Does Anybody Remember Laughter?
“Facts matter.”- Joe Biden
“Facts matter.”- Joe Biden
On a pragmatic observational level, that is a fool proof aphrodisiac. Want to get a political pragmatist naked? Hit em with numbers, hard facts, provable truths. I love facts. Can't get enough of 'em. When they were being doled out like Nino Brown's Thanksgiving turkeys, a few of us like minded viewers at the bar began to cheer. It's the reason why I despise the Romney/Ryan ticket so much. There's barely a shred of truth holding their shambolic campaign together.
As I sat at the bar in Cagney's in Norfolk, my head full of whiskey and my plate full of eggs, I watched as my prediction came true in the Vice Presidential Debate, only much more so than I had imagined.
I really thought Paul Ryan was going to bring his A-Game. Or rather, I thought Paul Ryan's A-Game was far better than that. Getting hopelessly outmatched by the seasoned and irreverent Joe Biden. (Whom had absolutely nothing to lose going into this thing.) A lot of people in the immediate aftermath criticized Biden for not being “Presidential” or “Professional”. For smiling. For laughing. Laughing at the pure, unadulterated absurdity of Paul Ryan's phony earnest.
The fashionably political were painfully predictable as always, as I stepped outside for a smoke. Echoing the themes of their respective news outlets. The left wingers were thrilled at the absolute ass-whupping Joe Biden put on Paul Ryan, and the Right Wingers were appalled at the fact that Biden had the audacity to smile during a Vice Presidential debate. It was “disrespectful” they said. As I took a deep drag I couldn't help but think “Where were you when Romney ran roughshod all over Jim Leher?” Oh well. But the echoes of Robert Plant in “The Song Remains The Same” bounce around in my head. That immortal line in Stairway to Heaven...
“Does anybody remember laughter?”
He had a damned good reason to laugh and I don't see how anyone can believe that laughter isn't “Presidential”. Apparently, statesmen and professionals don't laugh. Especially when things are funny.
I personally loved it. Ryan saying that Mitt Romney is a “Car Guy”, trying so desperately to make that connection to everyday Americans, it's laughable. I'm glad at least one of the people on that stage saw it as such and responded appropriately. Mockery of the absurd is the single best way to discredit and abolish it. If you laugh in the face of ridiculousness, it will get embarrassed, it will recede. (Or just get unspeakably pissed off). We have to be able to laugh in the faces of people like Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan; because if we don't people may end up taking them seriously, for chrissake!
Why in the name of all that is sacred would you want a sunken eyed bastard like Paul Ryan making decisions about abortion or contraception policies? He's a devout catholic but makes his decisions based on science??? I nearly fell off of the bar stool in stitches. You've gotta be kidding me, Paul. No way. Please tell me you're joking.
Where's the rimshot?
….Shit, he was serious.
Now this is not to say I'm a staunch Biden supporter, because he sold some rotten goods of his own last night.
In reference to requests for heightened security in Benghazi due to Libya’s tense climate, he claimed that, “We weren't told that they wanted more security.” However the State Department did know that the requests for extra security had been denied. Nothing was done. The administration dropped the ball, but Biden found a way to duck around it.
He managed to hit the mark, however when he said “the congressman here cut embassy security in his budget by $300M that we asked for.” Paul Ryan and other House Republicans voted to slash the federal budget fort State Department Security around the globe.
Then there was the bit about the recession. Sure it was funny, “They talk about this Great Recession like it fell out of the sky! Like, 'my goodness, where did this come from??'” But no matter how true that statement may be, it doesn't change the fact that Biden voted for Medicare prescription coverage drafted under George W. Bush. Not the final bill, mind you, but the rough draft had Biden's stamp of approval. As far as him pointing the finger at Paul Ryan for putting two wars “on the credit card”, they both voted for both wars. Each man is equally to blame. “I was there. I voted against them.” He said. So were the record keepers, and no you didn't.
Paul Ryan's sad eyed performance was twice as awful. It was even more marred in mistruths and buried in bullshit. He suggested the current administration was doing next to nothing on Iranian sanctions and blocking congressional action. Now that's a laugh. A republican congressman complaining about blocking someone's legislation and agenda. Biden had a strong backhand for the congressman in his retort. In reference to the global support the US received with the sanctions he said, “Imagine had we let the Republican Congress work out the sanctions. You think there's any possibility the entire world would have joined us? Russia, China, all of our allies? These are the most crippling sanctions in the history of our sanctions. Period.”
Hear that Paul? That's code for, “My sanctions have sanctions, sucka!”
Then, angling his widows peak to the middle of the screen where none could escape it's dramatic glare, Paul Ryan fixed his sights on Medicare. He fluttered around, never really settling in on hard numbers or real solutions when he was bashed about the head by hard number, which seemed to offend him deeply.
When Biden charged that Ryan's bill raised the out-of-pocket costs by “$6,400 a year, knowing it and passing it”. Also citing that Romney endorsed this plan, Ryan looked as though he didn't know whether to shit, scream, or cry.
“That statistic was completely misleading.” He whined. “But more importantly, this is what politicians do when they don't have a record to run on; try to scare people from voting for you.” He continued to yelp, apparently forgetting his own occupation as a politician. It takes some massive balls, or just a serious lack of morality for a Post Modern Republican congressman to accuse someone of Fear Mongering. But that was the best defense he had against the truth. The Congressional Budget Office said Ryan's budget would force most future seniors to pay increased costs of that amount or more.
Ryan went on to claim, “Their own actuary from the administration came to congress and said one out of six hospitals and nursing homes are going to go out of business as a result of the Affordable Healthcare Act's Medicare cuts.”
The fact checkers at politico say “This doesn't add up” and Ryan calling Rick Foster “your actuary” in reference to the Obama administration is also misleading. Rick Foster and his office are actually independent and have clashed with both the Bush and Obama administration.
When you hear someone lie about their own platform like that, how do you keep from reaching across the table and slapping the absolute dog piss out of them? Neither candidate should have left that building with their stage makeup intact. That is my simple request for all future debates. More slapping, less inane rhetoric.
According to politico, Ryan's claim that the country's unemployment rate was 8.5% when the President took office is totally false. In January 2009, the unemployment rate was 7.8%. Exactly where it is now. They went on to illustrate that in every candidates hometown(except Biden) the unemployment rate has dropped.
Honolulu- 5.2% in 09, 5.1% as of September.
Detroit- 22.7% to 19.6%.
Janesville- 13.5% to 9.2%
These numbers are far from ideal, but they are certainly dropping. Contrary to what Congressman Ryan would have us believe.
From the perspective of a Speech and Debate champion, political junkie, and highly skilled bullshit detector, I loved last nights debate. It was one of my favorite performances in recent history. Then again, what do I have to choose from? Obama/McCain? Biden/Palin? Bush/Kerry? Bush/Gore? Oh, Jesus don't make me relive those nightmares.
This debate was reminiscent of the Muhammad Ali/Ernie Terrell fight back in 1967. An experienced defending champ taking on a young upstart who mistakenly trash talked himself into a hole prior to stepping in the ring. What resulted is one of the greatest ass-whuppins captured on film. I use these words very carefully. “Ass whuppin” that's what it was. Totally one sided. The challenger could barely lay a finger on the champion. Biden was toying with him. He wanted to make sure the world saw that his opponent was “nothing”. Easily brushed off. A display in dominance. The challenger wasn't hungry enough, wasn't skilled enough, and certainly erred in pissing off the champ before the fight. The result was an embarrassing public flogging that the loser's corner can only say was “unsportsmanlike” and “overkill”.
This is what happens when you step into the ring with someone far beyond your own skill level, kids. You get your ass handed to you and asked to leave. Oh, and you get laughed at. A lot.
I weep for the next presidential debates. Although, I was pleasantly surprised last night after tearing through a quarter of the Johnny Walker Black Label in anticipation for agony similar to the first Debate. I seriously doubt it will be nearly as interesting. Obama must come out swinging, but at this point it will come across as derivative. The simple fact is, Joe Biden loves this shit. He, much like myself, loves to argue. He eats this stuff up. The politics of it all, getting on national television and having a good old fashioned debate to get the issues out on the table, and to vent some frustration with the campaign. The bit about the letters Paul Ryan wrote him was first class. The whole diner was cracking up at Ryan's discomfort.
“Damn.” my bartender said, putting her hand on her hip. “He is taking this kid to school.”
“There are few nudities as objectionable as the Naked Truth.” -Agnes Repplier
Somewhere in the cramped Ecuadorian Embassy in London sits the future of Journalism and Free Speech. Trapped in that room like the isolated exile he is, Julian Assange is a wanted man. An outlaw. After Cablegate, his name was slandered and bogus sexual assault chargers were laid against him to strip him of any credibility. In the firestorm that has followed, his assets have been liquidated, his movements restricted, and American Political pundits have called for his assassination. The only truth I’ve found in this whole debacle has been this;
Julian Assange is a goddamned freedom fighter.
Freedom of Speech has been paid a lot of lip service, but continues to be critically ignored in our Post-9/11 society. After the Tragedy in New York, Americans experienced a severe clampdown on their Civil Liberties. On an unwritten, societal level, if you spoke ill of the Government, the country, or their policies you were either unpatriotic, a domestic terrorist, or an unpatriotic domestic terrorist.
When it came to policy and written laws, there was an unprecedented strangulation of liberty within the Land of the Free.
These authoritarian policies have led to a cutthroat and obscene political climate over the last decade. The ridiculous façade that we are in a country that respects a citizen’s right to privacy, freedom of speech, the system of due process, or international law. The bedrock and foundation of this country is being shaken to its core, and some of our biggest and most vocal patriots have been silenced. The false prophets and demagogues are talking about Purple Mountains and Fruited Plains, speaking about a City on a Hill, and a place where everyone gets their fair share.
It’s a damned shame when someone from outside this nation is able to show us the best of our values and our philosophy better than anyone standing on two leg s in America. He has been on the side of rebels and revolutionaries across the globe, living in the countries and the cities he is affecting. Not hiding behind a desk thousands of miles away. We could learn a lesson from Julian Assange. A lesson on convictions and thorough reporting. A lesson on the value of the Naked Truth.
We live in a world where the President is free to decide whether or not a person will receive a trail in the federal courts or in a military tribunal. The problem with military tribunals in that there isn’t a goddamned shred of due process protection in the whole proceedings. We now have J. Edgar Hoover levels of Privacy Invasion. Not only is the Fourth Amendment being trampled, (legally!) but no one seems to notice or care on a level that brings national attention. Organization can be forced to relinquish information on your social circles, all your communications, and your financial records. Now, under President Obama the government can check your library records. If the government doesn’t like your reading list, you can be held indefinitely for questioning. No probable cause, no evidence needed, and certainly no notification to the person under investigation. You know who else operates like that? Pakistan.
Assange has been fighting for the release of information like this since 2006, when WikiLeaks was launched, only on a global scale. The reason his name has become famous… or rather infamous comes from an incident in November 2010. The incident. WikiLeaks released 250, 000 classified documents or “cables” to the world. These bits of information came from 150 separate, pissed off countries. That tidal wave of information is credited with sparking the Arab Spring, which is the single best example of democracy in action anywhere in the past 20 years. Revolutions began in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, and Syria all because of the Naked truths exposed by guerilla reporting around the globe and distributed by Assange.
Later, a young American serviceman named Bradley Manning would leak similar cables from Military Intelligence in Iraq to Wikileaks, exposing madness and misconduct in the desert.
Shit. That doesn’t sound like an international cyber-terrorist to me! That sounds like someone interested arming one’s self with knowledge. Someone interested in the cause of freedom and truth. In fact…
“From the glory days of American radicalism, which was the American Revolution, I think that Madison’s view on government is still unequaled…That people determined to be in a democracy, to be their own governments, must have the power that knowledge will bring – because knowledge will always rule ignorance. You can either be informed and your own rulers, or you can be ignorant and have someone else, who is not ignorant, rule over you. The question is where has the United States betrayed Madison and Jefferson, betrayed these basic values on how you keep a democracy? I think that the U.S. military-industrial complex and the majority of politicians in Congress have betrayed those values.” – Julian Assange in his “Rolling Stone” interview from January 2012.
Would you look at that! Is that the rhetoric of any terrorists you know?? That sounds like a well informed, red-blooded…Australian?? No offense to the brothers Down Under, but Damnit people. Why is the only American figure speaking like this a publicly ridiculed, 76 year old, thrice failed Presidential Candidate from Texas?! It burns my guts to think that here in this country we can’t even recognize how far we’ve strayed from our own ideals. We are smack in the middle of an election between two men who’ve sworn to fight tooth and nail to defend freedoms and rights that they couldn’t give a rat’s ass about. Those slimy curs, those miserable, cankerous bastards.
It isn’t enough that our neo conservative or neo-liberal leadership is interchangeable at this point. It isn’t enough that distractions like tax returns, birth certificates, and who’s screwing who are keeping average Americans from the information effecting them directly. No. They have to keep the old guard no matter what. No matter what or who gets trampled along the way.
“Perhaps we should beef up our security so we aren’t so easily hacked…”
“Nahh, keep the old guard.”
“Then maybe we should change how we do business in our foreign affairs. Murdering civilians doesn’t seem too kosher.”
“Nahh, keep the old guard.”
“Um… What about listening to reasonable criticism like the Founders intended? Recognizing when mistakes are made and being a government for the people, by the people?”
“Eat shit and die, Hippie.”
Well, I suppose that won’t work; but you know how the old saying goes, the truth goes through three stages. First, it will be ridiculed, and then as it gains ground it will be violently opposed. Finally, it is accepted as being self-evident. But how long will it be before we enter that third stage?
There is a howling beast deep in the heart of the American power system. One with an unquenchable thirst for corruption and the powerfully seductive desire to see its Kingdom expanded beyond the horizon, even at the expense of our Constitution. The Beast sits on its scarlet throne, blood dripping from its horrible jaws and adorned with trophies from fallen patriots who got in its way. Ears, tits, balls, fingers and toes… terrible shit.
One of the last stalwarts is the still-democratized Internet. Assange himself has taken up arms against corruption and lies around the world, spreading knowledge to those who seek it out and putting the Naked Truth and raw facts on display for the world to see. Part of Manning’s arsenal was the Collateral Murder video, which depicted American soldiers murdering civilians and two journalists from a Helicopter. This footage was being sat on by multiple news outlets across the United States and the world. That same code of silence exists in the highest levels of the American government. This is why we need men like Assange, to expose the truth and to force the hands of idle men, for in the words of James Madison, “If men were angels, no government would be necessary.” The only way to kill this Beast is to arm ourselves with knowledge and meet it on level ground. Julian Assange was at the tip of the spear, but he now sits isolated as a refugee in London in the fight of his life. As goes Assange, so goes the fight for Freedom of Speech. If we allow him to be silenced, if we allow his struggle to pass beneath the radar, it will be a long long time before anyone picks up the sword he wielded against tyranny and ignorance.
So I ask of you, look past the ignorant jackasses and demagogues like Sarah Palin and Newt Gingrich and Mike Huckabee calling out for the man to be assassinated. Look past his former allies, the New York Times and The Guardian who now slander his name as a sexual deviant and rancorous social pariah. Look at the man through his works, and think to yourself,
“When’s the last time I could trust a story coming from the big media machine?”
Mitt Romney: Mr. Brightside
Coming out of his cage, he was doing just fine...
Well, that's a bit of a subjective statement. Mitt Romney lied, wiggled, stretched the truth and slithered his way through the first Presidential Debate. Like the dubious snake he is, Mittens struck in a way that resonated with audiences and pundits alike.
I will give him style points; he was facing the President, boring holes into his skull with a passion not seen since 1994 when he was running against Ted Kennedy. He talked over the moderator, gestured passionately, and tried his damndest to keep his tell-tale facial expressions to a minimum. He behaved like a man on fire, he had to be down, because he wants it all.
The only problem of course is that while everyone was able to see him attack the President in an unprecedented manner (for him) no one seemed to be actually listening to anything he said. The next day, fact checkers around the country blasted Romney for telling a baffling, staggering amount of lies in a single sitting. The American people already have trouble believing anything that comes out of his mouth, because he will literally say anything to get elected. But this was some Next Level Shit. 27 lies in 38 minutes?? Sweet Black Baby Jesus, he just boarded the rocket-ship to Valhalla. This is probably what it felt like to see Michael Jackson Moonwalk for the first time...
“First of all, I don't have a $5 trillion dollar tax cut” he was firm, he was direct, he was assertive, he was lying. According to the New York Times, Romney has been campaigning on “cutting all marginal tax rates by 20% which would in and of itself cut tax revenue by $5T”
Factcheck.org made similar comments, stating that according to experts, paying for $5T tax cut without raising the deficit or taxes on the middle class is “not possible”
PolitFact says Mittens proposal would “Give millionaires another tax break and raise taxes on the middle class by up to $2,000 a year.”
So besides Tony Stark and Bruce Wayne, who is he looking out for?? He hasn't exactly got a “I don't shine if you don't shine” mentality. That's three sources catching him in a baldfaced lie. But since our 24 news media is so hungry for something to say in order to fill up airtime, it is reactionary by nature, and saw the loudest man in the room as the victor. I decided to watch the debate on the Spin Free CSPAN while a bottle of whiskey mad its way around the room. I gave the advantage to President Obama because of the sheer factual disparity between the two. Romney was certainly on the offensive but Obama seemed cool, and even a little sly if I didn't know any better. Now it seems it may have been true. Could the President have been letting Romney tangle himself in his own web of lies?
It was a depressing display either way. Barack Obama was at the very best dispassionate and at the worst totally unprepared. Romney came thundering out of nowhere, but he circled around his answers, danced away from questions and completely reversed his stance on more than one issue over the course of the night. I couldn't believe it when the smoke cleared and I switched back to CNN. Those sick bastards ranting and raving about how great Romney was, yet not a single one of them could bring up a point he made that coordinated with his platform on the campaign trail. Double talk and contradictions abided that night and I couldn't believe the media was licking it up as feverishly as they were.
NPR.org posted an article in which they depict just how factually inaccurate Romney was during the debate, and New York Times.com poignantly called it an “Unenlightening recitation of tired talking points and mendacity.” They go on to bring up a point I noticed towards the end of the whiskey...Mitt Romney was sloppily trying to move back to the center after a ruthless primary where he was pitted against morons, cowards, thieves, and complete fucking lunatics.
Rick Santorum probably shit a brick when Mittens said he was proud of what he did as Governor of Massachusetts. Everything he took a stand on during the Republican Primary is now off the goddamned table, and I must say with the excuses I'm hearing from his camp I'm starting to choke on their alibis.
Romney's integrity is just the price he pays, because his destiny is calling him to the White House. But his heart don't beat the way it used to, and history shows the spineless, sack-less, candidates who will say anything to get elected and constantly flip-flop on the issues never EVER get into office. So how can he think he's got a shot? Somehow Romney has swam through sick lullabies about the Presidency being his. He's not only totally out of touch, but hopelessly unequipped to even cheat his way into the position.
Jim Leher allowed himself to be run over by Romney and never once called him on any of the King Sized lies he told over the course of the debate. Even worse, neither did President Obama. But as I said, this could all be part of the plan, this election has hinged on the economy and Romney/Ryan have yet to provide details as to how they're going to turn this thing around. They say they wanna move on, that the President is falling behind. But now their backs are against the wall, they've put all their eggs in the economy basket with no solid plan to fix the economy and now the numbers have come back showing that unemployment has dropped from 8.1% to 7.8% and jobs are open now more than in recent history. If 70% of the skilled labor workforce is eligible to retire, then young, skilled laborers are poised to snatch those jobs up in the near future.
With his Johnny Come Lately retorts to Romeny's Acid tongued lies, I have a sneaking suspicion that President Obama is going to come strutting into the next debate with magic soaking his spine. There has been to much noise in the media on how passive he was that he has to turn up the heat or all will be lost for him.
I have to think that somewhere in his damaged, raped soul, Romney is affected by his complete and total compromise of character. There is no way he can truly believe that these changes aren't changing him, the Gold-Hearted Boy he used to be, way back in his centrist days against Ted Kennedy.
After such a shambled and disgraceful debate I slipped away to my room where I sat alone in the dark, destroying glass after glass of Jack Daniels and lying on the floor, blasting The Killers for five straight hours, wailing into the abyss with nothing to choose from but a lying, spineless, cheating, two faced Crony and a Liberty-crushing bureaucrat without the strength to slap his lesser opponent into next week. It's enough to turn a Saint into the sea.