All Hail The Super Committee

Aquarian Weekly 11/23/11 REALITY CHECK

ALL HAIL THE SUPER COMMITTEE!

The Super Committee is in control.

By now you know their names; if not, look them up — six Republicans and six Democrats — half of which represent the House and the other half, the Senate. They are lawmakers, members of the United States congress. They have been tasked with pulling together what amounts to four years of wrangling over a federal budget. The democrats kicked it over to the Republicans, who then kicked it to…The Super Committee!

The first of its kind; it is indeed a committee. And the super part? Well, that just puts the pressure on.

Cost cutting. Revenue increasing. Debt reducing. Job creating.

Super Comittee!If the chosen few fail to cut at least $1.5 trillion from the current cost to run the business of government over a ten-year period by 11/23, then it triggers a draconian scourge upon both houses; slashing of entitlements, slicing of the military industrial complex. The bloat and gluttony of our federal system eviscerated.

The Super Committee is in control.

So why don’t we hear more about this? Where is the public debate, so prevalent in the highly charged show biz flail-about congress staged during the fabricated Debt Ceiling Crisis?

Where is the name calling, demagoguery, the desperate pleas to save our children and honor our forefathers? Where are the attack ads and lobbying fisticuffs? Threats? Grandstanding? Bitching like whining rat-faced jack-offs? Where is the politics? Oh, lord, the politics!

This is it, folks. The big decision, the down-and-dirty face-the-facts, pay-the-piper, adults-in-the-room hard choices we’ve been promised. Ingenuity. Compromise. Steadfast determination to transform, manipulate, rescue our great nation from itself.

The Super Committee is in control.

Yet, on a daily bases we hear one dumb ass comment after the other from Herman Cain, a dim-witted pizza salesman lifted to the brink of Everyman Savior by the spectacularly naive; a private sector hero, the straight talkin’ charmer, who ain’t no politician, bub! Shit, Cain may make for great sound bites and appears fairly more serious, if not half as idiotic, as Donald Trump, but has as much chance of becoming president of the United States as the now seven or eight women who claim he treated them like speakeasy cocktail waitresses.

Trust me; Herman Cain has no power, no fucking power to affect a scintilla of your life. The Super Committee, however, does.

In fact, the guy who is actually president is not even in the country as I write this.

That last sentence may be considered by some to be perspective. In Washington, they call it Tuesday.

There have been a lot of head honchos over at the executive branch turned away with hat in hand. Pretty much all of them at one point or another. Large mouths and dead weight in the shadow of the Capitol Rotunda.

May this be a warning to those who yammer on incoherently about how the president and his “policies” and influence, whether it’s this guy or the last guy, have a glint of the authority that rests in our legislative branch. It holds all the cards, bubba, and it makes the rules. Only Lincoln and maybe the half-mad Andrew Jackson before him ignored the might of the U.S. congress. Reagan was smart, he goosed around with congress. This is how the Gipper got things done, until the Iran-Contra gambit. Kind of left congress out of that wild ride, but soon he wised up, just in time to avoid impeachment. Nixon didn’t care. He was gone in 14 months. Bill Clinton wagged his finger and became only the second president handed a writ of impeachment from congress.

There have been a lot of head honchos over at the executive branch turned away with hat in hand. Pretty much all of them at one point or another. Large mouths and dead weight in the shadow of the Capitol Rotunda.

Make no mistake; congress is the big daddy of this fancy republic. There was a Continental Congress long before its glorious body begged George Washington to figure-head all the hoopla. Those guys walked the long walk and have the statues to prove it. And they made sure that only the American people are more powerful than congress; they can send them packing and bring in a new crowd. The president? Ha! Even the Big Time ones like FDR had to play nice. Congress makes war. Congress makes law. Congress sets economic and social structures. Amendments? You got it; congress. And now, gulp! Congress has itself a Super Committee!

Holy shit,

The Super Committee is in control.

Ask Newt Gingrich about the hefty weight of congress. He was Speak of the House once. He had a gavel and a Contract with America and he scared the living shit out of the president of the United States. After 1994, you would have thought Bill Clinton, thanks to a bleating soulless toad like Dick Morris, who was always for sale back in the 90’s and now finds the time and the gall to write books about ideological integrity, was the second coming of Calvin Coolidge. Now Gingrich is running for president and can’t get anyone who doesn’t hate Mitt Romney to validate his parking.

Ask Nancy Pelosi. She ran amok on Barack Obama’s good name and outrageous poll numbers; slap-dashing pork and earmarks all over the big-deal American Recovery Act, until no one had a clue what the hell it was recovering and for what America. And then there is the National Health Care fiasco, which was lock-stock-and-barreled into law with about a third, if that, of what the president had campaigned on, proposed, and backed.

Let me ask you this; you think all that neo-con bullshit the Cheney/Rumsfeld cabal was whipping up would have gotten out of the dock if it weren’t for congress handing them a blank check? Ask Hillary Clinton. That vote only cost her the presidency.

And this congress?

The 112th edition is a hell gate. Nothing that gets in has a hoot in Hades of getting out with a shred of decency left on it. These fuckers screwed the first responders of 9/11, booted veterans and held up the very integrity of the nation’s credit on a whim. Only the most untouchable government body would roll up a massive bill and then force itself not to pay it on principle.

As I write this, there is a report coming from Capitol Hill that frozen pizza is now legally considered a vegetable.

Next up; whiskey is a vitamin.

It is an insane asylum up there, and now they have erected some kind of interminable power vacuum that even trumps an already Napoleonic sense of command.

The Super Committee is in control.

Sort of.

When the committee is done being super, whatever comes out of it will have to get through the very congress that stumble-bummed the damn thing into Super Committee in the first place, where it most assuredly will be masticated and spat out in a mutated gob of legalize.

But that doesn’t matter to congress. Even in failure there is the obligatory do-over, as already there are voices suggesting, nay, demanding that there will be no triggered draconian cut-a-thon. They’ll just whip up a bill, pass it into law, and presto-change-o, we’re back in business.

But, hey; it never gets a chance without the Super Committee.

The Super Committee is in control.

 

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GOP Vacuum 2011

Aquarian Weekly 10/5/11 REALITY CHECK

GOP VACUUM

In the 6/22/11 submission of this space, THE COURTSHIP OF CHRIS CHRISTIE, I referred to several members of the New Jersey governor’s staff emphatically repeating the same thing; under no circumstances would Christie be running for president of the United States next year. Period. In fact, the further the conversations progressed, the more agitated the voices became. It was as if I were joking or idly prodding to make a mockery of what Christie had told several CPAC gatherings and would be telling the former mayor of New York and perpetual fringe candidate, Rudy Giuliani in what was considered then to be a Republican power lunch that very day.

Chris ChristieNo one appears to be joking about such a run now.

Although, again, this past week Christie vehemently denied even flirting with the idea of running to a rather incensed crowd at the Reagan Library. Christie rancorously deflected the beseeching in the same manner his staff did in June; an almost incredulous dismissal of what can only be considered fair queries. Earlier that day the NY Times web site posted Christie’s itinerary for a cross-country trek through primary states in a fund-raising tour worthy of “exploratory” considerations.

Now it appeared the Christie people were merely fucking with us.

Of course, all this had the Reality Check News & Information bullpen up in arms. We had been berated several times three months ago for daring to press the governor on this point; mere days before Rick Perry became a household name for appearing weekly on televised debates as a queer fascination; like watching a German shepherd playing the harpsichord. Back then all those weeks ago, at the cusp of summer, Michele Bachmann was the anti-Mitt Romney TEA Party darling. Now, of course, Bachmann has been summarily eclipsed by Perry’s fifteen minutes of apparent infamy, which has turned what we called Christie’s courtship into blatant begging.

But the begging was only coming from the basest base of the Republican Party. The elite, the Money Guys – the big business, Wall St., international trade, corporate, geo-political wing of the GOP have stayed the course with the titular front-runner. Mitt Romney has not disappointed. He has acted the way a man about to be the next in line for the GOP nomination acts. It is how Nixon acted in ’68, Bush Sr. in ’88, Dole in ’96 and McCain in 2008.

It’s Romney’s turn and if the machine-heads who bore Karl Rove have their say, he will be standing tall after the New Hampshire primary, sending these queer distractions back to Sarah Palin land. This way the money can be better spent wooing the dispossessed independent vote instead of trying to get in the trenches with pit bulls like Rick Perry or god-forbid, Chris Christie.

Christie wants to be the “next in line” guy, with months if not years of multi-state strategy and an organization with muscle, and not the Roman candle thing Perry has going right now. He wants to be Romney in 2016, and if that doesn’t work, 2020.

And so Christie’s people had to answer the same June questions from us last night and again appeared to be stunned that anyone had the balls to broach this tired idea that their man would enter the fray simply because the grassroots cannot stomach supporting a Romney run, never mind actually voting for him. And since no one at the governor’s office wants to consider his candidacy anymore than inter-party wrangling or media hype, then the only thing I could cull from this feigned indignation is that Christie has no interest in being the grassroots candidate this or any year. Christie wants to be the “next in line” guy, with months if not years of multi-state strategy and an organization with muscle, and not the Roman candle thing Perry has going right now. He wants to be Romney in 2016, and if that doesn’t work, 2020.

Christie is relatively young, and if he gets his health in order and cranks something viable from the state of New Jersey, he will be entrenched. Entrenched is how the Republican Party likes its candidates, lifers. No one, not even us, could fathom John McCain making it through the 2008 primaries intact. But we did not read the obvious tealeaves and paid for it. True, he was anti-Bush, which was the mantra then, and he appeared “electable” – a key element. But mostly, it was his turn, he was due, owed, a good Republican soldier, and therefore made his scheduled appearance and was trounced by a long shot.

Obama, then the long shot, now the sitting president, was something the Democrat elite tried desperately to derail. All those suckfish Clinton types with their years of service to some fanatical cause to nowhere. Obama hit the grassroots hard and somehow beat back the tides; not unlike George McGovern in ’72 or Jimmy Carter four years later. You think for one minute a Right Wing version of Michael Dukakis is making it through a Republican primary? Ask Fred Thompson, or maybe Mike Huckabee. Nice alternative, but thank you very much, have fun on FOXNEWS.

Sure the grassroots or extreme Right or TEA Party or evangelical wing of the Republican Party wants in. They always want in. And sometimes they get a sniff, like when a crappy candidate with the stench of failure all over him needs their vote. Oh, the Money Guys will throw them Gays and Abortion and Homeland Security and they’ll swim like lemmings into the booth.

For a time, like the last few months, the Money Guys have cleverly placated the grassroots for fear some hybrid third-party gatecrasher might guarantee Barack Obama a second term. But there has been too much scratch and time invested in exploiting the so-called TEA Party movement to usher any 2010 congressional candidate into office that was willing to commit professional suicide by standing against this president on idiotic causes like putting the nation’s credit on the line to fight for something Republicans have scoffed at for decades, the national debt.

Oh, the Money Guys are paying for that one. All of a sudden this “tax the upper one-percent” tide has given rise to legitimate debate, and not one of those guys want to be around to eat that shit.

At this point, a bland, almost sickeningly opaque mannequin of a candidate rides the coattails of one dismal Obama poll after the other into the White House. This, the Money Guys say, is how it will go down in 2012. No mavericks. No crazy people from Alaska. No pizza guys or thrice-divorced angry has-beens or even stammering Texas crackers this time. It’s wooden, hold-your-nose and vote or be stuck with Obama time.

Two party system.

Yeah!

 

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Class Warfare & Job Creator Myths

Aquarian Weekly 9/28/11 REALITY CHECK

CLASS WARFARE, JOB CREATORS & OTHER MYTHS

Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket. – Eric Hoffer

Not sure why I felt the need to drag that one out. Mainly, I think, because it’s apt. For what? How about everything. Very apt. Right on. Corruption is a basic human trait. To corrupt and be corrupted. Replace “cause” with the word “thought” and you realize how complete bullshit becomes standard operating procedure in fill in the blank.

Class WarfareThis week’s blank is filled by the customary ideological arguments every time a capitalist society tanks it. Tanking is what has been happening for some time now, in case you haven’t noticed; and by capitalist society we mean most of the free world, since we’re all attached at the proverbial hip these days. It is what most brain damaged economists call conjoined fiscal tragedy. We like to call it collective woe.

Greece is going belly up and boy is this sinking the Euro and as a result the U.S. dollar and putting the kibosh on global profits. This is textbook trickle-across fiduciary contagion.

I didn’t write that. It was posted on the Kombucha cooler at the vegan pizza joint on 12th and Second in lower Manhattan. They’re doing well in this crisis. Pizza is a recession-proof business model. That one I wrote.

That hacking cough you hear is coming from Washington. A symptom of fiduciary contagion is that you quickly run out of ideas trying to contain it – that is if there were any fresh ones in the first place. And so those paid to appear as if they care or know what’s going on tend to sprint to embrace already debunked rhetoric of yesteryear; The Left pitches tired crap and The Right counters with failed dung.

To wit: “The wealthy need to chip in and take on an extra burden to pay off the deficit and add to the exhausted federal government revenues since they can afford it and have benefitted from the very system they are asked to prop up.”

A bigger pile of horse feces is hard to locate.

Who decides who is wealthy and what constitutes an acceptable level of chipping in and who exactly can “afford” what and who has specifically benefited and from what?

Seriously.

Is it the same people who decided which drug is a multi-million dollar prescription splash and another sends you to Rahway? Or maybe it’s the group that has not so quietly determined what kind of sex can sell teen magazines and cheap beer and which will be a victim of systemic discrimination? Perhaps it is the marketing whizzes behind what religions are considered evil and which are profitable, or could it be those busying themselves deciding the hundreds of other hypocritical vagaries that are part of the daily routine around here.

Who decides who is wealthy and what constitutes an acceptable level of chipping in and who exactly can “afford” what and who has specifically benefited and from what?

Of course when things go financially awry you turn to those who have the scratch, just as you go to those without the scratch when war breaks out. It is the bane of a free market society that the poor die in war and the rich hand over a bigger chunk of its income to the state. But it does get a tad creepy when it’s turned into a mandated pass-the-hat rescue.

No segment of a purportedly free nation should be singled out to bear the burden for anything. Anything? What about the greater good? Hell, especially not the greater good. The “greater good” is always a dead end. Not giving a shit about the greater good is far safer. Trust me. Economic patriotism is bad mojo and has been for decades.

Listen, a lot of hyperbole has been thrown around about fascism these past five election cycles, but just for kicks, please check out how the Western hemisphere’s most successful megalomaniacs used class warfare to attack and then extricate property, wealth and station from its citizenry.

Going after the upper classes is good politics and an excellent way to consolidate power, but it is plain and simple bullshit.

And so is this: “Raising any tax rates on the wealthy puts undue burden on the job creators and thus is consequently felt by the working class.”

Please see the above rant about “not giving a shit” and apply it to the working class.

Business 101: There is no money in worrying about the help. This is not how General Electric or Exxon or even the vegan pizza joint on the lower east side made its bones. Exploiting and crushing the working stiff is the way to true profit.

Keynesian economics is certainly a fallacy worth ignoring, but as stated several times in this space and proven in the annals of history, throwing money at problems may be no long-term solution, but it is at the very least a short term band-aid. However, cutting taxes or lightening regulations on the wealthy has never led to economic growth. Ever. Look it up.

This is why when the mythmakers go around quoting Ronald Reagan, they ignore his several and varied tax hikes and measured approaches to dealing with entitlements. Of course Reagan was first a union leader and second a Democrat, long before he became Mr. Grand Old Party. You see, Reagan was foremost a politician and thus a damned fine bandwagon jumper. The Gipper knew a good cause cum racket, so there is some there-there, but hardly anything we can deem salient to this or any argument; economic or ideological.

And please stop this lionizing of Bill Clinton. Everyone has pretty much figured out how his administration, aided by Newt Gingrich and his phony revolution, lucked out. And a less ideological and better bandwagon jumper you will not find.

Not sure how we pull out of this one kids, but it will happen. It always does. Parts of the electorate will suffer and others will prosper and then it will be okay for some and shitty for others. But know this: there isn’t a hoot in hell you’re getting out by listening to these nostalgia heads sell you yesterday’s garbage as some weird kind of enlightened and bold thinking.

It’s just a cause gone racket.

 

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American Jobs Act Analysis

Aquarian Weekly 9/14/11 REALITY CHECK

THE JOE COOL DOUBLE-REVERSE HAIL MARY

If you don’t know where you’re going, any road will take you there. – Lewis Carroll

Let it be known that on 9/8/11 at 7:10 pm in a joint session of congress on Capitol Hill, the 2012 presidential election campaign of Barack Hussein American Jobs ActObama began in earnest. The 44th president of the United States channeled the lofty rhetoric and grumpy spirit of Franklin Roosevelt and Harry Truman respectively for what would be his final attempt to salvage a modicum of victory from a damaged economy he inherited and has failed to reverse. And don’t think it wasn’t more than a coincidence the address was given mere minutes before the National Football League’s official season’s kick-off.

Kick off indeed.

In fact, Obama’s American Jobs Act, a multi-layered and strangely bi-partisan $450 billion government goosing of a dragging economy, is quite simply Joe Cool’s Hail Mary pass. It is a last minute heave to the end zone, a last gasp before the president has to defend his economy and then his job in the coming year.

When Obama entered the Capitol chamber, unlike his march in the first months of ’09, he did not possess the congress (to which he wrongly abdicated power for his first stimulus package) nor was riding a Caesar-like 72 percent approval rating (plummeting to a new low of 44 percent by that morning), and most importantly, he is now straddled with an already tepid government-goosing mach one that by most counts kept the economic sinkhole from widening but hardly lowered the unemployment rate to promised levels (in fact it has risen exponentially since).

What commenced is what history will record as Barack Obama’s Big Jobs pitch, a rousing ding-dong wood shedding — this president’s finest in more than a calendar year and by far the most passionate a mostly dispassionate leader has given since taking office. Possessing his penchant for populist singsong and slapping a new coat of paint on old “prop ’em up, boys” Keynesian structure, it both cracked the whip toward congress and rallied a lethargic voting base. Thus, it was first and foremost a political call to arms, but had enough wonk to fulfill his biggest failure as president; to marry soaring rhetoric about the buoyancy of America ala Ronald Reagan with an actual line-by-line plan.

As fired up as a former president of the Harvard Law Review can get, Obama pulled out some of the off-the-cuff derision he displayed before the final meetings with the Speaker of the House went all to hell in the debt ceiling talks, going as far as turning his angst on the press and even the malaise of the country to the plight his presidency finds itself in. The key line in the rollout was “You must pass this bill now!” — hardly an exercise in reservation and clearly an audition as the reasonable voice still missing for the independent voter.

The president, at the end of every day, is a politician, and so are his opponents, and they all work for the government. And every day they give speeches and appear on talk shows and talk about jobs being the number one priority, whether they think it has anything to do with what they can effect or not.

And that is the nut this time; and not that it is a last ditch effort for Barack Obama to save his neck, put a massive band-aid on the gaping wound that is this hemorrhaging nation’s fallacy of its once purported economic might, or even that many of his Republican rivals at the helm actually refused to rate the proposed plan as anything approaching DOA. Nope. The nut is in the fact that Joe Cool is at his most compelling when his back is firmly planted on the wall.

To borrow another football analogy, Obama is a fourth quarter QB, looking rather pedestrian for an entire game, only to pull out all the stops, striking a scrambling improvisational John Elway figure for the crucial waning minutes. He did so in Iowa against the Clinton Machine in 2008, then again after the Sarah Palin factor put the pressure on that fateful autumn, and still again, when the events of this past summer seemed to sink into the sadly comical.

This does not change the bare facts that this president has been here before, three or four agonizing times with this horrid economy and once with what is still being debated by Washington’s most learned legal minds as a confusing unconstitutional mess of a health care law, and each time the stakes were raised. Not to mention his repeatedly wearisome retreading of class warfare brimstone and this doomed idea of getting any Republican to vote for taxing the rich to bail his legacy out.

Another inconvenient truth is that much of what is cobbled into the American Jobs Act is old school — been-there-done-that stuff. At times one could conjure recent memories of the last president unabashedly asking the American people to support troop surges and new strategies in Iraq; a stumble-bum war and its fractured plan that seemed more surreal with each passing month.

The details of Obama’s desperate salvo, to be unveiled in two weeks, will no doubt appear eerily redundant to the point of inertia. But believing in self-manufactured myths is what frames presidents, in victory and defeat, and this one still has a pulse, albeit a faint one, politically, as does the entirety of congress, mostly made up of Obama’s opponents and all with the lowest approval ratings of any American politicians not named Herbert Hoover.

Right now Joe Cool can afford to be bold. He has no official challenger for his gig, and judging from the eight-headed fiasco a small portion of the nation endured the night before in the second of an interminable five early-staged Republican debates, that time is a long way off. And so the president runs against congress and the idea that it’s go-time or they too must face the electorate. His position will not be the only one in question come November of 2012.

The American Jobs Act is no New Deal or Great Society; it’s not even Morning in America. Still, it is a measure — big government trying to extend the teat for a few more months of misery — but a measure nonetheless. The president, at the end of every day, is a politician, and so are his opponents, and they all work for the government. And every day they give speeches and appear on talk shows and talk about jobs being the number one priority, whether they think it has anything to do with what they can effect or not.

And so…Hail Mary!

On the eighth day of the year’s ninth month, Joe Cool rolled back and let it fly.

Let’s see where it comes down.

 

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S & P vs. U.S.A.

Aquarian Weekly 8/17/11 REALITY CHECK

S & P vs. U.S. of A.Re-Birth of Consumerism, Rise of the Machines & The Great Corporate Revolution

There is no America. There is no democracy. We no longer live in a world of nations and ideologies. There is only one holistic system of systems, one vast and immane, interwoven, interacting, multi-variate, multi-national dominion of dollars. It is the international system of currency which determines the totality of life on this planet. The world is a college of corporations, inexorably determined by the immutable bylaws of business. The world is a business. It has been since man crawled out of the slime. And our children will live to see that perfect world in which there’s no war or famine, oppression or brutality — one vast and ecumenical holding company, for whom all men will work to serve a common profit, in which all men will hold a share of stock, all necessities provided, all anxieties tranquilized, all boredom amused. – Paddy Chayefsky

S & P Bone PickingThe great fraud perpetuated by the “independent” agency, Standard & Poor’s lowering of America’s credit rating for the first time in the nation’s history should be a clarion call to those opposed to the complete capitulation of democracy to corporate whims. This is what is happening now. Believe it. There is less use in denying it as it is in stopping it. It has been happening for decades, and has come to a head this week.

The evidence of this blatant oligarchy is overwhelming.

Why do you think the same S & P, which manipulates the very structure of international stock trades and awarded triple-A ratings to what even those who had slopped them together called “horseshit” investments in 2007 now suddenly ignores a two-trillion dollar clerical error in U.S. debt to sink the markets? You think a cabal this powerful, which eagerly funneled doomed bundles of bankrupt mortgages and failed bonds through their fixed system, eventually leading to the downfall of the western hemisphere’s economic solvency, has suddenly found sanctity?

S & P laughably takes on the American political system by berating the recent debt ceiling debate as a lack of confidence in U.S. treasury, as its interest rates consequently stabilize and hundreds upon hundreds of investors ironically flock to buy what appears to be the only refuge for money today. This is the lie. The ratings shift is nothing but a smokescreen, an excuse to instigate a growing crisis of government and its lean on the industrial landscape of the nation and the world. It is a blatant corporate con with S & P as its grift.

For the federal government’s part in allowing this hoax, one only has to look at the flaccid and ineffectual Finance Reform Act heralded in late 2010 as an aid to consumers, unions and activists, which was to restructure and curtail the power of agencies such as S & P to sink the American economic system again. Not one of those provisions has been signed into law. Not one.

And before we continue, lest anyone think the following deconstruction of recent events a paranoid rant or a bow to some well-structured conspiracy, let me remind you that nothing in modern civilization, from fascism to communism to capitalism, happens on the shoulders of one giant. It takes a slow erosion of disparate measures that becomes ever clearer as it unfolds.

To wit: The current economic crisis – bubble-burst correction, recession, double-dip or otherwise – is merely a grand chess game played by those who have the money and thus the influence to massage outcomes. This is nothing new in the lore of American capitalism, from the manufacturing rich north crushing the agricultural south to the industrial revolution, trust busting, The Great Depression to The Great Society.

Most recently, it is massive energy concerns pushing oil men into high executive positions to wage wars in significant business locales, while coincidentally partnering with weapons’ manufacturers that cash in on the proceedings quietly. It is also omnipotent prescription drug cartels and insurance monopolies that turn what appears to the media and the political landscape as a socialist health care push for the people into a 20,000-page hall pass to seize the entire system.

So then let’s talk about the power of politics here.

Two of the main political players that have emerged since the 2007 economic meltdown are President Barack Obama and the “new” TEA Party legislators, both of whom have overtly expanded the vacuum slowly but surely filled by the corporate power structure.

Profits. Ah, now we’re getting somewhere.

The obvious is the TEA Party, which has gone beyond the 1980s “smaller government” fiscal conservatism to a more anarchical anti-government stance. They have succeeded in hijacking the Republican elite to repeat the tired mantra of “job creators”, while the nation’s largest corporations sit on record profits but maintain hiring freezes, thus keeping the unemployment rate higher. The less obvious and so more insidious is Obama, a purported progressive with a long record of liberal legislation, who has presided over the most corporate friendly tax rates in U.S. history and continues to expand a military industrial complex which has quadrupled in a decade of war mongering.

There is a reason why certain men become president and then appear to take on cross-ideology. Take for instance military hero Dwight Eisenhower cutting the defense budget to its lowest number ever or communist combatant Richard Nixon opening relations with Red China. Now we have the outward appearance of a “class-warfare” president kowtowing to the top two percent of the nation’s economic scale. The speeches the Right repeatedly mock Obama for have actually been an effective ruse, as the president continues to say one thing and do another, like extending the Bush tax cuts, failing to have a single-payer option in the Health Care law and lately signing a debt-cutting bill without raising tax revenues. Each and every time Obama caves and then feigns anger, which ostensibly paints him as a corporate enemy when in fact he is its most effective ally.

Just as it would be too obvious for a liberal president to cut defense budgets and/or open relations with a communist aggressor, so too would it be too obvious for a conservative chief executive to allow the kind of corporate tax loop holes that has the largest conglomerates paying no taxes at all. Even the wildly criticized bank bailouts and auto industry loans, begun by George W. Bush and taken up by the president, have been profitable.

Profits. Ah, now we’re getting somewhere.

This is a power structure, politically, legally and ideologically run by business.

Republican frontrunner to challenge Obama for the presidency, Mitt Romney, a shameless plutocrat (this week), understands well who his daddy is. What did he say in a candid moment as he was being heckled as just another tool of big business in Iowa this week? “Corporations are people, my friend.”

The S & P dodge and its resultant implosion of the stock market it influences is the latest in this grand shift in the economic framework of the United States. Many of the jobs lost in the 2007 disaster are gone forever, as is the place it came from; a manufacturing rich, agriculturally sound super power long lost to international trade, fixed export/import restraints, and mass consumer-rich chains selling everything under one roof from sneakers to smart phones to fruit to shotguns.

When Paddy Chayefsky’s blustery corporate chairman, Arthur Jensen delivers his impassioned speech at the denouement of his brilliant film, “Network”, written and produced in the mid-70s’, it appeared then as an absurdly dark satire with the kind of dizzying paranoia of Orwell’s 1984.

Who’s laughing now?

 

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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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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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