Friday, March 28, 2014

Putin on the Ritz – The Right’s Unabashed, Unrequited Love for a Tyrannical Enemy of Freedom

Who ordered the cheesecake?

“I love him, I love him, I love him,
And where he goes,
I'll follow, I'll follow, I'll follow.
He'll always be my true love, my true love, my true love 
From now until forever, forever, forever” 
 – 2014 Republican Party Platform

"I looked the man in the eye. I found him to be very straightforward and trustworthy... I was able to get a sense of his soul." - George W. (Moe) Bush, Hellbound war criminal

"People are looking at Putin as one who wrestles bears and drills for oil. They look at our president as one who wears mom jeans. - Sarah (Larry) Palin, who’d like to “wrestle bare” with Vlad, you betcha’

“Putin is right on these issues... he has taken a stand to protect his nation’s children from the damaging effects of any gay and lesbian agenda... America’s own morality has fallen so far that on this issue — Russia’s standard is higher than our own." - Franklin (Curly) Graham, False Idol

Sedition: any action, especially in speech or writing, promoting rebellion or discontent against a government.

Ah, our beloved Republicans – so often the staunchest of patriots by self-declaration, while behaving virulently unpatriotic in practice. The current and relevant case in point - the titillating tingle, the erotic exhilaration, the feverish fervor, the enchanted evening experienced whenever seeing shirtless, boy-toy Vladimir Putin across a crowded room.  But besides the given, the understood and the obvious that they favor any and every animal, vegetable or mineral to B.H. Obama, what’s to explain this unusual and unexpected, particular affinity between the Communist former KGB agent and America’s Far Right?   Perhaps it’s a new sort of love/hate relationship. Conservatives love Putin because they hate the same things - homosexuals, equality, self-expression, self-determination, truth, justice and the American way. It’s a veritable fraternity of abhorrence for these brethren in oppression.

Sure, Righties yak vociferously about freedom and liberty, but their actual actions yell louder than a Sam Kinison/Bobcat Goldthwait comedy throw-down as, red state by even redder state, they attempt to suppress voter rights, quash marriage equality and battle against any societal parity for women, be it in the home, the workplace or the doctor’s office.

Hosting the Country Music Awards
Putin has become our Radical Right’s archetypical leader because he can put into practice the policies of intolerance and exclusion that they can only dream of, fantasize about and, no doubt in some cases, even pleasure themselves to (that’s right Pat Buchanan and Sarah Palin, I’m calling you out!) He treads the same political and ideology path as Tea-publicans only with the bonafide power to turn their reactionary hopes, wishes and reveries into repulsive reality. Putin’s social conservatism, religious zealotry with support for a state religion, militarism, homophobia; his belief in his right to invade sovereign nations (like W), to harm and imprison those with whom he disagrees, to feign democracy while rigging elections (W again, anybody?)for oligarchical outcome make him a CPAC dreamboat. And thanks to the sins of the Bush regime, primarily the illicit and illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq with justifications based on lies and with no legitimate reasons but for the 39.5 billion dollars in profit pocketed by Halliburton and paid for by the blood of over 180,000 dead, we are left with very little, to zero, moral high-ground with which to counter this 21st century despot.

After nation invading and killing innocents, nothing refreshes like a shared Latin American vacation!

“Words of Love, Soft and Tender Won’t Win a Girl’s Heart Anymore”- Their Passion for Putin

“Russia has a real leader, while our President is incapable and unwilling to lead.” – Ralph Peters, Fox News Contributor, Founder Republicans for Judas

“Putin decides what he wants to do and does it in half a day. He makes a decision and executes it quickly and everybody reacts. That’s what you call a real leader.” – Rudolph Giuliani, former New York City Mayor, 2008 Presidential Candidate, Hair Club for Men Member

“(He’s) the defender of the Christian civilization… the lion of Christianity, the defender of Christian values, the president that’s calling his nation back to embracing its identity as a nation founded on Christian values” - Bryan Fischer, American Family Association, Bible Cherry Picker, Matthew 7:1 “Judge not, that ye not be judged.”

"Putin really has been schooling our President of the United States on how to be a leader." -  Steve Doocy, Fox & Friends, C.O.O. Simpletons United

"Vladimir Putin has looked like a statesman" - Pat Buchanan, one-time Blackshirt and Nixon towel boy
"He's a statesman, he's a partner in peace and he's in a position where he can lecture the United States of America."- Charles Krauthammer, Syndicated Columnist, visage responsible for more cracked mirrors than the San Andreas Fault
"If this were a tennis match it would be the umpire shouting advantage Putin."-  Sen. Rand Paul, Chia Pet
Just an old softy
 How Do They Love Thee? Let Me Count the Ways - Putin’s Resume
"Millions around the world increasingly see America not as a model of democracy but as relying solely on brute force, cobbling coalitions together under the slogan, 'You're either with us or against us.'" - Vladimir Putin
Before the GOP files the legal documentation for the official nomenclature change to Good Old Putin, some lowlights from the matinee idol who sets Teabag hearts aflutter and launches libidos into overdrive -
Anyone with a remote control is aware of Russia’s recent annexation of Crimea and its installation of soldiers on the Ukraine border (Obama’s fault, of course) but a U.S. State Department study reveals the wide-ranging extent of Putin’s human right’s violations. He has suppressed dissent, persecuted LGBT citizens, ignored the rule of law and allowed killing and torture by police -
“… allegations of torture and excessive force by law enforcement officials, life-threatening prison conditions, interference in the judiciary and the right to a fair trial, restrictions on freedom of speech and press, restrictions on free assembly and association, restrictions on religious freedom of some religious minorities, electoral irregularities, widespread corruption, societal and official intimidation of civil society and labor activists, violence against women and limits on the rights of women in certain regions, trafficking in persons, and limitations on workers’ rights… Reports from human rights groups and former police officers indicated that police most often used electric shocks, suffocation, and stretching or applying pressure to joints and ligaments, as those methods are less prone to leave visible marks.”

Then, of course, a particular favorite of America’s holier than thou population is Putin’s “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which makes it unlawful to inform children of the existence of homosexuality or to equate homosexuality with heterosexuality in any way. Violators face fines, jail time, and immediate deportation (the latter being much more of a reward than a punishment.)  Resulting violence against members of the LGBT community has skyrocketed as police not only provide no protection but actively participate in the brutality (actions many U.S. Bible-thumpers label, “defending our religious liberties.”)

A tough ruler. A tender lover.
Treason: a violation of allegiance to one’s state.

In this era of Barack Obama, Republicans have demonstrated, time and again, their disloyalty to America and to its foundation and principles. And their voracious, vocal and vehement adoration and veneration for Russian President Vladimir Putin is merely a continuation and most contemporary articulation of that outlook.
Ironically and irrationally, while GOP supporters wrongfully paint our president a Communist, they’ve fallen head over heels for a genuine, card-carrying member of the Stalinist flock, preferring a ruthless, dictatorial, Bolshevik, foreign leader to an American, democratically- elected President whose ascension and whose biography is the living embodiment of the American Dream. The Right-wing’s problem with pigmentation perception is tragically sad, and pragmatically perilous for, when all is said and done, no matter the harrowing consequences, in the cocktail lounge of global politics a Conservative will always chose a White Russian over a Black and Tan.

We conclude as Little Peggy March performs the Tea Party marching orders, “I Will Follow Him.”

Any comments, questions, criticisms, candid confessions, cash contributions? Contact me at butchersaprons@mail.com.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Las Vegas: The Good, the Bad and the Osmonds

Luck Be a Lady Tonight, I Don’t Want to Catch Hepatitis

How Donny and Marie Softened a Hardened Heart

Today's essay was originally and inaccurately entitled "Las Vegas: Trash Bin of America" and as one would imagine by such a startling, starting descriptive, it was not intended to be in any way, shape or form a flattering depiction of the Nevada resort city. But no matter how closed one's mind, no matter how petty one's thoughts, no matter how snobby or superior one's initially unwavering ethos or impression of a place not their home or not in entirety to their taste or experiences or preferences (and after being rightfully labeled a "grump" by one's thankfully patient and tolerant traveling companion) even such severe and prejudicially incorrect and unfair opinions and beliefs can still be easily altered, so people get ready, there's a change a-comin’. But at the offset, I do beg your indulgence and request you bear with me, for without the highly negative beginning, there can be no shock of positive discovery or ultimately pleasant denouement.

The Malfeasance of Misconception

Las Vegas - city of wonder, city of magic, a land of dreams pursued, and dreams fulfilled. Of golden-hued sunsets and gathering gaggles of red-state residents joining groups from even redder states, rebel flag tattoos proudly unfurled on flabby flesh, billowing in the autumn breeze like Granny’s bloomers on the laundry line; all gregariously welcoming the unlimited supplies of fermented spirits, opened wallets, opened hearts and the opened appendages of the celebrated and explicitly advertised army of the workers of the evening.

New York, New York - "Give me your tired, your poor, your drunken gamblers yearning to breathe free."
Worth and station measured by volume of alcohol consumed, regaling comrades with tall tales of the glory of drunken revelries and exploits, as if such yarns bespeak rare and admirable accomplishments of which there is ever a boast or brag (should auld acquaintance be forgot, keep your eye on that grand old flag, as it’s highly likely that an unsteady tourist may lose his comped lunch upon it.)

Where class is something you take to learn to work a stripper pole, where the wisest and wealthiest man is surely the one with the forethought to open the first Hoveround dealership and where troubles melt like lemon drops away above the chimney tops as you enjoy refined and cultured artists by the names of Carrot Top, Tater Salad “the “cigar-smoking, scotch-drinking funnyman”, Vinnie Favorito, Winston the Impersonating Turtle and those who have invested in sufficient cosmetic surgery to resemble a beloved deceased celebrity nightly plying their trade in theatres bearing their own appellations, finding gold in them there hills and making Branson look like the Globe or Old Vic. 

Enter the hotel piano bar, ordinarily a city’s site of sophistication, purveyor of the melodious tunes and erudite lyrics of the Gershwins, Cole Porter and Rodgers and Hart, but in this venue instead dominated by selections from the Beavis and Butthead, heavy metal CD collection, presented by an ivory-tinkler who thinks it the highest level of humor, wit and urbanity to replace the proper lyrics with ones of his own, primarily consisting of references to genitalia and their use, maintenance and care, while overly-mature and inebriated patrons howl with gales of laughter as if being privy to and pleasured by the finest comedy mind since Lenny Bruce and Richard Pryor. "Very witty, Wilde.” Many a cougar in heated hope and unfulfilled anticipation pounced upon said pianist with flashes of usually unexposed skin and accompanied promises of a conceivable carnal carnival to come.

For any female working within the confines of these bars, casinos, restaurants or lounges, no matter their age, health or physical conditioning, the wearing of barely-there, Victoria Secret-knock-off undergarments as outerwear is a strict and unwavering requirement in order to maintain any kind of steady employment. Modernity and societal progress lost in a Gloria Steinem nightmare come to daylight fruition.

If it's true that what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, as a civilization, we are all better off for that.

Or so, I first believed. And while much of the negative preface, greatly exaggerated for humorous intent, contains elements of veracity and reality, there is much more to be had here. For like a shopping spree in TJ Maxx or Daffy’s, true there is shoddy polyester to be procured but delve a little further into the merchandise and unearth the quality cottons and fine silks. Although Las Vegas is not home to a Carnegie Hall, a Lincoln Center, a Metropolitan Opera, it is where you’ll revel in Marie Osmond’s remarkable and impressive performance of Puccini’s famed aria, “Nessun Dorma” and where you can dine on fine French fare in elegant surroundings with a view of almost unsurpassed excellence, cheerfully served by friendly, happy, hospitable and helpful bar and restaurant workers and staff, positive proof that unionization works without resulting in Steve Wynn sobbing in his champagne, crying poverty.

Dinner with a view
A Brother and Sister Act Save the Soul of a Vacation

Talk about turning a frown upside down, friends, this I swear, you can arrive at the striking Donny and Marie Showroom as the beaten-down, sad subject of a country and western ballad – friendless, jobless, your domicile, that very day, a victim of a vile arsonist, and you’ll depart that theatre entertained, contented, grinning ear to ear, the fortunate recipient of that week’s Powerball jackpot.

Donny's Dancing with the Stars Spoils
In complete candor and honesty, I attended their show with some expectation of kitsch as entertainment (once again cementing my wrong-headedness in every aspect of this journey) with vague memories of likable and wholesome teens hosting a dated 70's Sid and Marty Krofft variety hour, of bad apples and paper roses; but Donny and Marie won over my erroneous attitude with undeniable ability and versatility in a well-produced, well-presented, wonderfully performed 90 minutes that had me wanting more and more and made me a true believer with a desire to see them both relocate to my Gotham home, star in each and every show on the Great White Way and further brighten the footlights of Broadway.

Leave preconceived notions at the entrance, these Osmonds are mature, stylish, experienced entertainers - recording, television, concert and Broadway veterans, blessed with tremendous innate talent, which has only grown and developed in their five decades of performing. They have lived full lives, experienced the good, the joyful, the tragic and the woeful that all adults must sometime encounter and that only serves to enhance the interpretive abilities of a performing artist. This is both a classic and classy partnership in full, engaging and compelling bloom.

As a vacation destination is “New York, New York,” New York? Is “the Paris Hotel,” Paris? Is Las Vegas London, Amsterdam, Florence or Venice? No. But even in a place where sex and alcohol are considered legitimate and accepted forms of currency, many a gem can be mined.

The best that exists on Youtube of Marie's operatic chops appears to be from an audience member's cellphone. Obviously, the quality is lacking but you'll get a taste.

Any comments, questions, criticisms, candid confessions, cash contributions? Contact me at butchersaprons@mail.com.