CULTURE

Kirstie Alley's Awful Tweets (Still) Point to Everything Broken in American Politics

Her thoughts on billionaires, socialism, and impeachment betray a complete disinterest in understanding the topics she discusses

Update 3/24/2020: Kirstie Alley has kept her streak of awful going. Taking to Twitter last night, Alley praised Donald Trump's "recent decorum, sincerity, & care," and his "willingness to solve problems." This despite the fact that Trump's delayed response to the COVID-19 pandemic has sent US infection rates on a trajectory that exceeds Italy's terrifying model, and shortly after news that an Arizona couple had poisoned themselves trying to take advantage of the unproven "cure" that Trump has recklessly touted in his press conferences.

The tweet also comes amid a newly opened debate about whether the country should return to business as usual before the pandemic has run its course—allowing the healthcare system to be overwhelmed, and many thousands or millions to die in a misguided effort to prop up the foundering stock market. As Trump put it, "Our country wasn't built to be shut down."


When Kirstie Alley, star of Cheers and Look Who's Talking, was last in headlines, she was explaining how she had traded a cocaine habit for a flower addiction.

It's actually a really sweet story, but whatever is in those flowers must be pretty great stuff and seems to have overwhelmed any awareness of our cultural moment or political realities, because she has since been feeling herself on Twitter in a way that is truly remarkable. The latest entry in the saga arrived around the time the impeachment vote was announced on Wednesday night, when Donald Trump officially became the third president in US history to be impeached. If you want to say that impeachment may not be the right political move, or that other articles of impeachment would have been more effective, there are valid arguments to make. But Alley's take is not one of them.

Alley adopted a sage tone to declare it a "dangerous precedent" and let the world know that "it's gonna be a bumpy decade," as if allowing a president to exchange political help for military aid would not be a dangerous precedent, as if the coming years could somehow be anything but "bumpy" to the point of terrifying division and chaos. What world has she been living in? Does she not realize that the US is currently more divided than at any time since the Civil War? That every Republican lawmaker is beholden to a Trump-adoring constituency in a way that precludes any criticism of his petulant whims, racism, or corruption?

This is not the first time Alley has tweeted regrettable opinions about Trump and the Republican Party. She actually endorsed him in 2016 before walking back that endorsement after the Access Hollywood "grab them by the pussy" tape came out. So maybe she has an ulterior motive in criticizing the Democrats for finally standing up to this absurd regime. More importantly, when she talks about the dire backlash that's headed our way, what does she think that will look like? Will Republicans no longer allow a Democratic president to appoint a Supreme Court justice? Will they redraw maps to cling to power? Or adopt obstructionist tactics with the explicit goal of ensuring that the next Democrat in power only serves a single term? Or maybe they'll just track down a petty personal scandal to build an impeachment case on. That would be so crazy...

In case you don't feel like clicking those links, I'll just let you and Kirstie Alley know that all those things have already happened. And the process of avoiding craven political retaliation from the Republicans would be literally indistinguishable from letting them do whatever they want. So… nice try.


But Alley has other opinions, too. On Monday she also wanted the world to know that she is staunchly anti-socialist. So much so that she recently compared the term "democratic socialist" to "gentle nazi." Strange, then, that the handful of Democratic Socialist countries in Europe are listed as full democracies, according to the Democratic Index. This is in contrast to America's "flawed democracy." And really, all the countries rated "full democracies" incorporate more socialist-leaning policies than the US—like single-payer health care, or fully socialized medicine, just as an example. Is it possible that Kirstie Alley doesn't know what she's talking about? Did she grow up in an era that poisoned her mind with trickle-down, free market, American exceptionalism, domino effect Cold War propaganda? Is she maybe…a boomer?

Democracy Index

The reality is that, whatever the issues with its implementation, the underlying ethos of socialism is fundamentally more democratic than that of capitalism. Under true capitalism—and to a lesser extent America's dilute form—owners necessarily control everything from work to speech to political power. You have rights to the extent that you can own things, and the right to ownership is the only one that's fundamental. Under true socialism—and to a lesser extent the dilute form found in Scandinavia—workers are in control of their work and the nation's wealth belongs to the will and the needs of its citizens.

In other words, a Democratic Socialist is far from the contradiction Alley lays out in "gentle Nazi." So as long as we're in agreement that Nazis are fundamentally violent and bad, maybe we can get on the same team with standing up to the politician who has made them feel welcome in America? And if we aren't going to impeach him for creating concentration camps at the border and deporting tens of thousands of people to face death and sexual assault as a result of violence that we export to our southern neighbors, can we at least hold him accountable when he tries to cheat his way through reelection? No? That's a bad precedent?

concentration camp

The truth is that the truly bad precedents in our politics stretch back decades. Since at least the days of Newt Gingrich, the GOP has adopted the approach of pushing as far right as they possibly can while labelling taxes, regulations, social services, and critiques of expanding wealth inequality as "Socialism." In response, Clintonist Democrats have tacked toward the center on economic issues, running away from any accusation of radicalism or a desire for dramatic change.

The result has been that the political left in America has spent decades slowly eroding while the "center" has shifted further and further toward the economic right—toward favoring ownership above all else. And while those economic right policies are not really all that popular with Americans today, the regressive social agenda that the GOP has attached to it has a vocal, enthusiastic core of straight white support—one that makes plenty of room for figures like Donald Trump, Steve King, David Duke, and real, live, non-gentle Nazis.

Now Millennials are faced with being the first generation of Americans since the New Deal who have worse prospects for the future than their parents. And Kirstie Alley apparently sees nothing wrong with that. While many of us are waking up to a potential for economic progress and wondering if the socialist boogeyman was all that scary to begin with, Kirstie just wants to go back to the civil politics that brought all of this on—back to a time when the idea of a more equitable distribution of wealth was not even on the table.

Peter Daou

Fortunately, not everyone is so rigid in their mindset. Alley's thoughts on socialism were prompted by an interaction with Hillary-Clinton-advisor-turned-darling-of-the-far-left Peter Daou, who had offered a challenge to Twitter at large: justify the existence of billionaires. Come up with a reason why any individual should own so much money. So much power. Money rules our lives—our politics, our press, our legal system—so what could possibly justify one person having such immense sway over all those sectors? The power to buy legislation, kill negative news stories, and get away with any crime you want to commit. Who deserves that?

Alley had a lazy and thoughtless response ready to go: all you have to do is come up with something really nifty! If enough people want to give you money for it, you deserve to have dominion over the world! The follow up was even less compelling, but I want to dig in on this idea. Don't get me wrong, people who create great products and services deserve reward and recognition. Of all the world's ultra-wealthy people, the small group of successful creators are the ones who most nearly deserve what they have. But a billion of dollars?

Let's say you invent a cool video game that everyone likes? Well, now you have enough money that you can blast your awesome opinions about race and sexuality as loudly as you want. Good for you, Notch! Though you might want to spread your wings and buy up some media companies like some other billionaires have done. If you do that, you can basically just run for president and everyone will have to take you seriously! All because of that video game you came up with, Notch. Or the money you illegally inherited from your dad, Donald. Or that emerald mine in Africa, Elon. Makes a lot of sense.

young elon Definitely looks like a kid who deserves even more money

It would be easy and petty to run through Kirstie Alley's acting credits as though the legacy of Veronica's Closet precludes her from doing some background reading before involving herself in politics. I don't think that actors of any stripe—or anyone else with a platform, an audience, and a message—should be excluded from a conversation on the basis of benign things they've done for money. That isn't why Kirstie Alley is out of her depth here.

You can make movies about talking babies and even be a Scientologist and still have important things to say—though maybe not about psychiatry. You also don't need to have three degrees in political science to have a valid opinion on current events. But if you really think that creating a thing that people want is so inherently good as to justify the wild excesses of unrestrained capitalism, you should at least be willing to read The Lorax to get a sense of where that leads.

Leah Remini better not be hoping for a dinner invitation from Tom Cruise, Kirstie Alley, or John Travolta anytime soon.

The 44-year-old is opening up about the craziness of her time in the Church of Scientology—and, that’s very likely to not sit well with those still committed to the controversial organization.

As Popdust previously reported, The King of Queens star caused a Scientology furor when she left the church in 2013, claiming she did so for the sake of her daughter.

Shortly after, Remini spoke to Ellen Degeneres about how she had been shunned by her former Scientology friends

"It's hard. We lost friends that can no longer talk to us who are still in the organization,” she said. “And these are friends that we've had for dozens of years. But I have great friends, other friends that are not in the church, that have stood by us. Our family is stronger, we're together and that's all I can ask for."

Remini is now discussing the subject further, talking about the demands the church allegedly puts on members, and how difficult it was for her to get the hell out.

"My mother was in Scientology my whole life,” she tells Oprah, during a recording of Winfrey’s Where Are They Now? “Most people don't know that we were raised in it. I didn't decide to get into it — I was brought into it by my mom."

"I don't think people know the amount of dedication it takes to be in this organization,” she goes on to claim. “I mean it was every day, three-and-a-half hours minimum, seven days a week usually. You know, I'm working most of my time, and then the other time was spent at the church, so minimal time is really spent with your family."

"I was at one of these hotels in Florida, and I saw my daughter swimming for the first time while I'm reading this thing [Scientology coursework]” Remini continues. “And a tear came down my face. And I was like, 'What am I doing?'"

Two years on from her exit, and Remini admits she’s still struggling to adjust to everyday life outside of the church.

"Our decision to leave the organization — it's not just something you get over,” she explains. “It's people and a lifestyle you've known all your life. It formed who I am, good and bad. It formed the way I think, good and bad. And so there's a lot of pain connected to it, there's a lot of healing.

“When you are raised in something, and you are taught to think a certain way, a lot of times you grow up thinking, 'That's the way I think.' I'm learning there's a new world out here, and there shouldn't be any kind of judgment toward somebody who has a belief system that is not yours."

Wise words indeed.

So, how is Scientology responding to the comments from their star defector—in a caring, compassionate, loving and forgiving manner, befitting that of a supposed religious organization? Or, in a nasty, angry, spiteful little-bitch bully way?

Hmmm….. that's a tough one…..

Well, here’s their statement:

Given Leah Remini's insatiable desire for attention, it comes as no surprise that for two years she has been incapable of moving on with her life and remains obsessed with shamelessly exploiting her former religion in a pathetic attempt to get publicity.

Ah! Scientology, keeping it classy since 1954…….

Kirstie Alley and Maksim Chmerkovskiy have been close ever since they were partners on Dancing With the Stars.

But recently the relationship seems to have broken down, and Maksim is hinting his friendship with Jennifer Lopez might have something to do with it.

JLo is, of course, best friends with the lovely Leah Remini, a notorious ex-Scientologist who has spoken out against the church. Kirstie has made it clear Leah is persona non grata, and it sounds as if she has essentially "dumped" Maks as a result.

"She stopped getting along with me," Maksim told Andy Cohen on Tuesday's Watch What Happens Live. "We had a great relationship … But I got a message now that I am associating with other people that she can't be associated with, I am no longer to be spoken with, and sorry, but it is what it is."

Despite Kirstie's behavior, Maks is taking the high road and refuses to hold a grudge.

"I think the world of her," he said. "I'm not judging people by their religion. I'm Jewish. I don't really believe in science fiction, but whatever. It's sad that we've gone through so much together, and I feel like I've helped her. And this is where we're at now. But I still think the world of her, and I wish her all the best."

Pfft, who WOULDN'T want to hang out with JLo and Leah over Kirstie? There's no competition here at ALL.

 

Leah Remini is opening up about her decision to leave the Church of Scientology.

The King Of Queens star talked to Buzzfeed about her difficult decision, which has seen her cut-off from former friends who remain in the controversial organization—Popdust has details.

Remini says that after a lifetime growing up in the Church, she finally decided to quit for the sake of her young daughter, Sofia.

“[Sofia] was getting to the age where the acclimation into the Church would have to start,” Remini says.

“I started thinking of my own childhood and how I grew up resenting my mother because she was never home. It’s funny; somehow my father, the guy who left his kids and never paid child support, was excluded from my resentment and I grew up resenting my mother for not being home to make food, like all my friends’ moms were. But my mom thought she was doing something good; she thought she was helping the planet. That’s what the Church tells you.

“In my house, it’s family first — but I was spending most of my time at the Church. So, I was saying ‘family first,’ but I wasn’t showing that. I didn’t like the message that sent my daughter.”

Remini claims she tried to fix things within the Church, but their unwillingness to change ultimately cemented her decision to leave.

“We had a chance to make a change from within, but they didn’t want to,” Remini explains. “That showed me they didn’t actually care, which went against everything I thought we stood for... They didn’t care about doing the right thing. That showed me everything the Church taught me was a lie.”

Although Remini’s Scientology best buddy Kirstie Alley has firmly turned her back on her for deserting the Church, along with other once close pals, Leah has still got the support of one friend, Jennifer Lopez.

“Jennifer made special rings for all the women in her life that say, ‘I Love Me,” and I’ve really come to realize you have to love yourself before you can expect someone else to,” Remini says.

“You have to learn to believe you deserve love. And I’m getting there. I’m starting to believe it.”

By Leah Ornstein

You may have spent your Thanksgiving gorging on food with your family, but that doesn’t mean you have to continue the eat-a-thon until 2014! Get a little thinspiration from these 10 Hollywood stars, who against all odds, shaped up and slimmed down with diet and exercise. From Christina Aguilera, who flaunted her totally slimmed down and bangin’ bod at the American Music Awards this week, to hot mama Jessica Simpson, check out these miraculous transformations right here.