberals imagine natural whiners like wingnut women ... piqueing.

Melissa's Lament.
 Minor quibble: Ed Cox was a dud when he married the Nixon daughter, and now he's an aging dud unqualified to discuss "what is a conservative" beyond the talking points. Maybe that's the point and his appearance was by design. Melissa toyed with him as a cat would a mouse. And Peter Edelman, fellow academic notwithstanding, gave a petrified impression and I don't mean scared.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Slavery In America: SURPRISE! It Really Only Ended In The 1940s

This is Black History Month. It is passing with little notice in the media and among the political elites, or celebration, even recognition of the contributions of African Americans to our society. Quite the opposite, in fact. The Republican race for president has treated the public to an orgy of racist invective and hatred rarely seen in our politics, such that listening to the media euphemisms we might as well call it "Dog Whistle" History Month.

Why can't the MSM say racist politics, instead? Because, there is a formidable right wing media propaganda network anchored by FOX and the Murdoch media empire that has effectively repressed coverage of resurgent racism in our politics, and society. The right wing has become adept at playing the victim card each time the words 'race' and 'racism' define the despicable, daily banality of bigotry on the right. A bigotry that extends not only to African Americans but also to women and gays.

As if. It's a "dog whistle" signified by the fact humans cannot hear it explicitly but recognize it implicitly. It's a convenient rationalization but not really true. African American commentators chafe under such artifice and challenge the doctrine of euphemism preached by some memo, somewhere, that we  musn't "racialize" this presidential race. This is past dog whistle, they say; it's a bullhorn.

Yet the Republicans keep getting away with blaming the media, the reluctant messenger, for their own racism. Mitt Romney pulled a bait-and-switch, outrageously forcing MSNBC to deny its own factual news report. Then Newt Gingrich made it a practice of attacking the messengers when they threw his words back at him and asked him to explain them. Now it's Rick Santorum's turn to cry foul over his and his proxy financier's damning statements against contraception, claiming a Reverend Wright exemption. Apparently, Santorum missed the media feeding frenzy hysterics surrounding the endlessly looping Rev. Wright rants. The Friess aspirin flap pales by comparison.

Aside from ingrained bigotry, Republicans have two distinguishing characteristics: (1) They are bullies, particularly to women and the poor, and (2) they are unremitting whiners. This contraception fight is a perfect example of Republicans behaving badly, more than usual. First, they bully; then we call their bluff and stand up for our rights; next, they start whining (the current phase, which may last a while — they will squirm like well-oiled pigs when cornered), whining louder still, before their final, total, complete metaphysical capitulation. Culminating in their being thrown out of office in massive numbers.

Still there's a pervasive denial of resurgent racism in our society, a racism whose embers were stoked by the election of our first African American President and exacerbated by the economic collapse of 2007. Even as it stares us in the face we are encouraged to dismiss racist politics, and look the other way as if it's just a harmless eccentricity of the Republicans. Central to the new racism was the rise of the Tea Party, fueled by Koch brothers money, powering the catastrophic Republican wave elections of 2010. As a result, the Congressional Republican Party — House and Senate — became the most obstructionist and right wing in history.

For those who still deny that racism is an essential element of Republican electoral politics, read Ari Berman's exposés in Rolling Stone and The Nation of the Party's assault on voting rights, and its "new Southern Strategy" of gerrymandering districts, effectively re-segregating the South, where most of this activity is occurring. The victims of these despicable practices are the poor, the young, people of color, and the elderly, all of whom are primarily Democratic voters. And watch this:

Racism is alive and well in America. "Only in America" as the saying goes. But this is Black History Month. About a week ago, I saw a documentary piece on PBS which should be required teaching in every classroom in America. That most Americans are unaware of this craven "hidden" history of race and slavery in America is an epic failure of our educational system. One that has perpetuated the ugly stereotypes we see today in stories as American and uplifting as Jeremy Lin's and as sad and tragic as Whitney Houston's.

Slavery by Another Name, a documentary that recently aired on PBS, based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning book of the same name, tells the astonishing story of the "thousands of African-Americans who were arrested on trumped-up charges and forced to work as convict labor." The 13th Amendment abolished slavery but for one loophole, which kept hundreds of thousands of "former" slaves under lock and key for decades, beginning 20 to 25 years after the Civil War.

The 13th Amendment exception was as punishment for a crime. The system of involuntary servitude relied on this loophole, replaced slavery in the South with catastrophic consequences for former slaves, who could be driven back into forced labor for bogus crimes as trivial as vagrancy. Those arrested under this repressive regime couldn't afford the enormous fines, and were forced into "peonage" which is "essentially debt slavery." A person was held against their will "to work off an alleged debt to a landowner or to someone who has purchased them ... And that's the language that was used, buying and selling, someone who has been purchased from a county jail or purchased from a state prison system."

According to Douglas A. Blackmon, author of the book:
"[I]t became an instrument of injustice, instead of a system of justice. And there were rafts of laws that effectively criminalized black life. It was almost impossible for a black man in the South, in the rural South, in the early 20th century not to be at risk of arrest at almost any time. And the consequences of even the most trivial of offenses were enormous." ... It is "the missing link in understanding the persistence of the economic and educational gaps between African-Americans and whites in modern society today. Slavery didn't go away 150 years ago. African-Americans haven't had that long opportunity to recover from all the terrible damage of slavery."
American corporations participated and profited from this regime of convict labor. Mr. Blackmon said his book was based on an article he wrote for the Wall Street Journal, detailing forced labor in Alabama's Pratt Mines by Tennessee Coal, Iron & Railroad Co., which was purchased by Pittsburgh-based U.S. Steel in 1907. The use of convict labor continued at U.S. Steel until 1912.

Parenthetically, it should be noted that such appalling labor practices have simply been outsourced to Asian sweatshops surrounded by barbed wire and Chinese factories producing the gadgets of our lives packaged for cutting edge and "hip" mega-corporations like Apple.

Mr. Blackmon said it's "mind-boggling" that the slavery in existence before the Civil War, from the beginnings of our slave economy republic, "the greatest moral failure of the history of our country," was followed by another form of slavery that persisted for another 50 or 60 years. "[It] is a sort of astonishing failure on the part of an entire society." It was only in the 1940s that this atrocious regime of debt slavery came under closer scrutiny and reforms were initiated leading to the enactment of fair labor laws to abolish it.

The must-see documentary can be viewed here. More on slavery in America can be viewed here.