Cheap White Whines

LOTS OF STUFF flows by under our personal radar on this planet, and on any given day, the unprecedented proliferation around the globe of cheap wine barely makes anyone’s short list of things you could be wasting time on.

But not this week.  This week, Sarah Palin resigned again— this time from her million dollar gig at Fux Noise.  And I found this at Safeway:

Penot Palin White WineThis is a vintage (haha) example of one of Palin’s very first attempts at putin’
“Old wine into new wineskins” so-to-speak.

 I don’t drink much wine, but when I do, I drink cheap Pinot Noir.  And I always search the Pinot section first before resorting to a less sexy grape.  But I nearly lost control of important excretory functions when I saw the last remaining bottle of “Penot [sic!] Palin* White Wine” in a local grocer’s alcohol isle.

Laburp!  Because you’ll drink anything.  I mean, come on— it had to be a collector’s item the day it hit the shelf, if only for the fact that it was apparently bottled nearly half empty— the twist-off cap is still in pristine condition. The irony— it toys with me.

And the freakin’ label!  “Armed With NRA Pride.”  “Tea Party Value Whine [sic]!  “I’m A Shining Star.”   Seriously?  And The Christian Fish, studded with diamonds?  Okay, maybe cubic zirconia. But still.

A signature label!  And it looks like “Sarah” is misspelled. And a “quote” from Fux Noise president and mobile food locker, Roger Ailes— surrounding a surreal portrait of the snowbilly grifter doin’ the rubber face!  I woulda paid the $81.89 sticker for this;  but 40% off $11.89— I woulda bought a case.

And yeah of course I had already thought a half dozen times that hell no, some dickweed snark-shark was hiding nearby with a video camera, just to see who bought this bottled urine sample.

Penot Palin Back Label

No proof reader? I can only believe a bonafide tea-billy did the copy work here, maybe Palin herself— what with the half a dozen brutally ugly typos on the back label alone.

Because after reading every word on both labels, I think I’m gonna havta side with Roger Ailes, who reportedly said Palin is a “stupid idiot.”


What wine goes with Captain Crunch?
—George Carlin


“‘Refudiate,’ ‘misunderestimate,’ ‘wee-wee’d up.’ English is a living language. Shakespeare liked to coin new words too.
Got to celebrate it!”

—Sarah Palin

* Penot [sic] Palin— no doubt pronounced, “Pee not Palin”

The Shadow Of A Hair’s Turning

Bruce Lee demonstrates how to shatter an illusory House of Mirrors

Falsehood is not a matter of narration technique but something premeditated as a perversion of truth…The shadow of a hair’s turning, premeditated for an untrue purpose, the slightest twisting or perversion of that which is principle—these constitute falseness.  -The Urantia Book

In arguably the greatest martial arts flick of all time, Enter the Dragon (1973), Bruce Lee infiltrates the island fortress of his arch enemy, Master Han. Han is a renegade monk from Lee’s own Shaolin temple, a traitor who matter-of-factly admits that he has chosen to invest in corruption (which includes addicting young women to heroin and selling them on the sexual slave market).

The film’s climatic fight scene takes place inside Han’s living quarters. Lee’s speed, skill, and agility is clearly too much for Han, and he flees into a dressing room full of mirrors. Chasing after him, Lee is confounded by the many images of himself and of Han, who has the advantage of knowing how and where the mirrors are placed. Han alternately hides and stalks him, wielding a nasty multi-bladed weapon, waiting for just the right moment to deliver a killing blow.

Lee, already on the edge of exhaustion after a number of fights, strikes out at one false image after another. His hands bleeding,  an image of his sister’s past suicide suddenly enters his mind. Trapped in a cluttered warehouse by Han’s goons who are intent on raping her (motivated all the more by the fact that up to that point she had thoroughly kicked their sorry asses), she picks up a glass shard and takes her own life.  Lee draws strength and inspiration from her honorable death, and one by one, begins breaking the remaining mirrors, shattering the illusory Hans until the real one is revealed. In short order, Lee avenges his sister’s death and restores the honor of his disgraced monastery.

I was reminded of the film today as I watched GOP wunderkind and vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan making the rounds of the major network morning shows, desperately trying to restore the illusion of his former persona. Like waking up in bed next to a dubious stranger picked up in a bar after a night of heavy drinking, the establishment press is finally waking up to the fact that their infatuation with a politician they had considered a wonky, glamorous, straight shooting nice guy is just another sleazy huckster intent on fucking over whoever he needs to achieve his political ambitions.

To take just once instance of Ryan’s mendacity, consider his nomination speech at the RNC convention last week in which he decried the closing of a GM plant in his hometown of Janesville, Wisconsin. He implied that the closing was Obama’s fault, notwithstanding that it formerly closed its doors a month before he took office.

Right there at that plant, candidate Obama said: ‘I believe that if our government is there to support you … this plant will be here for another hundred years.’ That’s what he said in [June]2008. Well, as it turned out, that plant didn’t last another year. It is locked up and empty to this day.

After weathering a shit storm of media backlash for that and a number of other lies, Ryan hit the network television morning circuit today to explain his fabrications. As for the plant closing matter, he protested that he didn’t really lie, arguing that the media just didn’t parse his words finely enough. As he explained on NBC‘s Today Show :

“What they are trying to suggest is that I said Barack Obama was responsible for the plant shutdown in Janesville. That is not what I was saying; read the speech. What I was saying is the president ought to be held to account for his broken promises. After our plant was shut down, he said that he would lead an effort to retool plants like the Janesville plant to get people back to work. It’s still idle.”

Of course that’s what they were suggesting, because that is what YOU were suggesting, you lyin’ sack of shit. Even if you didn’t accuse Obama directly of being responsible for closing the plant, you impLIED it. As a matter of fact, after taking office, Obama did take steps to reopen plants “like” Janesville,  the operative word here being “like.”  Unfortunately for Janesville workers and affiliated businesses, the bailout money didn’t include their particular plant. But that was due to a decision made by GM itself, not the White House, who from the get go eschewed any hands-on micromanaging.

Read again the definition of falsehood and falseness given in The Urantia Book quote above, and then compare it, first, to the definition of falsehood given in Merriam Webster:

falsehood, n.

1 an untrue statement : lie
2 absence of truth or accuracy
3 the practice of lying : mendacity;

and second, the definition of falseness found at

falseness, n.

The state of being false; contrariety to the fact; inaccuracy; want of integrity or uprightness; double dealing; unfaithfulness; treachery; perfidy; as, the falseness of a report, a drawing, or a singer’s notes; the falseness of a man, or of his word.

So, as synonyms for the art of lying we have words like: lie,  perfidy, mendacity, treachery, double dealing, want of integrity, etc.– all perfect descriptions of The Lyin Ryan Express.

What drives The Urantia Book description home is not its use of the comparatively tame words, “falsehood” and “falsenesss”  Rather the power of its metaphor– the shadow of a hair’s turning, which suggests a fine line between truthhood and falsity. The kind of fine line that funambulating liars like Ryan and his ilk think they can walk because they believe they can get away with it, especially in the wake of recent US Supreme Court decisions that equates money with speech, enabling a maximum level of what practitioners of military psy ops call perception management.

The fact that the MSM is finally pushing back on the GOP propaganda machine is a good sign. Perhaps the straw that broke the camel’s back was the statement by Romney campaign adviser and pollster, Neil Newhouse, who declared:

“We’re not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact checkers.” 

Of course not. As the sainted Ronnie Reagan once proclaimed: “Facts are stubborn things“, certainly nothing that the Rovians should feel constrained by.  Recall what Karl Rove said to author Ron Suskind:

The aide said that guys like me were “in what we call the reality-based community,” which he defined as people who “believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.” … “That’s not the way the world really works anymore,” he continued. “We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality—judiciously, as you will—we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors…and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.”[2]

As a consequence, the Rovians have lived in an elaborate house of mirrors for so long now that they are mistaking their own distorted reflections for reality. The growing presence of “fact checker” sites, the progressive blogosphere, and and increasingly aggressive push by MSNBC to counter Roger AilesFux News Propaganda Network, could actually make a difference in the coming election, one shattered mirror at a time.

Heck, a guy can dream, can’t he?


New Study Confirms: Watching Fox News Makes You Stoopid

Present and former Fox hosts sinking into Orwell’s Memory Hole

As Gomer Pyle would say:   Surrprsie, Surrprise, Surrprise.

Study Finds Fox News Viewers Least Informed Of All Viewers

Another study has concluded that people who only watch Fox News are less informed than all other news consumers.

Researchers at Farleigh Dickinson University updated a study they had conducted in late 2011….

The pollsters found that people were usually able to answer 1.8 out of 4 questions on foreign news, and 1.6 of 5 questions on domestic news, and that people who don’t watch any news were able to get 1.22 of the questions on domestic policy right.

As the study explained, though, people who watched only Fox News fared worse:

The largest effect is that of Fox News: all else being equal, someone who watched only Fox News would be expected to answer just 1.04 domestic questions correctly — a figure which is significantly worse than if they had reported watching no media at all. On the other hand, if they listened only to NPR, they would be expected to answer 1.51 questions correctly; viewers of Sunday morning talk shows fare similarly well. And people watching only The Daily Show with Jon Stewart could answer about 1.42 questions correctly.

Wait just a fukkin minute. While it comes as no surprise that people who watch Fux News are less informed than those who derive their news from other sources, how to explain that those who do rely on the mighty Ailes-Murdoch Propaganda Wurtlitzer for their understanding of the world, score “significantly worse than if they had reported watching no media at all“?

That’s freaky Twilight Zone stuff, like reversing the arrow of time and causality itself.

Devolution: Thy name is Fox News.


Gays, Guns, God & Gynecology

Hearing into women’s reproductive issues: What’s wrong with this picture? 

Last summer when the economy was still sputtering and deficit reduction was all the rage, the Rethugs believed they had the perfect campaign theme to run on—restoring the economy.

That they were mainly responsible for its demise was hardly an insurmountable problem in their eyes. Counting on low information voters with short memory spans and a growing impatience with the status quo, aided and abetted by Rupert Murdoch and Roger Ailes’ 24/7 media propaganda machine, right wing hate talk radio and its counterparts in the blogosphere, and a Teabagger dominated House dedicated to absolute legislative obstructionism, GOPers were confident that they could shift the blame for a rotten economy to President Obama and the Dems.

And they had the perfect man for the White House, a former CEO and ¼ billionaire named Willard Mitt Romney. Willard was pitched as a Washington outsider who had spent 25 years in the private sector, a successful turn around artist who knew how to run a company, and who could do the same for the country.  A master of “creative destruction”, the former CEO of Bain Capital could be expected to apply his tough love formula to the federal government. Good times were just an inauguration (and a painful period of austerity)  away.

But as early as last September, the worm began to turn. The economy had started to improve. The White House changed election strategies from a Pete Peterson inspired deficit and austerity regime for a progressive agenda focusing on jobs and wealth inequality. (Thank the OWS!)

Then in December, the Rethugs shot themselves in both feet. Their attempts to hold the economy hostage by refusing to extend the debt ceiling, unemployment insurance, and payroll tax exemptions for the middle class precipitated a huge drop in the polls. By the start of 2012, they found themselves twisting slowly, slowly in the political wind, searching for a new theme to run on.

National Security

One of the GOP’s  traditional go-to issues, national security, has been effectively neutralized.  In contrast to his Rethug predecessor, who at first made a big show of bringing Usama Bin Laden to justice only to state  a few months later that he was no longer concerned about him, Obama delivered. He also succeed in eliminating other high level Al Qaeda leaders like Anwar al-Awlaki, and Badar Mansoor using low cost special op forces and pilotless drones, without a single American casualty.

Obama kept his campaign promise to remove all US troops from Iraq, and despite a failed surge of 30,000 troops,  instituted an exit strategy from Afghanistan (as we  predicted in a 13 post diary titled “Afutilestan.”)  Re Libya, the prez took a lot of flack for co-operating with allies and  “leading from behind.”  The end result was the successful overthrow of one of the world’s most entrenched  and despotic dictators, again without a single American casualty.

Obama also expanded Bush’s draconian  domestic national security state, much to the dismay of his progressive base. In fact, Obama has moved so far to the right on issues like privacy (wire taps, warrantless searches) and rule of law (habeus corpus, extradiction, extra-judicial executions) that the Rethugs have nowhere else to go but right over the cliff.

The Culture Wars Revisited

With the economy and national defense losing their front burner sizzle (an attack on Iran, a steep rise in oil and gas prices, or a Eurozone crisis could, however, bring them roaring back),  the Rethugs needed another hot button theme to keep their brain stem base fired up.

What other issues have the Rethugs successfully exploited in the past? Taking their special edition Delorean out of storage, they crammed its flux capacitor full of high grade garbage and found themselves transported 50 years into the past, to the good old days when the Culture Wars were just getting started.

Recreational drug use, gun control, affirmative action, separation of church and state, environmentalism, privacy, sexual liberation, feminism, homosexuality, abortion, contraception—all had their day in the sun. Of course these issues never really went away (if for no other reason than they have been good fund raising fodder for right wingers intent on enforcing their personal morality on the rest of the world). The trick today is to choose an issue closely related to others. Not only does a constellation of issues separated by a single degree facilitate the creation and maintenance of an overarching narrative, but it has certain tactical advantages as well.

Winger Debating Tactics

Take the truncated world of cable television. (Please!)  A favorite Rethug trick,when they find themselves losing a debate,  is  to rapidly pivot from one issue to another. You can tell when such segues are being triggered: they begin talking loudly over their opponents before the latter can  finish making their point. The new issue  is then framed in such a way as to put the opponent on the defensive,  often accusing them of the very thing that the Rethugs themselves are guilty (aka “political projection”; see e.g., deficit spending, judicial activism, class warfare, etc.) .  Before an opponent can set the record straight, let alone return to a previous argument, it’s off to another issue, or better yet, a debate killing commercial.

The optics leave the Rethug looking confident and in control, the opponent a defensive, sputtering fool. (Don’t even get me started on the woeful performance of most so-called  “moderators .”) I used to chalk up these aggressive displays to simple rudeness. But I suspect that a staple of right wing think tank seminars is training in such disingenuous media manipulation tactics. There are people supremely dedicated to the ethos that the end justifies the means, and they take no prisoners.  (For related observations along this line, see our Evolution of Wingnut Deception Routines.)

The Rethugs’ Political Gamble

It is in the context of cross-fertilization (excuse the pun) that injecting contraception into the presidential campaign today makes any kind of sense. Politically, it risks alienating women voters, who provided a 10 million vote advantage for Obama over John McCain in 2008, with unmarried women voting 70% in favor of Obama.  (The Dems loss of the House in the 2010 “wave election” has been attributed to a drop-off in women voters.)

The calculation seems to be that re-framing women’s health issues as a matter of “religious freedom”  is worth the risk. Making religious freedom the new Rethug theme provides the greatest number of potential connections to other issues, religion being the emotional, open subjective book that it is.

Not that issues like birth control and abortion have ever been off the table.  As Marge Baker of People For the American Way pointed out Friday in the HuffPo:

We all heard about the War on Women’s Health last year, when Tea Party-empowered state legislatures passed record slew of anti-choice laws — including deluded bills such as Arizona’s ban on “race-based abortions” and dangerous ones like Virginia’s attempt to shut down most abortion clinics in the state. These unhinged state legislatures were joined by an enthusiastic right-wing Congress that attempted to defund the entire $317 million federal family program, tried to redefine “rape,” and ate up lies about their favorite bogeyman, Planned Parenthood.

Occupying the News Cycle: Religious Freedom Edition

Given the Rethugs current political predicament, putting social issues front and center is necessary if they want to continue to occupy current news cycles (at least until the economy again begins to deteriorate and they can return to firmer ground).  Example:  On the Hill last week, we witnessed Darrel Issa’s sausage fest committee hearing regarding insurance coverage for women’s reproductive services. That women were noticeably absent from the opening panel’s testimony was explained away as irrelevant because, as Issa explained,  the issue was not about birth control, but “religious freedom.” Continue reading