Posts Tagged Hollywood

I Will Miss Bernie Sanders

bernie-sanders-having-birdiesandersI will miss Bernie Sanders and the air of hope and optimism he brought with him during this Primary season.

After all the capitulations of the Obama Administration to Republican demagoguery in general and to the GOP in particular; after all the nay-saying and “no we can’t do it after all” crap and over-compromising to the point of actually compromising one’s core principle and thereby essentially allowing Republicans to set the tone and direction of national policy and debate, it was great to see someone who inspired real change;  who wasn’t just another god-damn politician looking out for himself and his bottom line, perpetuating the same failed policies that further no one but the greed and avarice of the one percent.

Republicans have set the bar so low that it really does not take much to exceed it. This country has moved so far to the Right, that both Obama and Clinton would have fit well into the Reagan administration instead of FDR’s. The Republicans are so awful, that they make people like Clinton and Obama look good and liberal, rather than showing them as the moderate Republicans they really are. Republicans who have turned  not being a fascist into a standard which politicians like Clinton aspire to (“Hey vote for me, at least I was not THAT  horrible.”),

Seeing people come together, being fired up, having hope for a better future for all Americans, was inspiring. I think a lot of even cynical people felt that there was finally a political leader who wasn’t telling us what we wanted to hear becasue it was politically expedient,  but who, behind closed doors, just went on with business as usual. Someone who finally got it and who strived to make it happen, even if he knew it was hard. It was great to see someone who isn’t running a capitulation campaign,  where you aim really low so you can at least get that done (which is sort of the message I got from Hillary Clinton, in a nutshell). 

A lot of Clinton’s supporter believe that Sanders’ supporters live in a fantasy world where everything is free and they don’t have to work for it.  We were and continue to be dismissed as a bunch of pie-in-the-sky dreamers, detached from reality, who don’t know any better, versus Clinton who repeatedly prides herself in her pragmatism and no-nonsense attitude.

But we are not blind. We understand the political process perfectly well.  We understand that the President isn’t an elected king and that he has to work with Congress and lawmakers to make things happen. We understood the value of compromise. We know that this is going to be an upward battle requiring effort, a thick skin and hard work. And we knew that Bernie Sanders was not going to waltz into the White House, swing a magic wand and make it all happen.

But winning is only half the battle. The appeal of the Sanders movement is about achievability as much as it is about inspiration and believing that one must and can work toward a movement for greater equality, fair wages, universal  healthcare, and an end to corporate control of our political system. That in and of itself is half the battle.  And if you can’t even envision that, just like Clinton cannot and won’t envision it, then why do you even fucking want this job? Why do you bother?

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In fact, I have often wondered why given her defeatist pragmatic attitude Clinton even wants this job. She is rich enough so it is not like she has to work. And how much more money can one person need and want?

Is it for power? Prestige? To be the first woman President? Bragging rights?

I look at her track record and I look at her during this Primary season and I don’t see a public servant, I don’t see someone who wants to bring about change and reform. On the contrary, what I see is a neoliberal, Wall Street-funded, status quo-perpetuating, multimillionaire  militarist.

It is a shame. We had the chance to elect an utterly honest man who has not spent  the last 40 years enriching himself at the expense of the American people. Unlike Sanders’ positive and hope filled message, this so-called victory by Clinton brings with itself an air of hopelessness and despondency that weighs down my heart.

The masses of people being gullible sheep who vote against their own self interest is nothing new, but it never ceases to amaze and appall me when I do witness it.  Sanders is a man who, going by his tax returns alone, is  broke compared to his multi millionaire colleagues in Congress. He and his wife made less in one year ($204k) than  Clinton makes in one speech to Goldman Sachs. He didn’t vote for every war he could vote for,  he was not being sponsored by banks and corporations while also receiving endorsements by the likes of the Koch Brothers and war criminals like Henry Kissinger. Unlike Clinton he has not spent the bigger part of his career aligning himself with the powerful and wealthy against the powerless and poor.

Yet who do people vote for? Hillary Clinton. A woman who  wore a $12,000  Armani  suit while giving a speech on income inequality.

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As a woman and feminist I am supposed to feel really elated and happy here. It is a historic moment for the United States to finally have a woman Presidential nominee and probably also President. However, I feel nothing but disappointment and despair. I look at the next six months with a heavy heart and know that she will win the General Election, too, given that the person she is running against is not really a viable candidate, or even a opponent, but more like a troll. So in a way Clinton will be running unopposed come this November.

Of course, Hillary Clinton is qualified and experienced for the job. Nk doubt in my mind she is brilliant. However, it is not her qualifications that are in question here, it is her priorities. She is bad for America and this historic moment of finally having a woman on the command chair is overshadowed by the fact that Clinton is not the Progressive she claims to be.

Clinton is not running (at this time or any other) to help the American people, who have been nothing short of brutalized by corporations and the politicians that do their bidding – including Clinton – or to make America a better place. She’s running because the Presidency is the biggest prize in the world, and she wants that prize. Trump is running for the same reason–bragging rights.

If she wins, and she will win, her presidency will then be focused–again–not on the people, but on doing just enough to secure a personal legacy and a place in the history books as The First Woman President.

Someone who accepts nearly a million dollars in speaker fees from Goldman Sachs to congratulate them on a job well done and who goes to fundraisers were people spend nearly $400,000 on a plate, and someone who has a track record of voting for all the fraudulent wars this country has been engaged in for the past five decades and Wall Street bailouts and policies aimed at furthering the 1% at the expense of everyone else, someone who has already said that there will never, ever be universal health care and free – or at least affordable -education and meaningful student loan reforms for all, not just special interest groups – is not someone who should be running on the Progressive ticket.

For the record, Goldman Sachs does not pay HRC $250,000 per speaking engagement for nothing. Those rich people in the aforementioned dinner organized by George Clooney don’t spend nearly $400,000 a seat to help poor people. This is an investment and those people will  want a return on their investment; a return which doesn’t include you or I.

Clinton is a moderate Republican, paid and endorsed by big banks to convince the middle class to be happy with the old deal. And this past Tuesday, middle and working class America agreed by making her their nominee.

 

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Oh No

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I am truly gutted about the news of Robin Williams’ death.

Williams was found today at his home in Tiburon, CA  and it’s been reported that he committed suicide due to asphyxia – i.e. from probably hanging himself. The Marin County Sheriff’s Department released this statement:

On August 11, 2014, at approximately 11:55 am, Marin CountyCommunications received a 9-1-1 telephone call reporting a male adult had been located unconscious and not breathing inside his residence in unincorporated Tiburon, CA. The Sheriff’s Office, as well as the Tiburon Fire Department and Southern Marin Fire Protection District were dispatched to the incident with emergency personnelarriving on scene at 12:00 pm. The male subject, pronounced deceased at 12:02 pm has been identified as Robin McLaurinWilliams, a 63 year old resident of unincorporated Tiburon, CA.

An investigation into the cause, manner, and circumstances of the death is currently underway by the Investigations and Coroner Divisions of the Sheriff’s Office. Preliminary information developed during the investigation indicates Mr. Williams was last seen alive at his residence, where he resides with his wife, at approximately 10:00 pm on August 10, 2014. Mr. Williams was located this morning shortly before the 9-1-1 call was placed to Marin CountyCommunications.

Robin’s rep also released a statement:

Robin Williams passed away this morning. He has been battling severe depression of late. This is a tragic and sudden loss. The family respectfully asks for their privacy as they grieve during this very difficult time.”

I am sad beyond belief by this. Not only for him and that he was in such a dark place that he felt the only way out was taking his own life, but also for his family who has to find a way to get through life in the wake of this devastation.

If you need any further evidence that depression is a powerful, soul sucking lying sack of shit disease, look no further than the tragic death of Robin Williams, a man that dedicated his life to making other people happy, yet couldn’t find a way out of the darkness himself.

The insediousness of depression just scares the hell out of me. It torments even the most seemingly happiest of people. Such an indiscriminate, hideous disease.

For some reason, all I can think about right now is this line he said in Dead Poet’s Society, which, looking back, seems prophetic (or maybe not. Death is a certainty, after all. It, however, does take a lot of insight to recognize that about life: “Carpe Diem. Seize the day. Make your lives extraordinary[…] because believe it or not, each and everyone of us in this room is one day going to stop breathing, turn cold and die.”

What a short life we all live.

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Just One of Us

1399331510298.cachedIt is so sweet and reassuring, really, that Michelle Obama is such a down to earth kinda woman spending her time as the First Lady working on important issues such as cutting the ribbon on the newly redesigned Costume Institute wing dedicated to fashion maven and tastemaker Anna Wintour.

Public service at its best.

I guess there is a sincere logic in the notion that if you, as the First Lady and representative of your country, look great wearing expensive designer couture and hair-dos, going to talk shows and hanging out with the elite Hollywood crowd and sport things like $800 a pair of Jimmy Choos while posing on the cover of Vogue magazine a mere week after your husband unleashed a devastating Sequester onto the neediest of the American people, you inspire these very people to aspire to be something more, thus working oh so hard to pull themselves up by their bootstraps – or in this case – their Jimmy Choo strappy sandal straps.

Just like she were one of us. A true woman of the people.

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Another 1%er Event

It is becoming increasingly more evident that regular folks in this country, you know, your average taxpaying, working middle-class stiff, the ones that are keeping this economy and country, really, going – from their occupations as teachers, in the service industry to non-profit work etc., do not matter very much.

I said it before and I say it again, but for the one percent that run this country, middle class folks seemingly are nothing more than readily sources of warm bodies when you need to engage in another war for profit under the guise of security.

They are a a source of tax revenue to support and underwrite the 1%.

If, as a one percenter, they have done a good job choosing the two lousy candidates for them and then giving them the illusion that they have a “choice” on the day they go out and cast a vote (see Citizens United)  then they are a “vote” to help “elect” your candidate and if you have done a really good job, as Republicans have with their voter base, you not only give them the delusion that they have a choice between candidates but you actually get them to vote for the very candidate, and thus against their own self-interest, you put on the ballot.

Everytime there is a cut in government spending, the middle class and the poor, of course, have to make sacrifices and see the programs and policies that benefit and protect them slashed and reduced,  not the wealthy and thus the architects of our economic system that keeps the wealthy tax exempt under the guise that they are “job creators” while repeatedly requiring that cuts to government spending (because of lost revenue due to those tax exemptions) come from those very middle class protecting programs.

While the white collar criminals of Wall Street and the banking system got bailed out instead of imprisoned for the crimes they committed, poor people, and thus Wall Street’s direct and indirect victims, are sent to jail for essentially being poor.

And when our so-called leaders and politicians open the doors to let America “in” for a night of celebration, laughter good times and appreciation, the only ones invited to the table, literally, are members of the 1%.

It is, after all, no coincidence that the yearly White House Correspondent’s Dinner (WHCD)  resembles a Hollywood red carpet event and that everyone in that event, except those serving food and beverages, are members of the one percent. 

It is sad to know that the average American is not on the President’s radar even when he  decides to decide to hang out with the public. 

Instead of inviting over some of those hard working average American citizens, the ones that did the grunt work and got him elected, to shake hands with and thank them for their truly thankless jobs and positions and pressure in society, he instead surrounds himself with top members of the elite cracking jokes.

It is ironic that on the one hand we’ve got the Occupy Wall Street movement, with demands for equity and relief for the middle class, the 99%, – an event and movement the President and his wife endorse, while on the other hand any event of any significance in this country, including this Dinner, is hosted and populated by the wealthy and privileged, the 1% only.

The 99% only seem to matter in as much as they make for great talking point or otherwise help score political points and not because anyone really actually cares about changing the current paradigm, the current dysfunction with respect to structural exploitation and institutionalized greed in this country that have allowed the 1% to accumulate more wealth than the rest of us combined.

There are thousands of people who dedicate every day of their lives to not only public service but to their townships, counties, states and communities in general – one way or another. They are the backbone of America, they are the people the President allegedly works for and leads. They are the ones who, through their hard work, such as teachers, champion the very causes this Dinner is to honor and uphold – yet the only ones who once again get to benefit from all this, even if just in a celebratory manner, are rich people; the 1% – literally – as everyone at that dinner is a millionaire – without exception, because otherwise who could afford something like $50,000 a plate just to get in?

Not that I don’t love the outrage about economic injustice for us poor, hard working middle class folks when it’s politically expedient and all but it’d be nice if the actual American people – you know, the 99%  – such as the journalists meant to be holding the US government to account, the non-profit workers, the public servants, the researchers, activists and just the people on the ground who work everyday on these issues for Americans without anyone paying much attention to them –  were, once in a while,  invited to the table and celebrated by our leaders, instead of actors, reality TV stars and models – who neither represent the American people, nor have contributed in any meaningful way to the political and social world they are in,

Speak of being out of touch. Romney is not the only one.

Money begets money and at the end of the day, when all the political talking points and phony strategizing to supposedly empower the 99% have been made, rich people still only take care of and intermingle with their own.

All this talk about empowering the 99% and leveling the playing field are just that: rhetoric. No one really means it and The White House Correspondent’s Dinner is the best example to the point.

The United States would be a very different place if everyone cared about inequity when there wasn’t a presidential election in which appearing to care about inequity could score political points.

 

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Because Noah I Was Such a Success

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Your Garbage Anti-Choice Supreme Court

Looks like it will be, once again, up to some old, male asshole, this time in the form of Justices Anthony Kennedy as well as Roberts, to decide what rights as pertaining to reproductive choices and bodily autonomy, women should be granted.

Justice Kennedy believes that the government’s case would basically “force corporations to pay for abortions” – making many believe that Kennedy’s belief that this is an abortion case was an indicator that the Supreme Court was going to side with Hobby Lobby and other plaintiffs. Kennedy has not cast a pro-choice vote in 22 years and is not likely to change his position this time.

It is interesting to note that Hobby Lobby objects to four forms of contraception on the mistaken ground that these contraceptive methods are actually forms of abortion — a brief filed by numerous medical organizations explains that they are not (not that even if they were, it should matter)

Roberts, however, suggested that someone’s mere belief that something is an abortion is enough to trigger a religious exemption to federal law.

Let me repeat what you just read:

Justice Roberts suggests that someone’s mere belief that something is an abortion is enough to trigger a religious exemption to federal law.

Beautiful. Now we are at a point where the highest court of the land and its Justices state that someone’s “mere belief” – absent any factual evidence – “is enough to trigger a religious exemption.”

When a Chief Justice is advocating for superstition in the from of religious belief to write the law of the land as opposed to facts, then we are in far more trouble than I had even imagined we could be. For such a notion to hold sway in a court of law is profoundly disturbing.

How can someone make a legal decision based on what someone “believes”?

If this goes through, you will have corporations filing for religious exemption on any and all laws they can find to pretty much discriminate against anyone they want – as long as they say they “believe” it, of course.

See, your Honor, playing the piano causes abortions, even though there is absolutely no scientific evidence supporting this, so I want to be able to ban my employees from playing the piano on their off time.”

See, you Honor, paying minimum wage violates my religious beliefs (and just take my word for it that it does, good sir), so I really don’t think I should have to pay abide by minimum wage laws.”

“See, you Honor, hiring blacks violates my religious beliefs (and just take my word for it that it does, good sir), so I really don’t think I should have to hire them.” 

“See, you Honor, having a black person sit at my lunch counter violates my religious beliefs (and just take my word for it that it does, good sir), so I really don’t think I should have to let them sit at the lunch counter of my restaurant.” 

Etc., etc. etc.

The SCOTUS is going to ensure that the “Slippery Slope/Hobby Lobby Act of 2014” passes, ensuring all employers that worship flying spaghetti monsters in the clouds and who believe that said flying spaghetti monsters who prohibit them from paying for any and all medical coverage because of “religious conscience” will be legally allowed to do so. Have cancer or heart disease? Too bad because your employer believes that prayer and herbal tea cures these things.

This is religious supremacy.

Now we are at a juncture in our history where those writing the highest law of the land (and not, as one would think, some “extremist religious nut jobs” – a strawman a lot of god and religion apologizers like to use as ostensible “proof” that religion is misunderstood because, allegedly, only a few on the fringe are like that, not everyone. Uh.huh)  really think that a person’s mere belief in something, regardless of the facts, was grounds for legally discriminating against another group in the grossest and most transgressive way possible.

See how religion and god have managed to stick and lodge their rancid, oppressive tentacles into the very fabric of society to the point where lawmakers assert that mere belief in something, whether based in reality or not, was enough to enact a law based on such a belief?

These are not the principles that this nation was founded on and making laws respecting establishments of religion or religious belief does not only go against the First Amendment but makes us a mere theocracy.

I find it frightening to think that in this day and age, and when presented with  the scientific fact that birth control is not abortion, people who “feel” that it is, can get their way and thus get to make decisions that affect millions – all over how they feel.

Religion really is a disease. Always interjecting, always fucking it up for everyone else and no one is allowed to talk about it openly because doing so is “rude” and non-PC.

It’s a good thing that with all these righteous, pious men who are only doing god’s work blah blah fart,  it is atheists who are the least trusted entities in the country, aside from rapists, that is.

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Quote of the Day

 “Where there is evidence, no one speaks of “faith”. We do not speak of faith that two and two are four or that the earth is round. We only speak of faith when we wish to substitute emotion for evidence.”

Bertrand RussellHuman Society in Ethics and Politics[6], London: G. Allen & Unwin, 1954, LCCN 54004060OL 14246427M

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