Tag Archives: Oliver Stone

Thoughts on the new year from the Island of California



Early explorers thought that California is an island. It might as well be.

2011 should be an interesting political year.

It’s ironic that Repugnican former U.S. House of Representatives Majority Leader Tom DeLay has been convicted of money laundering just as his stupid white male ilk, led this time by the steely-cold-blue-eyed Repugnican Rep. John Boehner, are ready to take over the House — you know, to bring back the good old days of Tom DeLay & Co.

When we of the left say that Americans are fucktards, this is the kind of thing that we’re talking about: expecting the same bunch of people who sank the nation in the first place to be the same ones to rescue it.

Here in California, things should be at least a little different next year.

On November 2, not a single Repugnican was elected to statewide office here in California, and come early January, gone will be Repugnican Arnold Schwarzenegger, who was elected governor in the gubernatorial recall do-over election of 2003. (The Repugnican candidate in the 2002 gubernatorial election, Bill Simon, was an uncharismatic Richie Rich fucktard who lost to the uncharismatic Democratic incumbent, Gov. Gray Davis, although by just under 5 percent, so the Repugs just orchestrated a do-over election the next year with a much more charismatic candidate this time.)

Schwarzenegger promised to turn California around, but of course he leaves the nation’s most populous state in worse shape than it was when he got it. Ironically, in his too-short recall election campaign, Schwarzenegger blamed the BushCheneyCorp’s sins, including the Enron* debacle, on then-Gov. Gray Davis, even though Schwarzenegger had had a secret meeting with Enron head Ken Lay before he went on to run for governor of the state that Enron crippled. By Schwarzenegger’s own logic in 2003, though, we can blame only him for California’s current mess (even though, of course, the unelected BushCheneyCorp has been a huge factor in California’s decline, from 2001 to present). 

In the days of old, it was believed that California is an enchanted island — the long peninsula of Baja California is what gave the early explorers the idea that California is an island; they didn’t realize that Baja California is attached to the rest of the continent. (It is, in fact, attached to Mexico just under California.)

With the Mojave Desert in the southern part of the state and the Sierra Nevada mountain range running along the eastern part of the state, however, geography actually did leave California as somewhat of an island to itself, and for a while, anyway, these natural barriers for the most part kept the hordes of westward-immigrating white people out (two words: Donner party…).

Speaking of white people, it’s fairly clear that brown is the new black, and that as the nation’s population of Latinos continues to grow — here in California, more than a third of us are Latino, and more Latinos live in California than in any other U.S. state — the white supremacists, whose numbers, at least proportionally to the numbers of non-whites, are dwindling, are going to continue to blame the decline of the Great White American Empire on the browned-skinned.

A tea-bagging white-supremacist dipshit here in California (yes, unfortunately, plenty of fucktarded whiteys have made it past the Mojave Desert and the Sierra Nevada to inflict themselves upon the rest of us) has been given the legal go-ahead to try to collect enough signatures to put an Arizona-like anti-Latino law on the state ballot.

I expect the white supremacist, who used to be a Repugnican Party county chair (surprise surprise), to succeed in getting his signatures; it seems that nothing appeals to the voters like hatred, bigotry, ignorance and making scapegoats of minority groups. The voters seem to be loathe to OK anything productive, but to dog-pile upon already historically persecuted minority groups is just great fun! Proposition Hate was evidence of that.

However, while Prop H8 passed in November 2008, I expect a proposition for an Arizona-style anti-Latino law to fail here in California, where, unlike in Arizona, the majority of us are just fine with sharing our state with those of other races, and here in California, Latinos aren’t “other” — they are part of what makes California California, perhaps especially since California used to belong to Mexico, and the names of California’s largest cities are testament to that historical fact: Los Angeles, San Diego, San Jose, San Francisco, Fresno, Sacramento, etc., etc.

Ironically, it seems that it’s the brown-skinned who most likely can save the sinking United States of America. While the United States’ white overlords seem congenitally unable to do anything but to overextend themselves and to self-destruct, like their British forebears did, progress is being made in South America.

Notes a columnist for The Christian Science Monitor:

One in 10 South Americans – about 38 million people – escaped poverty during the past decade. That’s remarkable progress by any measure.

Contrast that with the United States, where poverty has been growing due to a decade-long stagnation of income for the middle class and the Great Recession. In 2009, the U.S. had more poor people than in any of the 51 years since poverty levels have been estimated.

Of course, America’s poor are far better off than South America’s poor. And the U.S. still has a much lower poverty rate (14.2 percent versus around 70 percent). South America remains infamous for huge income gaps between a tiny elite and masses of people making, often, just $1 or $2 a day.

Still, 10 years of growing prosperity has shrunk that gap. The credit goes to democratic leftist governments that have vastly boosted social spending to help the poor, maintains Mark Weisbrot, a left-of-center economist at the Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington.

Half of that improvement comes from Brazil. Under outgoing President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, the nation pushed up the minimum wage a real 65 percent in eight years, helping to raise the wages of tens of millions of workers, including many receiving more than minimum wage. A program offered small cash grants to poor families if they sent their children to school.

The results? Real income per person is up some 24 percent since 2000. Illiteracy is down. Poverty has been halved since 2002; extreme poverty is down by 70 percent, says Mr. Weisbrot, pulling more than 19 million people into the middle class.

And the economy hasn’t suffered. Unemployment under Mr. da Silva’s presidency dropped from more than 11 percent to 6.7 percent. Income inequality has fallen considerably.

Other nations with “progressive” governments have made much social progress, notes Weisbrot. He lists Bolivia, Ecuador, Argentina and Venezuela. Under President Hugo Chávez, attacked by the right in the U.S., oil-rich Venezuela has tripled social spending per person since 2003. Attendance at universities has doubled. Most of the poor now get health care under a government program.

The continent weathered the financial crisis relatively well. Social spending rose. So there was no big rise in poverty, says Norbert Schady, an economic adviser to the Inter-American Development Bank, speaking from Quito, Ecuador.

Moreover, prospects for continued economic progress are strong. The Institute of International Finance (IIF), set up by the world’s biggest banks, forecasts 6 percent growth in gross domestic product in Latin America this year, which includes Mex­ico and Central America as well as South Am­er­ica. That growth should shrink poverty further.

By contrast, the IIF forecasts a 2.5 percent growth rate this year for the U.S. At that slow pace the U.S. could see a further rise in poverty. [Emphasis mine.]

South America’s new economic vigor is also causing a geopolitical shift. The U.S. has long considered Latin America part of its political and economic sphere of influence. Officials running South America’s left-of-center governments often charge the U.S. with imperial ambitions.

But as U.S. growth slows, South America’s businesses have reached out to other markets. While 15 percent of South America’s trade is still with the U.S., a greater share is tied to Europe. Also, trade within the continent is growing with a free-trade deal. So South American governments no longer feel so much under the thumb of the U.S.

What the columnist doesn’t note is that the Eye of Sauron, which sits atop the Pentagon, for decades focused its evil gaze upon Latin America, where its Uruk-hai ruthlessly quashed any democratically elected governments that actually dared to put the needs of the people above the greed of American corporations. And that now, with the Eye of Sauron having been focused on destroying the Middle East for the past decade, democracy has been flourishing in Latin America, and consequently, poverty there has been declining, now that U.S. interference there is at its lowest in decades.

Filmmaker Oliver Stone, in his worthwhile documentary “South of the Border” (in which he visits with South American presidents Hugo Chávez, Evo Morales, Lula da Silva, Cristina Kirchner [and her husband, former President Nestor Kirchner] and Rafael Correa and with Cuban leader Raul Castro), posits that, ironically, it might be the democratization of Latin America, with Latinos’ growing influence on U.S. politics, that finally democratizes the United States of America. (You know, something like that dreaded “domino effect” that the right wing used to talk about where Vietnam was concerned.)

California, with more Latinos than any other state (more than 13 million of them**), and now with Democrat Jerry Brown to take back the helm of the state on January 3, just might lead the way in the democratization of the nation.

The myth of California as a magical island might not be so mythical after all.

It will be interesting to watch the rest of the nation from the Island of California in 2011. I expect to see the nation only worsen under a Repugnican-controlled House of Representatives, and it will be interesting to see which wingnut emerges as the 2012 Repugnican Tea Party presidential nominee. Will it be Sarah Palin-Quayle, who says that we must stand with our “allies” in North Korea?*** It would be rather Kubrickian if a U.S. president nuked the wrong Korea, wouldn’t it?

Stay tuned. I sure will, from my island.

*Such wonderful things come out of the state of Texas: Tom DeLay, George W. Bush and Enron, to name just three. Really, when Repugnican-of-course Texas Gov. Rick Perry talks about secession, we should give him our full support in such an endeavor.

**Texas is at No. 2 in terms of its Latino population, with around 9 million Latinos.

***Really, though, it’s apparent that white privilege makes whites incredibly stupid, probably from their overly comfortable lives and their lack of any challenges.

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Assorted shit

…And your little dogs, too!

Jan Brewer

Associated Press photo

Not ready for her close-up: Repugnican Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer, pummeling the brown-skinned and relatively powerless in her quest to win the governorship in November (she inherited the governor’s chair  from Democratic former Gov. Janet Napolitano when Napolitano was tapped to become the Obama administration’s secretary of homeland security), speaks to members of the media earlier this month.

Backasswards Arizona, the South Africa of the Southwest, was dealt a blow today when a federal judge blocked the worst parts of the unconstitutional racial-profiling legislation that the state’s Repugnicans passed that would have become effective today.

In a statement, Arizona’s Repugnican governor, Jan Brewer, the Wicked Witch of the Southwest, valiantly proclaimed: “I will battle all the way to the Supreme Court, if necessary, for the right to protect the citizens of Arizona.”

Translation: “I’ll get you, my pretties! And your little Taco Bell dogs, too!”

Really, though, Brewer, McCainosaurus & Co. are sooo fucking brave, picking on the state’s most defenseless population for cheap personal political gain.

Latinos already have been fleeing the state, the media have been reporting over the past few days. It would serve the overly comfortable, overprivileged racist whiteys in Arizona right to find themselves without cheap labor to do all of the unpleasant work that they refuse to do.

And, of course, since the Latino population is the fastest-growing in the nation, for the Repugnican Tea Party to alienate Latinos is so smart.

This almost makes up for that Shirley Sherrod thing

Speaking of the Repugnican Tea Party, the Democrats appear, finally, to be getting it right. The Democratic National Committee has started a campaign dubbed “The Republican Tea Party Contract on America,” borrowing from the Repugnicans’ bullshit 1994 “Contract with America” (and from “The Sopranos,” I guess).

The campaign is to remind “swing voters” of the continuing merging of the Repugnican Party and the extremist “tea party,” including a “tea party” caucus within the Repugnican ranks of the U.S. House of Representatives.

I’ve long surmised that the “tea party” is going to hurt the Repugnican Party more than it’s going to help it. The white supremacist whackjobs already are part of the Repugnican Party’s base, so for the “tea party” to be so ostentatious is only to be preaching to the choir — and turning off those in the middle, upon whom — unfortunately or fortunately, depending — elections hinge these days.

Anyway, among the provisions of the “Republican Tea Party’s Contract on America” are these: repealing health care reform, thus aiding and abetting the greedy insurance companies that profit from Americans’ pain and suffering; privatizing Social Security or abolishing it altogether, and phasing out Medicare; extending the Bush regime’s tax breaks for the rich and for Big Oil; repealing Wall Street reform; protecting British Petroleum and other corporations responsible for environmental catastrophes; abolishing the Department of Education and reversing the restrictions put on student-loan sharks; abolishing the Environmental Protection Agency; and abolishing the Department of Energy.

In short, the “Republican Tea Party’s Contract on America” would hasten our arrival to our nation resembling how it is depicted in the movie “The Road”…

Is Oliver Stone a stone-cold anti-Semite?

Really, once the Israel-firsters have deemed everyone in the United States to be an anti-fucking-Semite, what good will the epithet “anti-Semite” be anymore?

Filmmaker Oliver Stone predictably is getting it from the Israel-firsters for reportedly having said to The Sunday Times of London, “Hitler was a Frankenstein, but there was also a Dr. Frankenstein: German industrialists, the Americans and the British. He had a lot of support. Hitler did far more damage to the Russians than the Jewish people.”

Um, it’s a historical fact that Hitler was aided and abetted by many, many parties. He did not do it by himself. No genocidal maniac is an island.

Wikipedia (which, again, for me is reliable enough for blogging, so save your comment) notes that the Nazis killed around 2 million to 3 million Soviet prisoners of war and around 6 million Soviet citizens. (“The broadest definition [of the Holocaust] would include [those] 6 million Soviet civilians, raising the death toll [of the Holocaust] to 17 million,” Wikipedia notes, adding that “Other estimates put total casualties of the Soviet Union’s citizens alone to about 26 million.”) The Nazis also slaughtered around 2 million Poles — and many, many others in addition to the 6 million Jews they slaughtered.

Stone’s wording could have been better. “Hitler did far more damage to the Russians than the Jewish people” sounds like Stone was turning it into a misery contest.

And we all know that those who drop the H-bomb (“H” for Holocaust) on everyone for personal and social and political gain — even though they themselves never suffered in the Holocaust — aren’t about to concede the misery contest.

No, they want to bogart that victimhood pie!

Stone apologized, lest Mossad come after his ass, saying: “In trying to make a broader historical point about the range of atrocities the Germans committed against many people, I made a clumsy association about the Holocaust, for which I am sorry and I regret,” adding that the Holocaust “was an atrocity.”

Yes, it was. No doubt. But the historical fact is that the Nazis killed millions of others besides six million Jews.

For the H-bomb droppers to claim the Holocaust all for themselves not only historically is inaccurate, but it shits and pisses upon the millions of others lives that the Nazis took during their reign of terror.

And don’t even get me started on the Israelis’ perversely ironic genocide of the Palestinians while still reminding us, incessantly, of the genocide that the Jews suffered at the hands of the Nazis.

Leave Lady Gaga a-a-a-a-alone!

I certainly won’t claim that Lady Gaga is the pinnacle of culture, but Lady Gaga is just Lady Gaga.

While I was able to laugh at the YouTube parody of Lady Gaga featuring “Lady Pasta,” replete with a hilarious rendition of “Bad Romance,” this snippet from an “analysis” of Lady Gaga’s place within the American culture is over the top, even for me:

The Predator drone is the latest and sexiest symbol of American dominance through military technology; Gaga is the latest and sexiest symbol of cultural hegemony.

The media is full of both of them, breathlessly discussing the capabilities of the unmanned drones, a giant leap forward in our technology, a way to detach us even further from the reality of war, to spend a day at war and then go home to the family at night. And of course picking over the latest Lady Gaga video — a cultural event that has turned YouTube into the site of the new Fireside Chat.

Instead of talking about the news, millions of Americans talk about the new Gaga video. [Actually, I rarely hear anyone talk about Lady Gaga at all.]

Meanwhile, Predator drones kill civilians in countries that millions of Americans probably couldn’t find on a map. Wars continue, dead bodies pile up. The living bodies of women are contested territory abroad and at home.

And the body of a 24-year-old white woman who regularly calls herself a monster is one of the few things we come together to discuss. America dominates the world; Gaga dominates our pop culture universe.

We have made monsters out of others in order to kill them without fear. Gaga makes herself a monster to try to show us ourselves.

Uh, did Lady Gaga ever state that she “makes herself a monster to try to show us ourselves”? Or is her style just her style?

Truthfully, I couldn’t read the entire article. I couldn’t get past the pretentious, very flimsy “connection” between Lady Gaga and the Predator drone. (Although I bet that Gaga could incorporate the Predator drone into one of her videos, and do it quite creatively and uniquely.)

Our culture is filled with distractions: Cell phones of every type. Television, including, perhaps most notably, “American Idol.” Internet porn. The computer and many other electronic gadgets, including, of course, the PlayStation. Movies. Radio. Print media. Consumerism in general.

But to pick out Gaga from all of this, it seems to me, is to pick on Gaga.

And because one preoccupies him- or herself with one or even with many diversions does not mean that he or she also cannot pay attention to what’s going on in the world.  

I suppose that I should delete Lady Gaga from my MP3 player — no, hell, I should destroy my MP3 player altogether — and focus instead on the drones.

Speaking of electronic gadgets, the woman who wrote that “intellectual analysis,” I think, when she isn’t obsessing about the drones, sure could use a high-tech dildo… (Hell, even low-tech might do the trick…)

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Thoughts on this Labor Day

A nationwide Gallup poll taken last month on the state of labor in the United States is dismal but not surprising.

When asked, “Do you approve or disapprove of labor unions?”, 48 percent of the respondents said they approve, 45 percent said they disapprove, and 7 percent said they weren’t sure.

Only about one in five of the poll respondents reported having someone in their household who is a member of a labor union.

When asked whether they believe that in the future labor unions will become stronger, will become weaker, or will remain the same as they are today, 48 percent said weaker, 24 percent said stronger, 24 percent said the same, and 4 percent said they were unsure.

I’m a member of a union, albeit a weak one, so I guess that makes me one of the one in five Americans or so who are a member of a labor union. That number should be much higher.

I’m no expert on the history of labor unions, but it seems to me that labor unions took several hits over several decades.

From 1981 to 1989 were the Reagan years, and then from 1989 to 1993 were the George Bush I years — 12 years of anti-labor sentiment in the White House. Then from 1993 to 2001 were the Clinton years, and centrist Clinton was weak on supporting labor, to put it mildly. Then from 2001 to 2009 were eight more years of a Repugnican in the White House. So for almost 30 years, labor unions haven’t had a strong ally in the White House.

No wonder labor unions are on life support.

My main problem with the labor movement and labor unions is that their approach has been to beg for scraps from the rich.

Wrong approach.

The right approach is for the people to own the means of production — not to beg the rich who own the means of production for a few more crumbs.

Which, of course, makes me a communist or socialist.

Proud of it!

Speaking of anti-capitalism, the wingnuts are going to go even more ape shit shortly with the release of two anti-capitalist films.

First and foremost, of course, is Michael Moore’sCapitalism: A Love Story,” set for release on October 2. I’m so there on opening day.

In case you have been living in a cave with Osama bin Laden and don’t know Moore’s stance on capitalism, he says this about it: “Capitalism is an evil, and you cannot regulate evil. You have to eliminate it and replace it with something that’s good for all people, and that something is called democracy.”

I wholeheartedly concur. An economic system that is based upon greed can’t be good. To get filthy rich, you have to pay your employees much less than the fair value of their labor, and you have to charge your customers much more than the fair value of the good or service that you provide.

Whom would Jesus screw over? Funny how the wingnuts equate capitalism with Christianity when surely Jesus would have none of capitalism’s obvious evils.

Further, as Moore indicates, we no longer have democracy in the United States, because democracy is rule by the people. We have corporatocracy — rule by the corporations, which need to be contained. And democracy needs to be restored.

I also read today that Oliver Stone has made a film about Venezuela President Hugo Chavez, whom for eight years the unelected, mass-murdering Bush regime called a “dictator,” even though Chavez, unlike the Bush regime, never stole a single fucking election and never killed a bunch of innocent people.

Reuters reports that Stone’s new film about Chavez, titled “South of the Border,” is “a sympathetic portrait of the leader, casting him as a champion of the poor who has stood up to Washington.” (Reuters calls the film a “documentary,” not a “docudrama” or the like.)

It sounds like Stone’s is a much different picture of Chavez than the Bush regime’s propagandists relentlessly painted, so Stone’s film, should it get a wide audience in the United States, should generate an interesting reaction among the fucktards who think that the capitalists and the corporations wuv them so much.

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