Thursday, November 14, 2013

Republicans Can't Be Shamed


Republicans did everything they could do sabotage Obamacare including running ads on TV urging people, especially young people, to not sign up. Now they want to use the low sign up rates to accomplish their political goal of repealing it. According to the National Review, a Republican Party propaganda website, Boehner reminded his colleagues yesterday about his repeal strategy and explained how bringing the “keep your plan” bill introduced by anti-healthcare plutocrat Fred Upton to the House floor tomorrow fits into it. “Remember the strategy for stopping Obamacare we laid out to you back in July. It had two components: Aggressive, coordinated oversight, and targeted legislative strikes aimed at shattering the legislative coalition the president has used to force his law on the nation,” crowed Boehner. He smells victory in his war against providing health insurance for poor people.

Other Boehner accomplishments this session include killing comprehensive immigration reform that was ease the burden of 11 million undocumented immigrants, cutting billions of dollars from the food stamps program that feed families suffering privation because of GOP economic policies that tanked the jobs market, and killing the bill to end workplace discrimination against the LGBT community. People say Boehner and his political allies should be publicly shamed and humiliated for these things. But he-- and they-- are celebrating their victories with the wealthy oligarchs who finance their political careers and have no inkling there's anything to be ashamed about.

The New Kids on the Block were not my kind of music. But in the late 1980's I was working at Sire Records trying to break the Mighty Lemon Drops, Ocean Blue and John Wesley Harding while introducing U.K. superstar Morrissey to a wider audience in America. The New Kids on the Block were the biggest band act in the country and nothing was working for my artists. Until… Tommy Page, a young singer wound up on tour with the New Kids and writing a song, I'll Be Your Everything with 2 of them while they were out on the road. The song was produced for Tommy's next album by New Kid's Jordan Knight and Donnie Walberg and it did what we could never do with Morrissey, the Mighty Lemon Drops, Ocean Blue or John Wesley Harding… it went to #1. (Twenty-three years later and Tommy, now a successful music business executive with a brood of children, is in Indonesia playing concerts this week because of that song!) The song put the New Kids on my radar, of course and when Donnie Walberg's little brother, Marky Mark, started his own career as a pre-Eminem white rapper, I was paying attention… a little, and even noticed when he became an underwear model. And then an actor. Mark Walberg has lasted and, at age 42, is a serious Hollywood actor. The troubled, violent, racist Copley Square High School dropout from a poor Boston family-- with 8 brothers and sisters-- wound up in jail long before his success. "As soon as I began that life of crime, there was always a voice in my head telling me I was going to end up in jail. Three of my brothers had done time. My sister went to prison so many times I lost count. Finally I was there, locked up with the kind of guys I'd always wanted to be like. Now I'd earned my stripes and I was just like them, and I realized it wasn't what I wanted at all. I'd ended up in the worst place I could possibly imagine and I never wanted to go back. First of all, I had to learn to stay on the straight and narrow… I've made a lot of mistakes in my life and I've done bad things, but I never blamed my upbringing for that. I never behaved like a victim so that I would have a convenient reason for victimizing others. Everything I did wrong was my own fault. I was taught the difference between right and wrong at an early age. I take full responsibility."

Unlike fellow Catholic John Boehner, Walberg is very capable of feeling shame. He's in the news this week for expressing it publicly-- at the premier of his new film, Lone Survivor right up the street from my house on Tuesday night. The movie is an adaptation of Petty Officer Marcus Luttrell’s account of his Navy SEALS mission in Afghanistan in 2005 which director Peter Berg recreates with harrowing, explicit, and relentless precision.
When Wahlberg took the stage with Berg and Petty Officer Luttrell after the credits rolled for a brief Q&A, he looked distraught and distracted. After Luttrell explained how he and Berg teamed up for the film, the moderator, Festival Director Jacqueline Lyanga, turned to Wahlberg to ask about his rigorous training and the rough shoot. Wahlberg looked visibly pained by the question and started on what would become an almost five-minute monologue. “For actors to sit there and talk about ‘oh I went to SEAL training’? I don’t give a fuck what you did. You don’t do what these guys did. For somebody to sit there and say my job was as difficult as being in the military? How fucking dare you, while you sit in a makeup chair for two hours,” Wahlberg said.

He continued: “I don’t give a shit if you get your ass busted. You get to go home at the end of the day. You get to go to your hotel room. You get to order your fucking chicken. Whatever the f-ck it is. People talk about what do we do to bond the way that those guys bonded. We just knew what they did. It didn’t matter. I didn’t have to say a word to Emile [Hirsch] or a word to Taylor Kitsch, Ben Foster…who’s my brother even though he’s the kind of actor who wants to continuously debate the debate and everything else…and I love him for it. I gave him half my salary…whatever I gave him…to do it because I knew how great he was and for us to be on that mountain together and in the end I could just look at him and it would break my heart knowing that that’s my brother and I may never see him again. But it just seems like so much more than that.”

“I’ve done the movies where I talk about…’God, I trained for four and a half years and I was The Fighter‘ and fuck all that. It really means nothing. I love Marcus [Luttrell] for what he’s done and I’m a very lucky guy to do what I do and I’m proud to have been part of it, but it’s just so much bigger than what I do. I love Pete [Berg] for what he did and how committed he was,” he said. “He would never let any one of us forget about what was important in the course of making the movie and whether it was Marcus or the other SEAL guys, if they saw something that didn’t ring true, I don’t care if it was going to be the biggest stunt sequence in the movie, they would cut, call bullshit, and grab all of us by the fucking neck and say ‘no do it this way, and do it right and make it real’ and if you don’t it’s a problem. I was really proud to be a part of that.”

Wahlberg finished by saying, simply: “I’m sorry for losing my shit. Don’t ask any more questions tonight.”
Boehner hits the bottle too so… you never know.

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At 10:04 AM, Blogger Naomi Seligman (LA) said...

Thanks for giving us some much-needed perspective.


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