Legalize Marijuana Already

Aquarian Weekly 6/15/05 REALITY CHECK

LEGALIZE MARIJUANA ALREADY

MarijunaThe day everybody got stoned, it was a Thursday, The sky was blue and the birds sang pretty. Traffic moved really, really, really, really, really slow But no one cared, they had the tunes cranking loud Really, really, really, really, really, really loud. The cops stayed in the donut shop all day No one got shot, no one got robbed, Although eleven million people ended up quitting their jobs. – Dan Bern

I often turn to my good friend Admiral Bernstein in times of sociological or political crisis. He’s like Twain in the wisdom department, except he’s alive and I can have a laugh with him anytime I want. Twain would have seen the need to legalize marijuana in this country, and not because it would boost the economy and mellow everyone the hell out, but because a preponderance of us blow it anyway, and Mrs. Clemens’ baby boy hated denial and hypocrisy. And, most of all, it makes little sense for a society hell-bent on gobbling every pharmaceutical drug known to modern science, guzzle galloons of alcohol daily, and mainline coffee freely and without regret to act all high and mighty about grass.

I know this is the Age of Morality and the Republicans are using God and Family to keep jobs they don’t deserve, but this latest ruling by the Supreme Court that “marijuana may not be distributed to persons who prove a medical necessity for the drug” is patently criminal. Where’s the morality in that? And where are the Tom Delays now that sick people are being denied treatment? Is someone with glaucoma any less inflicted than Terry Schiavo, or is it that the churchgoing Bible freaks are against the evil pot?

I think we know the answer to that one.

It’s selective morality. I ask you: Who decides what treatment is evil?

I’ve recently learned there are morality clauses in some half-dozen states that allow pharmacists to deny women birth control pills based on the personal beliefs of the pharmacist, but that is so far off the charts unconstitutional I will leave it up to comedians and women’s groups to grapple with. I’m on the weed thing right now.

Okay, so Selective Morals goes nicely with our Selective Foreign Policy of whom we choose to free from tyrannical regimes and whose oppressed citizenry of tradable nations we ignore, but it doesn’t wash in the realm of sober reasoning. And this is what we deal with in this space, despite it being ignored in just about every media and press outlet in this country.

Let’s be honest, the stigma of marijuana is deep. It carries with it a demonization that rarely attaches itself to booze or gambling. Why? Detractors argue it is because it’s dangerous and leads to harder drug use. This is a fairy tale. You know why? There is no scientific proof to this argument. And this is the same argument (no scientific proof) that the Supreme Court offers on the issue of medicinal use of the drug.

To wit: “Marijuana has no currently accepted medical use in the case of the Controlled Substances Act, the statute reflects a determination that marijuana has no medical benefits worthy of an exception (outside the confines of a government-approved research project).”

Is someone with glaucoma any less inflicted than Terry Schiavo, or is it that the churchgoing Bible freaks are against the evil pot?

This was Justice Clarence Thomas’ statement following the ruling, and it speaks volumes.

Let’s break it down.

It is okay to refuse the prescription of a drug based on little to no scientific proof while simultaneously denying its effectiveness based on the same criteria. How is that possible? And who the hell knows what is good or bad, really? Government agencies? The same government agencies that continuously pass pharmaceutical drugs and then yank them back when dangerous side effects start mounting? The same government agencies that tell us eggs are good, eggs are bad, eggs are good, eggs are bad…what the fuck?

Thomas’ final parenthetical aside is paramount to understanding this discrimination against cannabis – “Outside the confines of government-approved research project.” Do you know what gets the government-approved projects? Big time pharmaceutical concerns that lobby the shit out of congress and share in the grotesque profits of said drugs, that’s who.

Once again, we get moral rhetoric to hide greed. And that’s okay. We readily accept greed. We don’t begrudge anyone making a buck on Fear. It is the pillar of capitalism. But using the same tactic to beat down the competition is suppose to be a form a racketeering and is regulated by free-trade laws, except ganja can’t get the same treatment, because its illegal.

Believe me, if the oil companies could outlaw electricity or the meat companies could outlaw soy products, they sure as hell would. But it’s hard to get Mom and Pop riled up about Veggie burgers. There is no stigma against that. Damn it! But there is one against marijuana, and that’s the hammer used to keep it illegal.

I don’t smoke pot, so personally I couldn’t give half a shit if it were legalized or not. I dig on absinthe, which is rightfully illegal and would likely cripple half the pot smokers in this country. But at least I’m honest enough to admit what is happening to hemp has no basis in fact or merit. It is capricious and arbitrary reasoning, like the morality arguments that support it. Furthermore, if you think about it, there is no basis in reality for moral arguments being included in the law. And don’t give me bullshit about crimes like theft and murder being symptomatic of a moral construct. These acts infringe on civil rights, how exactly does smoking dope to alleviate pain infringe on anyone’s rights?

Okay, so you legalize marijuana and everyone is lazy and forgetful and eats too much junk food, Pink Floyd makes a comeback and people say “man” a lot. So what? Its no worse than assholes dancing around football games in sub-zero weather with their shirt off or college girls whipping off their tops for a video clip or Dick Chaney going on national television and telling everyone the Iraq war would last two weeks.

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Deep Throat Revealed, Or…?

Aquarian Weekly 6/8/05 REALITY CHECK

DEEP THROAT – A TRIBUTE

Deep Throat EscapesThe evil that men do lives after them; The good is oft interred with their bones. – William Shakespeare Julius Caesar Act III

By now everyone has heard that 91-year-old W. Mark Felt, former second in command at the FBI during the Watergate scandal that eventually took down the 37th President of the United States has finally come forth as the identity behind the infamous Deep Throat. The most notorious anonymous source in the history of journalism, so dubbed after the celebrated porn film of the same name by then Washington Post Managing Editor Howard Simons, the paper that unleashed the investigative talents of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein to uncover a series of outlandish crimes by Richard Nixon, has been bandied about in books, college classrooms and documentaries for three decades. None of which had successfully fingered Felt among dozens of suspects. Some still argue it could not have merely been Felt, and I agree.

Up until Felt’s confession, the accepted theory was that Deep Throat, as most deep-background anonymous sources, was a composite of several hidden voices. This made sense purely because Deep Throat’s knowledge of numerous interconnected events and key characters was so vast and his access inside the White House so complete that anyone outside of Nixon’s most loyal inner sanctum could not have achieved it. However, the composite theory works on a simpler level. Woodward, merely a metro reporter who had been with the Post for a lousy nine months would have had a tough time selling several off-the-record sources as evidence that the most powerful position in the land had plotted and bankrolled this kind of cheap underhanded prank. One “deep” imbedded source was an easier pitch.

But those are simply theories. Evidence that an FBI source, however “high-ranking”, would not have been able to provide the kind of evidence portrayed in the Post’s 1973 stories appears in more detail in Woodward and Bernstein’s masterful, “All The President’s Men”. The book contains, as do many of the ’73 articles, several references to Deep Throat as a White House source or top-level insider, someone with first-hand knowledge of the Nixon tapes, incriminating documents, and a spectacular history of insidious plots hatched by the most powerful people in the country. Could this have merely been Felt?

Of course Felt was apprised of the evidence compiled by the FBI in the ongoing investigation at the time, but as a top man in the bureau, could he have been doing his job while snooping around gathering dirt from several different sources himself?

John Dean, then White House counsel and point man for the 1972 break-in said this week that Felt’s prominent position at the FBI so soon after the death of lifetime director J. Edgar Hoover made it practically impossible for Felt to have had the time or the balls for such tasks as writing cryptic messages in Woodward’s NY Times to arrange clandestine garage meetings that sometimes took up hours of the participants’ time. Dean had his finger on the pulse of events from start to finish. It was his riveting testimony at the hearings that was corroborated word-for-word on the infamous smoking-gun tape that ultimately buried Nixon. When the president finally asked him to put his name to paper outlining the gory events leading up to Watergate, one of several blatant scapegoat moves, Dean turned coat to save his ass. When he went to the FBI with his story, Dean admits he pretty much knew who could have been leaking what, and Felt never made his list.

It is fair to deduce that if Mark Felt was the Deep Throat and not a source composite, then he had help, much help in gathering the type of gaudy facts that eventually, with air-tight precision, destroyed the presidency of one of the most crooked politicians this country has ever produced.

No doubt Felt was a prime candidate. He had an axe to grind, believing, among many of his colleagues at the FBI that Nixon’s appointment of Assistant Attorney General L. Patrick Gray as director instead of a veteran insider reeked of an overt kind of self-serving. Gray’s name was later pulled when he admitted to sharing the FBI’s investigation of Watergate with Dean, who then had designs on helping the White House cover-up their party to the incident.

Felt was also privy to all of the mounting evidence that began to “grow as a cancer on the presidency”, so much so that Nixon urged his cronies to steer the FBI away from the proceedings claiming it a CIA matter that was of utmost importance to national security. Right then Felt, wounded by being passed over and wanting to seal Gray’s fate, would have had ample evidence and motivation for spilling the beans on Nixon. It is also important to note that Felt, originally a spy detector for the bureau, was later convicted and then pardoned by Ronald Reagan for authorizing FBI break-ins of war protester headquarters in the ’70s. He knew well the tactics of the Beltway and could identify a juicy breach from a mile away.

After the revealing Vanity Fair article was presented to the press this week, Woodward, who met in a DC garage seven times with Felt during the Post’s investigation, corroborated the confession in a statement followed by a brilliantly detailed column unfurling his close friendship and series of spot-on info Felt had funneled him long before Watergate. Woodward tells of Felt’s fears of the Nixon Administration’s “corruption” spilling into the FBI’s domain of illegal wire-tapping, opening of mail, and authorized break-ins – all later corroborated tactics of the Nixon era.

This is precisely why all this talk lately about Felt being some kind of traitor snitch who should have gone through the proper legal channels to prosecute Nixon instead of leaking evidence to cub reporters is ludicrous. By the time Felt, rightly or not, was passed over for FBI director the bureau was in turmoil. Hoover, the FBI’s only director, was dead. For decades he ran the tightest ship in DC, and in many ways held more sway than the president. The White House, as many had tried in the past, was beginning to put a stranglehold on several forms of the government, especially Hoover’s former untouchable domain. It was hard to fathom who was Nixon’s bitch and who was up and up. Well-worn stories of Gray dumping vital evidentiary records into the Potomac are all Felt would need to know before unburdening his soul.

To hear Woodward tell it, the best case scenario taking all of the evidence through the ringer; the surveillance of Woodward’s apartment to arrange the garage meetings to the detailed descriptions of major conversations and documents coming straight from the Oval Office to third-rate burglars and CIA rejects etc., it is fair to deduce that if Mark Felt was the Deep Throat and not a source composite, then he had help, much help in gathering the type of gaudy facts that eventually, with air-tight precision, destroyed the presidency of one of the most crooked politicians this country has ever produced.

Woodward concludes in his latest piece for the Post, “Because of his position virtually atop the chief investigative agency, his words and guidance had immense, at times even staggering, authority. The weight, authenticity and his restraint were more important than his design, if he had one.”

But the question remains for this reporter: Who was behind Deep Throat?

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Erotic Expo 2005

Aquarian Weekly 5/25/05 REALITY CHECK

PEDDLING MORALITY IN THE DEN OF INIQUITY Why Christian Extremists Get First Class Treatment At A Porn Convention

Tera Patrick“I’m from the Christian Coalition for Decency & Moral Servitude,” I announced with the piggish authority of a professional. The doe-eyed staffer for the 2005 Erotic Expo stood with mouth agape, stunned, but cordial. “Excuse me, sir?” he asked politely, trying hard to feign deafness. I repeated my phony title more forcefully this time; waving at him an old plastic Bill Bradley Campaign credential I had rattling around in my bag. “Uh, um, well, do you have a pass for this event?” he asked, tugging nervously on his nifty yellow uniform. I told him I did not.

“Why do I need a pass, kind sir?” I shouted. “I have a pass from the Lord!”

The lobby of the Hotel Pennsylvania, another in a series of renovated ancient accommodations in midtown Manhattan, buzzed all around me. The eager traders of flesh were oblivious to my regal stance. It was painfully evident that smut was being peddled here, and I thought it best to see how strident these Purveyors of Pornography are when faced with a salty Soldier of God.

The illusion was miraculous, seeing how I was dressed in the usual frumpy journalist garb; wrinkled shirt sloppily untucked beneath a ragged blue blazer, coffee-stained jeans and a whirring mini-tape recorder clutched in my right fist, which I used it to shake violently at the press secretary, a handsomely tanned middle-aged man with an unnerving grin.

“I’ve come to record names, addresses and income figures of your merchants of filth!” I told him.

“No one apprised us of your arrival, Mister…?”

“Koczan,” I told him. It was the first name I thought of, and the managing editor of this magazine. Poor soul. He sends me an e-mail every week asking if there is anything he could do, so I figured lending his name to this charade is as good an anything as there is.

After much haggling, dropping a few power names like Ralph Reed, Bill Bennett, Sean Hannity, Larry Flynt, and claiming first class citizenship in the Republican Super Rangers (big cash lobbyists for the Religious Right) I managed to procure a pass.

Once inside, I decided to keep the impersonation on the down low. No sense riling up the festivities with any talk of Jesus or Tom Delay. Wait to spring it on them at the last minute after they give it up.

It was time to extricate myself from the proceedings and not speak a word of this to anyone. Who expected the ghost of Calvin Coolidge to beat in the heart of horny?

“I’m from Maxim,” I told the marketing spokesman for Epic Adult World, a chunky mustached fellow named Scott, who perked up when he thought his musings on the fastest growing industry in the United States, which, by the way, earns billions of dollars a year with 98.9% American sweat and tears, would appear in the nation’s hottest magazine. “We toil for the most domestically solvent industry in this country,” Scott beamed. “There’s no outsourcing in porn.”

He was a proud American, and it was hard to lie to him, or at least perpetuate the second lie, the one about me representing Maxim, an odd choice, especially since my letter-bomb mishap of 2002 has made it nearly impossible for me to sell them anything. So I went back to the first lie.

“You’re from a Christian Organization?” Scott laughed, and then promptly called over a spokesman for E & A Video Magazine, who reminded me that in the last decade alone the number of adult production companies, actors, agencies, and distributors has quadrupled. This includes the obligatory influx of enthusiastic money minds like accountants and investors. “In 1990, for instance, porn companies and studios in California’s San Fernando Valley (known among the insiders as Porn Valley, USA) has gone from dozens to hundreds,” the grayish pipe smoking friendly explained. “You’re talking about entire towns being kept in the black by the production and sale of video sex acts.”

Knowing I was opposed to their line of work seemed to delight these guys. It was as if I tapped into why so many young men claim to be Bible Thumpers. Free access to porn, I surmised, an enviable coup for any growing American deviant to say the least.

I was about to sermonize on eternal damnation when a young gentleman representing Eighty-East Entertainment, a major online shipping porn service from right here in Wyckoff, NJ provided me hardcore (pun intended) profit numbers set in graph form. The image was staggering. Since 1998, there appeared not one ripple in the graph line. It rode unimpeded up and to the right, the kind of gaudy illustration of profit margins that would keep Donald Trump hard for weeks.

Staring at the graph I was reminded of an old Chrysler axiom coined by Lee Iacocca before he had his third nervous breakdown and rammed a steam ship with his yacht while screaming incoherently about Karl Marx: Money Talks/God Walks.

That’s when my buddies over at Genesis magazine, (a periodical I freelanced for when they actually had articles) started parading over porn stars for a chat. Scantly clad women from bright-eyed mid-twenties to hard-bitten thirties; enhanced, slender, bold as sailors, and richer than Jay-Lo. Nearly every one of the half dozen I spoke with either own production companies, modeling agencies, marketing firms or act as spokespersons and CEOs for full-scale pay web sites, which actually make money – not like some financial sinkhole like Amazon. These women with interesting stage monikers like Tera Patrick, Taylor Wane, Olivia O’Lovely, among others have homes on both coasts, high-rise offices and actually own their likenesses, something I’m sure Britney Spears or Jessica Simpson don’t.

Oh, and by the way, they’re all Christians. So I didn’t have the heart to tell them I was an imposter and I couldn’t give half a fart what they did for cash, as long as it was fairly legal and didn’t involve me having to sell shoes.

It was time to extricate myself from the proceedings and not speak a word of this to anyone. Who expected the ghost of Calvin Coolidge to beat in the heart of horny?

“Once you do a film, there’s no going back,” remarked Patrick, a tall brunette with the kind of eyes that tell tales. She is reportedly one of the biggies, second only to the legendary Jenna Jameson in transcending the T & A crowd. She makes a handful of videos a year, or at least enough to stockpile a backlog to vend well into her early retirement.

She’s not yet 30.

I’m 42 and impersonating a Christian activist at a NYC porn expo for a thousand word column.

We had a laugh about that and I went home, cranked this out, and went about checking out the two hundred penis enhancement ads in my e-mail box.

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GOP Gridlock

Aquarian Weekly 5/18/05 REALITY CHECK

GOP GRIDLOCK – PART II Social Security, Conservative Judges, Putin, Iran, North Korea & Political Suicide

Vladimir PutinMy conversation with Republican insider Georgetown from the last week of April continues.

jc: Let’s just say for the sake of argument you guys can get some semblance of this Social Security reform onto the floor. What are the chances that a compromise can be met?

Georgetown: Before mid-term elections? None. Like I said, there are too many jobs on the line here. This is the issue, political survival, and unless it is handled correctly it could swing the power, or at least senate power back to the democrats. I think it more than a worthy cause, maybe the most worthy cause, but it’s political suicide within 19 months of an election. Democratic opponents in certain districts have already started pouncing. There’s tension building and some of these congressmen and senators are not going to the mat for this, not if their job is on the line, and it is.

jc: In a nutshell, it’s either the battle for judges or Social Security reform.

GT: Yes. If the battle is waged and stymied on one front, it could halt the momentum of the other. The ideological war is currently, and I think dangerously, winning out over the fiscal one, and that is where the main rift between conservatives, fiscal conservatives I’m talking about now, not the bible thumpers, and more moderate republicans lies. The true business hawks have lain low since the election, but they are barking now. We want the judges, sure. We need to fight back on those key social issues, but I believe if there is a knock-down drag-out it should be over Social Security and not gay marriage and abortion or other ancillary moral issues. It defeats the purpose of a congress to be too far-reaching, especially in this divisive a political climate.

jc: I think Social Security reform is inevitable. It might not be the convoluted Bush plan, but it is inevitable. The moral issues come and go and come again. So, I ask you, what survives this administration?

GT: Sadly not the reform.

jc: You think it’s dead.

GT: As a doornail.

jc: Let’s get to this government’s credibility on issuing threats to other nations, Iran, North Korea, whatever, based on intelligence evidence compiled by the CIA and selling the inherent dangers to its people based on the track record leading up to the war in Iraq. Why doesn’t anyone see this as a problem?

“You are supposed to make the Democrats look like stallers and backbiters, not make the party in charge look like power mongers.”

GT: I’ll tell you why, because we’re on the righteous course now. This is not a defense plan; this is a restructure policy internationally. We have put the onus on nations to cut the shit, not keep us out of it. This is a change from the Iraq theories of threats by a nation with WMD after being attacked on our own soil. Iraq was sold on security and then freedom. We’re on the freedom track now. Ridding the world of tyrants. Tyrants usually insolate themselves with huge weapons pile-ups. This is now a no-no in the defacto war on terror. I think it a clever tact.

jc: Change the argument to fit the issue.

GT: Right on.

jc: But I don’t think you grasp my point. We are now making allegations against Korea and Iran that are eerily similar to those leveled against Hussein. Now, in the case of Hussein they turned out cooked, but these are dead serious. But with the first having been the big thing on the back of nothing…

GT: It compromises our position internationally? No it doesn’t. We’ve already stated in several places on a myriad of occasions that this is a global war on terror. It is on going. It evolves, and it evolves on our dime and our time. We just move on over to the next bad guy when we see fit. This is the whole thing. It has to move, like a shark. It’s shark foreign tactics. Hit and run, pick the target and stay on it. The best part about this is one of these rogue nations are going to get to the bottom of the Osama bin Laden MIA shit. You just know someone from Iran is going to execute this idiot, so they can claim great friend of the United States and then point the finger if we try and keep them from building a massive war machine. I’m telling you, that’s coming.

jc: What do you make of Vladimir Putin? Is it the same old crap, or is this guy a maverick? And what’s Bush’s fascination with him? If there actually is one. And what’s with this proposed meeting in Russia?

GT: Putin is an imperialist. He will fight for his slice of the Middle East pie. He’s already started. This bullshit with Ariel Sharon, wherein he’s whipping up plans for peace and restructuring settlements in Israel is laughable. He couldn’t give two shits about Israel. It’s a grandstand to get involved in what he sees as a serious doctrine to change the political landscape there. Listen, I’ve always said that you can tell how your foreign policy is going when everyone tries to rip it off for their own gain. Putin is the proof that Bush’s plan, however ass-backwards and inept it can look sometimes, is sound.

jc: But doesn’t Putin have a right to be involved? Even though I share much of your cynicism about his sincerity. I mean, this is happening in his backyard.

GT: Sure, he can do anything he wants. Doesn’t mean it’s not a transparent power grab. I think our president might say as much when he goes to Russia.

jc: And this accomplishes the “Let me play chess with the Arabs, find your own war zone to gut” doctrine?

GT: Funny. Take it on the road.

jc: One last thing about the world stage. Do you think the Brit election will mean a hill of beans to the final three years of this administration or the final months of this congress?

GT: Nope. Small potatoes.

jc: Big ally.

GT: It’s a bit noisy for me.

jc: How many judges do you get through?

GT: One. I think one. Maybe two. A big maybe. It’s a fair fight. No one with a background in these things is complaining. But someone with a conservative record is getting through. Count on it.

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GOP Gridlock

Aquarian Weekly 5/11/05 REALITY CHECK

GOP GRIDLOCK – PART I Conservative Insider Unloads On Republican Congress

Ying & YangI have known Georgetown for about 15 years now, more or less. He has provided my readers an interesting and oft times hilarious insight to all things Republican, while maintaining his anonymity. It is this anonymity that has allowed him the fresh honesty for and against many policies of his party and this government without reprisal, and whether I agreed with his assessments or argued them our deal has stayed the same: He gives me the inside scoop and his ornery take on it and I print it in this space. Little edits. No pussyfooting. But during these 15 years, he has rarely, if ever, displayed as vehement an opposition to his party’s direction and procedure as he did late last month during our most recent conversation.

As usual, the following is a two-part excerpt of almost an hour of his rants, instigated by your truly to some degree, but it is mostly a candid and strikingly frank assortment of criticisms leveled at the most dominant GOP federal government this republic has ever seen.

jc: The accepted theory on George W. Bush’s first term was that he was far more fiscally and socially conservative than his father, who I know you and many conservatives had problems with, taxes, the Gulf War, etc. Now that evaluation has to come into question. This government has its hand in everything from social issues, private affairs of citizens, restructured environmental issues, Medicare pork, and has managed the most spend thrift budget ever. And this president, who has yet to veto a single bill, has rejected none of these subjects.

Georgetown: I’ll tell you this, there is a serious and growing rift in the party between social conservatives, mostly lobbied by the religious right, and fiscal conservatives, many of which began as hawks during the ramp up to the war, but who now believe it to be a money pit, and one that we will not be able to recover from for at least a decade and has been a detriment to more pressing domestic policies. Period. This is no longer a maybe or if, it is a real and present danger to our control of this congress, and one, in my estimation, that will break the back of the president’s push of Social Security or tax reform. This war is doing to Bush what Viet Nam did to Lyndon Johnson’s ability to govern the country at large. It is badly run and terribly administrated, and if there is isn’t a mass exodus of Republicans in the house and senate by late summer on most of the White House’s agenda, it will be news. These people have to save their asses.

jc: So there’s a battle for the heart and mind of the Republican Party, which ostensibly makes up the United States government right now.

GT: Take the Tom Delay thing for example. There are many Republicans who want this guy hung out to dry. This is bullshit. He has given the Democrats an easy target when we’ve got judges to be nominated, bills on the docket, and this John Bolton thing, which is the lynchpin for the Bush foreign policy in the Middle East. We’re going to shake-up the world politic, right? Let me ask you, do you think Bush likes bringing in the Saudis and having them read all over the Washington Post that his proposed ambassador to the UN is being depicted by fellow Republicans as Attila The Hun? Have you ever seen anything so bush league? It’s dime store politics, and it makes you wonder who the hell is in charge.

jc: But how does Delay’s problems factor into that?

“You are supposed to make the Democrats look like stallers and backbiters, not make the party in charge look like power mongers.”

GT: This is the same shit we pulled on Clinton. By the time the Lewinsky thing became public, his ability to govern was nil. He was shot. This killed the Democrats in the mid-term elections and made him one of the earliest lame duck second termers ever. Delay is the face of this government right now. Who the hell wants that? I’ll tell you who, George Bush. His “loyalty” crap is crippling the government and landing the party in a corner. That bullshit with him walking off the helicopter with Delay last week was political suicide. I watched that and thought, “Jesus, we’ve forgotten how we got here.” It sure as hell wasn’t on the back of punks like Tom Delay or Bolton for that matter, who is a self-serving bureaucrat, who is so far up Dick Chaney’s ass its scary. You think Dick Chaney cares who runs this government over the next two decades? He’ll be lucky to live past Christmas.

jc: Where’s Karl Rove in all of this?

GT: Not happy, I’ll tell you that much. But Rove is a campaign wiz. He concocted the God vote thing. They needed him to rattle the social cages to bring out the anti-gay, anti-secular, anti anti-war vote. He did his job. You want him to tell Bush to sell these fanatics down the river when he’s beginning a second term? Why? To save the party? He works for George W. Bush. His man has won all the elections he’s going to win. It’s over. It’s our problem now.

jc: But you do support Social Security reform, right? So that means private accounts, and doesn’t private accounts amount to political suicide?

GT: You pick your battles in this town. I applaud the president for his courage to at least broach the subject, but he has to consider that other people need to win elections beside him. He’s done. He will try and hammer away at things for another 16 months and then he will attend a few dinners, make a round trip of the globe, and shuffle off into the sunset. But then what does he do, hand this party over to social liberals like Giuliani and McCain?

jc: So how much does Delay and Bolton and Social Security effect the judiciary nominations?

GT: Killing them. Fucking killing them. And now they want to press the issue of filibuster reform. Holding up judge nominations is as American as apple pie. You always think you’re going to be in control forever, but it’s a pipe dream. There will come a day when the Republicans will need to filibuster again, and then what? Here’s the problem with restructuring congressional power, your force that to be the issue and take the onus away from the nominations, which is wrong. You are supposed to make the Democrats look like stallers and backbiters, not make the party in charge look like power mongers.

jc: Then Delay attacks the courts with the Catholic League over the Schiavo case and it looks like you’re trying to stack the deck.

GT: Exactly. Now you’re playing real life politics.

NEXT WEEK – PART II

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We Want John Bolton

Aquarian Weekly 5/4/05 REALITY CHECK

WE WANT BOLTONAmerica The Ugly Has Spoken

John BoltonNot even the most optimistic Democrat on Capitol Hill thinks the rabidly vilified John Bolton won’t be the next U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. They fully comprehend, as well as the realists among them that he represents the will of the people. This past November we rubber stamped the mean, war crazy jingoists, and damn it, if we don’t deserve our pit bull to crack a few heads around the United Nations then what was the point of voting George W. Bush back into office in the first place? It sure wasn’t his stellar economic record or a stirring command of the English language.

We have political capitol here. Didn’t the memo go out? Wasn’t there a general e-mail head’s up received on this? We voted. Bush won. He won on a record of boorish and aggressively dangerous behavior, combative and unyielding to anything resembling sober reason. This is obviously the agenda. He is also God’s choice. What is the argument? Let’s get on with it already.

Look, no one around here gives half a shit about the latest and greatest independent intelligence report that proves for the hundredth time that this government went mad over flimsy evidence to wage a money pit war on Iraq. Fuck that noise. We needed to crush the Evil Doers, or at least the Evil Doers that peeved off the president’s daddy, and, as a result, we’re more than willing to bankroll the rebuilding of it for the next two decades no matter what. So save all your bleeding heart analysis for the French hippie freaks. We want Bolton.

We want the “quintessential kiss-up, kick-down sort of guy”. He represents the American spirit; uncompromising, self-aggrandizing, quick to judgment, and conveniently patriotic. His ambitions are our ambitions. Three million more of us put any doubts of this to rest on Election Day, and a couple of thousand more Ohio residents made it law. If Captain Shoo-In wants John Bolton, an oft-quoted anti-UN big mouth to kick the ass all over the world stage than so be it. You think those kids who come back in boxes every day from the Middle East or the family members they leave behind care who we piss off after two years of bloodshed?

Grow up.

There’s a new sheriff in town, and he has the badge to prove it. The proverbial cards are on the table. John Bolton is aces up and the pot goes to Washington DC.

This is the New World now. We don’t fiddle around with diplomacy. We have The Dick Chaney School of Batten Down The Hatches & Hang On To The Women & Children, Here Comes The U. S. of A. international view for ya. It’s the 9/11 blank check theory of foreign policy, and its here to stay, so deal with it. Maybe the rest of the planet should have gotten on board when we were scrambling around like lunatics looking for scapegoats. Then there would be no need for outcry and long Congressional hearings that frivolously spend our tax money on done deals.

Yeah, I know, Bolton screams and yells at secretaries and doesn’t particularly care about playing nice with other government agencies and he may or may not have treated Colin Powell like his bitch. It’s a small price to pay to jam a first class jerk off into the malaise of the United Nations. Give it a little spit shine and weaken its resolve to keep us from gutting the world to protect our interests. We’ve been cow towing to these fossils for far too long. We’re the muscle and the money of that operation, so instead of sitting around making pretty, its time to stop all the silly role playing and finally show the rest of this poor, docile planet who’s boss.

The administration and its mouthpieces like to call this appointment and its fallout Reform. We are reforming the United Nations. It is a way of reminding everyone that its main headquarters resides on our soil, a few blocks from where the towers went down and all this craziness ensued. Reforming means no more begging to enact our will on things. No more meetings. No more dancing for our supper. We are reforming the UN from ostensibly being an objective international forum to our blind handmaidens. It’s our address that bares the checks sent all over the place to combat famine and pestilence and it is our army that ousts beret-wearing religious war mongers, so we’re going to make some changes around here.

You know, Reform.

The mask is off. We no longer appear to peddle global compassion, while doing whatever the hell we want. Now we come hard, without the song and story. No more fancy pants chats or teary-eyed speeches from phonies like Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton. We have the Texas Oil Man in charge; the Shit-Kicker King. He is our hero. He is the savior of the Western World. The British know it; now so will everyone else slow on the take, like the Democrats, who still think they have a say in this.

Those woefully uniformed who are left out there will now finally know what kind of bulldozer is coming to rearrange the furniture, get acquainted with the Bull/China Shop policies we got going here. No one will dare feign surprise about what kind of mayhem follows. There’s a new sheriff in town, and he has the badge to prove it. The proverbial cards are on the table. John Bolton is aces up and the pot goes to Washington DC.

Cue the madman with the axe, taking chunks from the bathroom door.

“Heeeeeere’s Johnny.”

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Lay Off The Catholics

Aquarian Weekly 4/20/05 REALITY CHECK

LAY OFF THE CATHOLICS

Pope John Paul IIMy favorite thing about this 24-hour harangue of televised and radio-addled news commentary and coverage is the hyping and lauding over an event until the marrow is sucked dry and then we’re left with the inevitable backlash. We’re experiencing this now with the passing of Pope John Paul II. I’m pretty sure the funeral is finally over. I could be wrong. It might still be going. Like Reagan’s interminable send off these things seem to take on a life of their own like David Blaine living in a box for weeks.

But assuming they finally buried the Pope, after weeks and reams of praise and plaudits and tributes, we get the “The Pope Was A Misogynist!” “The Pope Turned A Blind Eye to Aids In Africa!” “The Catholic Church Is Atavistic Voodoo!” The Catholic Hierarchy Excuses And Harbors Known Pedophiles!” All predictable, and, I might add, asinine. Not nearly as asinine as claiming the Pope or Ronald Reagan’s lunatic arms race or kids holding hands in a quilt or some such bullshit ended communism in eastern Europe.

All together now…

COMMUNISM IMPLODED BECAUSE THERE IS NO MONEY IN IT.

I have written that in this space more times than the “F” word, and man, that ain’t a little.

You see what people don’t get is that religion, specifically organized religion, and in the case of the Vatican, a major league powerful, billion-dollar world altering religion has to have strict – balls to the wall – dogma to exist. Some of it acts as a sound guideline. Some of it stinks with antiquity. Some of it is wacky. Some of it borders on sacred. The Catholics are silly with this stuff. Believe me, I was one. But it is not for us to deride. It is their deal, and the Pope, although this one was quite the traveler and commentator on world events and as progressive as Popes go, was the infallible mouthpiece for the church’s dogma.

I dug this Pope, for the most part. His written apology stuck in Jerusalem’s Western Wall for eons of anti-Semitic actions, murders, and other mayhem at the hands of the Roman Catholic charges is one of the most humbly sympathetic and mind-altering gestures performed by any human in the 20th century. And when he was shot by that crazy Turk, and then healed up and came back and hugged him. That was downright Jesus stuff. Not the Jesus Christ Jesus, but you know, the Jewish ascetic from Nazareth. Forget it.

Anyway, as far as Popes go, this one was brilliant, charismatic, and widely influential. But he’s the friggin’ Pope. The Catholic Church is NEVER going to allow women priests or advocate birth control or lean a little on the abortion issue, or sell their own priesthood – the backbone of the religion – down the river for a few deviant scum. It’s like the mafia or the NYPD. They take care of their own.

You don’t like it, don’t join, or get out! Suck it up! It’s a religion.

I don’t like to see a cardinal who shielded known pedophiles preside over a tribute mass for the Pope anymore than I like to see a murderer like Ted Kennedy as an acting senator or ex-cons like Ollie North hosting debate shows on cable. But, hey, it’s their gig. I wash my hands of it, and whatever they want to do is fine with me.

This tidbit of angst came up last year when I got a ton of mail telling me I was being flippant about this gay Episcopal bishop issue. Remember that craziness? So I repeat: you want to be gay, use condoms, be a woman with equal rights to perform ceremonies, or get a pound of flesh for people diddling your kids, then go somewhere else. You’re not Catholic then. Find a new thing. People do it all the time. There are tons of faiths out there, and mostly, they’re pretty much the same crap.

This is not like politics where you can have a pro-choice Republican or a pro-war Democrat. It’s not likely they’ll be invited to the monthly weenie roast, but why not? It’s fun, keeps the democracy thing on its toes. But this just in: Catholicism is a theocracy.

When I read or hear these outcries against certain religious tenets I cannot help but consider the source for the 9/11 disaster. It was the failure of this country’s leaders to see the lunacy of fundamentalism, in this case Islamic. This is not unlike the voting public failing to see that their president is a religious fanatic – if he really believes this nonsense, of which I’m not totally convinced. But let’s just say George W. Bush really believes Jesus Christ told him that God wants us to free Iraq. I’m pretty sure he’s said this in major magazines, but maybe I was drunk. What now, tootie?

You see, we are so anesthetized to the rhythmic din of faith as mania we hardly notice when people leaping around in burkas in the middle of nowhere leads to crashing planes into our buildings. But it’s real. And that’s when things must be debated or, in some sober cases, bombed into oblivion. With the Catholics, it’s basically; they don’t go in for the gay/condom/woman deacon thing. And, really, who believes young boys claiming they’ve been violated?

I blame the Pope for none of it, especially John Paul II. He was The Man. Jeez, he had the two names that reek of Christianity – St. John, the guy responsible for all those signs at football games, and St. Paul, the guy responsible, let’s face it, for the football games. The Pope represented the dogma to the end. He did his job, for which you cannot make the same assessment on about two-thirds of this abysmal government of ours.

You don’t like it, don’t join, or get out! Suck it up! It’s a religion. How would Major League Baseball like it if the commissioner one day decided that everyone should use tennis rackets and head directly to third base upon hitting safely? Or how do think the NRA would react if the new director made some kind of statement to the effect of “Guns are bad” on national television tomorrow? Hey, how about if the immigration department just let thousands of illegal aliens march over the border daily and the federal government granted them driver’s licenses? Yeah, how’d you…

Oh, right.

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Parker Posey Stole My Car

 

Aquarian Weekly 4/13/05
REALITY CHECK

PARKER POSEY STOLE MY CAR
The Hazards of This Gig Come Home To Roost

Parker PoseyMost times I do not take this column seriously. Some of you have noticed. Others get angry and call me names in print, which I relish. The best and the brightest get hammered in print. Ask Tom Delay. He was vilified in this space two weeks ago. I sent the damn thing to his office. No response. When I followed up they said something about spending all their time keeping him out of prison. I understood implicitly. “We spend half our time getting into things and the other half getting out,” I said. It was loaded wisdom. They agreed and excused themselves, and I told them to add the joke where it fits.

Anyway, we have fun here. I like it. They pay me. Then other times it becomes serious, personal. Like last month when an Arab doctor’s lawyer contacts my Webmaster threatening lawsuits if some madness written about him wasn’t removed from the Sound-Off page of my web site. Sure, like I had any idea what was going on there, the usual stuff: overt racism, violent overtones, sex bating, and general stupidity. We had to take the whole thing down. I’d like to publicly thank Chief Wonka for jumping into action to save the day.

Needless to say, I am sick of being sued or defending the first amendment in court. I just want to write, cash the check and go home to my wife and cats. Is that too much to ask?

Take, for instance, last Thursday, when I was doing research for a piece I’d been commissioned to write for New Jersey Monthly on independent film-making. I’m lazy, so I usually begin by picking the brains of acquaintances in whatever business I’m covering. Sometimes you get great stuff, inside info, because you don’t have to pry with friends. Other times you get taken advantage of, hoodwinked, sandbagged. This was one of those times.

So, the thing is, I missed my deadline for this paper last week because of the mishaps that resulted from this “assignment”. It wasn’t even a column that was late to press. I was submitting the poorly edited rants you people send in the guise of “reader mail”. But I could not get it in on time because my car was stolen on Second Avenue. Stolen by an actress. You may have heard of her, Parker Posey.

She’s been in some things. She was in House of Yes and she had a part in You’ve Got Mail and the lead in a few others. She’s in that Christopher Guest troop that does all those great satires on acting and folk music and dog shows. Anyway, she’s an acquaintance; some with lesser credentials might call a friend. But she is my enemy now. And if she doesn’t do jail time for this there will be trouble. I have friends in higher places than Hollywood. The hammer will have to come down.

Posey is loaded. Come on. How much do you think she’s worth? Got to be a couple of million, minimum. Why would she need to pinch my Toyota RAV 4?

At first, as in most cases with me, I figured the whole ordeal an oversight. She said she couldn’t find a cab. This is not news. People often say these things in Manhattan. They say them all the time. But then your car doesn’t usually disappear. I write “usually” because in the 1980s’ your car disappeared quite a bit. I lost two of them to chop shops and one rental to the brownies. But this is the new era in NYC. Lock down. The car, by all measures of logic should have been there.

Now, my wife claims I told Posey to “have it back by two”, as in two in the am, which is nonsense, because at this juncture for me to make it past eleven is pushing it these days. I wake up in cold sweats at 6:30 every morning, so burning late nights is out of the question.

Not to mention, Posey is loaded. Come on. How much do you think she’s worth? Got to be a couple of million, minimum. Why would she need to pinch my Toyota RAV 4? I could tell she admired it. Although she had no problem spitting her sunflower seeds all over the floor and barking to me, “Why don’t you have this car cleaned, Campion?” It was a fair question, but hardly worth using in court as an admission of guilt. “I like black mini-SUV’s” she noted later. I remember that. Once again, initially, I thought it the kind of things friends say. Idle compliment. Meanwhile, it turns out, she’d been eyeing the thing for years.

“Parker Posey?” the cop told me later that night. “She’s a huge car jacker.”

“What is this, some kind of Winona Ryder thing?” I asked him.

“Worse,” he laughed. “She won’t break down and weep and beg for mercy. She once whipped the keys of a bailiff’s Ford Explorer off the chest of a judge in Dade County, Florida.

“Isn’t that where they busted The Lizard King for flashing his pecker on stage?”

“Please, one loon at a time,” he chuckled. “At least there wasn’t a kid in there.”

I knew better than to report this. Insurance fraud pays heavy penalties in this state. It was a difficult claim. Actress asked to borrow my car, and the next thing I know I’m checking into the Park Central at quarter to three in the morning with my wife standing on the lobby sofa demanding to see a vegan chef.

Good thing for the venerable crooner from Brooklyn, Buzz. He saved my ass. Hired a car service, from which I phoned the editor of this periodical and got the letters in eventually. Sorry, Terry. Couldn’t be helped. I believe the excuse I used was mayhem. Now you know.

Finally, I received my car late Sunday. It was missing about 240 miles. The interior smelled of stale beer and the faint embers of soot. There was a note on the dashboard written in red lipstick. CLEAN THIS FUCKING CAR. I swear on the living soul of our holy mother of god, this is not over.

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The Government & Terry Shiavo

Aquarian Weekly 3/30/05 REALITY CHECK

DECONTRUCTING THE CONSTITUTIONHow The God Fascists Are Trampling On Your Inalienable Rights

Tom DelayThe powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people. – Amendment X United States Constitution

“I was in the house when the house burned down.” – Warren Zevon

This government’s deconstruction of the Bill of Rights and Constitution since 9/11/01 has been outright oppressive and downright criminal. It has managed to make a complete mockery of Amendment IV and Amendment I, and now the 109th Congress has seen fit to ignore Amendment X in a grandstanding political maneuver so patently absurd it bares serious scrutiny by the members of this republic.

The Terri Schiavo case is the very reason I repeatedly tell friends and colleagues to read their constitution. Read it every day. Download it off the Internet, take it out of the library, buy a hand pocket version of it, and get to know it well. It is all that stands between you and government tyranny or the wonton desires of fanatics. And this, my friends and colleagues, is the age of King George and the God Fascists. The Enlightenment is in a shambles. Superstition and false morals have invaded the system like parasitic vermin. Get it in writing, team up the lawyers, and be willing to fight dirty.

This is no time for outrage or long-winded speeches. This is a time for reflection and reaction both personal and public. It is time we put our houses in order, ready our muskets and wait for the hordes to come charging over the mountain, because they have long begun their ascent, and it does not look to be abated by law or reason.

Know this: Elections and sedition are for sheep. Wolves earn freedom. It’s time for a serious uprising.

The blind audacity of the federal government to halt its tasks for the will of the people and suspend the law of the land while the president of the United States rushes in at the eleventh hour to sign law based on an individual case of state rights is martial law. Period. The irony is that this is a Republican run federal government, which claims in its stringent platform to defend state rights and reduce the powers of the federal government.

Whle you chew on that one let me take a moment to point out that I do not agree with the actions of the subject’s husband. He doesn’t want to divorce this poor woman, so he demands she starve to death? This is a murder of convenience. This is not a mercy killing. If someone is unable to function and has a living will that stipulates they want to pull the plug, so be it. This is not one of those cases. Also, I would like to make clear I do not agree with the woman’s parents either. By law, and this is why I am so adamant that the denial of basic civil rights to gay marriage is so egregiously unconstitutional, a spouse has full and complete rights. This is not negotiable, nor should it be.

The Terri Schiavo case is the very reason I repeatedly tell friends and colleagues to read their constitution. Read it every day. It is all that stands between you and government tyranny or the wonton desires of fanatics.

But make no mistake; this is a clear case for the state’s court system. This is why we have it. Checks and balances. Simple civics. Look it up. The federal government has three basic functions, uphold the constitution, protect the borders and deliver the mail. One out of three is not good enough.

The funny thing is the federal government’s failure to protect the borders on 9/11 has caused it to usurp power and enact crazed laws all over the joint, from the vague terminology of the Patriot Act to the loosely translated use of the military. These leans on civil liberties are not ideological – conservative nor liberal, they are unconstitutional. They are above the law. Just like congress sticking its nose in Major League Baseball over drug abuse when dozens of businesses in this country piss all over the environment, create new and improved toxins for us to inhale and ingest, openly steal money from stockholders and farm out manufactured labor to Dickensian work camps all over the Third World. How about the FCC imposing $500,000 fines for ambiguous indecency standards while huge foreign conglomerates own 70% of the airwaves and the White House infiltrates news programming with fully-produced propaganda schlock?

Am I the only one who is incensed at these sanctimonious cretins pointing fingers and riling up the locals on certain issues, while blatantly ignoring others? Am I the only sap who gets miffed when shitheels like Tom Delay run roughshod over the ethics of his office while working diligently to block an investigation, and then has the unmitigated gall to stand before the American people and talk about morals as if he invented them?

I’m also not amused at this nonsense about the sanctity of life. Oh, boy, these phonies can’t wait to wave that tattered flag at you. Then you realize that 40 million Americans are currently denied health care and their government has done nothing to even investigate it. They did manage to pass a Medicare bill last year that handed the pharmaceutical companies a blank check, but that was when morals took a back seat to Calvin Coolidge’s axiom that “the business of America is business”.

All this noise about Terri Schiavo is just that, noise. It has no legal merit, and morally it is thorny and sad. I detest the details as much as the next guy, but she should not be a political football for the federal government. This incessant meddling and horseplay with its power and reach has gone above and beyond for too many consecutive months to let it stand much longer. And although I am all for the federal government intervening when an entire race of people are denied civil rights, it is not for the government to intercede on the behalf of one person who does not effect the general populace.

Finally, if I may be so bold, it needs to be mentioned that Shiavo is in this condition because she was a world-class bulimic, resulting in heart failure and irreversible brain damage. She destroyed herself by her own free will, kind of like an alcoholic or a junky. And I ask you, how much of a furor would the Moral God Police be whipping up if this were a hobo junky from Harlem?

I wager none.

Now, let’s all hop off the high horse and get back to screwing up Social Security reform and spending our money like drunken sailors.

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Condoleezza Rice Spins

Aquarian Weekly 3/23/05 REALITY CHECK

CONDEE SPINS ETERNAL

Secretary of ShiteI feel for Condoleezza Rice. I really do. I like her. I think she is by far the smartest and most sincere of the wild and wooly Bush Cabal. And as allegedly misguided as she was along with everyone else at the helm before 9/11, I believe she was just another sad symptom of the illusion this country’s government had lived under since the end of the Cold War.

But it pains me to see her eat shit the way she has time and again in front of the American press, the international press and a host of world leaders. Colin Powell, the former Secretary of State, could no longer eat the shit. This is why he is gone. But Rice auditioned well for the job during the 9/11 hearings when she went toe-to-toe with Democratic senators on “what the big boys knew and when they knew it”, prancing deftly around facts and timelines that showcased her considerable mettle and loyalty to the cause by gobbling massive quantities of excrement and emerging as a martyr for the good and true.

Don’t get me wrong; Secretary of State is a pretty good reason to eat shit. Hillary Clinton feasted on the stuff just to be first lady. Most people do it to keep a mid-level gig in some faceless corporation. Secretary of State is a few heartbeats from the presidency and comes with a cachet rarely, if ever bestowed upon intellects. Former recent secretaries like Henry Kissinger (Nixon’s savage bombing of Cambodia), Cyrus Vance (Carter’s disastrously planned rescue attempt of the Iran hostages) and George Shultz (Reagan’s Iran/Contra fiasco) gorged on the dung. Piles of it. And not one of them is getting into to heaven for it.

But I was not particularly fond of any of these gentlemen, and I never got the willies as I do now watching sweet Condoleezza parade these spin doctored fabrications around the globe like a jabbering marionette. It is sad and disturbing and I can no longer abide it quietly.

To wit:

On the leading candidate for Iraqi Prime Minister, Ibrahim Jafari, a “former” terrorist (former terrorist like being kinda pregnant or sorta dead) and well-known American foreign policy dissenter (a nice way of saying “hates us”) Rice has been laughably extolling his virtues to defend the purported democratic process. Last week Rice stated that Jafari “will be a fighter in the war on terrorism”, which is completely antithetical to the profile the CIA is willing to cop to and just plain silly talk.

The fact is a toad like Jafari and the predominant Shiite presence in the Iraqi democratic process creates another sort of anti-American political conundrum for the current administration. This is why falling back on the “fighting for the freedom of Iraqis” fable following the flop of the “US threat and WMD” song and story leads to wider problems. Not the least of which is Iran, considered among many US officials for close to a decade as the “real enemy”, now developing a nuclear bomb with no counterbalance from a weakened Iraq.

Oh what a tangled web we weave…

Concerning the uprising against Syrian troops stationed in Lebanon, a fishy stage show reminiscent of CIA-instigated protests in Central America for three decades and a cheap political attempt by the Bush administration to label a “victory for freedom”, and the subsequent mass retort provoked by the terrorist all-stars known as Hezbollah, Rice is coy. At once she manages to denounce Hezbollah as a “rogue terrorist outfit threatening to the United States” while responding to its legitimate political power recognized by the UN as a shoulder-shrugging downside of the democratic process. Rice knows well the powder keg that is Lebanon, and to spin a freedom march from the obvious seeds of another likely bloody civil war is so patently ridiculous not even this loose canon president is dumb enough to sell it.

Rice’s dance of the absurd is in lock step with the fantasy this administration has concocted since its many-layered theory of war two years ago in Iraq.

Truth is Lebanon has been, and always will be a breeding ground for anti-Israeli fervor. Syria’s military presence, while abhorrent to the new and improved Middle East freedom chatter of this government, is a necessary evil for the security of Israel and American concerns there. Despite Syria’s disdain for Israel, ironically, after years of horror in Beirut, the Syrians brought order and managed to expunge the IDF, leading to immense popularity and more than a little anti-American sentiment. But there was also a sense of lockdown, sovereignty, and protection. Left to its own devices, the Lebanese could prove more troublesome to US efforts in the Palestinian/Israeli conflict than most know, except Condoleezza Rice. She knows.

Rice’s recent appearance on “Meet The Press” had her chewing on chunks of crap when faced with the administration’s proposed appointment of a lunatic like John Bolton to ambassador of the United Nations. “He has a wealth of experience in UN affairs”, Rice told Tim Russert, which is tantamount to saying Michael Jackson is familiar with children. Bolton, known inside the Beltway as Bush’s Pit Bull, has publicly mocked the UN, calling it, among other undiplomatic descriptions, “obsolete”. Yet Bush, after grandstanding international unity all over Europe last month to help pay for the Iraq money pit, is sending this maniac into the cauldron of a corrupt and bitch-slapped conglomerate reeling with a lethal dose of figureheaditis. Rice, for her part, is rubber-stamping Bolton as “a very important part of my team.”

Anyone who listens to Bolton for 30 seconds knows he is an ass. He is the worst kind of myopic bully, the type of ideologically rabid monster this space warned against should Bush continue to run amok around this planet. If he is unleashed on the international scene he will no doubt be an embarrassment to an already yawping farce, and it is disconcerting to me that a brilliant and normally even-handed Condoleezza Rice has to vouch for it.

…when first we practice to deceive.

Rice’s dance of the absurd is in lock step with the fantasy this administration has concocted since its many-layered theory of war two years ago in Iraq. This maze of circular logic unleashed on the American public is so convoluted in patriotic pap by now it defies definition. Alas, Condee rides the dragon, and I feel for her.

In the spirit of this thorny trap, Rice has taken to calling the current opium-rich, unprecedented production of drugs in Afghanistan (described haughtily as a victory in freedom during the presidential campaign) as “a narcotics problem”. Yes, and Anne Boleyn had a headache. She also dubs Korea a “willing negotiator” sounding more and more everyday like Chamberlain handing Hitler Eastern Europe on a platter.

I have found it in my heart to forgive Rice for trying to tame this monstrosity, the way I gave Powell the benefit of several doubts before he went off the rails at the UN with tall-tales that embroiled this country in a bankrupt police action under questionable pretenses. My leash, irresistibly short for the authors of this mess, is longer for bureaucrats of the system, but for sweet Condoleezza and the looking glass on Pennsylvania Avenue, the slack is tightening.

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