Sticky Fingers/Fear & Loathing 40 Years

Aquarian Weekly 5/4/11 REALITY CHECK

ART OF THE GIDDY HANGOVER or How Hunter Thompson and The Stones Drove a Spike into Hippie Hearts

Did you ever wake up to find A day that broke up your mind Destroyed your notion of circular time It’s just that demon life has got you in its sway. – The Rolling Stones/Sticky Fingers Our energy would simply prevail. There was no point in fighting–on our side or theirs. We had all the momentum; we were riding the crest of a high and beautiful wave….So now, less than five years later, you can go up on a steep hill in Las Vegas and look West, and with the right kind of eyes you can almost see the high-water mark –that place where the wave finally broke and rolled back. – Hunter S. Thompson/Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas

Sticky FingersIt happened in the spring of 1971, forty years ago now.

It was like a snap; the kind of ghastly sound a finely tuned athlete hears when it all goes wrong inside. A major tendon gives way. A knee buckles. The elbow dangles gruesomely. Pain. Terror. The very real sensation that the change from full-speed ahead to over can be cruelly immediate, and soon, very soon there will be a long, dreadful period of rehabilitation. Even then, there’s no guarantee the body will ever be the same again.

Oh, the game goes on, but not for some.

This is what happened when the fast-paced, anything-goes wild and free Sixties youth movement heard a snap from deep inside. Actually, it was two snaps; one literary, the other musical. A long-form, two-part journal piece gone awry for Rolling Stone magazine, rather haphazardly titled, Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas, and a ten-song ball-breaker of a record called Sticky Fingers.

In March of ’71, journalist Hunter S. Thompson, who was a year removed from “inventing” a frantic style of fantastic deadline humping gibberish called Gonzo, escaped to Las Vegas with a Chicano lawyer by the name of Oscar Zeta Acosta to ostensibly work on an investigative piece about a slain East L.A. activist named Ruben Salazar. To bankroll the proceedings, Thompson accepted a Sports Illustrated gig to cobble together 300 words on a weird desert event called the Mint 400 motorcycle race, but ended up delivering a 25,000 word screed about drugs, violence and mayhem.

Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas would become a sensation, then a book, and inevitably made Hunter Thompson a star, helping to create a bestial character which would enslave him for the rest of his life. But as he struggled with the mountain of his random scribblings and garbled tape musings in a San Francisco hotel room through much of April and May, what Hunter Thompson was actually doing was fashioning a eulogy; a final dirge for the hippie generation and an ugly mirror poised on a drug culture he would expertly exploit in a long and very successful literary career.

Fear & Loathing in Las VegasThompson’s last biographer, William McKeen aptly describes Fear & Loathing as “a look back at the promise and hope of the Sixties that had been stomped to death somewhere in the middle of 1968”, the year that the its author was beaten with other anti-war protesters outside the Democratic Convention in Chicago.

As the crippling images of hotel, automobile and brain cell destruction began to careen from his IBM selectric typewriter, the dark, savage rhythms of “Sympathy for the Devil” blasted from Thompson’s tape recorder — a song recorded in 1968 by The Rolling Stones and one quite prevalent in his unfolding tale. It was the very song the band played at the infamous Altamont free concert just outside San Francisco in December of 1969 as a man was being stabbed to death by a pack of booze-addled Hell’s Angels. Ironically, two years before, and one year before the Stones unleashed “Sympathy” into the fading echoes of the Summer of Love, Hunter S. Thompson made a fringe motorcycle gang famous with his first groundbreaking book, Hell’s Angels.

In April of 1971, across the Atlantic, The Rolling Stones’ new album, Sticky Fingers was wrapping blues riffs and snarling vocals around what would be Thompson’s final bugle call for the Sixties. Before long the two would remain connected by time and tone for what would be dueling Baby Boomer tolling bells.

The Stones had been hinting at what might be coming for two previous records, Beggar’s Banquet and Let It Bleed, both sinister clarions to the darker side of the counter-culture soon to be realized in political assassinations and street riots, an escalating Viet Nam War, the Manson Family murders and the deaths of four pop icons, one of them a former Rolling Stone. But Sticky Fingers is different. It is a dreary exhale, less foreboding and more grimly apathetic, as if the sense that doom could be avoided or marked as historical imperative was laughable. It was just doom, both personal and cultural, and that’s all.

But this was The Rolling Stones, so the doom was fraught with tongue wagging humor, a whistle past the gallows reeking with funk and jazz and down home raunchy blues, country honk and bittersweet melancholia. Never had the death knell of fast times sounded so goddamn good.

“It’s a bleak record about what the morning looks like after a decade of unchecked hedonism,” rock journalist and author, Robert Greenfield told me on the occasion of his last book about his time with the Stones in the South of France. “The Stones were making it clear the party was over and what was left was not pretty.” Sticky Fingers, it’s most charming song boasted a rather spot-on metaphor for the sharp decline in hippie ardor, “Dead Flowers”, was the kind of “fun’s over” message the purveyors of decadence would be gleefully inclined to make.

As Thompson was imagining the Death of the American Dream as a fat-cat fascist money-grubbing moral sinkhole on the Vegas Strip invaded by acid-crazed radicals hell-bent on wresting its corpse from Mother Authority, The Stones filled the airwaves with odes to slave master rape, misanthropic suicide jags, and morphine hallucinations.

As Thompson was imagining the Death of the American Dream as a fat-cat fascist money-grubbing moral sinkhole on the Vegas Strip invaded by acid-crazed radicals hell-bent on wresting its corpse from Mother Authority, The Stones filled the airwaves with odes to slave master rape, misanthropic suicide jags, and morphine hallucinations. Thompson’s “gross, physical salute to the fantastic possibilities of life in this country” is echoed in Mick Jagger’s haunting “Moonlight Mile” with his “dreams fading down the railway line” or Keith Richards’ rather dire “I have my freedom but I don’t have much time” from the gorgeous “Wild Horses”.

Then, of course, there is the drugs; as in the opening paragraph of Fear & Loathing wherein a phalanx of pharmaceuticals is recited as if names in an invading army troop, soon to be consumed in herculean fashion by men (too weird to live, but too rare to die”) who would finally be overcome but not defeated by the “excessive consumption of almost every drug known to civilized man since 1544 AD”. Not to be outdone by the “cocaine eyes” and “speed-freak jive” of Sticky Fingers, wherein nearly every song has at least one reference to mind altering — it’s seductions, consequences and mysteries.

Make no mistake, Fear & Loathing in Las Vegas nor Sticky Fingers celebrate drug abuse, although both Thompson (an openly unrepentant dope fiend until his suicide in 2005) and Richards (Keith is still kicking and has recently released his memoir, which reads as an unapologetic junkie handbook). They simply tell the truth about the experience — something rarely found in either the Feed Your Head or Just Say No camps four decades since. In these tales of excess, the piper indeed comes to call. And perhaps no more honest portrayal of the drug culture has been improved upon since Thompson’s masterpiece hit the streets in late 1971.

“We are all wired into a survival trip now. No more of the speed that fueled the 60’s. That was the fatal flaw in Tim Leary’s trip. He crashed around America selling ‘consciousness expansion’ without ever giving a thought to the grim meat-hook realities that were lying in wait for all the people who took him seriously… All those pathetically eager acid freaks who thought they could buy Peace and Understanding for three bucks a hit. But their loss and failure is ours too. What Leary took down with him was the central illusion of a whole life-style that he helped create… a generation of permanent cripples, failed seekers, who never understood the essential old-mystic fallacy of the Acid Culture: the desperate assumption that somebody… or at least some force – is tending the light at the end of the tunnel.”

Hell, or maybe it’s “Love…it’s a bitch!”

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Okay…Donald Trump

Aquarian Weekly 4/27/11 REALITY CHECK

OKAY…DONALD TRUMP

I have tried to ignore Donald Trump. But he will not go away. He is everywhere, interviewed by everyone, and invited to speak anywhere more than two people are gathered. Some part of this is showbiz, but most of it is politics; and whether Trump’s tiptoe through the minefield of the American political landscape becomes official or merely a prelude to another lengthy presidential campaign period is of little concern. It has attracted my attention and motivated words.

Normally, we don’t do celebrity goofy here. I have never wasted an entire column on Glenn Beck or Al Franken or Chris Matthews or Sean Hannity. Okay, admittedly, I’ve cranked out lengthy diatribes on Ann Coulter and Michael Moore, defended Lindsay Lohan and reviewed Robert Downey drug binges, and the above names did occasionally appear to make a cultural point; however, to opine on the absurdity of legitimate discourse is enough of a waste of my time and more importantly yours. But hell, Donald Trump wins. He has chicken-winged me into commentary and for that alone he should be lauded.

Donald TrumpLook, of course Trump is a joke; even he must know this. Nothing he has uttered appears to derive from any particular basis in fact or comes within shouting distance of a point, aside from the shameless expanding of his notoriety. His substantial and very public business failures over the past three decades are a matter of sad public record, and his personal life is just short of an abject embarrassment. His appearance is comical and his speech patterns are that of a jabbering moron on the F train.

Donald Trump has evolved into something even he fails to comprehend, a queer link in the chain of weird American characters that make up the lineage of the fringe presidential candidate. Trump is this century’s marginal power vacuum figure, a strange amalgamation of past Great American Distractions. There is Leonard “Live Forever” Jones, who as a self-proclaimed “immortal” perpetually ran for president in the mid 19th century as the only member of the High Moral Party, but only after curiously declaring himself governor of Kentucky without receiving a single vote. Also, George Francis Train, whose late 19th century run for what he imagined would be the lofty post of Dictator of the Unites States garnered him the kind of press that inspired Jules Verne’s Around the World in Eighty Days. Then in 1965, Homer Tomlinson, who in a fit of pneumatic fever had founded the patently insane but short-lived Theocratic Party, declared himself King of the World.

And as Trump’s forbearers would find, although populist chicanery may gain you much sought-after attention, no one remotely pertinent to the current political environment could seriously go on record to support this disjointed process. But yet, as was the case with former celebrities gone almost presidential like Charles Lindbergh or Douglas MacArthur, acceptance among peers may be a plus but is not paramount to relevance, as Trump holds a lead in most polls of potential or existing Republican candidates.

And aside from performing admirably on the one aspect being a contender demands, incessantly demeaning the incumbent with outlandish and malicious hyperbole, Trump is the one Republican who can say without debate he has never raised taxes.

Sure, it’s a weak early field, but Trump’s standing here is not insignificant. He has everything needed to run for the highest office; money, name recognition, the attention of the national press, and an alternative stance. It’s getting hard to argue against Trump having it over every Republican candidate on all counts.

Although his wealth is mostly wrapped up in questionable real estate concerns, of which he is only partial owner, Trump has shown a strong propensity to bamboozle banks to loan him millions on whimsy alone, something no career politician not named Barack Obama can approach. On name recognition, he has a television show on a major network, while Mike Huckabee hosts a late night thing on a basic cable news network in which Newt Gingrich is merely a “contributor”.

And aside from performing admirably on the one aspect being a contender demands, incessantly demeaning the incumbent with outlandish and malicious hyperbole, Trump is the one Republican who can say without debate he has never raised taxes.

Before leaving Minnesota in a $6.2 million deficit hole, its former governor, Tim Pawlenty raised property and cigarette taxes, while corporate taxes rose 50 percent on his watch. While serving as governor of Massachusetts where he signed into law a more all-encompassing health care government initiative than the current national model, Mitt Romney raised fees on gun permits and marriage licenses, as well as closing corporate tax loop holes. Indiana’s current governor, Mitch Daniels has already proposed raising taxes on individuals making a minimum of $100,000, while increasing the state sales tax.

Thus, Trump has gone from mildly amusing to dangerous loose cannon, precisely why rumors already abound. The first and most intriguing surrounds the idea that Trump is a Democratic invention, mucking up the new and improved “adult conversation” Republican model by acting like a Right Wing loon, not to mention ably filling the crazy/stupid vacuum left by waning Sarah Palin numbers. Another has the Republicans creating Trump as a placebo to the extremist or TEA Party hardliners, an old-fashioned decoy sideshow allowing the current Republican majority in the House to quietly vote to raise the debt ceiling and begin compromising on a reasoned 2011 budget with a Democratic-controlled Senate and White House. Trump also makes religious nuts like Huckabee and idiots like Michelle Bachmann appear as alternatively rational candidates.

Finally, there is the very real possibility the Republicans kick Trump off the bandwagon and he runs as an Independent. According to Public Policy Polling, as cited by conservative columnist Andrew Sullivan in the Daily Beast, Trump is likely to pull 31 percent of the Republican vote, which nationally should ring up anywhere from five to ten percent; less than what Ross Perot garnered to elect Bill Clinton twice or the minuscule but effective Ralph Nader chink in Al Gore’s armor in 2000, but significant enough in a polarized electoral map to easily re-elect Obama.

But fear not, this will be the last we’ll hear from Donald Trump, in this space, or anywhere in the realm of serious or con job politics. Soon, and much sooner than Trump would like, since most of his public life has been glossed over by a well-oiled publicity machine, the terrible truth about his disastrous business decisions, his mountain of defended lawsuits, the complete travesty he made of the once burgeoning United States Football League, which he single-handedly sank, and the entertaining details of two failed marriages will come to light.

Until then, Mr. Trump, I humbly surrender 1,088 words.

Congratulations.

Make that 1,092.

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Countdown To Compromise

Aquarian Weekly 4/13/11 REALITY CHECK

OPENING ACTStaged Drama in the Final Minutes to Avoid Government Shutdown (for now)

It is still an open question, however, as to what extent exposure really injures a performer. – Harry Houdini

The Show was in full force by late Friday night when word came down a mere 22 minutes before the deadline to close the federal government. A deal struck!

For now.

Oooh…drama; as trumped up and distilled as any lame B-Movie script. And as any worthy cliff-hanger, there are heroes and villains, saviors and demons, and of course winners and losers; but alas these titles can and do change by the minute in The District.

Paul RyanAfter a year of feckless deadline-pushing by Democrats, who held “super majorities” in both houses of the legislature for the past year and Republicans, who used every political machination to filibuster and delay voting until what looked like a landslide November would put them more or less in the game, the sausage makers stepped into the spotlight. And they used that spotlight to provide a preview of the political bloodshed to come; the Main Attraction. Soon the 2012 budget and the looming deadline vote to raise the debt ceiling will have to be answered for, and if this is any indication, it will provide the truest elements of drama.

Until then, the Speaker of the House of Representatives was Friday’s big winner. Just as Nancy Pelosi before him, when she pulled off her party’s cherished health care initiative and thus the most significant Democratic legislative victory in a generation, John Boehner displayed great resolve and just the right amount of backroom conniving to rally and then stay his caucus tide; bringing about the greatest single year budget slashing in the nation’s history. Unlike Pelosi though, Boehner needed Democrat votes, especially in the thorny Senate where the rules change on the fly. Make no mistake, as was the case with the Health Care Reform Law, there awaits fallout, but not without the hedging of a political bet.

Boehner’s gamble to include ridiculously frivolous ideological riders like defunding Public Broadcasting or Planned Parenthood or even reduce funding to monitor greenhouse gas omissions and eliminate the funding to implement health care reform, struck gold. As the long hours of Friday passed and the glare of the spotlight shined on the ideological wish list, the Republicans held firm until their last breath, when all along no one, not the president, the Speaker, or the Senate Majority Leader thought any of it had a hoot in hell of surviving, Boehner played the extreme elements of his party, now popularly referred to as the TEA Party, like a pro, while continuing to spew his fiscal mantra –driving up his cut numbers with a deal already in his back pocket. He would not become another Newt Gingrich and take a P.R. beating and revive a politically wounded Democratic president.

It was something this space did not think he had in him, as predicted here last week when it looked like all the world he would hand off this kind of con job to his pit bull, Eric Cantor. But Boehner stiffened, and until the final hours, dangled red meat to his social conservative colleagues, and then by conceding to drop the goofy demands at the last minute, appeared to be giving up the store, when just a few billion were handed back to Democrats already having caved on $78 billion from the original 2011 budget proposal.

Oooh…drama; as trumped up and distilled as any lame B-Movie script. And as any worthy cliff-hanger, there are heroes and villains, saviors and demons, and of course winners and losers; but alas these titles can and do change by the minute in The District.

It may not have been genius, but it was a damned smart and sinister move, and proved Boehner may be a man of his word; this new conservative movement could well actually be about the fiscal and not the usual parade of Terry Schiavo religious wack jobs that crippled the party in 2006, put Barack Obama in the White House, and made media whores out of idiots like Sarah Palin and Glenn Beck.

Seven minutes before 11:00 pm, the victorious Speaker of the House was the first to address the media with less than a minute of standard Republican hoo-ha about “fighting for budget cuts” and “keeping America working”; but took no questions. Eleven minutes later, Boehner’s nemesis, who was also a de facto political victor in this little sideshow, the president of the United States stood before a window overlooking the Washington monument and began waxing poetic about sacrifices and the largest single annual budget cut ever and then went off the rails with a “Joe Cool manipulated the bi-partisan government victory” spin; yammering on about school kids from some God-forsaken mid-western hamlet, finishing his three minutes with a look ahead to “working together as one”.

By 1:00 am, the White House, suddenly presiding over by far a larger one-time program-slashing than anything Ronald Reagan dared attempt, would leak the contents of secret meetings over two days when Boehner and vice president Joe Biden engaged in an Irish stand-off, both threatening to paint the other as a raving lunatic to the press if the government were to shut down, to which the story goes Boehner admitted to his fancy two-step and had to head back to placate the TEA Party just in time to save face.

Ah, but then the losers first had to take to the podium at 11:10 pm, when Senate Majority Leader and poster boy for the mass Stimulus and Health Care moves of 2009, Harry Reid stood in the Capitol chamber and with the hoarse whisper of a broken man spoke of a “grueling process” to hack $40 billion from the government coffers in two months as if it came straight from his bank account, but in reality was a spit in the bucket of the trillions in the hole this government has dug over the past eleven years when a surplus was blown up by supposed conservative Republicans and a president who not only refused to veto one spending bill but signed onto an unfunded tax relief, ran two wars and bloated Medicare on the Chinese jiao.

Four minutes later, Mitch McConnell, who was all-but ignored in this process, stood at his own podium across from Reid and began waving the white flag of “avoiding the repeat of history”, before wrapping up his dreary two minutes by waiting for the thud that was once the Gingrich for President 2012 campaign. His terrible failures of 1995 have finally finished him. There are new legislators in town, Newt, who can get the dirty job done and still look like Yankee Doodle Dandies.

At 11:18, 42 minutes before the dreaded deadline, the reviews for The Show were in: It is a summer blockbuster, passing its script through the United States Senate and then rushed back to the House for an after-midnight vote and then quickly on to the chief executive’s desk.

A $39 billion cut to the trillions tumbling into infinity, and hardly a burp from Wall St. or a whisper on Main St. It was, in the end, just an Opening Act, but what an act! By 1:15 am, Saturday ultra-right congresswoman Michelle Bachmann was on FOXNEWS decrying Boehner as a gutless appeaser and leftist congressman Anthony Weiner was whining about Harry Reid and the president selling out.

Coming soon: Act II — This time it’s personal.

 

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Countdown To Compromise

Aquarian Weekly 4/6/11 REALITY CHECK

COUNTDOWN TO COMPROMISE How Congress Stretches Credibility And Avoids 2011 Government Shutdown

By the time this goes to press, we’re looking at eight days until a “continuing resolution” deadline for the legislative branch to send a bill to the White House or run the risk of a third federal government shutdown of the past sixteen years. Unlike the infamous hissy-fit mid-’90s’ Newt Gingrich/Contract with America variety, the country is mired in at best a stagnant economic recovery and embroiled in three — count ’em! — three military conflicts, the most recent now ratcheted up to something between Viet Nam circa 1955 “advisers” entry level or a pre-Iran/Contra illegal weapons trade smell test. As the Central Intelligence Agency vets the disjointed Libyan mob our nation contemplates arming, the fiscal battle of Capitol Hill has reached its nexus.

John BoehnerThe Republicans proposal of $32 billion in cuts to fund the government, the brainchild of House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan, has risen slightly in a behind the scenes wrangling to a reportedly $33 billion, which the Vice President recently leaked as “the number” most likely to slake Senate Republicans and to a large degree Speaker of the House John Boehner, who has from the very beginning has astutely striven to not become the Ghost of Gingrich while outwardly appearing religiously conservative. This spectacularly difficult juggling act will hopefully for his more reasoned Republican colleagues disallow the Democrats the political Hail Mary it needs to dismantle last November’s GOP congressional gains.

But, alas, as promised, the TEA Party caucus in the House is not screwing around. It plans on pushing a fairly steep $61.5 billion in cuts, and as of the final day of March, held rallies in front of the Capitol to prove it won’t be backing down, and, according to incendiary rhetoric from hardliners like Representatives Mike Pence from Indiana, Minnesota’s Michelle Bachman, South Carolina’s Jim DeMint and Joe Walsh from Illinois, if it ends in a stalemate that halts the running of the federal government, so be it.

Whether this queers Boehner’s two-faced political chicanery or the Vice President’s so-called “deal” and sinks Republicans into a public relations nightmare has yet to play out. Luckily Boehner has his sidekick, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in reserve to push hard against any kind of compromise, while at the same time working out a compromise. And compromise is sure to come; making it less likely that there will be a shutdown or its subsequent political fallout. No matter the outcome, the Speaker can continue to look responsibly legislative; claiming a measure of victory as his party upped the Ryan cut proposals by $1 billion, while Cantor remains unflinchingly hardcore.

No matter the outcome, the Speaker can continue to look responsibly legislative; claiming a measure of victory as his party upped the Ryan cut proposals by $1 billion, while Cantor remains unflinchingly hardcore.

The pit bull of this dynamic duo was on full display this week as Cantor went off the rails telling the press that if the Senate does not act, which it has not in 40-plus days, then the House’s current “continuing resolution” bill will become “the law of the land”. Now, Cantor is no Michelle Bachman. In fact, he appears to have a fair grip on reality and has used that grip at times quite deftly, especially during the contentious Health Care debate, as he sounded like the most sober and genuinely concerned opponent of key elements of the bill, while refraining from the embarrassing “death panels” or “socialism” hyperbole, which bogged down his congressional brethren. So the best estimate from that evidence is that he must know what every eighth-grader not on mescaline should know; that a bill cannot be a law unless passed through the Senate and signed by a president of the United States. Yet there was Cantor late Wednesday afternoon bellowing to a phalanx of national reporters that the House’s current resolution would magically be transformed into law as a consequence of the Senate’s inertia.

The only plausible explanation for Cantor’s silliness is by making a spectacle of himself he shines a pre-deal light on some portion of Republicans who either have to vote for the less-than-devouring budget cuts while holding their collective nose or throw some dissenting votes against it to regain traction on the Right. Like most congressional grandstanding, it is a show, but in this political climate and with larger battles to come, not the least of which the national budget and the debt ceiling deadline, we get a stellar performance worthy of the late Ted Kennedy at his thespian best.

The Democrats have their own scheme; allow the Republicans to fuck up again. Worked out great for Bill Clinton in ’96 when, with able assistance from excrement monger Dick Morris, the president used the “Republicans are going to kill your grandmother” to reclaim the White House. But hand-sitters like New York Senator Chuck Schumer couldn’t care less if this president survives the next two years, as long as the next two weeks gloss over Democratic congressional overreaches of the previous two years. He and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid expect to let the House bill spin in the wind, get the in fighting to spill over into the cable news quagmire, and reap a political windfall.

Meanwhile, as mentioned, the word is that the Senate has already agreed in principle to move forward on the $33 billion resolution. And so now Democrats can feign disappointment and Republicans can fake a red-faced result of being the victims of an end-around. But it will be a small price to pay for moving the fight down the line to other issues, when the Democrats will cry responsibility and the TEA Party will have to stand and be counted or be mocked for a fringe noise-machine like the 2006 anti-war movement, duly ignored by Nancy Pelosi and the 110th congress.

The guess here is that it will be around $33 billion in cuts by week’s end with the ousting of pennies-on-the-dollar anti-Left riders like Public Broadcasting and Planned Parenthood, sending the spin-doctors to the microphones and test the measure of the shrink-the-government set. Now, cue the yawning.

 

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The Ides Of Libya

Aquarian Weekly 3/30/11 REALITY CHECK

THE IDES OF LIBYA How To Take An Arab Sucker Punch

Think not I am what I appear. – Lord Byron

This thing in Libya, the “humanitarian effort” — or whatever the strategic bombing of a sovereign nation embroiled in civil war is now called — is wrong. It is wrong for this country. It is wrong for this president. It is wrong for this economy. It is certainly wrong in the wake of the ongoing United States riotous 21st century foreign policy. Thus, it is wrong for these times. It does nothing but prove that no matter what manner of man occupies the position of commander-in-chief it comes complete with a fatuous level of committal to our oil masters, putting to rest any notion that what is left of this bankrupt nation’s illusionary pride is, as it has been during the whole of my lifetime, nothing but a feint echo.

Moammar GadhafiTurns out this fiasco was a no-go during the long weekend of March 18-20, until the Secretary of State, whose husband, as president, stood idly by when receiving reams of reports from Rwanda that there were scores of Tutsis being massacred in a systemic genocide mission, received word that the Arab League was all in favor of ousting the Libyan president but wanted the world to think it a mercy mission. This is how the West would rid the Saudis of Moammar Gadhafi and his secular abomination, sending a pack of radicals into a power vacuum. Keeps the rest of the planet from seeing the strong-arm tactics being deployed in Bahrain to prove whose boss.

Libya was nothing but a sideline venture for Barack Obama until the League of Arab States put its imprimatur on things. Then it went from stoic aphorisms on the concern for world peace to guns a-blazin’; a nifty shift in foreign policy dictated once again by our masters.

Why Gadhafi? Why now? This civil war, this insurrection by the latest in a long-running rabble that is “fed up” with his four decades of abject madness, is a distraction. Gadhafi is useless and stupid and fearing his threats to weed out the scum in their closets and slaughter their children is equally as useless and stupid. Have we learned nothing from grandstanding millionaire oil tyrants who wave machetes for CNN? Has the State Department and the CIA finally given up, and if so, how can we sic the Republican sweep of federal budget cuts on them?

No one believes Gadhafi a threat to anyone outside of his people, a people this country or the whole of Europe know less about than they knew what the Iraqis would do when we were through pillaging their country. It is the immutable right of a people to rise up against its oppressor as it is in the oppressor’s right to crush them. For instance: Let’s see how far things get around here if we run a mass assault on Pennsylvania Avenue, jack.

Propping up an indistinct revolt in a tiny, insignificant stretch of arid desert in North Africa makes as much sense as the fancy euphemisms this country has offered for war tactics under every president for the past one hundred-plus years.

Propping up an indistinct revolt in a tiny, insignificant stretch of arid desert in North Africa makes as much sense as the fancy euphemisms this country has offered for war tactics under every president for the past one hundred-plus years; from the annexing of Mexico and Hawaii and the Philippines and Cuba to the butting in on Korea and Viet Nam and Nicaragua and Afghanistan and Iraq. Call it a “humanitarian effort” if it pleases you, or call it a “police action”, “surge” “raid” or “project freedom”, but without the semantic gymnastics, it is an act of war. It is pushing another weak hand to the center of the table with very little in the way of chips to back it up.

And what is the end game; ousting a lunatic to usher in the mob?

Reports from all sides indicate that there is no central theme to the Libyan uprising, as was the sad case with the stalled Egyptian coup or Tunisia’s mutiny, where a random pack of citizenry cobble discarded WWII-era weapons and instigate land skirmishes against hired soldiers of fortune armed with Soviet-era weaponry in an all-out five-sided melee. This a revolution does not make.

So, then, whom is Europe going to eventually deal with for its oil supply? And why then are we assisting this half-baked desperate attempt at securing several nations’ supplies when many of them kept their arms folded when we attempted the same thing in Iraq eight years ago to the very day?

And dare we mention again that the United States military, its command and the entirety of the Pentagon, is broken and has been for decades; the gory results of its failures on display for the past ten years as third-world nations take forever to be secured and although it is gangbusters getting in, not so much getting out. And you would think that a man who stated years before he thought of running for president that using military force with no direct threat to the nation is an abuse of executive power would heed his own warnings, or the warnings of history, both recent and ancient.

But here we go again; more half-truths and ambiguous mission statements, half-assed allies — including the fancy Arab League which now hedges bets and plays against rote, much like the last two decades of Pakistan’s sinkhole alliance — and a well-meaning but toothless U.N. suckering the United States into another military folly.

And who is paying for this? I thought we were busted and our children doomed and our system hanging by a thread and everyone must tighten belts and sacrifice, sacrifice, sacrifice. Is this the military industrial complex making waves to remain relevant, keep the TEA Party marauders from lumping them in with Public Broadcasting and the Department of Education?

Hell, a lot of entities benefit from this turn of events, but the least them is the American people, who once again bankroll a president caught in the crosshairs of international intrigue with his red, white & blue hanging out. But know this, if anyone thinks Gadhafi will get the message and back down or come to his senses or some other dime-store postulating from the same snake-oil peddlers who brought us “the Iraqis will greet us as liberators”, then prepare to be duped.

It may not be a disaster, it could even end is some sort of international public relations coup, but it is wrong. And I’m fairly sure we’ve had enough of wrong around here.

 

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Peter King’s Travesty

Aquarian Weekly 3/16/11 REALITY CHECK

THE CAKE HAS BEEN TAKEN Pack Your Sanity In Your Old Kit Bag And Puke, Puke, Puke

If you had a dime for every time a government official has used national security to railroad some segment of society, you’d never have to work again. The pitiable history of humanity is ripe with this kind of stench. The only question that needs to be asked is why it keeps happening, or more to the point, why it keeps happening in a purported constitutionally mandated republic which grants liberty to all.

Long ago, before I completely gave up on the ambiguities of democracy, human decency and the evolution of free thought and traded it all in to comment on what is obviously a fucked game of slobbered knuckle-dragging claptrap, I used to laugh out loud at the barbaric notions of the McCarthy Anti-American hearings of the 1950s. It was a surreal scene, to say the least; as if the whole fiasco was less horror show than sick joke. It is still hard to fathom that you could find two people, even those from the South, who would buy such a load of crap, much less allow it to happen in latter 20th century America. It was so unconscionably bizarre it didn’t even appear to feign rationale. It was as if there had been a mass hallucination or the Scopes Monkey Trial had been recast as a kangaroo court of gray-flannel Neanderthals posing as absolute authority on who was American or un-American, as if comic book villains had taken over the shop and were peddling this pathetically infantile shit as law.

Peter King's TravestyI was never quite sure how anyone could recall that era and be the least bit proud to be American or a human for that matter. It’s not like this was the 1850s; it was the 1950s. But then you think, hell, no one would ever get away with that crippled logic today; blathering incoherently about hidden radicalization and questioning the loyalties of certain citizens based on hunches. It’s bad fiction, much less decent reality.

So now we have another Republican legislator with another lame reason to drag an entire community, religion, culture, whatever through the muck as a chairman of another bloated government over-reach program that was as useless as tits on the proverbial bull nine years ago when it was dreamed up. The man says, “I have no choice” and that his hearings on the radicalization of Muslims are “absolutely essential” when none of it is remotely true. There is “a choice” and nothing is “essential” except food, water and breathing.

King says; “There are elements in that community that are being radicalized, and I believe that the leaders of that community do not face up to that reality. Too many cases are not cooperative, not willing to speak out and condemn this type of radicalization.”

What the fuck is going on?

Why isn’t whatever is left of the flaccid mainstream press, which is supposed to be wildly liberal, not calling for New York Senator Peter King’s arrest for subverting the constitutional and the civil rights of our citizenry in this most egregiously haphazard way? Why isn’t this new-fangled, next-generation president of ours not stepping in and closing down this ignominious sideshow and call it what it is; a fascist pogrom? And where are all these fancy “Keep government out of our lives” Republicans during this?

Yeah, I thought so.

Because as stated in this space for nearly 14 long years now, the whole thing is fucked. You’re fucked. I’m fucked. The system is completely and utterly fucked. You wonder why we’re a broke, indebted, war torn, backwards, sub-intellectual, fat, distracted, lazy-ass sucker of a nation? When Wall Street marauders pilfer freely with no repercussions and gigantic health care bills are voted on by legislators that still fail to understand its scope and the most interesting thing we can think of is watching a cokehead rant like a twelve year-old on the Today Show over and over and over?

The press might be hypnotized by the dog & pony show, but we know what’s going on here; an assault on civil liberties and a systemic urination on the constitution; pure and simple.

The only “controversy” I’ve read from the press is that King was once a supporter of the Irish Republican Army and a member of the terrorist group, Sinn Fein. But what the hell does that matter? I don’t care if King donates his salary to the Klu Klux Klan. King has nothing to do with this. He can call for all the hearings he wants or demand everyone from every walk of life come clean on anyone they might know who is a “radical”, whatever the hell that is? It’s like this incessant liberal bashing of Sarah Palin, as if she counts for anything. Ignore it and it will go away. That’s my motto. But allowing this xenophobic publicity whore to cobble together a nonsensical circus on our dime is a whole other animal.

Seriously, people, I was going to do my usual “Hey, great, let’s all hear it for Peter King! He’s going after the myopic loons who inhabit organized religion! I propose we begin hearings on fundamentalist Christians and Hasidim and put the Hindus on trial and make Buddhists crawl, and how about the snake charmers, Voodoo priestesses and Wiccan chieftains? We can begin by investigating the tax evading cretins who run these magic shows.” Yeah, I was going to have fun mocking the whole thing in the detached, goofy way I always do, but this, well, this sort of criminal affair turns the stomach like nothing else.

First it was months of moronic debate about allowing an Islamic center to be built in New York City, as if being upset by the location of a religious building held much weight. Then we’re overrun with assholes actually going out in public — many of them elected officials and journalists saying, “We know these people have the right to do it, but hey, have some sentimentality.”

What the motherfuck does sentimentality have to do with rights? While we’re at it; what does morality have to do with civil union rights? Or what does the survival of our social fabric have to do with outlawing plant life?

The press might be hypnotized by the dog & pony show, but we know what’s going on here; an assault on civil liberties and a systemic urination on the constitution; pure and simple.

You know the jack-offs who cry like Glenn Beck every time someone takes a butane to an American flag? Well it’s time they wake up and realize this is the real thing; only instead of just some meaningless cloth smoldering, actual live citizens are being rounded up and asked to answer for the inept, asleep-at-the-wheel federal government, CIA and FBI, all of which dropped the ball and left this country wide open for what went down on 9/11/01, leading to the tax sinkhole that is Homeland Security and its current vapid freak of a chairman.

As much as I hate to admit, I am embarrassed to even write about this, and if you’ve read this space for one week you would know that embarrassing me is not an easy task.

Well, what did you expect from this farce of a government representing the farce we’ve become?

Enjoy the show.

 

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Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

Aquarian Weekly 3/9/11 REALITY CHECK

JOBS, JOBS, JOBS

You never want a serious crisis to go to waste. And what I mean by that is an opportunity to do things you think you could not do before. -Rahm Emanuel, November, 2008

Jobs.

It is the word of the year. It was the word last year. Everything from the price of wheat and oil and fabric and milk shifts on it. The national debt kills it. Political achievement depends on it. Tax laws hang on it. Whether or not the recession is truly over is incumbent on it. So it’s a fairly important word for 2011. Hell, the unemployment rate has already gained jobs for some and cost others. It’s created new ones and eliminated more than a few. Some are coming back. Some, well, might come back, but who knows?

Fight For Madison $But a job isn’t merely a word that is defined in Webster’s as “to carry out occasional pieces of work for hire” or “to carry out public business for private gain”. It tends to define humans. These humans usually call these “occasional pieces of work for hire” a career. In this country, the home of the mostly free and rarely brave, a good deal of humans hang dreams on them. With age, those dreams shift from Ruler of the Universe to freelance writer, but still carry some psychological weight. Some.

And so jobs may act as a socio-economic-political fulcrum, while also appearing as the sense, purpose and worth of a person. Many times these two crucial aspects of jobs don’t meet. That’s fine. It’s life. It’s tough and disappointing and messy. But one thing that is a constant with jobs is money; how much an entity is willing to pay for it and what its value is to the individual who may be carrying out “business for private gain”; the operative word there being “gain.”

Since the year began, it’s been jobs, jobs, jobs. It hangs over the daily proceedings as threatening storm clouds. It has dominated public discourse and caused all kinds of movements around here. Then we see people running amok in Egypt and Libya and other repressed, broke nations with high unemployment and a crashing currency, and we think, “Heck, that’s what a crippling lack of jobs, jobs, jobs can do to society, huh?”

It’s a sober view of this economic fallout most of the world is enduring, which the United States has duly suffered. Although we love to whine, things aren’t as bad as they could have been or might have been in the autumn of 2008 when the illusionary sphere of finance looked to be held together by lunatics and criminals; the two elements of civilization that will nearly always find a cozy place around money.

The past few weeks in Wisconsin, the “idea” of jobs has clashed to a high level of repute. The governor, a Republican “business” pawn, who has cleverly used his state’s over-bloated budget to crush civil workers’ unions, has literally put “jobs” on trial. By so doing, no matter his motive or masters or general wavering opinion from the Right or Left, he is serving his state’s taxpayers, the majority of which voted him in on this very platform. Governor Scott Walker desperately attempts to tear at the fabric of his political enemies, or simply put a major financial windfall for Democrats, as he outwardly pronounces the noble duty of extracting his state from going California falls under his job title.

Where was my guidance councilor on that one?

It’s a tough job, governor, as is any elected official whose ideology subsequently lands him/her the financial support needed to attain that job. Unions are a huge assistance to Mr. Walker’s ideological opponents and enemies to his sugar daddies. The financial crisis has given him the moment and leverage to pounce. Backlash, furor, protests, and shifting support from the nation can hardly be the issue. He has a job and he is doing it as he sees fit. As stated, it is a tough one.

But I argue it is not nearly as tough as teacher. Holy shit. Anyone going on television or writing about how cushy teachers have it, with their big compensation packages and three months off a year, are sadly misguided. I have spoken to children of all ages, from middle school through high school and colleges, usually as a welcomed guest and not a servant of the state, and I can honestly tell you after one hour of this I need seven belts and fourteen hours of sleep.

Teaching is thankless and horrible and your children are damaged and weird and unruly and frightening and dealing with that gaggle of misfits on a daily basis with wholly unrealistic expectations to produce societal robots for a dying workforce, while stamping out artistic expression and original thought, is an excruciatingly difficult task. Now, whether they unionize and have better benefits than the private sector and who pays for what can be debated, but hell, if I have to teach, I want big money, jack.

Therefore, I offer as a public service, a far better job than governor or teacher: Charlie Sheen. I like that job. And I support his successful run at being Charlie Sheen. Oh, sure he’s a celebrity and I guess an actor, if people still act on television, not to mention champion drug fiend, but mostly he is Charlie Sheen. Quality chemicals, dysfunctional living arrangements, countless network feeds to expound anti-social, radical notions and millions in the bank? Fuck governance and molding the youth, Charlie Sheen is the way to go.

Where was my guidance councilor on that one?

“Mr. Campion, do you have any idea what you’d like to do with your life?”

“Big bank account, high-class hookers, stacked bar, fast cars, and a general lawless existence, please.”

“Oh, you’ll need to have a father whose already successful in the field of entertainment or politics, and then you can get nepotism gigs, party until you drop, and even become president.”

“Sign me up.”

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“The King’s Speech” vs. “Social Network”

Aquarian Weekly 3/2/11 REALITY CHECK

ANGLO-AMERICA ON PARADE “The King’s Speech & “The Social Network” in Oscars Contrast

By the time this goes to press it is likely one of the two films we’ll discuss here will have won the Academy Award for Best Picture; “The King’s Speech” or “The Social Network”. Granted, many outside of Hollywood could not give a pack of flying farts, nor do we, particularly. Although the Oscars is the only award show worth watching, an annual fury of unchecked wagering (some larger than others) on the outcomes of Best Costume, Most Likely to Gaffer or some such. My wife is always surprised when I pick six or seven in a row, citing corporate politics and the inner machinations of the studio culture — who is owed what and why someone like say Martin Scorsese can be repeatedly ignored after directing an unmatched string of brilliant, culture-defining films and then win for a piece of shit like “The Departed”.

The King's SpeechIt is also an opportune time for me to ratchet up a healthy dose of rage for less dire activities, which has happened on several occasions, not the least of which surrounded the defeat of “E.T.” at the hands of “Gandhi” in 1982, when as an apoplectic college student drunk on a dozen Genesee Cream Ales I went off the rails and took on half a dorm room of activists.

However, we’re not here to merely discuss Oscar mistakes, but use the timing to discuss two extremely important, if not disparate films, as a consequence of their place of origin and the revealing aspects of their cultures.

Aside from three-word titles beginning with “The”, there is nothing about either “The King’s Speech” or “The Social Network” that could be compared. The contrasts however are stark and provide ample insight into the general milieu of which they depict. There is also the interesting inside game of how the awards culture may view the films around the events of its times.

For a good example, one could cite the 1976 Best Picture that the experts had all-but handed to “All The President’s Men” for its timely pertinence to the fall-out of Watergate, et al. Judging from the preponderance of left-leaning, Nixon-despising voters, it appeared to the odds makers as a no-brainer. However, it was the individualist, rags-to-riches feel-good “Rocky” that took the prize, celebrating the nation’s bicentennial in style; erasing our horrors by pasting over it with goose-bumped fantasy.

This, of course, was the polar opposite of the old-fashioned childhood fairy tale of “E.T.” being dumped in favor of the solemn epic of political strife in “Gandhi” two-years into the Reagan era. This made the 1998 Oscars a tough call as the brutal WWII odyssey magnificently told in “Saving Private Ryan” was beaten by the wryly poignant “Shakespeare in Love”. Go figure.

This year “The King’s Speech”, a superb tale of overcoming a stigma, both physical and metaphorical, set against the backdrop of a Europe at war, has rightfully been the talk of the odds circuit. As timing is everything in handicapping these things, “King’s” recent release last month helps the cause. The press has been kind and the performances, specifically Colin Firth as the self-flagellating, reluctant King of England, George VI, whose infamous stammer threatens to victimize an empire, are certainly worthy. “The Social Network”, released in early October of last year, initially fell into “perfect timing” in the “awards season” brief, but has lagged in the shadow of “King’s” since the new year. But just in the nick of time, the more recent uprisings in the Middle East, more to the point, Egypt has brought the subject of Facebook and social media in general to the fore. And while “King’s” deals with a time of enormous upheaval and greatness overcoming peril both on a personal and national level, the charming/alarming story of Harvard computer geeks on an inebriated vengeance kick exploding into a billion dollar culture shift now trumps it. However, here comes another royal wedding, so…

There is nothing subtle in the way these films showcase their cultures.

Ultimately, though, and what I actually set out to dissect this week, is the glaring introspection of stereotypes set in these films’ environments that make for an interesting stand-off at Oscar time; an echo of the British sense of deportment, image and overt social roles versus the infinite American scuffle for fame, riches and personal victory.

Let’s face it, without having to issue a spoiler alert “The King’s Speech” is eminently English in every way, and not just its setting, cast, and history. It reeks of a sense of duty to a greater cause, the respect (obsession) with both visible and hinted caste systems, the tethered subjugation of personal safety for an expected task, and the explicit role of gender in a habitually repressed society. The setting and its environs ignite the patrician tension and the subsequent English charm. Without the cultural boundaries and royal expectations, as well as the pressure set upon the mid-twentieth century man, or the male figure seen as an effective father figure, leader, or functioning testosterone machine, especially when confronted by an outside aggressor, we have the story of a whiny dink with a speech impediment.

Now line that up against the world of “The Social Network” and it’s as if we are watching a different species, much less a different culture; as the characters — youthful, defiant, slyly disingenuous and voraciously creative — work on a sub-level of society, actually going as far as to circumvent, manipulate, and eventually obliterate it. “Social” is uniquely an American film, or at the very least a heaping slice of Americana; with characters exhibiting a feral level of competition, utilizing ingenuity as an act of revenge, and once the cash comes in, unleashing a relentless back-stabbing free-for-all.

“The Social Network”, as “The King’s Speech” on the other end of the pond speaks of the image and scope of power, could only be about the power grab in the American experience; substitute Mark Zuckerberg, played with an understated kind of robotic myopia by the young, talented, Jesse Eisenberg, with say Thomas Edison and you’ve got the American Experience and everything that results from it; power, celebrity, riches. Oh, and also backlash, fall-out and comeuppance.

There is nothing subtle in the way these films showcase their cultures. For instance, the use of references and soundtracks; Shakespeare is routinely quoted and classical music beautifully layered in “King’s” and a bevy of fast-talked, tech-driven jargon and strategically placed hip hop/rock colors “Social”. At the end of each film, the melancholia of Beethoven’s Seventh Symphony in “King’s” expertly balances the tortured protagonist’s final triumph and The Beatles “Baby You’re a Rich Man” underlines the main character’s ivory tower isolation at the epilogue of “Social”; both as equally gripping as they are forcefully incongruent.

Both stories are about men, one a middle-aged product of societal station, the other a boy, using wit, skill and aggressive battle tactics to overcome the very same prejudices that make the former character in “King’s”, well, a king. Even their women respond accordingly to their environments, “King’s” mothering queen engineering the action, ably played by the gorgeous Helena Bonham Carter, and the parade of young women, opportunistic, manipulative and sometimes outright mad, which come in and out of “Social”.

Finally, we have the supporting male characters, which act as confidants and spiritual guides in both films. The stalwart, Geoffrey Rush, who plays therapist, Sherpa, and buddy to the king in his time of crisis and the new comer, Justin Timberlake, whose slick-talking, coke-addled contrivances, pull the golden goose inside out. The Englishman, refined, if not middle class, a patriarchal substitute, and the American, a rebellious, capitalist rogue, a kindred spirit. It matters little the personalities or their methods, because both main characters do just fine in the end. Well…?

So who will win? Hey, by the time many read this, you’ll know. But, as in the tertiary awards; Best Actor, Actress, Supporting Roles, Director, etc, don’t look for the voters to provide a hint where they believe the audience or the artists are in terms of sentiment, acceptance or comfort. For certain, both films have done well and gotten the lion’s share of rave reviews; American and British.

 

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Government Shutdown 2011

Aquarian Weekly 2/23/11 REALITY CHECK

WHILE YOU’RE AWAY Tips For A Pending Federal Government Shutdown

The shit is coming down. – Georgetown at Shelly’s Back Room, Washington D.C. – November 7, 1995

It is nostalgia time in The District this week as the Reality Check News & Information Desk unveils “alternative” plans (schemes) to successfully piggyback a 2011 federal government shutdown confirmed by our sources, several of them tanked on numerous and varied cocktails and thus kind (stupid) enough to reveal to a pack of beer-addled reporters late Friday. This is what happens when we take this operation on the road — and not for a whisk down memory lane, as was the case this past December when I was ushered into town by my brothers-in-law for a long weekend of measured debauchery. John BoehnerThis time we planted our ears to the ground, displaying a fairly (shockingly) sober attitude. This was bad news for the loose lipped and good fortune for those with the whirring digital recorders at the ready to flip it into journalism.

Word is now that a complete federal government shutdown is more than a threat. It is imminent, and with a far more stinging result than in ’95 when the above infamous quote from a long-lost friend and colleague was correctly predicted. Apparently a Democrat in the White House and a Republican turnover in congress results in a system seizure. The last Republican revolution rapidly turned things into the New Gingrich/Bill Clinton follies, but nowadays we’re deep into a damaged economy, a bottomless war culture, a fractured Republican base, and an aggressively liberal president wounded by what has turned into his legislative Iran/Contra over-reach in the unconstitutionally mandated federal health care laws.

Place this beside the growing national backlash over a corporate lackey governor of Wisconsin trying to crush the over-compensated bloat of the state worker union’s collective bargaining powers, and it neatly puts the “hard-choices” mantra of the new year into light.

The same jack-asses who were waving Don’t Tread On Me flags to slash the power and scope of the federal government have broken them out to keep the state entitlements coming. As predictable an occurrence as possible has put many on the Left in a feisty mood, something beaten out of them by a round pummeling last November, The same week the hardcore TEA Party types on Capitol Hill were able to shed dismal light on the speaker of the house, who was caught ceremoniously dumping his “cut the budget at all costs” rhetoric to back a needless Pentagon expense because it benefited his hometown coffers. This crap appeared on the heels of his “let them eat cake” moment when he dismissed the hundreds of jobs he aims to eliminate at the federal level with a blithe “So be it”.

Hypocrisy and vengeance, the precious fulcrums of government, are once again in the air, and we the people, as usual, are powerless to stop it.

Hypocrisy and vengeance, the precious fulcrums of government, are once again in the air, and we the people, as usual, are powerless to stop it. But fear not, as our loving parents would say, and whatever queer tomes of vapid self-esteem nonsense motivated them to do so; “When you are handed lemons, whip up some lemonade”. Or as we like to say here; NEVER SURRENDER. Isn’t that what this damnable space has been whining about all these years? Hell yes! And it is with that rugged American spirit of forging ahead that we offer the following survival guide to the looming federal government shutdown.

Firstly, if the federal government enters a forced hiatus, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms will go dark. If you cannot extrapolate a stream of good times from this, you’re not paying attention. There’s a recession on and people are in dire need of questionably legal forms of mind-numbing substances and outrageously potent instruments of random violence. This is nirvana for those eager to return to the time of our forefathers, and what better way? We suggest none.

In addition to free reign on unchecked rage fueled by inebriation is the halt in border patrol. This will add to our fun by the unfettered load-in of imported recreational drugs, easing the Mexican cartels’ murder spree. Consider it a holiday, allowing even blood enemies to put hostilities on hold for a chance of share hassle-free windfalls.

Where to exhibit our new-found freedoms from restraint; how about the entirety of our nation’s parks when the National Park Service closes shop? If you think nightly video footage from a frenzied Cairo was entertaining, you wait. While on a roll, we propose there be a run on national monuments and museums — and by run, you know, a safe and responsible run, or as safe and responsible as gun-toting, heavily medicated boozers can muster. Things are so mellow in Arizona these days, they will be happy to welcome a surge of lunacy to the Grand Canyon, as in ’95 when angry tourists were turned away for the first time in 76 years.

Oh, and a federal government break will put a hold on freeloading do-overs, as all bankruptcy cases will be suspended. This will offset the delaying of delinquent child-support cases. Kids eat enough, at least according to the first lady.

Finally, we can all exhale confidently as the war funding will dry up and we can stop the madness for good. Not bad after the Democrats ran on and then reneged to fund the perpetuation of it five years ago. Hey, you may ask; didn’t this asshole decry the Egyptian revolution as anarchy just two short weeks ago and now he’s advocating anarchy here at home? Sure, and the irony is not lost on me. However, since we work on a federalist system, I am sure our wild abandon will be curtailed by local law enforcement officials and other buzz kill organizations. We merely offer a cogent response to the abandonment of our mamma leash to the whims of the political animal we’re asked to tame every two years in our voting booths. If we’re going to take it to the streets, we may as well have some laughs.

After all, the shit is coming down.

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Rand Paul: The Tea Party Man

Aquarian Weekly 2/16/11 REALITY CHECK

THE TEA PARTY MAN Rand Paul’s Maverick Battle For The New Right

Rand Paul is a dangerous man. The thing is it’s difficult to tell whether the Freshman Senator from Kentucky is more dangerous to the Left or the Right. Inarguably, he is dangerous to The System, for if nothing else he isn’t screwing around. He means to slash and dash the federal government by tying its purse strings and thus shrink it way past anything Ronald Reagan ever dreamed. The Gipper, like all poser fiscal conservatives, especially the newly minted Republican legislators, had not seen anything like Rand Paul. Certainly those who disingenuously rode the wave of the Tea Party angst won’t be able to stand idly by and allow this man to begin chipping away at policy with a zealot vehemence that would make Newt Gingrich look like a welfare freak. And although Democrats may casually dismiss him as a libertarian nut, they will also have public relations issues with a coyote sniffing around their usually manageable hen house.

Rand PaulApparently Rand Paul wasn’t merely piggybacking the anti-government groundswell of 2010. He was damned serious. And now that 2011 begins with him on the inside, he’s going to stand on principle, at least for the time being. This is nothing Republicans want to hear, fearing another 1995 disaster when a landslide of GOP support went sideways fast. Soon Big Bill Clinton was being sworn in again. Running through the halls of congress with an economic battle axe runs counterpoint to what the Republicans have in mind; take a lot of useless congressional votes, blame the Democratic-controlled Senate for their failures, and subsequently get rid of Barack Obama so they can go back to running up the debt on some other asinine war or massive Medicare handout.

On the heels of his newly formed $500 billion budget-gutting bill proposal that the Wall Street Journal calls “modest” and the New York Times deemed “ludicrous”, Paul has gone through the cable news circuit heralding his unflinching agenda. Apparently willing to put his immutable principles to the test with a vote, Paul has wasted no time carving out his own spot on Capitol Hill

And if he has to, Paul will go it alone.

For instance, on February 3, Paul was the lone dissenter against a bill that would outlaw citizens from aiming laser pointers at aircrafts. This is akin to an innocuous “no torturing puppies” piece of legislation. But Paul was opposed, agreeing it a sound safety issue but also pointing out that many states already have such laws on the books and should decide for themselves on the length and breadth of the “regulation”. This of course parallels Paul’s intellectual argument against certain aspects of the 1964 Civil Rights bill that became something of a public embarrassment for him during his campaign. After the obligatory backlash, Paul eased up on his original disagreement that any private enterprise be forced to comply with federal laws to serve patrons it felt unfit for service, namely African Americans.

Although months ago we dissected the issue as a goofy professorial discussion on States vs. Federal rights and not blatant racism, there seemed to be a disconnect with Paul’s ability to distinguish between core philosophy and plain governance.

To Paul, people seem to muck up the works with their silly needs and messy gray area interpretations. This kind of character tends to scare the hell out of professional politicians, happy to skip around the edges and pay lip service to facts.

You see, Paul is a wonk, a geek, a stat nerd with nary the bombastic personality of a Gingrich or the plastic charm of a Reagan. He comes on as a robot, unwilling to deal in emotional or endearing aspects of issues. It is numbers; deficits, surpluses and how to best control them that moves Rand Paul. To Paul, people seem to muck up the works with their silly needs and messy gray area interpretations. This kind of character tends to scare the hell out of professional politicians, happy to skip around the edges and pay lip service to facts. It is never about where your tax dollars are spent for Rand Paul, only the reasons to spend it. And he sees very little reason to spend it anywhere.

It is this no-nonsense dedication to reducing the power and expanse of the federal government that Paul brings his $500 billion plan to congress. With proposed cuts to the Departments of Agriculture and Transportation removing $42 billion and further reductions to the Departments of Energy and Housing and Urban Development of approximately $50 billion each, the bill also includes removing education from the federal government’s jurisdiction, allegedly creating an almost $80 billion in cuts.

As predictable as it is that a fiscal conservative would choose to beat on Agriculture, Energy, Transportation and Housing and Urban Development, Paul doesn’t stop there, proving his libertarian mettle and that he’ll not renege on reducing government ala Regan and the last Republican president or even the Gingrich Republicans of a generation ago. Paul’s bill takes aim at the usual Republican spend-thrift strongholds like international aid, Homeland Security and the Defense Department.

In an op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal this week, Paul emphatically stated his desire to cut “wasteful spending” at the Pentagon. “Since 2001, our annual defense budget has increased nearly 120%” writes Paul. “Even subtracting the costs of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, spending is up 67%. These levels of spending are unjustifiable and unsustainable.”

Balls. That’s what it takes to go where Paul is going, where no one elected to congress as a member of either party has gone in our lifetimes.

But even Rand Paul’s balls have their limits. His proposed $500 billion in cuts, which he stoically calls “just getting started”, would keep 85 percent of the federal government churning out the entitlements; namely Social Security or Medicare.

Not even a true maverick like Paul would dare touch the untouchable, but Rome was not taken down in a day.

It is unlikely Rand Paul will get any of this past the committee stage; much less a vote in the House or the Senate, but it will be worth watching. His stand will be also worth discussing in the coming year as the initial grass roots tremors against government spending and tax issues fade into what is sure to be the expected “Patience is a Virtue” pitch the Republican-controlled House will hide behind. It appears as if Paul will stand virtually alone against the raising of the debt ceiling, which is approaching rapidly.

That’s when we’ll find out where Paul’s enemies reside; Left or Right.

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