Revenge of the Nerds

Aquarian Weekly 4/11/12 REALITY CHECK

REVENGE OF THE NERDS GOP Establishment Corner Conservative Insurrection

The Alamo for theshort-lived TEA Party Era and its social conservative underbelly is nigh. It takes place as this goes to press with its best presidential candidate left ignoring polls, election results, pundit prognostication, entrenched Republican power-plays, high-profile endorsements, a paltry campaign bankbook, history, and his party’s better wishes to quit. Rick Santorum’s consolidated support has a staunch foundation that appears ready to make one last pitch to Republican voters to curtail the candidacy of moderate, Mitt Romney. And the anger in the Republican Party today is palpable.

Reince PriebusDespite protestation to the contrary, party officials are convinced that this primary season has severely weakened an already pathetic candidate, who after nearly six years running for president has taken far longer than any expected to clear a shaky field. The process has taken its toll; shedding likely Independent support as well as eradicating the women’s vote, which has gone from a 14 percent gap to a present 37 percent chasm. A national candidate with a singular economic message in a dire economic landscape was dragged kicking and screaming into ethnic, social, religious and gender issues that has cost the party precious time and money in which to aim at an extremely vulnerable incumbent.

The party knows this middling argument that a protracted primary fight that assisted the branding of Barack Obama in 2008 does not apply to Romney. In the winter of ’07 Obama was an unknown commodity and trailing a political monolith whose credentials and long-standing party affiliation was daunting. Hillary Clinton not only owned the Democratic Party when Obama began his long slog to the nomination, she had all the money and prospects to earn her Madam Shoo-in tag. Not to mention Obama’s grassroots, social media strategy that took time to develop and expand in each state he contested; something that closed the familiarity and money gap with each primary.

In this hackneyed analogy, Romney is Hillary Clinton. He has the party gravitas, the treasure and the name recognition that by all measures of competition should have laid waste to what at first was a comical set of challengers that eventually turned into a rank amateur opposition. Newt Gingrich never had any money and hardly maintained a coherent strategy from the opening bell. After the anti-Romney wing ran out of Trojan Horses, Santorum was left standing — a man with less resources and a far more haphazard organization than Gingrich.

But it mattered little in the end. The Republican Party rounded up every statesmen, governor and celebrity within the contiguous United States to beat the drum, albeit half-heartedly, for Romney, reasoning that the object is to present a viable candidate to defeat this president, a constitutional lawyer, whose signature piece of legislation is about to be deemed a pox on that very document by the Supreme Court with an over 8 percent unemployment number and rising gas prices. Money and pressure from the media — along with several antediluvian stances on 21st century concepts — sunk Rick Santorum and the underground conservative movement. Allowing a rotting corpse to foul the Republican brand any longer is political suicide.

But Santorum was never the issue for the anti-Romney contingent. They would have been just as happy with Michelle Bachmann or Rick Perry or the television hack or the pizza guy. Hell, up until two weeks ago there was serious talk by respected political minds of a brokered convention and another goddamn Bush being yanked from the closet to front the ticket. And so with the tolling bell, the anti-Romney voices shall rise up with a plan to press Gingrich to finally drop the charade and hand over his support and more importantly his delegates to Santorum for one last Pickett’s Charge.

As stated in this space months ago, Mitt Romney will be your 2012 Republican candidate for president of the United States. The only question has ever been how strong and legitimate a candidate would be up to his party and the always annoying but effective noise of the voting booth.

However, reports are now surfacing that Gingrich is adamant in making a mockery of the Republican Convention in August, threatening over the past weeks that he would seriously consider an exploratory independent research party to siphon votes from a general election pool that would in all likelihood end up in a four to six point dogfight by November. Getting out of the race for Gingrich, who realizes at this stage of his career — his advanced age and legitimacy within the party he once toiled for — has scorched every bridge he has crossed and is acting like the worst kind of political wild animal; a man with nothing left to lose.

Gingrich’s exit is the key to sustaining any real hope for survival until August for the anti-Romney contingent. Making the case that a two-man race has prevented Santorum from truly challenging Romney will have to suffice. Having a candidate drop his home state, as it appears Santorum will do in Pennsylvania barring overcoming a 12 percent deficit, is a sinking narrative, but not the death knell wrongly reported.

Ignoring the expected hoopla surrounding Romney’s inevitability, the math simply does not add up. He cannot make the requisite delegate count by August and even with a body-blow victory in Pennsylvania, beginning on May 8, the month holds a minefield for the Romney campaign. If previous primary results are any indication, contests first in Indiana, North Carolina and West Virginia, then onto Oregon (May 15), followed by Arkansas and Kentucky (May 22), and finally the mother of all Southern primaries, Texas on May 28 will at the very least keep Romney in a stalemate and may make a case for a Santorum alternative.

This is why Republican Party officials are calling for order and not a complete count of the votes. Santorum was technically right the other evening when he proclaimed the primary season at its halftime. There is voting to be done, none of which will make him the nominee, but could dismantle the inner workings of the party the way the Ronald Reagan late surge in 1976 pushed Gerald Ford to the brink, making him spend money and time proving for all intents and purposes he was as ineffectual a candidate as originally presumed. Ford’s improbable two-month comeback against Jimmy Carter fell just short, a deficit Republican historians say now could have been solidified had Reagan not selfishly cut the incumbent president to ribbons.

That is the Reagan Revolution in a nutshell; the revolt was internal, like all serviceable revolts, and like all serviceable revolts, provided casualties. But Rick Santorum is no Reagan. He is unlikable, spiteful and quick to irrational anger. Unlike Reagan, an actor, union leader, corporate pitch man and governor, he is untrained and sloppy and he, according the political high rollers, is a beast in the hen house that they have responsibly invested, maneuvered and intimidated all variables to secure.

As stated in this space months ago, Mitt Romney will be your 2012 Republican candidate for president of the United States. The only question has ever been how strong and legitimate a candidate would be up to his party and the always annoying but effective noise of the voting booth.

 

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Health Care on Trial

Aquarian Weekly 4/4/12 REALITY CHECK

HEALTH CARE ON TRIAL

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 is unconstitutional. I have written this repeatedly over the past year; originally in HEALTHCARE U.S.A. 3/24/10 and later that year, CITIZEN HEALTHCARE 12/29/10. It was true then and it is true now.

No politically charged Supreme Court decision in this politically charged election year is going to change that. It is not within the boundaries of the Congress of these United States to make such laws as to force its citizens to purchase insurance. This should have been the case for the 1935 Social Security Act that forced Americans to purchase retirement insurance or the Enrollment Act of 1863 that forced American men to fight for the Union and every subsequent Selective Service or Draft laws that wiped out thousands upon thousands of American citizens, many of them in unconstitutional “wars” like Korean, Viet Nam, Afghanistan, Iraq I, Iraq II or even before all that the Militia Acts of 1892 that forced every American to buy muskets and gunpowder.

U.S. Supreme CourtThis shit has been going on for a long time, folks.

Hell, the damn U.S. Constitution was only four years old when the second official congress and George Washington, the first president, pissed on it. The next guy in charge, John Adams, by far the most influential revolutionaries of the 1770s, but a lunatic chief executive, signed the Alien and Sedition Acts, which granted the president the power to deport citizens of questionable allegiance to the United States and jail or deport journalists for writing “slanderous” or “malicious” (determined by the White House) anti-government sentiments. Andrew Jackson became the godfather of Jim Crow by wielding an iron fist across the fruited plain with the 21st congress’s unconstitutional 1830 Indian Removal Act. Oh, boy did the South hammer that baby home over one hundred years of racketeering, voter intimidation and government-sanctioned murder.

Need we go on?

Yes?

Okay, how about this nation’s most revered and influential chief executive, Abraham Lincoln, who forced an entire region to restructure its moral and economic foundations through military invasion, which brought with it an unconstitutional drafting of the poor, the eradication of due process and habeas corpus, the jailing of dissidents against the federal government and of course the radically unconstitutional Marshall Law. Woodrow Wilson subsequently abused these “safety during war time” tactics during WWI and FDR during WWII when both presidents interred thousands of innocent German and Japanese civilians respectively. The world champion of unconstitutional nonsense, Richard Nixon used the same scheme to bug, slander and intimidate anti-war protestors, wielding the CIA, IRS, FBI and the Immigration and Naturalization Service in a clumsy attempt to destroy political opponents until he was asked to leave the premises.

Some of these cases were never challenged, some challenged and overturned or embarrassingly watered down or left to expire ungracefully. Some were regionally challenged for decades like the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which was a needed intervention of the federal government to impede Bill of Rights abuses. In the recent case of the Patriot Act, a whopper of unconstitutional chicanery, every case that was brought against it was successful, rendering most of it flaccid and ineffectual.

Not so with what the political culture pejoratively refers to as Obamacare, which has been challenged in lower courts across the land in several states and exonerated each time. Every liberal and conservative judge has seen fit to uphold the law as constitutional, despite its controversial Individual Mandate, an invention of the ultra-conservative Heritage Foundation in the 1990s and vocally supported by the Speaker of the House and leading Republican voice at the time, Newt Gingrich. It was a collective Right Wing knee-jerk response to the massive socialized medicine overhaul presented by then first lady, Hillary Clinton.

The federal government is not without precedent for this maneuver, of course.

This same blue print was formed and enacted by another current Republican challenger to the president, Mitt Romney, when his derisively coined Romneycare became the law of Massachusetts in 2006. And the man he now challenges? Barack Obama spent thousands of campaign dollars horse-whipping the aforementioned Ms. Clinton for “mandating Americans to buy health insurance or pay a penalty” in the spring of ’08, something he signed into law 24 months later.

The Individual Mandate, reeking with congressional history through Conscription and Social Security is the constitutional sticking point of Obamacare and not the Single-Payer socialist model utilized in every industrialized nation in the free world and what the liberal/progressive lobby has bellowed about for 60 years. This is a halfway house for insurance companies, one of the leading lobbies in the final days of this law’s formation, to gain millions of new clients.

Perhaps only the Individual Mandate will be struck down by a predictable 5-4 margin or maybe, in an uncommon move by the highest court in the land, a reasonable hedge decision of cutting off the Individual Mandate clause and leaving intact the most controversial law since the Patriot Act and certainly as economically driven a law since the Civil Rights Act. But as a fulcrum to the process, the Individual Mandate may take with it the entirety of the law and consequently the thousands of participants either benefiting or being hounded by its slow infusion into the national marketplace.

The federal government is not without precedent for this maneuver, of course. The vagaries of the Constitution’s Commerce Clause, although in spirit was originally included by the framers as a legal means to prevent a federalist construct in interstate trade and currency, certainly left a gaping legal hole in its letter. It is not unlike the currently eviscerated Stand Your Ground law that proponents claim was not implemented to include blue-line wannabes chasing down and murdering black teens. Sorry, no rule is singular, and neither is the Commerce Clause.

Thus the Commerce Clause has been used for a myriad of insanities over the two-century plus existence of this republic and it has its place here. If the Supreme Court rules against it, then it will be doing so in abject rejection to former rulings on Wickard v Filburn, which allowed congress to limit the amount of wheat grown by an Ohio farmer in 1942 or the 2005 criminalization of homegrown marijuana case of Gonzalez v Raich.

When the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is eventually ruled unconstitutional in June of this year, it will certainly reveal an incredible opportunity for those motivated enough to abolish Social Security or Medicaid or Medicare or Federal Income Tax or any of the dozens of federal laws that are and have always been unconstitutional.

Don’t tread on me?

Indeed.

 

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Super Tuesday Dud 2012

Aquarian Weekly 3/14/12 REALITY CHECK

SUPER DUDDerailed February for GOP Ends with a Super Tuesday Whimper

Money, influence, and party politics are turning to chum whatever reasoning Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich can muster for staying in a race for the Republican nomination for president. The contest has been, for all intents and purposes, over since this space declared it so on January 18. Well, not completely “over” in that it will take an unforeseen streak for the inevitable nominee Mitt Romney to reach the requisite 1,191-delegate threshold by the August convention, which makes way for greasy dealings and backstabbing galore.

Romney is SafeBut at this juncture either Gingrich or Santorum would have to first convince the other candidate to leave the race and make Romney sweat his 38 percent voter ceiling to lend the slightest credence to a sustained candidacy. But neither is likely to do that and thus with mostly proportional delegates awarded, this dog-and-pony show will likely drag on long enough to force the Romney camp to spend crucial general-election cash and endure a slew of unflattering interviews and awkward stump speeches further yanking its candidate to the Right.

So far the Right has not been kind to Romney, neither in base voting, which languishes in the 28 percent range, nor perception; whether it is his spectacular three-hour flip-flop on the idiotic Blunt Amendment or the bold-face lying on his opposition to a single-mandate Health Care Law, which he trumpeted as late as 2009 in his own Wall St. Journal op-ed piece. It is a place Gingrich initially (immigration) and now Santorum (social issues) have succeeded in cornering Romney that has slowly eroded his national election polls among likely Independent, women and Latino voters.

Still, the math favors Romney measurably.

Super Tuesday’s six-out of ten state grab-bag for the frontrunner may have provided fodder for punditry, but it hardly changes the cold fact: Even a mano-a-mano campaign with either Santorum or Gingrich would call for the challenger to net over 60 percent of the remaining vote to make this competitive.

Thus…over.

Wrangling over a margin of victory in Michigan or Ohio (likely Democratic states come November) or his no-show Southern vote unless Ron Paul is the only challenger on the ballot, as was the case in Virginia (another strongly potential Barack Obama battleground) still finds Romney entering the late-spring in a commanding position to gather more Republican establishment power and unite the guaranteed 42 percent of the national electorate.

And so the two-year TEA Party run is reduced to a sad echo and whatever is left of the whining “Anyone but Mitt” contingent will be expected to get in line like obedient anti-Obama automatons, hold their collective nose, and vote, vote, vote.

The only question now is how much more damage can the Gingrich/Santorum Road Show do to the Republican brand?

Gingrich is finished. His campaign trail has lead to a sad commentary on his character and more so on his very subsistence on the national stage that appears more of joke every day he spits out his predictable Clinton-Era drivel. He is the comedy relief, the new Donald Trump; a slow-motion political car wreck merely perpetuated for cheap headlines and bombastic quotes. Ironically, only his sworn enemy, the media — beyond a Las Vegas gambling mogul — gives a shit about Newt Gingrich anymore. He’s good press like Lindsey Lohan or the Octomom. Gingrich has succeeded in being the celebrity footnote he’d always dreamed, but this farce of his has a week to go.

Santorum is another thing altogether.

I’ll tell you one thing; I’d rather be a slut than a victim.

Santorum has the Mike Huckabee mojo behind him. He will keep getting Republican votes, as they were painstakingly created during the Reagan Revolution and used to great effect by Karl Rove in George W. Bush’s 2004 re-election. The Religious Right may not have national muscle, but regionally, especially in the South, it is a bitch and it resonates. It resonates so sharply that a candidate with practically no funding and an organization so inept it failed to fill out simple campaign paperwork that cost Santorum key congressional districts in Ohio and the entirety of Virginia Primary is still relevant.

The Religious Right, despite its abhorrence of the Catholic Church, urged Santorum to up the ante on the religious liberty canard, attack birth control, slander homosexuality and engage in an embarrassing breadth of moral proselytizing. This daily emesis stirred the Liberal press, which consequently tumbled into the Conservative radio market, where its champion, Rush Limbaugh channeled his inner Howard Stern and began to sound like the crazed mother from Carrie, chasing over 30 sponsors and provoking his obligatory public apology.

Why in the world, beyond placating sponsors, would a man handsomely paid to be provocative have to apologize for doing his job is anyone’s guess, just as it is anyone’s guess why the Georgetown law student he called a slut, or any woman or man over the age of ten for that matter, would give a flying fart what this gasbag says?

Fuck Limbaugh and fuck this whining little shit, and fuck the president for “calling to see if she was all right”. This gratuitous condescension reeks of dime-store misogyny and sets women’s rights back decades. Limbaugh is a glorified carnival barker with crippling marrying and eating disorders. This Sandra Fluke woman is as much a victim as the poor souls who have to listen to her sniveling martyrdom. If she is a victim at all, it is merely of bad taste and a shitty swipe at humor from a guttural swine that wouldn’t know funny if it bit him on his considerable ass.

I ask you; who isn’t the victim of bad taste?

Holy crap, this column has gone off the rails.

Suffice to say the only subjects worth writing about when the alternative is Mitt Romney are disc jockeys, law geeks and a Democratic Party that exploits this kind of atavistic “kitty stuck in a tree” garbage every woman in America should find offensive.

I’ll tell you one thing; I’d rather be a slut than a victim.

And I’d rather not write anymore about Mitt fucking Romney.

 

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The Frontrunner Shuffle 2012

Aquarian Weekly 2/29/12 REALITY CHECK

THE FRONTRUNNER SHUFFLE or Where the Hell is Reince Priebus?

Since I am the only reporter willing to go on record as to the extent of the Republican National Committee Chairman’s increasingly alarming drinking problem, it is also incumbent on this space to place it in context with the queer developments surrounding its fallout. By all accounts and clearly evident in the dramatic closing of Republican establishment ranks prior to an unsuspecting and purportedly damaging Rick Santorum surge in popularity, the spastically bizarre public behavior of Reince Priebus, while understandable, has sent shockwaves through the halls of the GOP powerbase mere days before the Michigan and Arizona primaries.

Rick SantorumAfter an alleged 72 hours of no sleep and a regrettable slip in press judgment, Priebus spent the first week of February tossing out urbane similarities between a sitting U.S. president and a foreigner accused of negligent homicide. This prompted angry stewards of billionaire Republican donors, David H. and Charles G. Koch to summarily pull the chairman from the public spotlight. Several backroom meetings for which the buzz from moles included “mild face slapping to repeated beatings over the head with a rolled up Wall Street Journal” led to a Priebus media blackout.

A spokesman for the RNC claimed that the days leading up to what aids are now describing as “the post-Triple-Sweep” binge wherein Priebus, caught shouting at a frightened cabbie in front of Denver’s swank Hotel Teatro, disappeared without a trace.

Reports of the RNC’s befuddled reaction to the abject whipping of party frontrunner, Mitt Romney by a suddenly resurgent Santorum sent Priebus’ already fragile state and penchant for Scotch-shooters to deplorable levels. Assistants were left to scramble to bus in confused vagrants and angry students promised Xbox 360 systems to fill out the student center at the University of Colorado for what was to be a victory speech turned funereal groan. By the time Romney was done speaking the crowd had turned ugly, but word spread that Priebus was already halfway to Grand Junction, where he was to pick up the latest windfall of Salt Lake City Super Pac money that never arrived.

Priebus then disappeared until his unhinged television appearances and the subsequent Koch Brothers beatings.

Problem was that no one noticed.

There has been a great deal of doom-speak coming from the war room lackeys now that a crazed fox is in the 2012 hen house. Many who believed Romney’s steady politico static-free waxen anti-Obama figure would cast a mighty shadow over what the Grand Old Party was sure this past summer was the weakest incumbent since Jimmy Carter. Rick Santorum was considered at best as a strange counter-point to whatever wild nonsense Newt Gingrich was spouting to split enough votes to keep a moderate billboard candidate from unraveling.

Two weeks of a religious loon going off half-cocked about sex, drugs and Satan was not on the agenda.

Long before the Santorum nightmare, worries began to fester throughout the party when Romney stumbled off script and told a CNN morning show that he didn’t care about the poor and chuckled lightly when asked why he thought his extra 300 grand in speaking-engagement income for 2011 was small change, but once his tax records were brought to light and the Republican machine began accusing the White House of playing “class-warfare”, all appeared well. Best of all, Gingrich spit the bit in two uneven debate performances and in an obvious panic started talking seriously about building lunar colonies and calling it a 51st state. Consequently, Romney stomped in Florida, a key swing state Barrack Obama carried in 2008.

Suddenly, the Mister Fix-It routine was ringing a tad hollow.

Combined with a subsequent Nevada caucus win, the word cocky was used in several interviews with insiders this space conducted after Florida. The Romney camp, backed by RNC strategy, ignored the sanctioned Missouri Primary, which was stripped of its delegates due to scheduling problems with the party. But while Romney spent his time trying to sew up Colorado, a caucus he would lose to Santorum along with one in Minnesota, the former Pennsylvania senator spent weeks pulling together his Iowa plan of door knocking/flesh pressing retail politics in Missouri to complete the 2/7 sweep.

Banned from media appearances, rumors abounded that the party dispatched Priebus to Maine to stop the bleeding, and with heavy party participation, which reports out of Bangor are now citing as “insider party fraud”, Romney squeaked by Ron Paul. Stunned, the Paul campaign, having done its own Santorum-like sweep of the state for months, challenged the results, and once the local and then national press began sniffing out the tallies, it was obvious that many counties — key Paul strongholds — were either not counted or erroneously called for Romney.

Details of the shenanigans pulled by Republican officials in Maine are sketchy and the delegates are being withheld pending investigations or a complete re-vote, but what has happened in the past three weeks to the Romney campaign does not exactly defy explanation.

For one, Romney’s only claim on his candidacy is a de facto John Kerry argument that he is the most electable and not the guy currently in charge. And secondly, he is the self-proclaimed economic wizard and therefore holds the best fulcrum against a damaged economy. But as weeks wore on past Christmas the stock market made its three-year Obama administration climb up to 13,000 for the first time since the spring of ’08 and was soon followed by a slow dip in unemployment and a gradual pace of domestic growth, consumer confidence, and a Super Bowl ad by a Hollywood touch-guy icon lauding the resurrection of the once tanked U.S. car industry.

Suddenly, the Mister Fix-It routine was ringing a tad hollow.

Meanwhile, with a renewed advantage in an upward economic swing and its opponents for the moment stalled, the White House found itself embroiled in a ridiculous Religious Liberty vs. Public Health issue that was nothing of the sort. This ready-made controversy emboldened the social issue/culture warrior base of a party that had been yanked back into a fiscal responsibility platform by the TEA Party surge of 2010. The grateful recipient of this severe shift in public debate from money to contraception is Rick Santorum, who took the football and literally threw Hail Marys all over the joint; pulling out the Jerry Falwell playbook on family, God and apple pie until it hurt.

Santorum hit every cultural low note from Detroit to Tempe and actually took minor leads in Michigan and Arizona, as well as overtaking Romney in the national polls. His Johnny Lunch-Pail gate mixed with a sweater-vest kind of sweet uncle charm made Santorum the perfect anti-robotic Romney. According to Republican strategists, Santorum’s only weakness as a national candidate is that he is out of his fucking mind, much of which was on full display in a plethora of stump speeches given since his Triple-Sweep performance. A careful reading of his 2008 religious/culture warrior screed, It Takes a Family; Conservatism and the Common Good that made the rounds of media derision didn’t help.

This daily dose of voodoo goofiness forced blow-back from the highest rafters of party donors, many of whom leaned so hard on Santorum it reduced his recent polished debate performances into a glassy-eyed Al Goresque charade in a CNN debate days before the primaries. This roused a Romney poll comeback. At one point in the televised massacre, Romney had Santorum apologizing for voting for derided crap the last two-term Republican president pitched as viable policy.

One week until Super Tuesday and Reince Priebus is still at large.

How long until he finds Jesus?

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The Israel Threat

Aquarian Weekly 2/22/12 REALITY CHECK

THE ISRAEL THREAT A Sideways Path to War with Iran

The near east U.S. military outpost known as Israel is about to go rogue. For all intents and purposes, much to the eternal glee of Hezbollah and whatever is left of al Qaeda, our overextended and bankrupt nation is about to be dragged into a direct confrontation with Iran. This maneuver, while antithetical to any sane solution in dealing with an already heavily sanctioned and highly motivated regional instigator, bloodshed is coming; and not the big-talk, ostensibly humanitarian carpet-bombing campaign we usually employ. This is the IDF we’re talking about, the most deadly efficient military in the world. It will not be pleasant and it will plunge the entire shit house into flaming wreckage and our fingerprints will be all over it.

Benjamin NetanyahuMake no mistake, the United States of America wants no part of Iran and hasn’t for decades of seriously dangerous Iranian madness, not the least of which happened in the late-70’s when its theocratic revolution topped off festivities by taking American citizens hostage. During the post-9/11 American “humanitarian carpet-bombing campaign” in Iraq, Iran (mortal enemies of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq) repeatedly aided, funded and directly carried out insurrectionist attacks on U.S. soldiers and contractors.

None of this brought about even a discussion on the invasion of Iran, nor did its tired rhetoric about turning Israel into rubble and massacring the evil Jew sautéed in a thick Arabic sauce of Holocaust denial. And this was during the Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld era of war-tribunal-free-for-all. Now after over ten years of Middle East wars, economic disaster and a renewed sense that no amount of bombing, killing and nation-building is going to take the crazy out of the crazies, a conversation about taking aggressive action against Iran is about as an unwelcomed as can be imagined beyond a CPAC Convention.

This would normally be bad news for Israel. For without a nod from the United States, Israel cannot seriously contemplate all-out aggression against Iran, never mind the type of military invasion it has hinted at for months should Iran cross some imaginary “redline” of nuclear advancement.

However, the bad news is also on the other foot, since according to Israel the “redline” is apparently within striking distance.

This week’s show biz routine rolled out by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, which featured an unveiling of an operational nuclear reactor with fancy fuel rods and impressive form-fitting white labs coats, was in one bold swoop a show of scientific progress achieved by 16th century tribesmen, a nose-thumb to international sanctions and a veiled threat to Israel. There was high talk of medical isotopes and major progress on nuclear centrifuges, all of which the U.S. State Department announced was “nothing new” and what the international community was expecting for some time, even in the face of Iran’s continued insistence the operation is purely an energy upgrade.

Israel has every right to defend itself and has a fair argument against an emboldened Iran, but beyond finger-wagging speeches by the White House and deeper sanctions, which has already damaged the Iranian economy by over half; it will have to do so without an American figurehead.

No one, of course, believes a word of it. But while the U.S. sees a slow-moving national ego-stroke within a region quickly turning into an anarchistic tinderbox in Syria, Egypt and Libya, Israel, and especially its knee-jerk Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, sees opportunity.

The Central Intelligence Agency lists Netanyahu as a loose cannon, whose iron fist approach has garnered him non-consecutive victories over a 16-year period and a host of belligerent military campaigns of variant successes and failures, His performance last year berating the president of the United States in the Oval Office in front of the international press and the assassinations of Iranian scientists over a two-year period has put the U.S. on notice. Despite billions of American aid and military might, Israel will not sit this one out.

For its part, Iran has been begging for an irate reaction from the blustery Netanyahu. Its underground terrorist hits of Israeli diplomats in separate bombings of India, the former Soviet Republic of Georgia and most recently Bangkok, the blame of which has been denied by Iranian officials, has carried with it an air of vengeance and overt saber rattling that flies in the face of its own diplomatic attempts to reopen nuclear talks with the West. This has all smartly transpired amid rumors that there could be an olive-branch agreement to allow UN inspectors to tour the Tehran nuclear facilities.

This and U.S. intelligence reports that Iran is at best two years removed from achieving the ability to make warheads, has dispatched a State Department envoy to Tel Aviv to allay Israeli fears and keep the United States from dealing with what appears to be no imminent threat its interests.

Although the same people who believe Iran is developing its nuclear capabilities for energy concerns also believe there will be a threat at some point in the next five to ten years, there is a two-front dilemma occurring in a more pertinent area to U.S. interests; the vital Strait of Hormuz. This slender waterway provides the transport of nearly one-fifth of the world’s oil supply, which not only affects the West, but Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Oman, as well as the new burgeoning republic or Iraq to the north.

The United States decade of carnage in the region and the crumbling resolve of a once moderate to malleable Arab coalition, one in which George H. W. Bush exploited to exacerbate the already pathetic ties to our oil addiction, has forced this stand-off into a diplomatic pussyfoot. Our Saudi alliance against a nuclear Iran, tenuously kept under wraps, is threatened by any hint of U.S. military involvement in Israel’s growing fury. It is simple pragmatism. It confronts each and every era in this volatile loony bin called the Middle East to which we must bow or begin trading in those monster trucks for hybrid minis.

Israel has every right to defend itself and has a fair argument against an emboldened Iran, but beyond finger-wagging speeches by the White House and deeper sanctions, which has already damaged the Iranian economy by over half; it will have to do so without an American figurehead.

But what is the reality in that?

As a wise man once uttered; “Slim to none and slim just left the building.”

And thus, in an ironic twist Israel has become as dangerous a threat to U.S. security as any terrorist organization.

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Joe Cool Carries The Two

Aquarian Weekly 2/1/12 REALITY CHECK

JOE COOL CARRIES THE TWO White House to Play Percentages in 2012 Race

For ninety interminably long minutes on 1/24/12, the president of the United States played his hand. All that anyone needs to know about the obligatory laundry list cum base rouser that usually fills a final first-term State of the Union address is that it’s going to be the Summer of Populism for the most pragmatic chief executive of my lifetime. This is how Barack Hussein Obama burst upon his first campaign for the job he eventually won in the autumn of 2008, and the way he has governed since. The White House will play the percentages, weigh the margins, and use the Karl Rove schematic for winning a national electoral election: Ignore useless national polls and vacillating approval ratings and figure the best way to get to the magic 270.

Barack ObamaWhile his proposed Republican challengers walk all over each other trying desperately to shift Right, mainly because two of the frontrunners have to distance a centrist to liberal past and get the party’s nomination, Joe Cool studies the trends of a thorny electorate that has shown the kind of mercurial nature mostly exhibited by the bipolar. In the last decade alone the national vote has gone from geo-political to anti-war to wildly progressive to conservatively entrenched to whatever the hell is happening now.

This is why Obama’s State of the Union appeared to be written by less ideologue than actuary.

The Numbers People are what matter in elections. They have the vital information on who is available to woo, who is already on board, and who is most likely to be courted. National politics is not sport. An election, as it is at every level, is a sum-game; the first one to the measuring stick takes the oath. Emotions, ideas, credentials; these are the tools of the loser. Winning a presidential election is about key numbers — not the most, but the most within the most. Think of a Salvador Dali painting sifted violently through a Warholian blender. This is the Electoral College in action, a warped contest of democratic synergy dominated only by those who embrace nuance.

And here’s what Joe Cool’s Numbers People read…

Currently, the percentage of Americans jazzed about cutting deficits and protecting the Middle Class tax burden by raising the tax rate on the wealthy is 73.

Seven out of ten Americans in this polarizing political climate is a margin akin to a Hugo Chavez election result. This will get the attention of even the most naïve Numbers People. As unpopular as any proposed tinkering with National Health Care was two years ago, which gave rise to the TEA Party movement, sticking it to the rich is even more beloved. This also includes the trendy Occupy Wall St. movement, whatever that is now.

Not only has the idea of putting the squeeze to the wealthy grown in popularity since the hilariously unnecessary piss fight over raising the debt ceiling a few months back, but it has happened on the insistence of Republicans. Normally, or more to the point forever, Republicans have mocked deficit hawks as chicken-little anti-capitalists. This has changed, and thus become bad news for those who know that the only way to cut deficits and pay off the national debt is through either draconian cuts to popular programs or raising government revenues.

Election year calls for austerity is shitty game planning. Ask Jimmy Carter. So it’s raising revenue, and the way this works is whoever has the most is usually tracked down. Kind of like your rich uncle when your band was after seed money for that P.A. you needed to gig.

No matter the national anger, the lukewarm base reception or the perception that we’re careening toward the new Greece, 19 gets Barack Obama a second term.

The White House will be jacking up this winning formula to dizzying degrees if half of what we heard in the State of the Union can be believed, because 73 percent of anything sings the high note to 46 percent approval ratings and 63 percent wrong-track polling.

Although much of the anti-Obama stuff, a fair portion of it fabricated by dumb-speak about a forged birth certificate, Muslim roots and socialist leanings, is white noise to Independent voters; the other key set of digits for the Numbers People.

In the last three presidential elections not skewed by Ross Perot, the Democratic and Republican bases equaled out at 42 percent each. This means that roughly 16 percent of the national vote is Independent, which rolled to George W. Bush in two elections and overwhelming in Obama’s column in 2008. Recent polls have the Independent vote, including newcomers, which were predominantly Democrat in ’08 but a fair portion have flocked to Ron Paul so far, ballooning to nearly 30 percent. However, much of this polling, according to the best Numbers People, cannot be trusted since there appears to currently be a rabid anti-government sentiment on both sides of the political aisle clearly borne out in the 11 percent approval for 112th congress.

Still, neither party can rely on the base to elect their candidate. Independents remain the only source of gained votes, the individuals for whom every attack ad, stump speech and debate performance will be aimed.

Finally, Numbers People, for all of this talk about “people”, are not as interested in the human error of spastic belief systems and knee-jerk political climate changes. The actual “winning” lies in the Electoral College and its 270 votes needed to be president.

Right now the White House has gone on record in surmising that with Obama’s fat-cat coffers and concentrated canvassing of Democratic strongholds, the president is most likely to garner the John Kerry votes of 2004. This is what gamblers call an even bet, the short odds, the hedge numbers. This, according to Numbers People reasoning, leaves them 19 electoral votes to corral. No matter the national anger, the lukewarm base reception or the perception that we’re careening toward the new Greece, 19 gets Barack Obama a second term.

This, mind you citizens living in the non-numbers world, is an exacting summation without an actual opponent, which appears to most assuredly be either a rich robot or a raving lunatic; or if you are a student of recent history; Michael Dukakis or John McCain.

So, while the rest of the nation and the world heard a State of the Union replete with political rhetoric and class warfare tactics wrapped in a red, white & blue gunny, friends of the Numbers People heard the cold clatter of calculation.

Carry the two and hail to the chief!

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South Carolina Mudsling 2012

Aquarian Weekly 1/25/12 REALITY CHECK

SOUTH CAROLINA MUDSLINGRepublican Fringe Fights Back Against Citizen Romney

Fifteen days after the Iowa Caucuses, Mitt Romney, its presumed victor, received pre-dawn news that he actually placed runner-up. Antiquated third-world vote-tallying techniques perfected in the mid-nineteenth century by Boss Tweed led officials in Des Moines to report Rick Santorum had actually won. Realizing that along with losing a few delegates, the frontrunner will no longer be able to claim “only non-incumbent Republican presidential candidate to sweep the first two contests of the primary season” status and thus draping himself in the cloak of inevitability was not Citizen Romney’s worst turn of the day.

Newt GingrichRomney, enduring his most trying week as a national candidate over calls, much of it from his opponents, for the release of his tax records stemming from allegations of an off-shore tax dodge, received darker vibrations only hours later. Before the morning was out, former Texas Governor and the field’s comedy relief, Rick Perry dropped out of the race and quickly endorsed Romney’s only real competition in the South Carolina Primary, Newt Gingrich.

Many were initially shocked that the self-destructive Perry, having been buried in Iowa, decided to limp from is “reassessment” conclave in Texas to contest South Carolina despite anemic poll numbers and strange debate performances in which his brain failed him and when it functioned was concocting a new invasion of Iraq. But rumors abounded for the past week that Perry promised a Secret Conservative Coalition, then meeting in his home state to coalesce behind one sustainable conservative alternative to Romney, that if he polled below ten percent on the eve of the South Carolina Primary he would toss his support, however pathetic, to the candidate closest to winning the state.

And so Perry’s rapidly paced quit/endorse routine was less a surprise to Romney than the Santorum campaign, which was promised the full support of the same Secret Conservative Coalition immediately after its emergency summit wrapped the previous weekend. Scrambling to beg the Perry staff on holding off the Gingrich endorsement until after the South Carolina vote, scheduled for 1/21, Santorum’s staff soon realized it was a lost cause. Perry, avoiding any mention of the Texas deal to back the most likely candidate and best derail Romney in South Carolina, instead cited his long-standing friendship with Gingrich, which led to the former speaker penning the foreword to his 2010 book, Fed up!, as the source of his reasoning.

In a strange twist of events, Gingrich received word from Texas to roll up behind Santorum two days before the Perry endorsement. The best reporting on this, much of it barely existent, describes a defiant candidate spending nearly an hour deconstructing the former Pennsylvania senator as a one-trick pony, who, outside of moldy social issues still has the stench of ignominious senatorial defeat upon him. Gingrich allegedly finished the one-sided conversation by promising the type of scorched earth South Carolina technique that the George W. Bush campaign unleashed on John McCain in 2000 that all-but sealed up the nomination.

Amazingly, this put Newt Gingrich, left for dead three times on the 2012 campaign, as the main challenger to a breezy Mitt Romney nomination.

Santorum’s sudden Iowa victory and the Gingrich resurrection notwithstanding, Romney’s clumsy dance around releasing his tax records and a series of verbal flubs slowly but surely had begun to paint the former Massachusetts governor as an unholy amalgam of Gordon Gekko and Daddy Warbucks. The detached business mogul, Citizen Romney, a big hit in New Hampshire, is a losing play in the south. By the time Perry tossed his five percent support to Gingrich, Romney’s fifteen-point lead had shrunk to less than ten in most polls.

You could almost hear the feint echoes of “vast left-wing conspiracy” in this tired nineties-era act.

For his part, Gingrich’s red-meat performance in a FOXNEWS debate before a rabid southern conservative crowd a few days prior, which garnered him several standing ovations, helped the former speaker gain serious traction. While Santorum appeared oddly civil and Romney predictably wooden, Gingrich fired one spiteful sound bite after the next, hammering the press, the president, and the entirety of the American system of governance since 1835. By the time Gingrich concluded his multi-pronged stomp, the edgework mystic, Ron Paul appeared a far more viable centrist choice.

This is the hardcore South Carolina pushback that was promised by Republican insiders and the very reason for RNC chairman Reince Priebus’ drinking binge that was dutifully reported in this space three weeks ago. It is, as history dictates for the GOP, the challengers’ firewall and the last-chance corral for someone to put the brakes on the Citizen Romney machine — well funded, methodically organized, and far-reaching — that is still boasting double-digit leads in Florida and beyond.

But the rosy comeback glow was quickly dimmed the very same night Gingrich was apprised of his recent surge and the Perry nod, as ABC News aired an interview with his second wife, who candidly talked of his six-year affair with a House staffer and current wife while he spent months publically decrying the Clinton/Lewinsky scandal. The buzzword to come out of the interview was “open marriage” that, while not as horrifying as “gay marriage” to the Right, appears to shamelessly defecate on even the vaguest concept of “family values”.

Gingrich then took to his defense by pitching one of his celebrated fits for the first four minutes of a CNN debate by blaming the “left-wing elite press” for screwing a woman who wasn’t his wife for the better part of a decade. You could almost hear the feint echoes of “vast left-wing conspiracy” in this tired nineties-era act. But it was ultimately a key debate for Santorum, as he took the fight in a surprisingly cogent fashion to all comers and lifted his brand beyond goofy religious axioms to the only real conservative candidate left standing.

In the same debate, Romney, who has made an art form of playing both sides of an argument, broke the record for contradicting one’s self. Rightly hammering Barack Obama for what he deemed “crony capitalism” — the president’s kowtowing to labor interests and failed environmental concerns — within 25 seconds (20 of which were consumed by the moderator) he stated, “I know we’re going to get attacked on capitalism and people say we have to practice it ‘this way or that way’, but my view is that I will defend any type of capitalism.”

Make no mistake, Santorum, a solid debater, Gingrich, an excellent sound bite, and Paul, an enviable rebel, are all sucking Romney’s fumes. But their yo-yo campaigns clearly illustrate that he is a dangerously flawed candidate. Yet he remains the man the Party wants to court a vital and growing Independent vote that will ultimately decide the presidency in November. Something the Republican establishment fear Gingrich or Santorum will fail miserably to achieve.

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Citizen Romney 2012

Aquarian Weekly 1/18/12 REALITY CHECK

CITIZEN ROMNEY

It is futile to fight against, when one doesn’t know what one is fighting for. -Ayn Rand

Mitt RomneyFor all intents and purposes, the Republican Primary season is over. The unprecedented victories in both Iowa and New Hampshire by former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney have taken the starch out of things. Not so much for his own prowess, as his flimsy character chronically reveals severe fault lines that become ever more distinct upon the slightest inspection, it’s that not one of his opponents appears to be a viable candidate for president, have a third of his funds, and suffer daily push-backs from every corner of the GOP establishment. All that is left of this gory charade is for the drag-ass press monkeys to scratch out sorry stories of failed hopes and disingenuous claims, gaffs a-plenty by desperate challengers too stubborn to admit the jig is up, and an agonizing rehashing of poll after miserable poll.

Don’t be fooled by any of it.

It’s over.

No Republican non-incumbent has ever won the first two contests in a run for president — and after January 21 in South Carolina, most likely the first three — and failed to become his party’s nominee. The Romney Campaign has made mincemeat of an already compromised field — unprepared, unrealistic, underwhelming and unfortunate bottom feeders, and Ron Paul, who, to his undying credit, has run as staunchly unwavering an ideological race as this reporter has ever covered or witnessed.

There is something wickedly crucial about what Dr. Paul is pulling off; getting on national television and state ballots talking about gutting the Federal Reserve, legalizing drugs, eradicating all modes of food and energy regulations and pulling every last American soldier from all over the globe. But he’s running for president, not Super Id Guru, and after he collects his run-off delegates and puts the scare into the RNC that he might bolt with his new and improved voters to offer a third party choice, he will shuffle off to Wonderland.

Unless someone, and fast, finds a live boy or a dead girl, Romney is on his way. Lord knows he’s been running a national campaign from the get-go. He fails to even acknowledge there are any other Republicans in this thing. It’s “Obama this and Obama that”. This is as national a campaign as can be run this early and it ain’t gonna stop. And why should it? He gets shit from the far Right, and he wins. He gets shit from radio row, and he wins. He gets shit from the Wall St. Journal, The National Review, Time, FOXNEWS, MSNBC, your cousin, your cousin’s friend and their local bartender, and he keeps winning.

My father, a man of few words and one who is not known to weigh in on these things too deeply, said to me the other day; “Someone other than Mitt Romney will have to win a primary at some point to make a case, no?”

Romney apparently doesn’t need to be a formidable candidate, barely garnishing a third of his party’s support.

Romney apparently doesn’t need to be a formidable candidate, barely garnishing a third of his party’s support. Even in what is ostensibly his home state, which borders the one he ran from 2002 to 2006, he pulled only 39 percent of the vote. This is known in stock car racing circles as “cruise control”. Romney is the quintessence of a tepid caricature, Arthur Miller’s Willy Loman; “Liked but not well-liked”.

This queer combination of succeeding by default has filled Romney with an “aura of invincibility”, a bravado born of a frontrunner running way out front. And while a disturbing preponderance of voters prefers someone else, there are too many of the “someone else” crowd. Since none of them have gained any traction for more than two week clips, there is Citizen Romney.

Citizen Romney is the new and improved candidate, who has smartly buried Willard Mitt Romney’s senate candidate/governor past as a fiscal and social liberal by selling himself as Business Man Deluxe. This outsider, “not a politician” move went as far as having the candidate utter in a recent debate that he doesn’t consider politics a career. When asked to comment why a man running for the most powerful office, and thus the most coveted by a politician, would have the gall to claim no real interest in the profession, a member of his staff offered this space a polite “no comment”.

Good move.

Citizen Romney is betting the farm that voters will 1) Forget he has repeatedly concocted dozens of personalities and embraced two-sided ideologies to get elected to whatever was in front of him and 2) In a grander scale, he wishes to bypass the messy furor of TEA Party/ Occupy Wall St. — anti-big government/anti-big business marauders to play the unrepentant ruthless millionaire baron. Don’t like it? You’re just offering up “the politics of envy”.

The only problem with the Citizen Romney character is Mitt Romney was at best a fair and at worst a crappy business man, if he was a business man at all. His only claim to fame, Bain Capital, consists of the kind of investment firm that feeds off weak corporate models of bloated workforce and wasteful production rank and file. To claim, as the candidate repeatedly has, that this corporate chop-shop activity resembles a “job creating” enterprise stretches credibility until it screams for mercy.

When hammered in New Hampshire by Newt Gingrich (fresh from taking his own beating in Iowa by Romney) and Rick Perry (merely fighting for relevancy) as a “vulture capitalist”, Romney cited his opponent’s’ socialist leanings, gaining support from many Republican mouthpieces who’ve adopted the turd-like notion that any measure of the free market is to be defended. While Gingrich rightly argues that “criticizing one business man for one set of practices is not an assault on capitalism” it’s bad Republican mojo, and for a fleeting moment actually put a minor conservative wave under Citizen Romney.

But “minor” is the operative word here.

Echoing much of what is coming from conservative circles following Romney’s victories, this week, in a lengthy American Spectator screed disemboweling the candidate, conservative pundit Peter Ferrara compared Romney to such ignominious losers as Thomas Dewey, Jerry Ford, Bob Dole, and John McCain.

Ferrara writes; “As the Republican candidate, he would be the least electable most of all because he would not inspire the maximum vote from grassroots conservatives, failing just where his friend John McCain did, as Bob Dole did before him. That effect would be felt all the way down the ticket, as Republicans fail to win the Senate and Congressional seats with a disappointing turnout that they could have with a grassroots earthquake, as was inspired by the Reagan Revolution in 1980.” And Citizen Romney keeps on winning.

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Iowa Caucuses 2012

Aquarian Weekly 1/11/12 REALITY CHECK

HAWKEYE HOODWINK
Iowa Caucuses Dilate Republican Ranks

Reince Priebus is not a drinker. Friends say he will occasionally sip white wine at corporate functions to appear erudite or nurse a beer at $1,000-a-plate fundraisers to better affect grassroots credibility. But these mere acts of social obligation are usually seen as a civilized way to “take the edge off”, an important salve in any campaign year. So it was something of a news story coming out of Iowa late Tuesday night that the Republican National Committee Chairman was reportedly seen “guzzling 16-year old Glenkinchie straight from bottle as if it were Gatorade”.

Reince Priebus

Beginning his second year on the job, Priebus has one goal this winter; usher in, as smoothly as possible, a non-polarizing fiscal conservative candidate for president of the United States. The best people assured the 39-year old stoically tight-lipped Priebus that Mitt Romney was that man. A memo sent to his desk in September emphatically stated, “With unemployment teetering around nine percent and ‘wrong-track’ polls tossing dirt on a weak incumbent, this is no time to ‘get cute'”.

These, among several follow-ups through the holidays, were memos not to be ignored. Not if you consider yourself chairman of anything, much less a resurgent political party hijacked by amateurs who’ve routinely made mincemeat of the speaker of the house and plummeted the already gruesome approval numbers for congress to a spectacularly dismal 12 percent.

This is the Republican Party, after all; a tight ship of “earned” status and unshakable tenets in decorum and hierarchy, wherein the eleventh commandment set down by the almighty Gipper that no Republican shall besmirch the other is sacrosanct.

Thus, a week before the Iowa Caucuses – largely ignored by the party elite, as even four years ago evangelical favorite, former Arkansas governor, Mike Huckabee secured victory and solidified his place for over two months of primaries – there was a sense that even the incredible expanse of the Ron Paul Iowa Plan was screeching to a halt. This bit of prime news encouraged the Romney camp to call Priebus personally and assure him victory.

Then, literally out of nowhere, former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum began one of the most inexplicable political comebacks in recent history by taking his eight-month old non-funded, barely staffed, and directionless campaign and canvassing all of Iowa’s 99 counties, pressing the flesh with those he’d entertained over 350 times in town hall meetings attended by one to one hundred people. Within six days his immovable eight percent polling catapulted to 22 percent, leapfrogging every other candidate who had some kind of lead in the state since mid-August.

By the time the caucuses commenced at seven pm on January 3, the Santorum surge, untouched by media vetting or opponent challenges, smartly heisted the abandon-ship votes from Ron Paul’s radical libertarian stance and what was left of New Gingrich, who had been mercilessly pilloried by Romney’s $3 million Super PAC media machine for a week. This was later interpreted by the delusional Gingrich as underhanded smearing, despite the fact that he was one of the leading voices supporting the free speech element of Super PACS and in all fairness nary a charge levied turned out to be either false or distorted. Apparently merely citing the career credentials of the former speaker is enough to shave 15 points off his lead.

Thus, along with his cannonball method of downing Scotch, these almost jarringly sudden unforeseen events led to several confirmed reports describing Priebus’ behavior at 10:30 pm that night as “disturbingly unbalanced”. He was seen in the lobby of the Renaissance Savery Hotel “openly crying” and “shouting discordant slurs at bell hops” while “shoving his press secretary into a candy machine on the way to a private bathroom”.

Romney may well be the first frontrunner in modern American politics to win the opening tally of a presidential race and be considered by all accounts an abject loser.

A local television crew captured the fallout as the shaken employee was seen rubbing his injured arm. “He can’t be blamed,” the young man whispered. “I mean…Rick Santorum?”

On an enormous monitor above the unsettling scene, a grinning Santorum, the eventual second-place finisher in Iowa by a record-close eight votes, stood before a raucous throng and announced, “Game on.”

Minutes later, as The Weekly Standard’s Bill Kristol was telling the FOXNEWS audience that “there has to be a mystery candidate to fill this vacuum” phones began to ring at RNC headquarters on First St. in downtown Washington D.C. On the other end donors to the Romney Campaign – by far the richest in the field – wanted to know how in holy hell a flat broke religious fanatic who hadn’t held a government position in the nearly six years since being slaughtered by 18 points in his home state, mainly due to his abysmal senatorial record of spendthrift legislation backed with a rapacious earmark appetite, with a crew of less than 20 and a pick-up truck could get .0006 percent less votes than the party’s presumptive nominee?

While Santorum spoke in maudlin tones about the coalfields of Pennsylvania, comparing the sitting president of the Unites States to Mussolini and thanking God for guns, a group of what Politico reported the next morning as “Movement Conservatives” scheduled an emergency meeting in Texas “to coalesce behind a presidential hopeful that is not Willard Mitt Romney”.

Romney may well be the first frontrunner in modern American politics to win the opening tally of a presidential race and be considered by all accounts an abject loser. The numbers don’t lie. Four years ago the former governor of Massachusetts lost in Iowa by ten points to the aforementioned Huckabee, garnering only 25 percent of the vote. This time around, after four years of national face-time and over two years of organizational ramping up, he received 25 percent of the vote, (breaking Bob Dole’s 1996 total of 26 percent for the lowest in history) and ironically only five more actual votes than the last time around.

The 25 percent also represents something of a polling ceiling for Romney nationwide, and over the summer four of his opponents out-polled him, not only in Iowa, but nationally; meaning that nearly three-quarters of the Republican electorate is at odds with the Republican establishment, represented by the RNC and its chairman, the suddenly embattled, Reince Priebus.

No amount of screeching or Scotch can shift these numbers.

Numbers the RNC had stupidly ignored in keeping the major party donors funds flowing in Romney’s direction, despite fleeting moments of celebrity by Michelle Bachmann, (jettisoned from the race Wednesday by a last place showing in Iowa, her native state) Rick Perry, (a fifth-place finisher who returned to Texas to be told by his people he should use his remaining $3 million to fight it out in South Carolina in two weeks) the long-gone Herman Cain and more recently Newt Gingrich.

News did not improve for the RNC as Gingrich, who called Romney a liar on national television the day of the Iowa vote, turned what was to be a concession speech on his fourth-place showing in Iowa into a declaration of vengeance against Romney, something he echoed throughout his week in New Hampshire on every conservative talk radio show in the nation. Plots of a triangulation of fire coming at the frontrunner from the resurgent Santorum and the angered Gingrich was quickly squashed when it dawned on both campaigns that this would merely split their already meager support and embolden Romney not only in New Hampshire on January 10, the only primary where he polls aver 30 percent, but in South Carolina; what observers are already dubbing the Right Wing Waterloo.

With two debates scheduled – one official and another informal on Meet The Press over the weekend in New Hampshire – and a major coalition of conservative players scheming on how to make a social fascist and fiscal Keynesian the alternative choice, it is this space’s public service to suggest Mr. Priebus begin carrying a flask.

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The Ron Paul Factor 2012

Aquarian Weekly 12/21/11 REALITY CHECK

THE RON PAUL FACTOR Iowa & the Soul of the Grand Old Party

Soon the nation will learn where the Republican Party stands. In less than three weeks, the Iowa Caucus will begin the painstaking selection of a presidential candidate. This is when polls, punditry and prognostication become fact. So…who represents the party now? Conservative? Moderate? Religious Right? Washington Lifer? Libertarian?

Who will be the figurehead, the titular leader of the New Conservative movement, so in vogue only one short year ago?

Ron PaulTwelve months on, where does the Grand Old Party find its voice?

In 2010, it was anti-big-government, no-tax-under-any-circumstances, anti-union, anti-entitlements, anti-Obama. By January of this year, Republicans were taking half of the legislative branch and turning the United States Senate into a stalemate. Feels like only yesterday the Liberal Revolution of 2008 and its president was all-but finished.

Oh, it was a serious beat down; not only of Democrats, but old-line, establishment Republicans, who had to make way for several and varied first-timers, anti-politicians — motivated citizens with no ties or obligations to the “way things are done” Washington milieu. There was no telling where this could lead?

The hope was that it would lead to a purer form of politics. Where the Left lost its way after putting so much social, political and youthful hope in Barack Obama, the Right would rise from the ashes of Bush/Cheney/Delay spendthrift, scandal-addled, war-mongering mania to a hard-line fiscal razing of the system.

Gay bashing, Muslim-phobia, myopic jingoism was out and “Read our lips — No New Taxes” was in. Jesus, there was even talk from Republicans about reducing the national debt or bust.

What a merry time of misrule it was.

But a funny thing happened on the way to the forum…or Paul Ryan, we hardly knew ye.

After the party’s successful exploitation of the original TEA Party, which has since split into more disparate factions than the birth of Christianity, predictable backlashes ensued. Public unions in Wisconsin, Michigan, Florida, Ohio, Maine, Arizona and Alaska fought against the tide of reduced entitlements and abolished collective bargaining rights. Then the federal government nearly shutdown, as the no-compromise freshman engaged in a suddenly catastrophic deficit pogrom. And then there was Occupy Wall St., which, much like the TEA Party, ignored ridicule, fickle media infatuation and harsh criticism to remain a viable voice of conscience.

So it’s reasonable to assume two things: Republicans will either stick to their guns and stay the course of conservative purity or abandon ship and select a dyed-in-the-wool national candidate to surf the middle, seduce independents and take on what is sure to be a multi-million dollar Obama Machine the likes of which has rarely been seen in the modern political landscape.

Of course, as stated, Iowa will kick-start this process, but can hardly be considered a reliable barometer for the Republican Primary. Many weird things happen in Iowa, much of it difficult to recount here without a smattering of hem and a fair amount of hawing. However, it is a vote and it counts, unlike the bullshit that appears nightly on cable news. And right now, if polls be trusted, the resurrection of one of Washington’s most reviled demagogues, Newt Gingrich, leads the ever-vacillating Mitt Romney Mach II by ten percentage points with perennial Libertarian, Ron Paul right beside him.

Is the TEA Party yesterday’s news, used and tossed to the curb to allow an “electable” candidate to emerge?

Gingrich has no money and no party support. The national conservative press and former colleagues regularly shove each other out of the way to eviscerate him. Yet, he appears to be the only-man-standing in a four-month round-robin competition for Anyone But Romney. For reasons that we’ll dissect in the coming weeks neither Romney nor Gingrich represent a scintilla of pure conservatism. In many crucial ways, these are Limo Liberals at best and in reality Big Government Dinosaurs. Their record of voting, supporting and lobbying for progressive causes and Keynesian economic strategies are well documented.

Ron Paul, however, is the interesting candidate.

He is certainly interesting for his Barry Goldwater approach — the pre-William F. Buckley, Jerry Falwell, Ronald Reagan conservative. If nothing else he is ideologically pure; a political doppelganger of the TEA Party faithful, many of which, if under random doses of sodium pentathol would have to admit Gingrich and Romney are closer to Barack Obama than anything they sent to congress last year. While the two frontrunners have changed positions on key conservative tenets daily, Paul has been spouting his unflinching rhetoric for decades.

But Ron Paul is most interesting because the caucus landscape is his canvas — reporters from every circle have all agreed he’s had more one-on-one connections with them and the people of Iowa (both integral newsmakers and ordinary voters) than any of the six or seven Republicans left standing in this race. Moreover, Paul has an Iowa ground organization far and wide, the kind of grassroots measure Obama conducted when Hillary Clinton was busy measuring drapes for the Oval Office.

Now, there is very little one can say that is crazier than Ron Paul is a clear bet to be the Republican nominee for president in 2012, but that is not the issue. The issue in Iowa, the only game in town on January 3, will tell us where the wind may blow for the Republican Party. Is the TEA Party yesterday’s news, used and tossed to the curb to allow an “electable” candidate to emerge? Remember the “un-electable” Michelle Bachman took the straw poll here in the summer and vaulted to conservative darling for as long as she could keep her mouth shut, which ended abruptly when she told the Today Show that the MPV vaccine causes mental retardation.

Say Paul, who has made no secret of his extremely controversial stands on legalizing drugs, wiping out any kind of government regulations, gutting the Military Industrial Complex, tearing asunder federal safety nets, and eradicating a bevy of government agencies, wins in Iowa. Does that mean there is a chink in the armor of those in the party who have spent the better part of three years trying to make Obama a one-term president? And if the establishment, so cushy with TEA Party hardliners a year ago when it suited them, turn their back on these results and the subsequent press, bump in polls, and political gravitas it provides a true conservative like Ron Paul, then what fills that vacuum; a true Independent candidate? Who then stops attention hounds like Donald Trump or Sarah Palin from screaming about trading in principles for hollow victory or an unenthusiastic showing to usher in four more years of Obama?

Who then stops crazies like Ann Coulter or stalwarts like George Will from pounding the party on grab-ass or disunity?

Yes, Ron Paul in Iowa might have small legs in the battle, but the war will be waged in a different mindset if he wins.

 

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