Bush – 1 Democrats – 0

Aquarian Weekly 3/7/07 REALITY CHECK

BUSH – 1 DEMOCRATS – 0

The president needs a check and a balance. This president hasn’t had one, hasn’t listened to others, including his top military commanders, and it’s about time he did. Harry ReidAnd Congress, I think, has the responsibility, not just the power, the responsibility to speak out and to change the course when you have a failing course, which is what we’re on in Iraq. – Chairman of the Armed Services Committee, Senator Carl Levin of Michigan “Meet The Press” 2/24/07

The public is saying, ‘We hired you to get out of Iraq – now figure it out.’– Tom Matzzie, Washington director of the anti-war group MoveOn.org

Yup. And yup.

Guess what?

Coming up on six weeks now since Nancy Pelosi dragged the kid-props up to the rotunda on Capitol Hill with her nifty gavel, and she is, along with dozens of her fellow Democrat freshman congressmen, officially full of shit. This shatters the Republican Revolution’s record set in 1995 by nine months, an amazing feat of deceit even by my low-ball standards. Somewhere Newt Gingrich is green with envy. He is no longer the king of shallow congressional promises. Long Live the Queen!

Why is Pelosi Speaker of the House? The Democrats control Congress. Why do they control Congress? The Republicans have stunk up the joint, spawned several deviants, and the Iraq occupation has turned out to be one of the most egregious embarrassments in U.S. military history. What did all of the Democrats promise if they took power? Make the president accountable and force his hand in continuing this strategic atrocity. Have they done this? No.

The collective reasoning? We tried, but there is too much opposition from Republicans and not enough support or votes or a scintilla of a sane idea or plan from us…yet. What a shocker! Campaign promises gone awry. Wow. I am stunned. Democrats weak, unorganized and ill prepared? Hard to fathom. Nothing is going to change? Holy Kick-Boxing Jesus you can knock me over with a feather.

At the time of this writing, Congress has given up trying to curtail this president’s murderous folly to spike troop numbers into an all-out civil war. This is bad news for voters (suckers) who sent these lying sons of bitches to do the work of the American people in the first place. As usual, the concept of voting has failed us, leaving the only solution promoted by this space for close to a decade: Ready your muskets.

As usual, the concept of voting has failed us, leaving the only solution promoted by this space for close to a decade: Ready your muskets.

Man, I never tire of writing that. It rolls off the tongue like “Be all you can be” or “Where’s the beef?” or “The greatest show on earth” and all the other hyped folderol that separates us from our money or limbs.

How much longer before we have a draft, kiddies? How much money is left in the coffers to dump into this suicide mission? How much more damage can the architects of this four-plus-year fiasco be allowed to cause?

Christ we ask a lot of questions. Maybe we should just accept this spectacular string of incompetence with a song and a smile.

Well, at least we finally have prominent employees of our government coming to grips with the brutal truth we’ve been tossing around here for years now: The mess in Iraq can no longer be rationally referred to as a war but an occupation. The “stay the course” policy, while genuinely hokey and broadly stupid, has registered nothing in the way of stabilization much less victory, and whatever becomes of the chaos and destruction we’ve ignited in Iraq if we abandon ship, it can no longer include American lives without defining it as cold-blooded murder.

Senator Levin’s impressive if not uneven appearance on “Meet The Press” notwithstanding, we still have but a flaccid non-binding resolution from the Democratic-controlled Congress and more cowardly filibustering from wounded Republicans, and our Boy President still gets to push his chips (military lives) onto the table blindly hopeful of dealing into an inside straight.

I would give anything to be on Jack Murtha’s payroll right now. Just so I could see the crimson begin to fill his pallid features. Oh, yes. It is an ugly sight, made uglier only by what is happening to Ted Kennedy’s exploding head.

“Iraq is going to be there – it’s just a question of when we get back to it,” announced Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid this week.

All righty, then. Why doesn’t Mr. Reid tell that to the soon-to-be slaughtered kids ushered off to this meat grinder? Iraq may still be there, but unfortunately they have no such guarantees.

And why don’t those gutless Republican jack-offs who keep blocking any debate on a diverse plan of attack join them. Mike Castle, Howard Coble, Tom Davis, John Duncan Jr., Phil English, Wayne Gilchrest, Bob Inglis, Sam Johnson, Ric Keller, Mark Steven Kirk, Steven LaTourette, Ron Paul, Tom Petri, Jim Ramstad, Fred Upton, Jim Walsh, among others are trading on more lives and tons of our tax dollars to save the obliterated legacy of this aborted presidency. All of these men should never see another term in the service of this country. And we will lend all of our undying support and meager resources to seeing them destroyed.

I know why George Bush has to remain steadfast. As stated ad nauseam in this space for years now, it’s an all or nothing proposition for him. Everyone with half a brain save Dick (keep your sunny side up) Cheney – insert your own joke here – believe things will turn out well if the clock were to buzz on this disaster. As long as Captain Shoo-In keeps it alive, no one can say he officially lost. But this is the very reason why the most nationally focused mid-term election since 1994 swept in a new party, a party that ran crazy on anti-war rhetoric, but has come up dismally short. And now, instead of some semblance of order, a lean on the never-ending madness of King George, we have more of the same.

“House Democrats met for an hour and a half behind closed doors trying to figure out what exactly the Democratic position on Iraq is,” says our pal, Tucker Carlson. “Democrats say, ‘we were elected on our position on Iraq’, but isn’t this the kind of thing they should have thought through as a group maybe before the election?”

And once again we say…yup.

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Snow Day

Aquarian Weekly 2/21/07 REALITY CHECK

SNOW DAY

Frozen precipitation has a way of bending the mind. Terror rules the day. Otherwise functioning humans with nary a care in the world become jabbering loons, dangerous to themselves and others almost immediately. Motor skills are abandoned and concern for their fellow man forgotten. And those are the lucky ones, the ones that get out. Look Out!The rest batten down the hatches and disconnect the phone lines, light candles, and hold solemn vigils, praying to Jehovah to spare them. Occasionally they draw back the curtains, slightly, to peer into the engulfing white, sigh despondently, and then scramble about to make certain the children are still breathing. It is strangely Pavlovian, a conditioned response to bad weather that devolves the best of us.

I should know. I’ve spent many a grueling hour driving in deep, blinding snow – day and night. I used to deliver medical records at all hours traversing all types of terrain – mountain roads, winding cliffs, city streets (all five boroughs) in and out of the weird and crippled psyches and speed-addled truckers. Adverse conditions have caused me to participate in several multi-car pile-ups and once even forced me to flip a brand new company truck. Upside down. Lying on the cab’s inner roof with my precious contents sprawled about me, serenaded by a radio blasting something by Stevie Nicks.

Still, it is hard for a former professional like myself to fathom the pure fear that grips the hearts of travelers up here. It is as if they had forgotten the concept of pedal/brake. There is no logic to their methods. And when they do manage to operate their vehicles it’s like being led through soup on an anchor. Sideways. Wheels spinning. Cars sliding. The panic visible in the frantic faces of overwhelmed motorists struggling to reroute the random whirl of the steering wheel, locked in a futile wrestle with inertia.

Ice makes fools of us all. No tread equals no control and no control equals either rapid speed decline or feral abandon. There is no in between. A handful of drivers ignore the conditions altogether. These are your four-wheeling types, splashing and crunching over all kinds of ice and snow with little regard for the space outside their capsule. This causes the already nervous set to recoil in horror, prompting a strange ballet of spastic prudence and reckless assault. But I prefer bravado to caution. At least I know where the bold are headed. The paroxysmal driver is hard to read. Anything could happen, and often does.

We live somewhere in the middle of these extremes: Total, crippling conditions and a minor ice squall paralyzing the entire state. We should, theoretically, be able to handle six inches to a foot occasionally, without widespread mania akin to a Wellsian radio serial.

But it still makes no sense. It snows more than a little around here. You would assume familiarity with vacillating weather patters might have a positive effect on the overall performance of the locals. I know it’s been a light year, accumulation-wise, but it’s not like it hasn’t stormed in half a decade. Down where my parents reside in North Carolina there is a declared state emergency once anything frozen appears in the sky. Dark clouds send weathermen to their knees with convulsion. Clamoring hordes pile into supermarkets pushing and shoving for milk and bread, as if faced with pending doomsday. Schools are closed for a month, the mail stops, and the National Guard is on alert. Once in a great while mistakes are made and people disappear, but the governor is on record as stating, “It is a small price to pay for safety”.

However, we northerners should never be shocked into terminal frenzy over a little snow. We live in the mountains. Yes, the mountains. There are mountains in New Jersey, as I have repeatedly explained to my friend Ani Difranco, who lives in Buffalo, where it snows for keeps. She doesn’t believe me, as I do not buy her horror stories of snowdrifts burying dogs and sheaths of solid ice that crack trees in half. Sometimes, she claims, people don’t come out for weeks on end and even then are armed to the teeth and driven around in heated bubble cars, flashing their ID’s to the authorities whenever they need to transfer through the old Underground Railroad tunnels.

Buffalo is the read deal. Or Syracuse, where my wife’s family lives, pummeled by four, five, six, seven feet of snow in mere days. My poor mother-in-law is practically a shut-in, reduced to recording the fallout in digital photographs to escape madness – 12-foot drifts covering every man-made structure as if the Loch Ness monster was feeding in her backyard. For months no one within a 100-mile radius believes the sun will shine again, much less the vague promise of a beckoning thaw.

We live somewhere in the middle of these extremes: Total, crippling conditions and a minor ice squall paralyzing the entire state. We should, theoretically, be able to handle six inches to a foot occasionally, without widespread mania akin to a Wellsian radio serial. This is not Minnesota we’re talking about here. Out there, the very idea of venturing outside is considered suicide. I have seen video of a man tossing a pot of boiling water and it freezing in mid air.

Ah, but at some point there is joy in the brave snowmobile souls who begin trudging through the tundra outside my house for fun and sport, whizzing down back roads as if chased. I could hear their clarion call. Burrrrrrrr. Look at us, free of fear and angst and embracing nature! “Join us!” they shout with unbridled glee. I am envious, sipping coffee from the relative warmth of my office lair. Then, without warning, “Look out, Junior!” BAM! Jesus, now the cops are here and an ambulance siren wails closer. I’m trying to finish a column on snow and now this. How ironic. How inconvenient. I live here for quiet, not the incessant pounding at my door and these insipid cries for aid; “Help us! Help us! There’s been a terrible accident!” The voices cry out. “Go away you crazy bastards,” I scream. “Can’t you see the storm has rendered me incapable of even the most random act of kindness!”

Their shouting is followed by the intermittent pelt of snowballs, which spurs an angry wave of my fist through ice-streaked windows. I would call the cops but one of them has joined in. There is no law now. The weather has rendered these bumpkins to anarchists. Right in my front yard! They would sooner let their friend bleed to death than let me be.

My wife has gone berserk, ordering the cats to defend our honor and raging incoherently when they do not.

Soon, I remind myself, it will be spring.

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War vs. Occupation In Iraq

Aquarian Weekly 2/14/07 REALITY CHECK

WAR VS. OCCUPATION Congressional Quagmire Over Defining Terms & Objectives

We had to pay people in cash, so the cash disappeared. – Lewis Paul Bremer III

It’s been approximately one month since the 110th Congress took power and three weeks since our challenge to it to enact the will of the voting public: Cease and desist the dead-end course currently being enacted by ineffective leadership by using its control on the purse strings of the federal government to force the president’s hand.

Follow The MoneySo far there’s been a whole lot of nothing.

Oh, there have been debates and resolutions thrown around in the usual grandstanding fashion, plenty of posturing, and a lengthy argument over whether the speaker of the house should get her own jet. Meanwhile the last remaining war hawks slap amendments on the end of proposed bills that send the things into a sinkhole of jabberwocky until they are rendered impotent and grind proceedings to a halt. And there is always an infinite stream of claptrap about failing to meet “procedural demands” and a goddamned verbal joust on whether to proceed with even the most innocuous non-binding resolutions.

Business as usual. No change. Talk, self-aggrandizing, lies wrapped in rhetoric, and childish finger pointing. Same old shit. And the president is steadfast, as usual. He has to be. This is his legacy being blown to bits in Baghdad. What’s another life to this lunatic? There’s been so many anyway. He will not stop this madness. He refuses to alter his suicide mission. That much has been established. So what is the public’s recourse? What do they tell us in all those obnoxious ads: Vote or Die. Your Vote Counts. Exercise Your Right.

A whole lot of nothing.

This past November the prevailing motivation to oust the Republican majority was this seemingly endless occupation in Iraq that everyone still mistakenly calls a war but is not. It is policing, rebuilding, struggling to keep the peace in the middle of a Civil War, but it is not a war. It is a money pit. It is a meat grinder. It has compromised this supposedly critical war on terror. But it is not a war. Don’t let them sell you on that, either side: The anti-war or pro-war geeks. They want to make this grander than it is to either continue it or stop it. It cannot be stopped. And it certainly cannot continue. It has to be fixed. Will it?

A whole lot of nothing.

Ah, but our watchdog committee here at the Reality Check News & Information Desk did detect some measure of progress on the hill this week. A congressional investigation committee probing the roughly $8.8 billion pissed away during post-war shenanigans is finally beginning to come to light.

These fucking morons, helpless, myopic, ego-mad jackasses took literally tons of our tax dollars (stacked in blocks on pallets and shipped to nowhere) and squandered it, siphoned it, hoarded it away while inflaming a powder keg.

Paul Bremer, the American proconsul in Baghdad for 11 months succeeding the initial seizing of Iraq, was exposed last week as the co-architect of massive fraud and embezzlement in this outlandishly botched reconstruction effort. Working directly under the consistently inept Donald Rumsfeld, Bremer was in complete and unchallenged charge of creating a “new Iraq” from scratch. The outline of his ill-advised attempt to gut the Iraq Baathist regime, deconstruct what was left of the Iraqi Army, and disband all civil services first drafted by Reagan reject, Douglas Feith, effectively launched the post-war quagmire that exists today.

Under Bremer, the Coalition Provisional Authority reportedly caused the first quakes of segregation between Shia and Sunnis by instituting a quota system for those hired to work in the rebuilding committees, thus tying political issues with religious and cultural ideologies. Not that these maniacs needed any prodding, but the uneducated and pompous way Rumsfeld and his ilk ran things speaks volumes on how badly ill-equipped these idiots were in dealing with a potentially volatile social situation.

Further investigations by journalists in country, like Washington Post correspondent, Rajiv Chandrasekaran, who spent the entirety of Bremer’s tenure in Iraq, report that while recruiting Americans to the reconstruction plan his coalition put a greater priority on the ideology of potential employees – whether they were pro-life or displayed Republican Party loyalty – than whether they spoke Arabic or had even the most fundamental understanding of Middle Eastern sensibilities.

Chandrasekaran, whose eye-opening account of American blunders in post-war Iraq, “Imperial Life In The Emerald City”, cites that “an enormous amount of goodwill following the overthrow of Saddam Hussein” was tragically squandered by an unyielding commitment to “enshrine a formal occupation”.

Here’s where the rubber meets the road, squire. These fucking morons, helpless, myopic, ego-mad jackasses took literally tons of our tax dollars (stacked in blocks on pallets and shipped to nowhere) and squandered it, siphoned it, hoarded it away while inflaming a powder keg.

Now we get to the heart of the disaster: For the first time a serious inquisition on the post-war handling of money, defense, and democratic restructuring of a nation is in motion, and not whether it was sound policy to expunge Hussein from power in the first place. Thus, a serious look at what is transpiring now, not four years ago, but now: A tactless, immoral occupation of a foreign sovereignty rendered dysfunctional by our aggression, failed planning, and general stupidity.

This is called “getting real” in Beltway speak, something rarely borne out of the swirling tide of fancy speechifying and angry retorts. It is great theater, but as functionary as bull tits or fish bicycles unless someone is made to pay and something is made to change.

Will it?

So far…

…a whole lot of nothing.

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Global Warming

Aquarian Weekly 2/7/07 REALITY CHECK

HOT HOUSE RISING

Polar IceGeorge W. Bush is an oilman. Make no mistake about that. To write or utter anything about an energy crisis and the President of the United States and avoid that slice of information is tantamount to discussing Martin Luther King’s contribution to the Civil Rights movement and fail to make the distinction about his race. – “Oil Men To The Rescue” Reality Check 5/30/01

Superstition does not hit the cut-off man. – Joshua Prager “The Echoing Green”

There is no rational adult alive who really thinks there hasn’t been some form of global warming. They know it, believe me. They just don’t want to admit it for various reasons – selfish political nonsense or pride or some other goofy notion. It’s like the whole Adam & Eve thing. No one really buys the traditional creationist theory as actual truth. They may want it to be true, they may even need it to be true, but they know, intellectually, quite obviously, that it isn’t. This self-con is also not unlike the Flat Earth Society. They know the earth is round, but they choose to believe otherwise. I choose to believe I play centerfield for the Yankees. The fact remains I do not. But we are not discussing illusionists or fanatics today, but those who absolutely must accept global warming as fiction: Oil Companies.

This is why during the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing this past week (revenge of the Democrats!) it has come to light that big oil lobbyists and henchmen of the Bush Administration – bankrolled by and jam-packed with Oil Men – suppressed scientific panic-speak on the accelerated global warming dangers. And they did so by completely rejecting, changing, or expunging scientific facts from the record, thereby keeping the results from mandating any shift in the torrent of cash flow pouring into their insatiable coffers.

Makes sense to me. Stringent regulations and panic will only decrease profits. This cannot stand. Decreasing profits to a business tycoon is tantamount to someone offering to remove your vital organs to help the neighbor’s lawn grow. There really isn’t any point in discussing it. Science? Fuck that. Money beats science every time. These guys would tell you the sky is chartreuse and Oswald acted alone if it could keep the federal government off their backs. And ecology? It’s voodoo, jack. Ecology is the study of available resources yet to exploit.

It is the same battle we’ve been waging for almost ten years in this space: The Beautiful Lie or the Ugly Truth?

The Oil Men stance: If we have to move heaven and earth to keep the spotted owl alive, then why can’t we do so for us?

Legislation imposing controls on industrial carbon-dioxide emissions is a death knell to these people. They would sooner sell their children into slavery than allow that to happen, something Lee Raymond, former chairman and CEO of Exxon/Mobile suggested to his attorneys in the autumn of 2002. The whole global warming thing may be a political football to conservative spokesmen or liberal protestors, and a fun debate at parties, but it is Armageddon to Oil Men.

For Scientists?

Oh, it’s big doings. Scientists live for this shit. They love bringing the doom. More times than not they’re off-the-wall, and this is what emboldens the delusional global warming opposition. Face it, scientists can get wacky with catastrophe and then nothing comes of it. Sometimes though, like quite apparently with global warming, they nail it.

Thus, here is the nagging problem for the Oil Men: Scientific theory is debatable, but scientific fact is not. Evidence also throws a big rusty wrench into the thing. Global warming used to be theory, now it is fact. Network news cameras capturing chunks of glaciers splashing into the Artic Ocean takes all the wind out of the Oil Men sails. So those who once vehemently denied the existence of global warming now spin the argument to its pertinence, shifting it from whether there is such a thing and whether it is happening or not to how bad it will be and how soon it will start to damage our way of life, and, most importantly for the Oil Men, how much the use of their product is contributing to it.

The federal government enters here.

Scientists employed by the government, and paid for by the rest of us who don’t happen to own oil concerns, claim that for the past five years some 435 times, not two dozen or occasionally, but 435 times there was some form of government interference or “pressure” to back off the presentation of findings regarding global warming. Of the 1,600 scientists having anything to do with government work, 308 responded to an independent survey on the subject of “government censoring of pertinent environmental information”.

Here’s the breakdown: Forty-three percent of respondents reported edits during review of their work that changed the meaning of their findings. Forty-six percent felt administrative requirements impaired climate-related work. Sixty-seven percent said the environment for federal government climate research is worse now than five years ago.

In other words: Scientists say, “Your house is on fire.” Government officials change it to “A slight incendiary incursion of timber particles.” Or “It depends on what the meaning of ‘is’ is.”

There’s pretty much enough evidence here to safely conclude that the Oil Men of the private sector who put the Oil Men in charge of our government have been getting their money’s worth. Good for them, and for George W. Bush, but not so much for us.

Why is it good for Bush? Well, for starters our Boy President wouldn’t have been born on third base and thought he hit a triple if not for Daddy’s oil money. He doesn’t get a free ride into and through Yale and the National Guard or own a baseball team or run companies while snorting half his salary through his nasal passages without it. He damn sure would not have broken every standing record for campaign coffers without it. And there is no possible way he could be president without it either.

Look, I know how business works. I know how politics work. It’s human nature under a gargantuan microscope. And it is basic human nature to mask bad tidings with cuddly images and superstitious ranting. But the truth still exists. And sometimes the truth is a bummer. It’s a bummer for all of us who like our Hummers and the SUVs. It’s a bummer for those who gain the windfall for the sales and operation of said items. But it doesn’t change the facts and the evidence. Evidence, whether suppressed or bellowed from the rooftops or slapped together in an Al Gore documentary, speaks volumes for rising climate changes, damaged ecosystems, fluctuating ocean current patterns, and a real threat of flooding.

I’m not sure what we’re going to do about it. But that discussion only begins when we rid ourselves of the fantasy.

It is the same battle we’ve been waging for almost ten years in this space: The Beautiful Lie or the Ugly Truth?

Apply it here.

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Dead Man Talking

Aquarian Weekly 1/31/07 REALITY CHECK

DEAD MAN TALKING Baby Bush’s Garage Is On Fire

This is not the fight we entered in Iraq, but it is the fight we are in. – George W. Bush State of The Union Address 1/23/07

How many more?A death rattle echoed through the chamber Tuesday night as the remains of the 43rd President of the United States meandered through a few flaccid domestic issues that no one has any attention in seeing through and then moved onto the main topic of the night, what every frothing pundit from coast to coast was creaming to hear: Military Surge In Iraq. Predictably, despite growing dissent from generals on the ground, a few ship-bailing exercises at the Pentagon, a minor exodus from key Republican senators, and mid-term election results that voiced national concern, George W. Bush is not backing down.

There will be a military build-up.

The only question remains will the Democrat-controlled congress fund it or not. Non-binding resolutions are cute, but they have as much bite as loonies waving signs in the streets. The process of this republic was set up a little more tangibly. As stated last week in this space, Congress is granted the power to represent the people and act accordingly. They talk tough, we will see.

But the fact remains that if this president sends any more Americans into the cauldron that is Iraq now, (unless it is 150,000 to 200,000 strong, as suggested by trained military minds, not draft-dodging milquetoasts like Dick Cheney) it is a suicide mission and nothing short of first-degree murder. Planned. Manipulated. Cold and calculated. He will affectively take that dark turn into warmonger and rouse the ghost of Lyndon B. Johnson.

Why would we think differently?

How many times do we let these idiots screw this thing up at the cost of American lives and boatloads of cash?

How many times do we let these idiots screw this thing up at the cost of American lives and boatloads of cash? I’m not sure I’m all in favor of a mass-exodus either, but it is abject folly to allow those currently in charge of this botched occupation to make any more decisions. Enough is enough. Either do the job right, or don’t do it at all.

Analogy time!

(Warning: The following paragraphs are replete with blatant and juvenile metaphors, but we’re running out of fancy ways of saying the same fucking thing.)

Let’s say, for instance, you took your car to the Baby Bush Auto Garage. The old girl has been burping up hills lately. A hint of burning oil is evident when you hit the gas. Perhaps there’re even some additional noises in there. He tells you his staff is experienced with these types of problems. They’re chomping at the bit to do a major overhaul. You’re skeptical at first, you’ve been screwed by mechanics before, but there is some significant evidence that the car will soon break down and leave you stranded. You tell Baby Bush and his boys to have a crack at it.

After a few weeks, it’s done. From first look, the car is practically brand new, and for the first month or so it runs fairly well. It isn’t exactly the souped-up roadster the blustery Baby Bush promised, but it’s better.

Oh, but wait, after a few more weeks a couple of different burps and odors arise, and yup, looks like the original problems are returning. You bring the car back. A steadfast Baby Bush is adamant about another go-round for a nominal fee. He also assures you that it isn’t the same problems after all. Now it’s the transmission and some breaks are needed. You’re pretty skeptical, again, but you’re already into the repairs for a good sum of cash and these guys are pledging like mad that they’re the right men for the job – “We love your car more than any we’ve had in here!” they exclaim. Against more cautious judgment, you let them have at it.

After about a month or so of excuses and revisions in the diagnosis and more proposed costs, you return to the Baby Bush Garage to find the car in serious disrepair. Jesus Tap-Dancing Christ! You’re now convinced these guys are not just incompetent, but crazy. One of them is stomping on the hood, another stands around kicking the tires mumbling incoherently, and still others are doing god-knows-what. It’s an odd scene, but Baby Bush has now informed you that if not for these eccentric but brave souls the car would be declared dead and buried. They are so close to not only reviving it, Baby Bush tells you, but also making it like new, saving the very nature of auto travel for you and everyone on America’s byways.

At this point you want to have your car towed out of there and run for the hills. Forget the whole thing ever happened. But what if Baby Bush is right? What if you only wait a couple of days more -you’ve waited all this time, and all of it on blind faith – and you’re beloved car will be yours again, running smooth and true. And what if these apparent lunatics are onto something big? Once more you leave with trepidation, but you figure one more chance at this juncture won’t be the end of times.

Two or three days later you return to find that not only is your car complete engulfed in flames but the crack Baby Bush team is ranting and raving like savages. One of them is on fire and the entire garage is exploding all over the block. You are understandably appalled. You demand your poor vehicle back, or compensation, or something. Out of the carnage Baby Bush strides confidently towards you, smiles, and calmly says, “Okay, I have one more plan.”

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Challenge To The 110th Congress

Aquarian Weekly 1/17/07 REALITY CHECK

CHALLENGE TO THE 110TH CONGRESS

What country can preserve its liberties if its rulers are not warned from time to time that this people preserve the spirit of resistance? – Thomas Jefferson

Hammer Of The People?After a dozen years, the Democrats own congress. Nancy Pelosi is the first woman Speaker of the House in the 215-year history of the United States Congress. She is also the first Italian-American to hold the post. It is a cultural phenomenon, a political revolution of sorts. And none of it happens without the will of the people. Well, the will of the people, a shitload of corruption, a lousy president, and one whiz-bang of a bungled post-war effort.

Now what?

The celebration is over. The thud you hear is the high of November victory plummeting into January reality; a rough trip, even for hardened street fighters like Pelosi and her gang. They struggled long and hard for this, pitched a lot of dubious promises, and now say the right things about the first 100 days of power, and Social Security, and Minimum Wage, and National Health Care, and blah blah blah.

Great. Fine. Have a ball.

Know this: The American people, Republicans, Democrats, Independents, casual observers, catatonics at Bellevue Hospital in New York, are extremely unhappy about the goings on in Iraq. Peeved, you might say. Fed up is more to the point. This is the main reason why they lined-up at the polls in record numbers for a Mid-Term Election. Don’t be fooled by America all of a sudden getting the Liberal Bug or queasy on God and hyped about Gays or jazzed about tax hikes. And most of these angered hoards couldn’t be bothered to raise an eyebrow about bi-partisan warm and fuzzies either.

Here’s what the American people said on November 7, 2006: We want answers. Concrete action. What’s going to be done about this military mess? What is the plan? Where are the answers? Timetable? Movement? Change? Accountability? Functionality?

Period.

And the American people will get their answers one way or the other. Because now their president is standing tough with talk of increasing troops, giving it one last shot to make good on this high-stakes gamble of his: One last ride on the rodeo for the Faux Texan and his wounded hawks. Defiant. Purposeful. The question remains: What does the Congress do as the new Voice of the American People, the only true and binding dissent to this seemingly bottomless abyss?

Soon, we will see.

Here’s what the American people said on November 7, 2006: We want answers. Concrete action. What’s going to be done about this military mess? What is the plan? Where are the answers? Timetable? Movement? Change? Accountability? Functionality?

The talking is over. The debate and speeches and rip-roaring fury are but a memory. Now it’s time to take the blabber and prognostication and get into the action.

Will we see the president ask this new Congress, this new Democrat-controlled Congress, for increased funds for this last ditch surge? 20,000 strong. Fuel for the fire. You betcha, sonny. Will it have the collective balls to deny the troops? Will it have the fortitude, the “political capital”, to steal a goofy phrase, that it takes to say NO. Not “first voting for before voting against” nonsense – but NO. Will this one-third body of our blessed Checks and Balance system do some checking and balancing, or will it carry the water for the 2008 Presidential Campaign their Mother Hen, Hillary Rodham is currently running.

Politics as usual? Power play over enacting history? Words over truth?

Or action.

Ah, to be the outsider throwing stones now holding the locks to the glass doors.

Cindy Sheehan is not going away. Thank the Lord. Any time someone is painted as a nut by those in charge or as a mere curiosity by the mainstream media there is a good chance that there’s some serious embers there. Not the kind of smoke you usually get from groaning celebrities or vapid pundits, but the kind of protest that sticks. Pissed. Moaning. Motivated. Real. As real as a mother of a dead son gets. And that’s plenty real, mista.

Now the Democrats are in the firing line. More so than the president. Everyone knows the president is not backing down, nor should he. He’s president, after all. Commander-in-Chief. Head Honcho. Congress gave him the latitude to run amok, and amok he has run. His fingerprints are all over this bloodbath. And while things continue to spiral into further chaos he is not going to let it go, not unless he gets the outcome he bargained for. The only barricade to this madness is Congress now. The Congress the American People put in there – the Democrat-led Congress.

If these elected officials, our employees, our representatives, fail to stand tall against this president, or a segment of them fail to do it, and not with talk but votes, I will print their names here, and I would urge my readers who agree with the concept of their government speaking for its majority to write and call and harass the culprits.

If Congress does enact the people’s will (its basic purpose and design) then it will force George W. Bush to an impasse equal to Lyndon B. Johnson in Viet Nam. Finally, after years of trumped-up comparisons, Bush’s Iraq will truly enter the realm of Johnson’s greatest folly and forever cement this president’s legacy as an unrepentant warmonger.

It’s over. There is nothing to be gained by escalating the fighting. The time to properly conduct this campaign was three years ago. We failed to finish the job. The only reason to send the young to die now is to save the face of a fractured presidency and the marred reputation of a nation. Not good enough, bub. Not now. Not ever.

So now it’s time for the loyal opposition to spread its wings and take flight. Either that or become another useless gaggle of windbags warming seats until the next steaming pile of feces tap-dances its way into our hearts.

What’s it gonna be, folks? What’s it gonna be, Nancy?

We’ll see.

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GERALD FORD?

Aquarian Weekly 1/10/07
REALITY CHECK

GERALD FORD?

History is a myth that men agree to believe. – Napoleon

For some sad reason only known to the gods of misfortune, I found myself listening to the “Imus In The Morning” radio broadcast sometime during the surreally long week of funeral events surrounding the passing of our 38th Gerry Footballpresident. Our pal, Mike Barnicle, of Fabricated Story fame, was unabashedly stating that all this talk 33 years ago about “a deal” regarding Gerald Ford’s pardoning of Richard Nixon was patently false and in fact “may have been one of the most heroic deeds in modern presidential history”. The colossal absurdity of this nonsense sent a stinging stream of coffee to the back of my throat. I was flummoxed, or as flummoxed as a hard-ass cynic could be. It was a stunning observation even for Barnicle, world-famous for stupidity. It was then, as I struggled to get my vehicle under control, that I planned on writing this rebuttal.

Believe me when I tell you I had no intention of wasting two paragraphs on the human doorstop that was Gerald Rudolf Ford or his misnomer presidency. The whole terrible fiasco had safely slumbered in my memory banks like a hazy college speed binge. The images were vague if not frightening. I recollect something about a puppet man holding the fort after the 37th president torched the U. S. Constitution, but it was fuzzy and disquieting, and I chose to let it go, make my peace with the whole debacle. Heal.

Yes, and then the old fart had to up and croak and I couldn’t turn on a network or cable news show for 150 hours without some dink waxing poetic about Ford’s dubious legacy. But I even ignored that, understanding that there’s nothing us humans love more than belaboring burials, honoring our country, and/or reconfiguring unpleasant history by constructing beloved myths. Why I even heard one of Saddam Hussein’s kids talking about how much he loved the family pooch. Sure, and Hitler loved his dog too. Loved it so much he fed it cyanide so it wouldn’t have to watch daddy shoot himself.

Look, respecting the dead and supporting the grieving is one thing, but a complete revision of history is the worst kind of sin. This hooey about Gerald Ford doing anything approaching “heroic” or the blind patronization of his freeing a criminal as “healing the country” or the meaningless celebration of he being “a regular guy” is as maudlin and saccharine and silly as it gets. How anyone chooses to sooth the pain of loss is none of my business, to each, his own. Here’s where I get involved: When grieving and flowery speeches replace hard news and cold fact.

Reality Check, baby.

Gerald Ford? His wife did more for this country by guzzling turpentine.

Here’s all you have to know about Gerald Ford: He was the ultimate team player, a Football Guy. He took one for the team soon after the Kennedy Assassination and once again after Richard Nixon made a mockery of governance. Gerry was our sacrificial lamb, saluting bravely and keeping his mouth shut like a good capo. He was a cover all his life, a beard for the awful things that needed to be done to stay the American course. He may just as well have worked for Tony Soprano.

How anyone chooses to sooth the pain of loss is none of my business, to each, his own. Here’s where I get involved: When grieving and flowery speeches replace hard news and cold fact.

And I would have gladly returned the favor. Kept it under raps. Let the boy off the hook: Poor bastard, what could he do? They offered him the vice presidency to keep the Republican Party from closing shop for good. Protect the country from the Big Bad Commies. This was his sworn duty.

Ford and his Democrat buddy, power-broker Tip O’Neill, along with Al (“I’m in charge now!”) Haig laid the groundwork to get Nixon the hell out of a mutilated White House and set him free to wander the beaches of Sacramento like some kind of doddering madman who’d been haunted by gremlins and beaten by ego. O’Neill and his cronies would never have allowed a beast like Spiro Agnew anywhere near the title of chief executive. He was a hateful creature and did everyone a favor by defrauding the government and evading taxes. Haig? Well, old Al made a deal with the devil; let’s leave it there. And good ol’ Gerry, the Team Player, played ball.

Nothing wrong with any of it, mind you. It’s politics as usual. Covered weekly in this space. Well documented in the annals of time. I’m sure Gerry Ford was a nice guy, good father, and an upstanding citizen with many fine qualities. He worked hard as a congressman, served the Navy well in the Big War, did the Shriners proud. But it pales in comparison to his decision to push the whole Watergate disaster under the rug, make like it never happened. Smile and go on.

Very nice. Very brave. Very weak. Very gutless.

You decide. Just don’t make shit up.

Republicans, however, should erect shrines to Gerald Ford. He did stem the tide of total extinction. People forget the utter black hole that was the final months of the Nixon Administration, or whatever was left of it. The entire episode teetered on constitutional crisis. I laugh every time I hear a badly conceived comparison to it, as if Clinton getting hummers and lying under oath or Baby Bush trumping up faulty intelligence to avenge daddy’s enemy could ever approach the atrocity of Richard M. Nixon. By all rights the entire Grand Old Party should have gone the way of the Whigs in his wake. But to his credit, Ford stopped the bleeding.

Not so sure his tourniquet was so good for the rest of us, but it did spare Nixon from justice and help elect Ronald Reagan and two Bushes.

But then Gerry was always adept at keeping his finger in the damn. He did it quite well as one of the chosen few to sit on the Warren Commission; a quickly cobbled smokescreen to fill whatever unsightly holes pocked the JFK assassination. Many would argue the group still stands as the focal point in one of the grandest of cover-ups, others may bandy about its rush to judgment to keep the wolves at bay, or at least Fidel Castro at bay. Either way you look at it, the Warren Commission, of which Gerald R. Ford was the last surviving member, took one for the team. Swept out the nastiness, shooed away the curious, and glossed over the glaring incongruities of shady doings, helping the nation “heal” from the shock of a fallen leader.

So Ford was, in the end, the perfect caretaker of a wounded federal government and the savior of saviors for the Republican Party. But this does not make him a national hero. It doesn’t make him a villain either. He just was. A cog in the great machinery of government. Another in the long line of parts grinding along.

Final word on Gerald Ford: He just was.

Sorry Barnicle. Sorry network geeks. Sorry revisionists.

And that’s the unremarkable truth.

Go ahead and twenty-one-gun salute that, I’ll finish my coffee.

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Wishes For 2007

Aquarian Weekly 1/3/07 REALITY CHECK

WISHES FOR 2007

Dumb AssInstead of the usual boring list of self-improvements people begin whipping together at the start of every new year, I thought I’d change it up a bit and search outside. Okay, sure, I could stand for a little self-improvement. Who couldn’t?

For starters I might reconsider eating less crap, cutting down on the absinthe, and curtailing my abuse of the cats for sport. I probably should also quit shooting my pellet gun at speeding motorists on the street in front of my house, or serving “the special Kool-Aid” to the neighbor’s kids, or this childish obsession with sabotaging the Boy Scouts of America. I promised my wife I would no longer co-opt her wild shenanigans for column material like the time last week when she rammed her Jeep into a brand-new Mercedes driven by a middle-aged lawyer while juggling a map, two-lattes, spinning the radio knob, and shifting gears with her knee. When the stunned guy got out, she politely asked, “You got a speed pedal on that shit-box fuck face?” (Hey, it’s still 2006 when I’m writing this – one last one couldn’t hurt).

And I guess it’s time I put silly pranks aside like sending singing telegrams to J.D. Salinger or betting so-called “terrorist organizations” over the Internet they couldn’t obtain uranium by the weekend. Okay, and no more midget porn. Oh, and I should start calling midgets Little People. And positively no more road rage, or at least this terrible habit I have of winging the really big Arizona Tea bottles at motorists trying to pass me on the right when I have my signal going and am clearly attempting to enter a jug-handle. Most people hate that; except my wife, who likens the experience to “an evening with Ben-Hur”.

I will also stop telling everyone I meet that Britney Murphy is the quintessential thespian, when I know she is not. I must cease paying homeless people to moon the Fox & Friends show through the 6th Avenue window behind the hosts. And I will absolutely stop telling anyone who asks if I have accepted Jesus Christ as my personal savior that I am Jesus Christ and I’ll get rid of that phony ID I had made up at the State Fair that proves I’m Jesus Christ.

Hey, but I’ve grown a great deal in the past few years. My public urination and cursing at nuns has gone down considerably.

But enough about me, let’s get rid of annoying societal issues.

No more apologizing for offending people. I am tired of celebrities, political figures, sports goons or whoever speaks their minds rescinding their comments once they realize they’ve offended someone.

1. No more apologizing for offending people. I am tired of celebrities, political figures, sports goons or whoever speaks their minds rescinding their comments once they realize they’ve offended someone. No more reorganizing the pure thought and succumbing to sensitivity. Say your piece and stick by it. Everything offends someone. Everything you hold dear offends me. Do I ask you to apologize? No. 2007 must be conciliatory-free or it will not stand.

2. In the spirit of number 1., let’s not pay attention to Rosie O’Donnell anymore. She is a stupid ass. Seriously. You know the guy on the subway platform screaming about aliens stealing diamonds out of his rectum? Let’s listen to him instead. And while we’re at it, don’t pay attention to any more celebrities. This includes talk-show hosts. People with a camera in front of them will do or say any pathetically futile thing to get you to listen. Don’t do it. Ignore the famous. It’s good for the soul.

3. Oh, and one more thing about the whole talking and listening thing: No more athletes, professional, amateur, or weekend are allowed to say anything anymore. They are not smart people, and they don’t have a scintilla of interesting points to their conversation. Truth is most of them are goofy shitheads. All of them, actually, accept the ones I like, and they’re the ones that don’t do all the talking. Muhammad Ali was cool and funny and revolutionary. These guys are not. They either shut up or we don’t listen. Quiet 2007 in sports.

4. Speaking of sport, and really most of our society, let’s stop saying the latest thing is the Best or the Worst. It’s probably not the Best or Worst. Just because we endured it or saw it or are fascinated by it as an infant by shiny things does not make it the ultimate anything. And while we’re at it, no more Top Lists. Why does every innocuous subject spawn a Top Ten or Top One Hundred List? Who makes these lists? More dumb asses and shitheads, probably. Let’s cut those out this year.

Shit, sorry – back to me for a second. I would like to take a moment to publicly apologize to the Better Business Bureau and the NY Attorney General’s Office, and, I guess, to Maxim Magazine for making several claims that its editorial staff is a secret Nazi Kabal run by the biological offspring of Heinrich and Margarete Himmler. It was wrong. I can’t believe anyone would have believed that. And don’t worry; I’m not really “sorry” they’re offended. It’s just not true. Although, you have to admit – well, you would if you were a freelancer – that it only “appears” that way.

5. Let’s not mention global warming anymore. Let it go. It’s fine. I’m digging this crazy unusual warmth up here in the mountains. No snow, no ice. Sure other people might bake and terrible ecological disaster may befall future generations, but anyone reading this will be long dead or closer to it by then and we have to enjoy every day as it comes. Live in the now. It’s very Zen and quite self-empowering. Plus, I like it. And another thing, Al Gore is Satan and I’m not sure how much we’re supposed to support the Dark Lord’s causes. Go ask David Duke. I’ll wait.

6. I was just tossing this around, but hear me out. Let’s all accept Islam as our religion. Just to fuck with things. You don’t have to actually do it, just let’s pretend to become a Muslim nation and rail against capitalistic demons and infidels. Try really, really hard. A mass ruse. Think about it. All we have to do is say we’re all Muslim. Muhammad is all right with us. We dig burkas and all that other crap. It’s just as silly as anything else we believe or stand for and it’s much safer. Then we get to pull out of Iraq and disband the Homeland Security tax sinkhole and get rid of all the unconstitutional stuff the federal government laid on us and get back to the way things were. Okay, so, let’s get that going for ’07. We can have a slogan – “Islam Yeah!”

Oh, one last thing. This is important to me – I will no longer tell strangers I was raised by freaks in a circus. It was a carnival. Sorry, mom and dad.

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James Brown – 1933 – 2006

Aquarian Weekly 1/3/07

JAMES BROWN – 1933-2006

James BrownHe was black. Very black. Hard-core, greasy-skids, funk-gut, foot-spin, mike-punch, kick-on-the-one, snap-the-snare-on-two, big-blast-horn-section, cape-flip, snazzy-jazz, rip-the-joint black. Dark as night. Dark as soul. Brotha dark. Mutha Popcorn. Real black. Black, as in beeeeuuutifulll. Not streamlined for the burbs, sold to the kids kinda Chuck Berry or Little Richard or Jimi Hendrix off-black. No. Black. Down and dirty. Dangerous. Pure as silk. Nasty as they come. Holy as they go. No slave. Fist. No dispassion. Scream. No quarter. Paper money, please. High. Mighty. Groove. Sex. Midnight. All night. All right!

Godfatha.

He was thump-thump. Hah! Heh! Git-up! Git-on-up. Shit. Like a boot in yo ass. Two-boots. Or Bootsy. Hah! Heh! Huh! Gimmie-da-beat, sucka. Like a machine. Grinding. Thump-thump. Swack! Thump-thump. Swack! Heeeaayyy. Fuck ya’ll. Push it. Pump it. Righteous fool for the rhythm. Grimy. Sweaty. Glorious rhythm. Like Billie Holiday, angel. Like Robert Johnson, blues. Like Charlie Parker, fuse.

Mr. Dyn-O-mite.

He was Da-Funk. Uptown. All the way up. 125th. Still alive. Apollo. “Ladies and gentleman…” Rafters shake. Git-on-yo-feet. New Yawk Citttaaayy. Lemmie-hear-ya-say-HUH! Hardest working man in Show Biz. Ahhhhh-feeeeel-good. Lak-ah-nooo-that-ah-wooooood. Proud. Violent. Raw. Jungle groove. Can I git a yeah? YEAH! He was black. Very black. Dream black. No light. Too cool. Cold, like sweat. Prism. Dance. Like a man. Like a riff. Like a stroll. Like a crawl. Clap. Say clap. Say dance. Say the Band. One mo-time.

Black. Soul. Funk. Smooth. Brown. Real brown.

James Brown.

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Iraq Study Group Report Dissected

Aquarian Weekly 12/13/06 REALITY CHECK

PUNCHLINE IRAQ Study Group Report Final Nail In Bush’s War Coffin

“Grave and deteriorating.”

“Decades to play out.”

“Enough troops are simply not available.”

“Withdrawal would only lead to bloodbaths.”

Ouch.

Light ReadingThe above are just some of the ominous lowlights strewn along the 142-page Iraq Study Group Report released the first week of December to what can only be described as the walking corpse of a presidency.

“The ability for the United States to influence events is diminishing.”

Thud.

There is the end, and then there is THE END. In Iraq, now, we have hit the latter. For all purposes of intent, the presidency of George W. Bush is finished. He will wait it out for two more innocuous years because of constitutional law, nothing more. Everything he bet his gig on has gone belly up. The check has been cashed. The piper is due. The die lies still on the table. It is over. Way over. Too late, the hero.

“Humanitarian catastrophe.”

Crash. Boom. Bang.

It is Tuesday morning and the gambling axioms tumble down – the back-door cover never came, the horse did not place, the bluff failed. Here comes the bookie. His humor left home, his rancor full-bore. Here stands the leader of the free world without another penny to wager, our penny, stuck in his hand like the harbinger of midnight. Captain Shoo-In’s fancy coach is officially a rancid pumpkin.

There are no more alleys to turn into on this one. First it was ties to 9/11, then a cadre of Weapons of Mass Destruction. When that didn’t stick it was toppling an evil regime in an unstable area. Then it was restructuring the region with democracy. Then it cleverly morphed into “Stay The Course Or Lose Miserably”, doom and gloom, utter chaos unless we see it through. Then the tried-and-true Losers Quit-Americans Stand Tall. But all of it seems like some kind of sick joke now. Historians will scratch their heads. “The Boy President had his chance,” they will say. “One chance to grab destiny, and he tragically fumbled it away.”

The walls are closing in now and the allies are few and far between. The architect of this disaster in Iraq, Donald Rumsfeld, is long gone, sent packing while the administration leaks lame memos from the fallen demagogue as if there was some queer notion he was horny with reality after six years of swearing to fantasy. The rough-and-tumble UN bully, John Bolton, is also toast, his brash house-cleaning nothing but a flaccid pecker-waving exercise in futility. Nothing has changed, except, of course, his forwarding address.

The big-time hawks are now running scared too, their plans sullied, their mighty rhetoric flayed. Gnashing of teeth is in vogue at the Pentagon these days, where they are heard weeping down the corridors, each one of them wondering what the hell happened? How did we, the strongest, richest, nation on earth wage a war so ineptly, so myopically, as to render what was a wounded, vengeful, united nation into a mass war protest? This was a popular war, now it appears to be the worst kind of murderous sham.

I knew that incredible pile of bullshit about Axis Of Evil was dumb, but now it looks like something out of a world-class charlatan snake-oil rap, and if the only way to save face in Iraq left us is to suck up to Iran than just torch the damn place and get the fuck out.

Shock & Awe to Shame & Angst.

Not an easy ride to the bottom. It took screw-ups of the most stupendous kind. Everything and everyone failed. It is a slam-dunk, to use a most-unfortunate phrase. There is not one party, not one faction of this federal government, not to blame on this one, a bottomless sinkhole of guilt.

You want to know how badly things have gotten? The Iraq Study Group is not only suggesting but clamoring for an alliance with Iran. An alliance with Iran? If that isn’t the final tolling bell of defeat nothing is. Iran is bankrolling, instigating, and perpetuating the worst of the sectarian violence in Iraq. The second Saddam Hussein went kaput the Iran party train was tooting into the station. Now, after nearly 3,000 American troops dead and thousands upon thousands of innocents slaughtered and maimed, we are going to pow-wow with proudly belligerent terrorist loons salivating to turn the planet into a Jew-killing spree?

Wow.

I knew that incredible pile of bullshit about Axis Of Evil was dumb, but now it looks like something out of a world-class charlatan snake-oil rap, and if the only way to save face in Iraq left us is to suck up to Iran than just torch the damn place and get the fuck out. It is an absolute slap in the face of anything resembling honorable and decent, a complete ramrod ass-ream to the American people, whether they be staunchly ant-war or blindly gung-ho.

There is no way this government can justify a scintilla of the past three-plus years of this foul mistake with that kind of move. I dare Junior to cop to it and get out of town with a shred of legacy beyond humiliated goober, his scarred credibility shackled like Houdini in a water-box.

The incoming Secretary of Defense went screwy the other day in front of Congress admitting there was no way we are winning the war; a war, by the way, we already won but then was suckered by some half-baked idea to rebuild the country and use the United States military as some kind of traffic-cop force stuck inside a cultural abattoir. The brain-damaged elite even cheered the Gates performance. This is the final resting place for foreign policy – the pundit-intelligentsia doing back-flips of joy over the new defense czar taking one for the team.

If the Bush track record with study groups is any indication (please refer to the 9/11 Commission’s ignored recommendations for three consecutive years) then there are going to be a lot of disappointed people around here. But election results, firings, and a host of scurrying bigmouths are a persuasive avenue to changing policy. When ten bipartisan think-tank dignitaries, who have served four presidents, compile, in print, every war decision you have made and stab gaping holes in them all, there is time to pause.

The joke is over.

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