Averting Debt Ceiling Mess 2011

Aquarian Weekly 8/3/11 REALITY CHECK

AVERTING THE CRISIS THAT WASN’T Suckered By Messy Democracy Masquerading As Melodrama

Ho-ho, fans of democracy; we have ourselves a deal. No crisis, as if there ever was one, and no belly up for the debt-addled United States of America. Armageddon avoided. Spin doctoring for all.

Nothing shocking. It is how the sausage is made around here, and if you choose to merely eat the fatty innards of the gutted swine without witnessing the slaughter and rendering, then you were not spared. Mitch McConnellEveryone needed to be on board this time, bubba, like after 9/11 when every Joe Six-Pack and Soccer Mom was yanked into the racial, cultural, religious quagmire that is the rest of our sick and twisted planet. Sleepy time was over, such as it is now, many weeks and months in: Welcome tweets, blogs, and cable news geeks to the world of legislating.

Ugly, huh?

Ugly, but hardly new; where in fact the system worked like a charm, albeit rather publicly, which was apparently the choice of all involved this time. This caused the word on the street to conclude this the most divided government in U.S. history, the worst legislative gridlock. Bullshit squared. Not once during this Capital Hill pissing match did we come close to the tried and true level of fisticuff, knife-wielding, gun-toting wrangles that mar our congress’ past. From the very start, this was a graveyard whistle, nothing more.

And now it is done.

This idea that the country was held up as an embarrassment by airing its dirty political laundry is absurd. Grow up or get a helmet, bub. This is how it works in a democratic republic. Just like in 2000, not our greatest hour but nonetheless displayed that this is a nation, after all the bitch and moan, of laws. And where other countries descend into a pit of riots and coups, we figure it out. Whether anyone is happy with the process matters little. It is a process, and it has an outcome, as predicted here weeks ago.

Also, a deadline is just that, a deadline. Anyone who has done what I do weekly knows what that means. In fact, sometimes it means extending it, like this one, wherein my trusty managing editor, J.J. Koczan held the presses so this space could squeeze its gibberish into an eventful Sunday night of last hurrahs. So when there is eight days left and CNN has a counter in the bottom right of its screen and pundits from talk show rodeo clowns to high-paid “insiders” to the blogosphere shut-ins decide it’s time to get things done, they forget that August 2 is not July 15 or anywhere in between, and if you have to make a stand, you has every right and every reason to continue to make it until the clock strikes midnight or perhaps past that.

Negotiation. Debate. Grandstanding. Rhetoric. Posturing.

Democracy in action: Fierce. Mean. Petty. Beautiful.

Clamor of a “crisis” was mostly fabricated by a media hype machine worthy of its moniker, but also curiously over-stated by the president, who suffered by far his worst month in office, bellowing from his bully pulpit about end times on fourteen different occasions, pointing fingers and castigating the opposition party without a single new proposal beyond the already pulverized “tax the corporate jet owner” rants that died on arrival nine months ago. It was as if he were hermetically sealed and rolled out for a rehash of The Great Society every so often, unaware of the conflict at hand.

Letting the system fail may have been the only way for things to truly change, for good or ill.

Barack Obama’s repeated calls for sanity, while turning up the heat on the international markets, Wall St. and the elderly from Montauk to Big Sur about Social Security checks bouncing made no sense. It was amateur hour and he knows it. Or maybe he doesn’t, but he should at the very least know this: Regardless of how bad congress fucks up, the president of the United States eats it. Ask Herbert Hoover. Ask George H. W. Bush. Ask any other poor sucker who happened to be in charge of the executive branch when things went sideways.

It is also important to remember that a Democratic-controlled legislative branch had the reigns and thus an ample opportunity to raise the debt ceiling long before the Republican avalanche last autumn. But according to Senator majority leader, Harry Reid, he chose instead to pass it on for two reasons, help stave off complete annihilation on Election Day (meaning keeping his own seat) and dump the vote on a new rancorous Republican class and let the deed fall to them. Reid, like Obama, gambled on the tough talking TEA Party newcomers’ resolve.

Big mistake.

The freshman Republicans sent poor embattled John Boehner to carry the bad news time and again to the White House and later the Senate with ridiculously worded bills slashing Medicare and capping spending and something akin to a Balanced Budget Amendment that even Ronald Reagan and New Gingrich had both previously thought mad. The Right had gone Right, big time — maybe for the first time since the 1929 crash. And there appeared to anyone paying attention that the crazies meant business. And good for them… for awhile.

Almost to a man, the TEA Party caucus ignored the prevailing Cassandra language and forged ahead with no compunction about sinking the richest nation in the world with mounds of debt from two unpaid wars, several unfunded tax cuts, a bloated prescription benefit law so patently insane even the last president who signed it nearly busted brain vessels upon its fallout, not to mention TARP and Stimulus, bank bail outs and propping up the pathetic U.S. auto industry.

Boehner, a Washington lifer who voted over and over for years to add to the very deficit he yammers about chopping down, could not control these people, and it turns out neither could Eric Cantor, his second in command, who up until a week or so ago, stood tall with the TEA Party caucus before even he could not see the upside and began to desperately back Boehner. But still, to their credit, the freshman congressman held firm…for awhile.

In the final hours Sunday evening, I found myself rooting for the whole shithouse to go up in flames, a fine quote from Jim Morrison, who once mused he loved any activity that appeared to have no meaning, which is what is left us after this “deal”.

Letting the system fail may have been the only way for things to truly change, for good or ill. The 87 members of what was once the boldly zany TEA Party had the moment before them. The moment has passed.

Next?

 

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Rupert Murdoch – A Tribute

Aquarian Weekly 7/27/11 REALITY CHECK

RUPERT MURDOCH – A TRIBUTE

Keith Rupert Murdoch, champion of the fourth estate, whose international media empire and its unhinged influence on law, politics, power and celebrity is this generation’s William Randolph Hearst – a true media giant; no shame, no principle, no soul. According to the kind of reliable sources Murdoch bankrolls, it has been reported in several publications that the News Corp. owner and operating office was once caught in the men’s room at his now defunct News of the World jacking off to Hearst’s most quotable maxim; “You furnish the pictures, and I’ll furnish the war.” It was alas Murdoch’s mantra, an elixir as powerful as smack and as smooth as Jameson’s.

Rupert MurdochFor these and many other laudable qualities, we celebrate Murdoch’s reign as one of the finest smut peddlers the modern concept of the press has conjured. His corporate gluttony devouring dozens of powerful media outlets, many of which ironically spend countless pages and hours decrying the entire medium, has not only vaulted him to the greatest heights of his art form but also turned him into a sickeningly rich man, the latter accomplishment being far more important in this or any society.

The following is our in-depth coverage of his conglomerate’s embarrassing hacking scandal and the house of cards that has toppled as a result of its outing. It is of course as crass, vindictive, and filled with the sort of hoary innuendo passing as fact and grossly overstated rumor passing for reporting that Murdoch not only loves but pays handsomely for. It shows no mercy, as Murdoch’s best properties certainly would not, had his own pathetic crimes not been the juicy subject.

After all, did News of the World not set up a 67 year-old FIA (Formula One Racing) President Max Moseley with sadomasochistic prostitutes (on the newspaper’s payroll) to give life to the infamously beautiful headline, F-1 Boss Has Sick Nazi Orgy with Five Hookers? And how about the more recent gorgeously repugnant NY Post headline when actor David Carridine was found dead of apparent erotic asphyxiation; HUNG FU?

And so for our hero, the wretched pile of steaming feces named Keith Rupert Murdoch, for which somewhere there must be a Rosebud buried in the snow, we offer our humble salute.

MURDOUCHE – The Unfair & Imbalanced Saga of Ruppie The Wrinkled Kingpin

The slain body of the heroic Sean Hoare, whistleblower of the heinous crimes of News Corp. against the British government and the very moral fabric of humanity itself, lies cold in a Scotland Yard morgue; his desperate cries for justice silenced. But by whose hand, the public ponders? Some may speculate that the source of his courageous revelations might well know; the unrepentant media kingpin and cradle robber, Rupert Murdoch, whose wife, aka The Dragon Lady, almost a half-century his junior, who some have called a mail order bride or worse still a Chinese spy, was last seen ruthlessly pummeling a helpless comedian in the very chamber her husband was humiliatingly standing accused.

Close by, the frail and confused curmudgeon was slumped over in near narcoleptic seizures as he incoherently answered a series of questions about his newspaper’s hacking into hundreds of cell phones, including that of a dead girl, whose parents as a result were sure was still alive. Murdoch could barely maintain consciousness as he endured one charge after another for his part in a spectacular series of police corruption, political bullying and character assignation. Witnesses on the scene were heard to comment on the strange odor of formaldehyde and ether emanating from Murdoch as he allegedly coughed up blood and spat vulgarities at his underlings about “mourning the loss of his testicles”.

When confronted with the obvious hypocrisy of this blather, News Corp issued this merely speculative repeating of a vaguely substantiated statement: “F*#k off.”

The decrepit mogul’s son, James, who has been allegedly tied to the Australian equivalent of the U.S.’s Klu Klux Klan, was forced to speak for his decomposing father, echoing his sad declaration that he was the best man to clean up the very same sewage he’d been bilging for decades. Experts admitted that it was a curious shift in course for the defense, having the senior Murdoch move away from acting as a kind of Ronald Reganesque doddering old fool post Iran/Contra to a more defiant Watergate-era Nixonian cover-up stance.

Meanwhile, Murdoch’s prize American enterprises, the NY Post, Wall Street Journal and FOXNEWS, which all exhausted thousands of words and hundreds of hours prosecuting the leftist Acorn and NPR, have to date spent only a couple of minor blurbs and a mere seventeen minutes glossing over his crime spree, most of which were laced with flaccid denials and defensive arguments. When confronted with the obvious hypocrisy of this blather, News Corp issued this merely speculative repeating of a vaguely substantiated statement: “F*#k off.”

FOXNEWS resident psychologist, Keith Ablow, who is seen weekly weighing in with dime-store analysis for Murdoch on all matters of the mind from perceived pedophilia in toy ads to possible homosexual subtext in children’s cartoons, has ventured a wild guess that his employer is either evil incarnate or an excellent judge of human nature, or strangely enough, both.

Plans to ship what is left of the stinking husk of the decomposing overlord to a hyperbolic iron lung chamber where toxins will be shot into his shriveled brain around the clock by Cuban slave traders was neither confirmed nor denied by News Corp. spokesman.

Nonetheless, details of the hearing are already being optioned to Twentieth Century Fox for a film adaptation to be followed by a reality show after Murdoch purchases Parliament outright and fires the entire British government.

 

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Debt Ceiling Countdown 2011

Aquarian Weekly 7/20/11 REALITY CHECK

BRING IT ON Republican Principle or Economic Catastrophe?

Let’s get this straight; the debt ceiling will be increased by August 2, 2011. The United States of America will not go into default. It will not lose its platinum credit rating. There will be no implosion of our federal government’s ability to wage war, tax or provide a bevy of entitlements. Events will continue as they always have, just like there will be a National Football League season and all fifty states will pass some dumb ass law that will find the next Casey Anthony guilty of something.

It will be business as usual around here. You know why? Because no one in congress, read this loud and clear, NO ONE has the balls, the foresight or the principles to stand up for a fucking thing they believe in. Never have. Never will. It is an American tradition as old as the Continental Congress. Just ask poor John Adams, who stupidly tried to foment revolution including all 13 colonies while suggesting the abolishment of slavery, especially in the face of a Declaration of Independence boldly stating that the Supreme Being endowed all men as being created equal, penned eloquently, mind you, by a slave owner.

Tea Party CaucusYeah, we know how that worked out. Clearer heads prevailed. Clearer gutless heads, that is, and no one argued with it. Because of it, we’re here now. Because of it I’m writing this, instead of bent over a pint in a pub in Dublin or driving madly across the cliffs of Naples. I’m here, you’re here and we’re all here, because the Continental Congress did not stand by its true, core principles. It just passed the buck down the road, fully knowing that fateful decision would inevitably lead to Civil War. When? Soon, bubba, real soon.

So now the bold talk comes from the 112th congress about letting the nation fall into deadbeat status over a massive debt reducing bill sans tax increases in a myopic balance budget directive will all be for naught. Two weeks out, everyone looks like Patrick Henry. It’s like the big mouth before a fistfight. Tough talk always comes early. Let’s hear the talk when the fur flies. Shit, Eric Cantor appears to have gone rogue on the rest of his party, except for those freshmen congressmen, who were elected to slash the government and not put a scintilla of the burden on the American people.

Fucking right I’m rooting for Cantor. And if you were a true patriot, you’d do the same. Let the country go into default. Let the guns of Gettysburg roar. They have to roar eventually. Why not now? Why not let the stock market crash and the free market fend for itself against a torrent of shit this generation has not yet witnessed. Or let nothing happen, just as simpletons like Michele Bachmann claim. What do you expect from religious fanatics but yammering about faith over fact? These sunshine and rose yokels always think five minutes of research is anathema, and I applaud them for it. Stick to your guns, whatever guns they may be. I want to see for myself if God helps her out when the penniless ravaged rabble come crashing through her front doors demanding cash, food and guns.

Let the guns of Gettysburg roar. They have to roar eventually. Why not now?

Doom or victory would finally answer some questions about less government, wouldn’t it? If we survive, our children will live on streets paved with gold. Good for them. They are our future. Either that or they will be key pieces in trade if the bond futures disappear and the banks close up shop. A healthy middle class white baby will capture prime trade value in a post apocalyptic environment. I’ve already tagged my kid for Ebay. Hell, Bachmann has something like forty kids. That is tantamount to a millionaire in the new world order.

Calvin Coolidge’s corpse is laughing at us right now. Ayn Rand is coughing up several lungs. Wherever those lunatics are now, we salute their ideological rocks. They had them and were willing to see it through, consequences be damned. This congress, as in the case of every congress, has none of this pioneer spirit.

You know why the Right is not going to win the day and disallow us from seeing what pure, unadulterated conservative economic theorizing will unleash? Because the Left had a chance for true socialism last year with the massive Health Care law and instead cobbled together a barely coherent monstrosity that barely scratches the surface of anything resembling national health care, just as this space predicted for the entirety of that imbecilic debate.

For once, I’d like to be wrong about this. Lord knows I’m comfortable being wrong or at the very least bent or wildly off the mark. But I have never been wrong about the overreaction or overreach of politicos. They always make me look like a genius — no easy task. Predicting the gutless nature of our legislators is better mojo than my three-team teaser run of 1991; my finest year in gambling. My only problem that year is that I had nothing to really put down, because if I’d been laying serious cash, I certainly wouldn’t be writing this now or doing anything that didn’t include getting lit on a beach in Mexico.

But I’m not on a beach and there will be no Republican stand and the debt ceiling will be raised and then the crying wolf set will move on to dissecting who’ll pay the most political capital for this latest breach of ethics; this bland, safe and boring compromise.

For the record, I say…bring it on!

 

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Debt Ceiling Stare Down

Aquarian Weekly 7/13/11 REALITY CHECK

DEBT CEILING STARE DOWN

By August 2 we will learn the final and binding results of the 2010 mid-term elections. This is when the nation’s debt ceiling needs to be raised, as it’s been some 70 times over the past half century, including ten times during the eight years of the George W. Bush Administration, six under a Republican-controlled congress. This latest suddenly austere version of Republicanism, forced upon an American electorate that had little choice if it wished to go against the latest version of spend-thrift Democratism, is now asked to stand for massive spending cuts and no tax hikes or allow the nation to go into default.

Period.

Debt Ceiling ChartAnything less than these two outcomes will be another campaign promise dumped and another in a spectacular series of lies perpetuated on the American electorate in our sad and pathetic political history.

We were promised no compromise, no tax increases and a dramatic slashing in federal spending, including a raid on entitlements.

Are we going to get them?

Of course not.

Where do we go then?

Again, this is akin to the 2006 version of Democratism, which was chosen by a majority of voters to defund the ridiculously botched Iraq War and failed to do so. In fact, those election results eventually bore a troop surge in Iraq, which for all intents and purposes elongated our nation building, further bloating the aforementioned national debt. Then, after taking the White House, the continued rise in Democratism ignored the anti-war rhetoric and used their newfound powers to explode national spending with stimulus, bank bailouts and the propping up of the auto industry. Then there was Health Care.

None of the above had a damn thing to do with ending the Iraq mess, which still rolls along with a face-saving reduction in troops and the building of the largest U.S. embassy on planet earth bankrolled by a continued influx of American tax dollars. Then, laughably, the same people who ran and won as anti-war candidates, went along with their president by supporting and funding increased troop levels in Afghanistan – now the longest running military operation in our illustrious two-century plus glut of military operations.

Thus, the 2010 results, which roundly rejected Democratism – merely a continuation of Republicanism spending spree/tax cut/multiple war/massive entitlement expansion that forced the national debt to be a political issue in the first place – is at issue.

To put it bluntly, the ball is now in Republicanism’s court, where it will take the miracles of miracles to see binding results on the country’s $14.4 trillion hole.

Unless you’re asleep, apathetic or stupid, you’re likely not to be fooled by the results of the latest debate to appear concerned about a mounting national debt that no one in the federal government, regardless of ideology, actually cares a wit about.

Unless you’re asleep, apathetic or stupid, you’re likely not to be fooled by the results of the latest debate to appear concerned about a mounting national debt that no one in the federal government, regardless of ideology, actually cares a wit about.

This is good, because no one in this government has the stones to turn the nation into a deadbeat. The buck will be passed, the can kicked down the road. There will be some give and some take and next year when the parade of challengers to Barack Obama emerges in a din of complaints, they will tell us all how they will change Washington and fix it and not one of them will. Ever.

Let’s try and remember eight long months ago, as ancient a history as one can muster in several and varied news cycles, that many of the freshmen of our 112th congress crowed about never allowing the debt ceiling to be raised, damn the consequences. It was scorched earth time last November. Yes, our children’s very existence was at stake. We were headed towards doom.

So why are we discussing this now? Is this another case of the government telling us that the very survival of civilization depends on war success in the Middle East but yet no offers no reinstatement of the draft or there is a curious absence of World War II-era attrition at home?

Ask yourself why the Speaker of the House has to have secret meetings with his base to make nice with his subordinates every time he meets with the White House about a deal. Is he on board with the 2010 plan or is he worried about the 2012 fallout that will usher in a second term for Obama?

It is far from cynical to point out that 2012 politics are being played here. If Republicanism folds on tax increases and gets its massive federal cuts, while inching into the entitlements arena, as purposed in what is now being cited in the Beltway as The Grand White House Proposal of $4 trillion in cuts over ten years, then how do they hammer at the president all summer for being too weak to act? And if Democratism allows Social Security and Medicaid to be tinkered with while slashing several popular government programs, how does Obama sell his candidacy as a protection against the opposition’s draconian measures?

And then ask yourself if the Democratism that now cries blood-for-blood with austerity measures metered out to big oil concerns, closing corporate tax loops and billionaire tax code changes, how come when it boasted a “super majority” for two years it did nothing about them?

As these words go to press meetings within the Two Party System and their purportedly immovable ideologies continue behind the scenes. This aids in dealing with the inevitable fallout after they both cave and the plan goes into the tank. Everyone can then conveniently blame the other guy for not adhering to real solutions.

So then where do we go?

 

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Marriage Equality in New York

Aquarian Weekly 6/29/11 REALITY CHECK

ONE VOTE

Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality. – Martin Luther King

New York State is one vote away.

It is one vote away in its state senate to ratify a basic civil right; the right for a particular group of adult taxpaying citizens to marry. It is a long time coming for a state hosting the greatest and most progressive spark of the free world on all-things, New York City. It is also a long journey for the largest such state to ratify this right, a state with many political twists and turns and which at its core is socially conservative. And so after lagging years behind other states on this issue, it is down to one more vote to make same-sex marriage the legal right it should be across a nation that loves to parade its pride in providing and protecting the liberties of its people.

Marriage EqualityI know that I have not written all I am going to write about wars and poverty and repression and hypocrisy and honor and the frailties of the human animal. Not even close. I will be long gone from this mortal coil before I reach that place. Yet, after all I have written on this issue, I certainly have not begun to broach a subject that my wife recently reminded me has been “my most ardent issue”. This was spoken to me two weeks ago when I failed to answer the request to speak with a gay protest group in Manhattan. It forced me to wonder if writing is the only way to get in the fray. And so last week I had a second opportunity and used it to discuss the issue in full-force during a petition rally in the West Village.

But rallies, petitions and protests were never my style. Marching is only effective when it is done on the doorstep of oppression, like Martin Luther King’s famous march on Selma or to the shadow of the Lincoln Memorial. I see myself more of an annoying literary voice, shrieking from the comfort of my own keyboard. When faced with “getting involved” I am always reminded of when the great Arthur Koestler mused in his twenties how he would be better served discovering Communism by getting a job in a factory and was set straight by a colleague who reminded him he could do more from the journalism pulpit than in front of an iron press.

Truth be told, it pains me to continue to have to put into words what kind of abject shock it is that I have to comment in 2011 about the denial of basic civil rights to citizens that is done so for no good reason but that a certain segment of society is threatened by it. This of course is the same segment of society that was irrationally threatened by the rights of Jews, Italians, Mexicans, American Indians and the Irish, African Americans and women. The list is long and the embarrassment lasting. And along the fight to deny they used the same arguments you hear today. But the tide of liberty is strong, and soon each denial was silenced by the rule of law; a rule set down in the Bill of Rights and the United States Constitution.

This has officially become the will of the people.

The piecemeal theory of applied rights to some and not to others based on strange ideologies is a human sickness, cured eventually by the cold realities that whatever stipulation granted one group of citizens a right has to apply to the other, simple as that. It takes awhile, but it gets there. It may do so, as in the women’s right to vote, in several incarnations and ratifications and strange bedfellows like temperance groups that irreparably damaged the country by passing a Prohibition Amendment, or it happens through the states, like abolishing slavery, which then forced some states to secede and then the military came in and put the kibosh on that, or the federal government simply comes in and ends the madness by granting basic civil rights to its citizens above and beyond the will of certain states, and dare I mention we’re in the South again for that one?

But the gay marriage issue is interesting in that it is not regional or attached to the history of American civil rights history, as in the abomination of Prop 8 in California that was passed on the strength of the African American vote, fueled in November of 2008 by the Barack Obama candidacy. The mere fact that people were putting to the vote a right, as in your neighbor deciding if you can play chess after 10 pm on a Sunday, is hard to fathom anyway.

The issue doesn’t even seem to be able to crack political leanings, as those on the Left, who enjoy the majority of gay support – a support that has dwindled considerably over the past four or five election cycles according to many polls – yet pay only minor lip service to it, if that. At least a great majority of the Republican Party fights openly and stridently against issue, culminating in the shameless exploitation of it in the 2004 re-election of George W. Bush, who promised a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, only further proving the point of those subscribing to the fact that the only way to deny a right is to legally take that right off the board by jamming it into the constitution. The Democratic Party is either lukewarm or silent on the issue, a far worse crime, especially if those being silent support the issue.

This has never been more evident in light of the president’s speech this week at a New York City gay rights group fundraising function, wherein Barack Obama, the purported progressive new generation politician, was showered with abuse. And so what is the more pathetic exploitation, the use of a social issue to rally the troops against it or one that appears sympathetic to cull its support?

This president, New York and the United States had better prepare for this new tide of history, for slowly it is shifting, as it always had and always must shift in the direction of liberty. For the first time since it has been polled, a slight majority of Americans now support same-sex marriage or at least civil unions. This has officially become the will of the people.

 

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The Courtship of Chris Christie

Aquarian Weekly 6/22/11 REALITY CHECK

THE COURTSHIP OF CHRIS CHRISTIE Desperate Republicans Beg New Jersey Governor to Beat Obama

“I’m 100 percent certain I’m not going to run,” New Jersey’s Governor told CNN this week. It is the same thing he’s told the local press for months and what Chris Christie told the Republican elite this past winter. It is what he said matter-of-factly to former NYC mayor Rudy Giuliani a couple of days ago at a very public Manhattan power lunch. Soon he will be forced to repeat this to a committee of five separate conservative groups and one national TEA Party fund-raising firm next week when they officially beseech him to rescue the Grand Old Party from the current snooze-fest crazies making up the Republican field that hopes to challenge a sitting Democratic president next summer.

Chris ChristieIt is also what his office emphatically told this reporter the very evening this was committed to print.

Christie has been governor for a little over a year and has done so in the very opposite manner of quietly. His fervent attacks on unions, specifically the bloated and rancorous state’s teachers’ unions and its public employees, has created a template for Republican governors across the nation. This has made him quite simply the party’s star. A hefty, straight-talking no-nonsense bluster of a man, Christie is the kind of tough matched with likable in a New Jersey wise-guy way that simultaneously defuses and ignites both opposition envy and anger.

I like Christie. As with every politician, I do not agree with many of his policies or ideologies, although I’m more apt to swallow stringent fiscal chopping of state funding if it comes from a Republican who doesn’t openly oppose gay civil unions or supports reasonable gun laws, and shies away from bludgeoning the electorate with his faith, which is Catholic. Most of all, my good friend, Westchester County Executive Rob Astorino, a Republican who is enduring similar battles with public employees and unions, digs him. Astorino told me last summer many in his county have gone as far as calling him the “thin Christie”.

It doesn’t hurt that Christie is a mere three days older than me, another post-Boomer Irish/Italian ball breaker who would sooner eat shit than apologize for his actions and/or statements. I respect that, as I respected his handling of the Choppergate issue in which he used a tax-funded helicopter to see his kid’s championship baseball game and then paid the money back, but paid no lip service to microphones or newspads by back peddling with some creepy conciliation.

Of course, I would like Christie more if he’d lower these oppressive property taxes, something he, like the last guy, Jon Corzine, promised. And would it kill his Libertarian views to wave certain smoking laws, so I can work down an Ashton at a roadside tavern now and again.

After spending two painful hours watching its misguided gaggle of badly coached candidates, it would be hard not to conclude that only a young, northeastern, social moderate could possibly hold off what would surely be a “lesser of two evils” Independent vote for a president with sinking approval ratings in a quagmire economy and four to five questionable military conflicts.

But give Christie, or at least his office credit. Neither was thrown by my repeated e-mails and one four-page screed sent over the past six months regarding a permit to build a second-story parapet for my canon, the very one the local police were appalled at when I broached the subject three summers ago.

The entire episode began soon after I’d spotted two half-soused goons brandishing rifles while walking in broad late-morning daylight down my road. I quickly cautioned the authorities who then reminded me it was hunting season. I in turn reminded them that “hunting” on a public road at ten in the morning constitutes a tangible threat to my sovereignty and I’d be “forced to ready my defenses”.

Within minutes two squad cars screeched up to my property and after a tertiary search of my front room, I was to endure a ten-minute lecture on the legal right for the dickless to massacre helpless creatures for sport. I calmly retorted that while wild bears run free ready to wrestle in hand-to-hand combat, what kind of feckless pussy would prefer blasting deer from fifty yards away with a shotgun?

And so it was with great glee that I was informed by the governor’s office that while they did not particularly care about my late-nineteenth century firearm – perfectly within my Second Amendment rights to protect the Clemens Estate, especially as the economy continues to slip into chaos – they could see no sensible reasoning behind building a raised station for it.

But my affinity for the governor and my strict adherence to ancient defenses aside, it is the Republican Party that is most in love with Chris Christie. And why not? After spending two painful hours watching its misguided gaggle of badly coached candidates, it would be hard not to conclude that only a young, northeastern, social moderate could possibly hold off what would surely be a “lesser of two evils” Independent vote for a president with sinking approval ratings in a quagmire economy and four to five questionable military conflicts.

Independents are not going to vote for any of these people, least of all Mitt Romney, early frontrunner and bane of the party. While the former Massachusetts governor has the money and the name recognition, he is also getting strong resistance from below in the TEA Party grassroots and above from the power players. Smart money, even this early when as in the summer 2007 it looked like a lock that Hillary Clinton would oppose Rudy Giuliani, has Romney failing to survive past the South Carolina primary and is likely doomed in Michigan where he is on record as calling the auto industry bailout a mistake.

This week Texas Governor Rick Perry began an exploratory committee to see if anyone could accept a man for president who thrice threatened to secede from the union. To most observers Perry has become a sad punch line for his own constituents as record state deficits stare them in the face.

So it is Chris Christie and his Saturday-at-dawn-downing-gravy-fries-at-the-diner scowl or bust.

Christie maintains it is bust.

The stretching shadows of my 3.4-inch Dahlgren Boat Howitzer causes me to agree.

 

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Eric Hutchinson: The Thin White Jukebox

Aquarian Weekly 6/20/11 Buzz

THE THIN WHITE JUKEBOX
Eric Hutchinson Hits The Throwback Road

Eric Hutchinson makes albums like guideposts, allowing him to check out where he’s been and where’s he’s going. The 31 year-old singer/songwriter has spent the last three years since his debut studio effort, Sounds Like This reflecting on his maturation as an artist and life as a rising star, and the results are found on the infectiously soulful and auspiciously titled, Moving Up/Living Down. Loaded with rock-solid melodies and rib-sticking rhythms, every track on Hutchinson’s latest tour de force is more than a collection of songs; it is quite literally a soundtrack for a high-energy stage show that is fully realized on his current 41-city American tour.

Eric Hutchinson

“I was thinking a lot about the live show when I was writing songs for this record,” Hutchinson explains from a quiet hotel room in Ames, Iowa before his show at Iowa State. “Having been on the road for a few years now and wishing I had written something to take the energy to somewhere else, it was fun to write a song like ‘The Basement’ and then see how it lets the band and the audience get there.”

Through the prism of what appears on repeated listens as a living homage to the best of the Atlantic, Stax and Motown sides of the Sixties, Moving Up/Living Down spans the rhythm and blues genre from every angle, to the rousing Isley Brothers meets Sam & Dave driving rat-ta-tat-tat of “The Basement”, which lyrically pays tribute to among others, James Brown, Aretha Franklin and Michael Jackson in a raucous tale of heading down to where they “really wanna to rock and roll” to the bouncing vocal elasticity of “The People I Know”, which rings the Stevie Wonder bell as well as it can be rung.

“It’s always been in there,” Hutchinson says when asked about his playfully derivative approach. “I kind of describe myself as a soul singer at this point, because ‘soul singing’ is so much about having it come from inside, that gut feeling, and that’s what I’m looking for when I’m writing songs.

“A lot of what this album is for me is coming to grips with what I am rather than what I’d love to be as a singer,” cites Hutchinson. “I love The Strokes, but I’m never going to be Julian Casablancas and I’m okay with that. I’m comfortable being me, processing my influences and having it come out through my own filter.”

Hutchinson has always been a student of song styles and uses his education well on Moving Up/Living Down, as he flirts with Todd Rundgren smooth in “I’m Not Cool” and channels a 1983 version of Prince for “Living in the Afterlife”. Yet these well-crafted compositions are no mere imitations. There is something wholly original and 21st century to Hutchinson’s stripped down approach, which he honed while building his career entirely solo on piano and acoustic guitar.

It’s what Hutchinson described to me in 2006 as “acoustic soul” after I sought him out following a stirring opening stint for Joe Jackson in New York City followed by a successful residency at the Cutting Room later that year. Hutchinson, a slave to the boogie in his head, used his instruments as percussive foundations, strumming or bouncing off the keys to keep the beat and allowing his vocal arrangements to soar above it. It was a natural evolution to his throwback flirtations so prevalent on Moving Up/Living Down as well as its predecessor, Sounds Like This (2007), a truly masterful pop effort. But to his credit, Hutchinson did not merely rest on his well-earned laurels.

“The big thing for me when I was just starting out I would think; ‘If I could just get to this spot, I’ll be happy – play this venue or sell this many records’, and as things began to go well for me I realized it’s a moving target, there isn’t just ‘this place’, there is no end. You just got to keep goin’, I guess.”

Sounds Like This was written as a solo musician and I got guys to play on it,” Hutchinson recalls. “This time I knew I’d be working with a band and it changed my approach, and now I’m excited about people seeing the show. It’s really hummin’, more and more energy, and I’m especially excited for someone like yourself who saw me do the old show, ’cause I’m still trying to find ways to have that personality come through, but also make it be a rock show.”

Two weeks later at the Highline Ballroom on the south-end of Chelsea, Hutchinson and his band – Andrew Perusi on bass, drummer, Steven Robinson and Elliott Blaufuss on keyboards and guitar – proved his point; from the opening fanfare and grand entrance announcement to song after song of heavy funk, sly soul and a wry wink at several forms of reggae, accentuated at two intervals when taking turns at The Beatles, “Obla-Di, Obla-Da” and Sublime’s “Santeria”. Rather than merely performing, something he aimed for after spending his time during the writing of the album attending concerts by stalwarts, Bruce Springsteen and Prince, Hutchinson looked passionately joyful, a wide-eyed boy aghast that this was all hitting home.

As promised, along with playing every one of his most popular numbers, including the inescapably hummable, “Rock & Roll”, the head-bobbing, “OK, It’s Alright with Me”, and the cleverly structured, “All Over Now”, Hutchinson chided the audience (when a young woman shouted, “I love you!”, Hutchinson began asking her if that’s such a healthy thing to get involved with someone that he hasn’t met and already loved him; “That’s gonna be a strange first date!”) and spun touching tales about playing for change in Union Square in 2001. “Where the fuck were you guys back then?” he asked, smiling.

All the while, as I leaned against the top step of the waitress stand and glanced over the packed house of bouncing heads, I could swear, especially after a wise quip or classic “Hutch” tongue-in-cheek comment, I saw Hutchinson look over to me and smirk, as if to silently say, “I told you so.”

The audience was treated to one moment of ‘the old show’, as Hutchinson removed the veil of inspiration and went right to the source, strumming out a beautifully tapered rendition of Smokey Robinson’s “Tracks of My Tears”.

Moving Up/Living DownWhich brings us back to Moving Up/Living Down, which, according to random e-mail updates Hutchinson regaled me with throughout the process over the past year was not only a gradual evolution from burgeoning club act to legitimate pop star, it was a painstaking battle to find the right musical mix, something he achieved after a random encounter with an industry legend.

“I pretty much had the entire record done and then I had this chance meeting with Quincy Jones,” recalls Hutchinson. “We were at this charity event and they made him sit with me in a VIP section for a few minutes, and I couldn’t let the chance go by without asking him about all the stuff he had done, Thriller in particular, and he said, ‘When we had Thriller finished we picked the five best songs and we threw everything else out and found four more good songs.’ And I thought that was a great idea and went back and tried to dig deeper and make the songs be as good as possible, and one of those became “Watching You Watch Him”.

The first single off the record, “Watching You Watch Him” is Hutchinson at his lyrical best; playing the lovable loser in what he calls an “F’d up lover’s triangle where no one is happy.”

It was Hutchinson’s self-effacing lyrics that first drew me to his work and many of the songs on Moving Up/Living Down center on the irony of maturing or growing in a fish bowl of constant touring. “I had to get off the road and back to reality in New York where no one cares who you are,” laughs Hutchinson.

“I’m Not Cool”, “The People I Know” Best Days of Our Lives” illustrate that all this maturing and growing has him ending up in an emotion cul de sac. In the ska-fueled and strikingly honest, “Not There Yet” the message is more direct, to the point where his “I’m getting there, but I’m not there yet” refrain sounds eerily like he’s singing “not dead yet,” as if the protagonist is fighting the process.

Hutchinson concluded our conversation by slightly disagreeing with my assessment. It’s not so much fighting, as surrendering. “It’s about being infinitely more happy thinking about things circularly rather than linearly. The big thing for me when I was just starting out I would think; ‘If I could just get to this spot, I’ll be happy – play this venue or sell this many records’, and as things began to go well for me I realized it’s a moving target, there isn’t just ‘this place’, there is no end. You just got to keep goin’, I guess.”

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Weinergate

Aquarian Weekly 6/15/11 REALITY CHECK

WEINERGATE The Continuing Saga of Congressional Dipshits

Anthony WeinerI’m not sure a middle-aged man whose penchant for taking lewd photos of his body and sharing them with college students, and thus, through the magic of Twitter, the entire planet, can reasonably continue to present himself or his ideas, arguments and principles in a serious light. But I am quite sure that same man can continue to be a United States Representative.

Unless there has been a crime committed, then the Democratic Party, unleashing its well-worn bully routine and predictably running for cover as have Republicans in dozens of recent offenses, has no right to ask a man to resign a post honored him by the electorate. And thus once again we are confronted with the abject unconstitutional element of a two-party system that cherishes political expediency above the tenets of democracy.

Anthony Weiner, New York congressman, is the latest in the long line of “Did weird shit – lied about weird shit for awhile – copped to weird shit in a tearful press conference when it looked like the lying could not quite make the weird shit go away”. His case only differs in that he has been one of the most contentious, pompous, overly dramatic, and self-promoting assholes congress has produced in some time. And folks, that’s saying a whole lot there. In other words Weiner, who in 2005 ran for mayor of NYC would have run again in 2009 if the current mayor hadn’t proclaimed himself king, had designs on becoming something of a political star in the realm of a Sarah Palin or Eliot Spitzer.

Yeah, Spitzer and Palin, both disgraced quitters of governor gigs and raging hypocrites (Spitzer made his bones attacking prostitution while being a high-paying consumer of prostitutes, and Palin has perpetually railed about the evils of federal government subsidies when under her watch Alaska was rife with federal government subsidies) currently cull sizable cable television salaries.

So looks like Weiner can still be a congressman and most assuredly a TV personality, but then again, who can honestly ever take this guy seriously any longer?

Well, there is a man running for president right now who cheated on two wives, the last one while she was in a hospital dying of cancer, at the same time having the balls to be a prominent moralizer during the Clinton/Lewinsky scandal.

Could a John Edwards comeback be far behind?

Never mind that; if I may borrow a line from our good friends at The Daily Show – please Google new presidential candidate Rick Santorum’s name right now.

We’ll wait.

Hell, anyone with half a brain knows Weiner cannot sincerely continue to show up to a very public, civic gig and represent his district and his party with this load of feces upon him. His next move should be to quietly step down due to distractions and an undo amount of pressure on his family life and whatever blah-blah-blah the busted usually roll out like the guy who propositioned his employees by e-mail or the guy who picked up men in airport bathrooms or the guy who stuck shirtless photos of himself on Craig’s List after the other guy who did the crazy stupid thing that lead to his also quietly stepping down.

You pick an example, man. The names all seem to meld into the other.

This laundry list of systematic goofiness is what anyone, even those without the requisite potty mouth, would call a FUCK UP, or if you will, a monumental error in judgment or the very least a glaringly fanatical display of stupidity.

But let us reiterate that thus far there is no evidence Weiner has broken any law. And if code of conduct is the only issue here then it needs to be stated that being sneaky, underhanded and lying to the press is not all completely legal but actually a congressional staple. In fact, covering up embarrassing personal issues is aggressively encouraged among the congressional elite. The senate holds annual award ceremonies for the best and the brightest. Ted Kennedy and Strom Thrumond routinely took home a bevy of trophies.

If nothing else, Wiener kicked ass in every one of those departments.

Sure, this insipid idea that he simply “made poor choices” or that those of us not suffering from delusions should consider this a “mistake” is nose-diving into Charlie Rangel territory here. Rangel, the last New York congressman disgraced by scandal, believed in an alternate universe of his making that embezzlement was a “mistake”. A mistake is forgetting to pick up bread when it was on the grocery list or flubbing the name of a relative at a holiday party. It is certainly in no way a reasonable vehicle in describing the sharing of self-portraits of one’s cock over the Internet. And it is hardly an apt description for telling everyone your account was hacked by a Right Wing blogger and then not being sure it was your cock in the first place. This laundry list of systematic goofiness is what anyone, even those without the requisite potty mouth, would call a FUCK UP, or if you will, a monumental error in judgment or the very least a glaringly fanatical display of stupidity.

I would think any man not sure what his penis looks like and/or has such low expectations of the collective intelligence of people who could believe such nonsense needs to seriously reevaluate his self worth.

But all that existential shit must ultimately be his choice, and not those who wish to shove his stank into the corner to keep it off them.

Admittedly, a yawning credibility gap is the only reason this space felt the burning need to repeatedly state in the late-nineties that Bill Clinton was better off being an ex-president sooner than later. The Lewinsky case was never about sex or even perjury for us; it was about having someone hold the most powerful post in the free world and not only turning the Oval Office into a Bourbon St. massage parlor, but abusing power, influence and age to seduce his intern there. Then, scold us for having the audacity to call him on it.

But, hey, dumbness and arrogance are also not crimes.

Look, no one should give half a fart if Weiner lied to his wife or if he likes to take photos of his junk and throw it around the Twitter universe. God bless him. But he of all people, who frames his political arguments around common sense and intellect over sappy emotion and cold facts over-indulgent claptrap and has the unmitigated gall to demean the reasoning, common sense and intellect of his opponents (the way he dressed down a CNN producer as if he were a school kid) has to know he’s officially cut off his credibility oxygen. This would be like an abject business failure whose run ragged all over law and decency to amass pseudo empires with other people’s money and then passing himself off as a super mogul, like, say, Donald Trump.

So in the spirit of Spitzer and Palin and Trump, or hell, even Arnold Schwarzenegger, this space chooses to support Weiner’s right to his job and his hilariously deviant behavior and would like to officially recommend he pitch a network show.

He’s got star potential.

Weiner in 2016!

 

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Ryan Plan Protests?

Aquarian Weekly 6/1/11 REALITY CHECK

VOX SCHIZOPHRENIA

Okay, I think I get it.

Fourteen months ago a majority of Americans, anywhere from 52 to 58 percent depending on the politically bias nature of the polling, were against government-run health care. Today, anywhere from 60 to 74 percent of Americans polled are against the Paul Ryan plan to begin the gradual but eventual eradication of Medicare, which is, of course, a government-run health care system.

Wait, what?

So, well…maybe…no, I don’t think…but…

Where do they find these people?

Medicare ProtestsPerhaps this is similar to Ryan, Wisconsin congressman and rising star in the Republican party, confidently scoffing at such polls with fancy rhetoric about “true leadership ignores polling” whilst having spent much of 2010 arguing that what he dubbed Obamacare was hugely unpopular with the American people and thus should have been abandoned for a more reasoned but wholly fictional right wing approach.

Normal commentators might call this hypocritical or dumb, but this space would like to put forth the notion that what we’re dealing with here is an acute case of mass schizophrenia.

And it’s spreading.

At least that’s how it is for a nation of knee-jerk reactionaries, who apparently have the time and inclination to willfully engage in banal exercises like the answering of polls. These same hearty souls could be seen attending rallies and protests throughout both Obama’s 2010 health care tour and now Ryan’s latest foray into the national scene. Not sure what level of personal means or abject boredom precedes these activities, but it might be worth investigating for the rest of our bored and independently wealthy masses.

Or could we extrapolate from this random information that people both love and hate national health care?

One cannot fault Ryan, of course. Ryan is a politician, and a good one. His use of the bloated national debt and the results of the previous election to present his plan is not unlike the president, himself a nifty politician, using six years of Republican over-spending and an economic crisis to pitch his own. Also, it is not immaterial that it was Ryan who wrote this bureaucratic piss-in-the-wind and the Obama one was cobbled by his opponents. So it stands to reason he would presently appear pointless and make the majority of the polls reacting to it follow suit.

At this juncture what appears most intriguing about all this, beyond the eerie similarities of both the 2010 National Health Care Reform Law and Ryan’s new economic plan being badly explained and presented by its supporters, is when someone on the same political side of the fence finds fault in the jiggering of national health legislation, like say a presidential candidate and former rising star of the Republican Party.

When Newt Gingrich, a disgraced Speaker of the House and newly minted candidate for president of the United States — quite obviously over-coached and wearing a new suit of reasonable to hide three decades of gibberish — painted his colleague’s plan as “radical social engineering”, the truly irrational backlash began.

It’s hard to please us. Ask us something today and we’re for it, and five or so weeks later, not so much.

The crap Gingrich has taken for his overly centrist remarks about any unbalanced restructure of Medicare being unacceptable from either the Left or Right is unfair. That is until the schitzo bug hit again, and the man spent over a week in the kind of neck-wrench backtracking rarely seen among even the most contemptible salesmen.

First Gingrich made claims that he meant none of which he said and then threatened to charge those who quoted him directly as liars. He also went so far as to say he would personally vote for a plan he originally said was “going too far”. Now, while being off the charts pathetic, these actions should not mean, as reported from FOXNEWS to the Wall Street Journal to the most Leftist rags, that his days-old candidacy is finished.

Gingrich, who is often spoken of as a bright political mind even by his critics, has every right to have an opposing opinion to that of his party, especially its more entrenched fiscally conservative wing. Contrary to popular belief, like that of Gingrich somehow being a “bright political mind”, sucking up to TEA Party types did not guarantee victory last November. In fact, many Republican candidates who were either endorsed by or piggybacked the more extreme factions of the party were roundly defeated.

Anyone with even a rudimentary notion of political maneuvering could see that Gingrich, whose Right Wing credentials should have been a given, was trying to appear as if he would work the middle with ease and appear moderate, even charming towards people he has repeatedly called vipers and charlatans, horribly weak appeasers of America’s enemies and a disease upon the land. It was a difficult high wire act that was fabricated and silly but hardly suicidal.

However, it speaks to a wider point; that of the day-to-day shift in what is expected of our candidates and what the candidates may expect from us.

Let’s face it folks, we’re crazy. There really is no other way to sugarcoat a fourteen month shift in how national health care is perceived; just as it is never perceived in the endless scuffle about the national budget concerns, which is ironically only a concern when considering the entitlements that people do not want to give up.

It’s hard to please us. Ask us something today and we’re for it, and five or so weeks later, not so much.

This is why lunatics predicting the possible result of a presidential election eighteen months out is not only folly, but dangerous. Someone please tell me where Barack Hussein Obama was in the spring of 2007; sixty points behind Hillary Clinton?

We have problems staying the course for eighteen days around here.

And for those who might think this is the natural swing of events and there are subtleties ignored here, I humbly offer anyone to check out the vacillating mess that is found in the Iraq War polling from 2004 to 2007 or so. Monthly, sometimes weekly, the shifts were dramatic, as if people were watching the flowing tide of an NBA game, with the score changing by the second, all the while making overall assumptions on its eventual outcome.

It may turn out that political pundits end up applauding Newt Gingrich for distancing himself from the Ryan plan, which is now taken on too much water for his party to support. Take for example the mass exodus in the Senate. But this is only in the short run, for there is still time for it to rally and then die and rally again.

Give it time.

Okay, time’s up.

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Judgment Day Bust 2011

Aquarian Weekly 5/25/11 REALITY CHECK

HOW I’LL SPEND JUDGMENT DAY

I’ve been listening to Harold Camping on Family Radio since the early nineties; tooling along Route 84 in the wee hours – half soused, eyes weighing heavy and deep in contemplation about my mortal soul and some girl I was trying to bed. These were heady times, and Camping, with his comprehensive knowledge of scripture, chapter, verse and queer interpretation, was my beacon. There’s only so much highway wind and rock and roll a mind can handle without numbing.

Harold CampingAnd so Camping’s monosyllabic baritone delivery, weakened now by the advanced age of nearly 90, has been a lifeline to those of us whose sweet embrace of insomnia is ceaseless. His kind barely knows the lives he may have saved or the property his distant broadcasts kept intact; the Disc Jockey preacher man’s words resonating out over Marconi’s sacred device. Once in late ’93 I flipped a Toyota truck off an icy curve on the back roads of Hudson Valley, NY; and as I crawled from the wreckage and looked back from the darkness, it was Camping’s voice, booming as if God were calling Abraham to murder his son for a lark, that I could clearly hear emanating from the flickering dashboard.

As I say, my dear friends – heady stuff.

This is why when Camping says that Judgment Day is coming on May 21, 2011, I listen.

Hell, I know all about the Rapture, jack. I understand quite well how the shit storm will go down. I know my Revelation inside/out, and upside/down. I love, as my late friend and mentor Doctor Thompson used to say, “the wild power of the language and the purity of the madness that governs it and makes it music.” It may well be the finest piece of literature printed in English; completely insane and a dangerous thing to digest at all hours in lonely hotel rooms; Gideon style.

Do yourself a favor when you’re done reading this; go find a copy of any version of the Bible you have around and open Revelation to a random page and enjoy. All the best psychopaths from Hitler to Manson to Billy Graham were well acquainted with Revelation. It is the reason Western Civilization is obsessed with drugs and religion, guilt and agony, violence and masturbation; it expertly explains weird shit like politics, money and Colonel Kurtz’s horror.

But pick up the pace, because according to Camping you shall be judged on May 21. In fact, when most of you read this in print it will be too late. And for that, I am truly sorry. Even Noah had friends and readers; and none of them made it onto the ark; every last one of them drowned; a terribly agonizing way to go – God style.

Me? I’m ready to be judged. My moral house is in order. The cosmic shift in the spiritual muse is a personal liaison. It’s all part of the divine plan, and the main reason there are times when I find myself hoping to be judged, harshly. Bring it on. I just want to see my score. It will be high. Very high. This comes from an almost expressly comfortable intimacy I’ve forged with sin. “Love your enemy”; this is my motto. That, and “Do not drive Toyota trucks on icy roads whilst balancing a tumbler of Bombay Sapphire on your lap.”

Trust me when I say, God’s waiting on me.

I’m ready to be judged. My moral house is in order. The cosmic shift in the spiritual muse is a personal liaison. It’s all part of the divine plan, and the main reason there are times when I find myself hoping to be judged, harshly. Bring it on. I just want to see my score. It will be high. Very high.

Firstly, any true God will recognize my kind; demanding and irritable with completely unrealistic expectations. I have anger issues and am not particularly fond of explaining myself or what the hell I want from people. Let them figure it out. I also love claiming to have done stuff that I cannot particularly prove I’ve done. I basically take credit for anything that I can think of and then get pissed when challenged on it.

Secondly, I’ve spent the last forty years sharpening my ego skills and have developed a megalomaniacal streak similar to that of any worthwhile omniscient being. I also have a concrete set of obligations to worshiping me: Have no other scribe before thee – Use my name in vain, and – Under no circumstances kill me.

Finally, I have not ignored the main aspect of humanity, and that is, as I have written in this space numerous times over the past thirteen odd years, it is wholly overrated. My personal correspondence with the omnipotent one has broached the subject of the feline versus the human. I have clearly stated and I think fairly laid out a strong argument that it is far better to lick one’s balls and sleep 18 hours a day than to develop a computer chip. And reason? That’s for the birds; the birds or Plato, who thought it a good idea to make up the concept of an afterlife, effectively infecting every world religion for the next 2,500 or so years. I know for a plain fact that this “reason” thing is wasted on us. For a prime example, put on cable news; you pick one, any will do.

This brings me to my own judgment of how the current deity has run things; badly. I have plenty of critiques about famine, war, earthquakes, the Pope, whatever the hell the Mormons are, Stonehenge, what went down with Lenny Bruce – never mind Jesus – my distressing lack of height, the general disarray of all supposed holy lands, and lima beans.

Okay, there’s the good stuff too.

So on Saturday, I plan on cranking up AC/DC and dancing with my daughter, lather up a good sweat and shred our throats, before taking a minute to explain why at three years in she has to be judged and then plunged into some weird Rapture kick. Then I’m going to read the best paragraphs of The Great Gatsby to the wife, smoke an Ashton to the nub, pour some celebratory wine into a clay jug and go out in style.

Then again, there’s always a pretty good chance Camping is a nut and I’m a wiseass prick who will both be waking Sunday feeling cheated.

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