Thursday, January 26, 2012

"One of these days, Alice..."

"...straight to the Moon!"

For those of you old enough to remember, that was the laugh line used by Jackie Gleason in the classic 1950s sitcom, The Honeymooners. (Although he mostly threatened to hit his wife "in the kisser.") Jackie Gleason played Ralph Cramden, the hot-tempered, angry everyman who can never live up to his wife's knowing, condescending expectations. Ah, good times.

One of these days, Alice, one of these days...
The thing about emotionally immature, angry fat old white dudes is, well, er, not really just one thing, per se, but erm...where was I? Oh, yeah, in the case of Ralph Cramden, he was just an Average Joe who kept trying to be more than the  simple bus driver that he was. He was a portly old school alpha male, king of his castle, big talking over-promising white dude who just wanted some respect, and was willing to talk shit (and occasionally threaten violence) to get it. He seemed like a quick-to-anger misogynist, but he really was just teddy bear with incredibly high blood pressure inside. But seriously, that was a freakin' TV show. What do we have today?

Well, we have Newt the Gingrich; a portly old school alpha male, king of his castle, big talking over-promising white dude who just wants some respect, and was willing to talk shit to get it (and by respect I mean, the presidency). But unlike Ralph, Newt really is a misogynist. You don't get the sense that there's an inner teddy bear in this guy who's been married three times and cheated on his second wife with his current wife. And yep, he gets real angry, real fast and he's an impetuous big talker, just like Ralph. In fact, yesterday, Newt told a Florida audience that we need ourselves a god-damned moonbase. According to Talking Points Memo:

Newt Gingrich, courting voters in Florida’s NASA-heavy “Space Coast,” pledged to build an American lunar colony within eight years if elected president. “By the end of my second term we will have the first permanent base on the moon and it will be American,” he said. According to Gingrich, the base would be used for “science, tourism, and manufacturing” and create a “robust industry” that would grow “precisely on the model of the airlines in the 1930s.”

All your moonbase are belong to US

Straight to da moon, Alice!
I dunno, I guess I see his point. I mean, here on planet earth we desperately need to revitalize the manufacturing industry, bring jobs back from abroad, fix our healthcare and education systems, decrease dependence on foreign oil, and boost a nascent green economy, among a few other things.

But you know what? Those small-thinking democrats and, um, people who aren't crazy and don't live in Florida, apparently just don't get the need for a moonbase patterned "pricisely on the model of the airlines in the 1930s."

Sure. Makes sense. I mean, how much could a moonbase possibly cost? I doubt it'd cost more than a trillion or so, right?

Whatever dude, gotta think big.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Why are Republicans so Weird?

No, seriously. They're strange. Really strange. Okay, maybe not all republicans, but definitely the republican nominees for president.

Romney. Plan family vacation from Boston to Canadian city. Plutocrats RULE.

New Gingrich. Women in combat. Family values. Fat tired old man that seizes an opportunity in a very bad field of challengers.

Ron Paul. Believes in the year 1900. Eliminate the IRS. Crazy old uncle for president.

Rick Santorum. Hates gay people so much that someone has to say at some point, "Dude, just come out already."

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

I'm sorry, but Ron Paul isn't just racist...he's also not smart in the brain.

Okay, that's a bit redundant. Anyway, here's an exchange he had with Chris Matthews back in May 2011, and which can be found here on Google quotes. In it, Ron Paul applies his special brand of logic to explain why racism really is okay.
  • Chris Matthews: Let me ask you this: the '64 civil rights bill. Do you think a [em]ployer, a guy runs his shop down in Texas has a right to say, "If you're black, you don't come in my store". That was the libertarian right before '64. Was it the balanced society?
  • Ron Paul: I believe that property rights should be protected. Your right to be on TV is protected by property rights because somebody owns that station. I can't walk into your station. So right of freedom of speech is protected by property. The right of your church is protected by property. So people should honor and protect it. This gimmick, Chris, it's off the wall when you say I'm for property rights and states' rights, therefore I'm a racist. I mean that's just outlandish. Wait, Chris. Wait, Chris. People who say that if the law was there and you could do that, who's going to do it? What idiot would do that?
  • Chris Matthews: Everybody in the South. I saw these signs driving through the South in college. Of course they did it. You remember them doing it.
  • Ron Paul: Yeah, I but also know that the Jim Crow laws were illegal and we got rid of them under that same law, and that's all good. Government —
  • Chris Matthews: But you would've voted against that law.
  • Ron Paul: Pardon me?
  • Chris Matthews: You would've voted against that law. You wouldn't have voted for the '64 civil rights bill.
  • Ron Paul: Yes, but not in — I wouldn’t vote against getting rid of the Jim Crow laws.
  • Chris Matthews: But you would have voted for the — you know you — oh, come on. Honestly, Congressman, you were not for the '64 civil rights bill.
  • Ron Paul: Because — because of the property rights element, not because it got rid of the Jim Crow law.
  • Chris Matthews: Let me ask you this: I once went to Laundromat when I was at a Peace Corps training in Baker, Louisiana. A Laundromat had this sign on in glaze: "Whites only on the Laundromat", just to use the Laundromat machines. This was a local shop saying no blacks allowed. You say that should be legal?
  • Ron Paul: That's — that's ancient history. That's ancient history. That's over and done with.
Filed under: Um, what planet are you on? Chris Matthews Interviews My Favorite Martian
So this guy walks into a TV Studio...
First, preventing someone from coming into your store because of the color of their skin is not logically the same as preventing someone from coming into a TV studio. The two have nothing to do with one another. Not even remotely; on a number of levels. That this has to be explained is incredibly painful and sad to me, because it means that a LOT of people in this country have no basic tools for critical thinking.

Logic? We don't need no stinkin' logic.
For one thing, a TV studio is not a "place of business"--it's not a publicly accessible retail business where people are free to come in and shop. It's not a retail space. It's like any building that has a very specific--read: non-retail, publicly accessible place of business. It has a very specific purpose--to record TV shows. Just like an operating room has a very specific purpose--that's not publicly accessible--to perform surgery. Unlike, say stores or laundromats, which provide goods and services, these buildings are intended for a very specific audience, regardless of race. If, in fact, someone who worked at one of these places was refused entry because of their skin color, that would also be wrong.  The analogy is completely specious. Also, if one isn't allowed to "walk into" the station, it wouldn't be because of one's skin color, which is the main point, and the reason for the Civil Rights Act in the first place. Paul says that people have the right to prevent people from going to their place of business for whatever reason and 'we can't assume we know that it's because of racism." But, of course, that's a convenient argument, when the *only* reason to prevent someone from patronizing a place of business based on the color of their skin has to do with racism.

Really? I mean, really?
Sadly, Chris Matthews didn't have the polemical chops to clearly undo Paul's maddening "logic." And even Ron Paul himself loses his argument at the end of the exchange when asked the laundromat question by dismissing it as "ancient history." Um, well, no, again, wrong strange little martian man. First, it's far from ancient, and it comprises a HUGE part of this country's ignominious history. He would like for it to be ancient history. Second, it's clearly not "over and done with," because if he were in power, he would do what he could to rescind its provisions. And it's not "over and done with" for the  folks who love Ron Paul over at Stormfront, the neo-fascist white supremacists. That's because "private property" and fearful, angry hatred of "those who don't look like us," in Ron Paul's skewed vision of reality, is more important than people's basic rights--as we, as a people, have defined them. 

One Last Thing...
The government does stupid things. Why? Not because it's the government. It's because it's made up of people. Flawed, damaged, misguided human beings who develop and implement stupid policies. But it also does good things too--like eliminate the Jim Crow laws. But he would have voted against the Civil Rights Act, just not, what, the parts that eliminated the Jim Crow laws? Um, yeah. And to suggest that we enable people to exercise racism as a basic right is, simply put, backwards thinking.

One last thing: Paul defends himself as not being racist because he respected Rosa Parks and MLK:
"I’m not a racist. As a matter of fact, Rosa Parks is one of my heroes, Martin Luther King is a hero — because they practiced the libertarian principle of civil disobedience, nonviolence."
Yeah, they were heroic not because they were standing up the rights of a minority that had been systematically subjugated by an aggressively unjust society. No, no, nothing like that. They were his heroes because they "practiced" libertarian principles. Ugh. Just because one believes that they're not a racist doesn't mean that they're not. Again, that's not how logic works. If your actions are racist, regardless of your "belief," then you're a racist. Most members of Stormfront probably believe that they're not violently stupid fuckheads. That doesn't mean that they're not.

One more last thing: How is that Ron Paul can call for protection of peoples' "right" from government intercession to prevent people of color from patronizing their stores, but he has no problem with the government interceding when it comes to a woman's choice about her body? Logical much? Not so much.
It don't matter if you're black or white. (But if you're black, according to
Ron Paul, you shouldn't be allowed to shop wherever you want.)

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Storm Front: Ron Paul's White Supremacist Fanbase


Ron Paul knowingly took a donation from the head of Stormfront:
"WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Republican presidenti­al hopeful Ron Paul has received a $500 campaign donation from a white supremacis­t, and the Texas congressma­n doesn't plan to return it, an aide said Wednesday.­" (source: http://www­.msnbc.msn­.com/id/22­331091/ns/­politics-d­ecision_08­/t/paul-ke­eps-donati­on-white-s­upremacist­/#.TxLUGGO­XTPo
Ever heard of Stormfront? It's a "white pride" organization that, well, hates black people, immigrants, and Jews. The thing about these people--aside from their hate speech/preach--is that they like Ron Paul. A lot.

Here's a poll I came across (I've never been to their site previously, but I typed in "What would happen if Ron Paul were to become president" and this link came up). Apparently Ron the Paul has a lot of friends who hate, hate, hate.

And for even more hijinks with the Klansy folks over at Stormfront, I decided to do a search for "Ron Paul" on their site. This is what came up:

Wow. He seems like a friendly old coot. That's strange. (Yeah. Not so much.)
It's well known that Ron Paul has accepted campaign donations from the ironically named Derek Black, the head of Stormfront. But why? Well, perhaps it's because Paul has channeled the group's message. It's now well known that his Ron Paul newsletters of the late '80s contained serious racist warnings of impending race warfare of the '90s:
This “Special Issue on Racial Terrorism” was hardly the first time one of Paul’s publications had raised these topics. As early as December 1989, a section of his Investment Letter, titled “What To Expect for the 1990s,” predicted that “Racial Violence Will Fill Our Cities” because “mostly black welfare recipients will feel justified in stealing from mostly white ‘haves.’”
Two months later, a newsletter warned of “The Coming Race War,” and, in November 1990, an item advised readers, “If you live in a major city, and can leave, do so. If not, but you can have a rural retreat, for investment and refuge, buy it.” In June 1991, an entry on racial disturbances in Washington, DC’s Adams Morgan neighborhood was titled, “Animals Take Over the D.C. Zoo.” “This is only the first skirmish in the race war of the 1990s,” the newsletter predicted. In an October 1992 item about urban crime, the newsletter’s author--presumably Paul--wrote, “I’ve urged everyone in my family to know how to use a gun in self defense. For the animals are coming.” (source:  New York Magazine and The New Republic) 
Paul's newsletters, which were called Ron Paul's Freedom Report, Ron Paul Political Report, and The Ron Paul Survival Report, were among the monthly publications and he "never read." So, he must have also missed the part about how gay people enjoy AIDS because they like publicity.

Ron Paul: Yes, it's "the blacks," but it's "the gays" too. According to the Washington Post's Fact Checker:
A separate article from the (Paul's) Survival Report said "If you have ever been robbed by a black teenaged male, you know how unbelievably fleet-footed they can be. The Paul publicans also criticized homosexuals, saying gay people "enjoy the attention and pity that comes with being sick," referring to AIDS....As for (Martin Luther) King, a 1992 Ron Paul newsletter referred to the civil rights leader as a "world-class philanderer who beat up his paramours."

The flat and black and white world of RP.
Paul insists that he never read his newsletters. Right. Because he was, what, just far too busy being a doctor and giving speeches. These thin, monthly newsletters took too much time to review. Gotcha. This is the equivalent to the "I can't recall" argument that the guilty always use in response to charges levied against them. On the one hand, it's completely unbelievable; on the other, if it's somehow true, it indicates another level of mendacity--to wit, he was happily putting out apocryphal b.s. and charging people for it, even though he had no idea what was in it.

Either way? Ron the Paul ain't a nice old guy. But he's the right kind of not-nice old guy that the fascist white supremacists really like, apparently. I wonder how many of Paul's growing legion of misguided collegiate fanboys are aware of this stuff. Just because someone endorses your candidacy, it doesn't follow that you share their beliefs--that's fallacious reasoning. However, a) he has endorsed racist views in his newsletters, and b) it does raise questions about the validity--and sanity--of your views if they're avidly shared by lizard-brained people who clearly have enlarged amydalae.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Fucked Up Crazy Clown Car Chronicles: Mitt Romney Straps "Best Friend" to Roof of Car

I guess I sometimes get tired of arguing the same issues over and over. You know, bootstraps, rugged individualist neo-liberal bullshit that exalts the interests of the few over the interests of the many. No doubt I'll return to screaming in a dream polemics in other posts.

But what is always fun fun fun for me to report on is the absolutely bizarre behavior of republicans in this country. Specifically, prominent republicans. From when Bush inappropriate tried to "massage" German Prime Minister Angela Merkel and cleaned his glasses on the shawl of a David Letterman producer during a break, to suggestions from Eric Cantor that students with crushing debt be required to start paying them back before they graduate, the clown car of crazy on the right never stops.

In this latest episode of "they appear normal but are clearly being controlled by aliens who have only a perfunctory understanding of how humans should behave," apparently, back in the '80s, on a trip to Canada from Boston, Romney thought it made sense to strap his dog's kennel to the roof of the family car during the 12-hour trip. Seriously.

Expressing proper disbelief, NYT columnist Gail Collins wrote about it in 2007 (and many times since):

Seamus, in case you missed the story, was the Romneys' Irish setter back in the early 1980s. Mitt used to drive the family from Boston to Ontario every summer for a vacation, with the dog strapped to the roof in a crate. 
As The Boston Globe reported this summer, Romney had the entire trip planned so rigidly that every gas station stop was predetermined before departure. 
Romney responded to his detractors by saying that "...they're not happy that my dog likes fresh air. He scrambled up there every time we went on trips. He got in all by himself and enjoyed it." Good old Seamus; he just loved the fresh air. Why can't you doom and gloomers see that? What's wrong with you? But don't worry. You'll enjoy "fresh air" too, when President White Bread metaphorically straps the country to the roof of his Corporations are People, Too! express once he's in the White House.

* Bonus Points: Apparently Seamus didn't like it that much:
Romney constructed a special windshield for the carrier, “to make the ride more comfortable for the dog.” The contraption apparently wasn’t much of a success, however, as Seamus soon began to suffer gastric issues from his windy perch atop the car. Romney’s oldest boy, Tagg, noticed the first sign of trouble, according to the Globe piece. “Dad!” he yelled. “Gross!” A brown liquid was dripping down the back window of the station wagon. Romney [pulled] into a service station to hose down Seamus and the car. he put the dog back in the crate and continued the drive to Ontario.  
Ahhh, good times. 

Monday, January 9, 2012

"Each tree had 56 oranges. If eight slaves pick them equally, then how much would each slave pick?"

Sounds like a half-completed  racist joke by some fucked up nutcase down south, right? Well, it is and it isn't. It turns out that it's actual homework from a Norcross, Georgia elementary school.

According to ABC News, a father of an 8 year old in Beaver Ridge Elementary school in Norcross, Georgia came across the following questions on his son's "math" homework:
"Each tree had 56 oranges. If eight slaves pick them equally, then how much would each slave pick?" Another read, "If Frederick got two beatings per day, how many beatings did he get in one week?" Another question asked how many baskets of cotton Frederick filled. 
"In this one, the teachers were trying to do a cross-curricular activity," Gwinnett County school district spokeswoman Sloan Roach said.

Thanks for the explanation about "this one," Sloan! But why stop there? Why not delve deeper into "cross-curricular" activities, like this math problem: "If Tommy's dad beats his mom twice a week, but she only goes to the hospital once a month, how many times does Tommy's mom go to the hospital in a year?"

Surreal. Truly surreal. Is it any wonder, any wonder at all, why our education system is increasingly an embarrassment of global proportions? These people are supposed to be enlightening our children, not filling their heads with violently stupid racist bullshit. But hey, you get what you pay for when you don't make investment in quality education a national priority. Well done, America!!

(H/T to