Weinergate

Aquarian Weekly 6/15/11 REALITY CHECK

WEINERGATE The Continuing Saga of Congressional Dipshits

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

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

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

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

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

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

Could a John Edwards comeback be far behind?

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

We’ll wait.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

He’s got star potential.

Weiner in 2016!

 

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Ryan Plan Protests?

Aquarian Weekly 6/1/11 REALITY CHECK

VOX SCHIZOPHRENIA

Okay, I think I get it.

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

Wait, what?

So, well…maybe…no, I don’t think…but…

Where do they find these people?

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

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

And it’s spreading.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Give it time.

Okay, time’s up.

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Osama & Out

Aquarian Weekly 5/11/11 REALITY CHECK

OSAMA & OUT

Osama bin Laden, the seminal figure of the new century; who’s incredibly complex and improbably successful mission to destroy the World Trade Center (a symbol of American financial might) and hit the Pentagon (the symbol of America’s military might) while murdering as many civilians as possible on 9/11/01, who forever changed the culture, economies and domestic and foreign policies of the entire Western world, is dead. Taken out as coldly and efficiently as his devastating strike a decade earlier, closing a bloody, irrational, and in many ways, embarrassing chapter in American history.

And so the evil villain of 9/11 is killed, finally, after nearly ten long years by the new guy — the next generation leader, my generation, the stoically calculating Barack Hussein Obama, hardly the sloppy, overly emotional mess the Baby Boomers sent to the White House from 1993 to 2009, the years bin Laden made his bones as the FBI’s Most Wanted Criminal.

Osama bin LadenEliminating bin Laden from among the living turned out to be no small feat. In fact, it’s a monumental, almost Biblical vengeance kick that may speak more about the soul of this nation than anything one man could inflict from outside it.

Although in recent years the specter of bin Laden had faded, his master plan assured there would be no going back after 9/11 in any aspect of social, political, or cultural existence. Not since the Civil War has this nation been turned into a completely different thing altogether — and that was an inevitable internal struggle, not the result of an abstract foreign interloper. It is fair to say that no enemy of the United States, including the Nazis, the Empire of Japan, or the Soviet Union, has shifted every single one of our lives the way Osama bin Laden has.

Since 1996, Osama bin Laden had been the most prevalent symbol of anti-American rhetoric and its resultant overt violence; boldly hitting American embassies and ships, targeting hotels and tourist spots across the globe. It was in that same year he officially declared war on the United States. Yet, not only did bin Laden escape retribution for the aforementioned deeds, he thrived. In the presidential campaign of 2000, neither his name nor the name of his terrorist network, al Qaeda was ever broached. Hundreds of hours of campaign stumping, thousands of stories in thousands of newspapers and of course debates galore; and not once by any candidate was Osama bin Laden’s growing mayhem ever cited. Worst of all, in the winter of 2001 our federal government ignored a serious memo regarding intelligence that bin Laden was a “direct threat”, and then again weeks before the attacks when the CIA warned of an imminent airplane hijacking, which ultimately led to the tragedies of 9/11 and victory for the invisible man.

Truth be told, bin Laden’s invisible man act had become so darkly pathetic this space had maintained since late September of 2001 that he was already dead. This became a more distinct possibility once the richest, most powerful nation in the world, with operatives all over the planet and at least half of the countries in the Middle East on the payroll, failed to locate him, much less capture or kill him. For close to a decade, bin Laden’s fugitive hide-and-seek routine was the country’s greatest failure, and because of it, plunged this nation into several war fronts and deeper into debt. All the while we traded in more and more of our civil rights in an avalanche of paranoid incompetence. After threats and bombings, invasions and terrorist plot thwarting, along with several key arrests of his cronies, Gitmo and Homeland Security, torture, fiery speeches and tough talk, still no bin Laden.

In fact, by 2005, the Bush Administration, with its dumbfounded war hawks Cheney, Rumsfeld and that poor sucker, Condoleezza Rice, et al, closed down the special unit to bring the greatest single American villain of the past half century to justice. The president declared to the Washington press he had no idea where bin Laden was and could not care less. Bush, the rough and ready faux cowboy, smugly declared, “I don’t even think about him.”

And of course this seemed like a good idea. The whole al Qaeda thing was belly up by 2005; there was a second term to deal with and the Iraq distraction, already a severe blight on the Bush presidency, was escalating out of control. Afghanistan, another bust, had been left to the dogs. Meanwhile Pakistan, the best anti-terror partner in the region, was annually gathering up three and a half billion of American dollars to weed out terrorists. Curiously, in a suburb ten miles from its capital city and a stone’s throw from its military academy, a town teeming with retired generals and lounging military types, Osama bin Laden built and occupied a suburban fortress.

Five years later, in August of 2010, with zero Pakistani assistance, bin Laden’s whereabouts was discovered. And in the face of a social networked, Internet connected and 24/7 televised news world the most miraculous exhibition of secrecy in the highest levels of the government resulted in what has to be considered the cleanest most devastating U.S. military mission in memory. The heavy lifting carried out with rare but ruthless precision by a Navy Seals Special Unit, ending with a gaping hole in the head of the man who put one in lower Manhattan.

No war. No grandstanding. No orange alerts.

Bing. Bam. Boom.

Bad guy erased.

 

No war. No grandstanding. No orange alerts.

Bing. Bam. Boom.

Bad guy erased.

Let’s be brutally honest; this is one motherfucking grand slam for this president, who has heretofore been generally considered ill-prepared for tough national security decisions and accused of being an ineffectual appeaser of rogue nations. He was also mocked as a candidate in 2008 for stating that the real War on Terror began and ended on the border of Pakistan and Afghanistan and that given half the chance would take out bin Laden even in a sovereign country. No Shock & Awe, Mission Accomplished, Big Invasion, Nation Building, Chest-Thumping nonsense. Go in, kick ass, and get out, with the target in a body bag — mob style.

Before the raid, Obama was asked point blank by officials if the bin Laden compound should be obliterated in a bombing campaign. Nope. He decided a body was needed, the result of an official a face-to-face snuffing out. He was then asked if the mission might consider taking bin Laden alive? The president’s response was unequivocally no. No trial. No second act. No screwing around.

There is little arguing, if this thing went sideways, there was no coming back from it. Ask Jimmy Carter, after his doomed decision to rescue the Iranian hostages in a last ditch attempt to save face. Maybe ask Ronald Reagan, whose ham-fisted attempt to arm the Nicaraguan Contras nearly got him impeached.

This is why the timeline from August, 2010 to Sunday, May 1, 2011 makes some sense out of a few of Obama’s curious actions; not the least of which is what is at best a dubious decision to get involved in Libya this past March, the toe-to-toe battles to avoid what would have been a politically advantageous government shutdown last month, and finally, the strange timing of releasing an official birth certificate last week.

It also explains the Secretary of State’s bizarrely worded press briefings on Pakistan/U.S relations that went from “assisting” to “avoiding” to “obstructing” in the past months. Then within hours of the raid, a veiled compliment to their “support”, even though anyone within earshot of events went public that Pakistan knew nothing of the mission, and no one, certainly not the president, considered cluing them in.

There is no political or historical downside to this puppy. It is, to use a now overused CIA joke, a “slam dunk”. However, a tough sell-job for this administration will be to convince the American people to continue to fund Pakistan’s alliance in the shadow of its openly harboring a mastermind of mass murder for six years; this coming on the heels of a decade of nearly every high-level al Qaeda operative’s arrest taking place in a Pakistani city. But sell he must. Without Pakistan, there are issues, not the least of which a teetering police state with nuclear weapons bordering the tribal madness of Afghanistan.

The other tough sell will be coming to grips with how the information on the leads to bin Laden had originated. Especially since the type of torture incompetent fossils like Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and other neo-con dinosaurs keep touting in a sad attempt to appear relevant to the vengeance they so abysmally botched for eight years is not only illegal but was roundly criticized by candidate Obama in 2008. Conflicting reports could lead to the type of leaks that might launch a re-trial on the effectiveness of “advanced interrogation”, even as it has been, according to preponderance of experts, mostly useless up until now.

Of course this entire episode is “too little, too late”. The fact that it took three wars, billions upon billions of dollars, much of it borrowed from China, thousands of American lives and tens of thousands of lives across the Middle East, and over ten years to track down what is arguably the most significant villain in America’s recent history, is so fantastically absurd it bares the most serious scrutiny of our nation’s true worth in the realm of justice and stability.

But for now one very important corpse is added to the roll call of maggots that have infected the planet since humans crawled from the slime. And that is always a reason to salute.

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Countdown To Compromise

Aquarian Weekly 4/13/11 REALITY CHECK

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

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

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

For now.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Countdown To Compromise

Aquarian Weekly 4/6/11 REALITY CHECK

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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The Ides Of Libya

Aquarian Weekly 3/30/11 REALITY CHECK

THE IDES OF LIBYA How To Take An Arab Sucker Punch

Think not I am what I appear. – Lord Byron

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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Peter King’s Travesty

Aquarian Weekly 3/16/11 REALITY CHECK

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

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

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

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

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

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

What the fuck is going on?

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

Yeah, I thought so.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy the show.

 

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Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

Aquarian Weekly 3/9/11 REALITY CHECK

JOBS, JOBS, JOBS

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

Jobs.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Where was my guidance councilor on that one?

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

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

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

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

Where was my guidance councilor on that one?

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

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

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

“Sign me up.”

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Government Shutdown 2011

Aquarian Weekly 2/23/11 REALITY CHECK

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

After all, the shit is coming down.

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Rand Paul: The Tea Party Man

Aquarian Weekly 2/16/11 REALITY CHECK

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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