Covering The Cali Recall Pt. 1

Aquarian Weekly 9/10/03 REALITY CHECK

GEORGETOWN IN CALI

The meter is running up quite a tab in Iraq, and to think we can’t get anyone to help us pay for it. Half the states in the union are broke, fuel prices are bloating unmercifully, North Korea has turned into a 21st century nuclear madhouse, and it looks like it’s almost inevitable now that J-Lo and Affleck are going to perpetuate their banal genes into the species. As for Georgetown, this column’s most requested, and recently, pitifully absent contributor; he’s in California covering what by all accounts should be only the second successful voter-instigated revulsion of a governor in the 127-year fun-loving history of this republic.

This two-part conversation took place over the phone late on 9/3, 34 days before the California Recall, as the anonymous Republican insider dutifully manned his post at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in downtown Los Angeles. His pricey room service order not withstanding, the bankrolling of “the trip” was very much a GOP mission. His mood, although conciliatory at first, had begun to foul when we began the following dialogue:

jc: What the fuck are doing in California? You hate California.

“Nearly a third of the current California voter base is on the verge of anarchy. But who can blame them?”

Georgetown: Christ, I’m working for the party. This is where the action is for the next month. You do know they pelted Schwarzenegger with eggs at a rally last night in Long Beach.

jc: So I’ll take your presence there as proof the national wing of the party is now entrenched in California, despite rumors out of the White House that a changeover might actually harm the numbers for Bush in 2004?

GT: Don’t listen to that bullshit. There are very good sources that project an inevitable up-swing in the economy here that will reflect in the national numbers by Christmas, and that cannot happen with a Democrat in the governor’s chair.

jc: So you guys are playing this like the stock market. Less politically, I mean.

GT: As always, on the state level, politics is economically driven. We knew once the Recall started to become a reality that it was a fair in to open ideological debates. This state is so bad off right now it could severely cripple the national economy. Blurring the lines politically was the only choice.

jc: You are aware that almost a third of the states in this republic are going belly up. They’ve proposed significant tax hikes in Alabama for the first time ever. Nightline had a militia group from Tuscaloosa on last night threatening to burn down the capitol building this weekend.

GT: Yes, I heard Jesus Christ has been called in as a Socialist icon for the horsewhipping.

jc: Anyone with half a brain has come to the sobering understanding that the Pentagon is currently running domestic policy.

GT: Pretty good comeback for a flaccid concept a mere 16 months ago.

jc: Back to Schwarzenegger. Listen, I’m all for anyone running for anything anytime, and if he doesn’t want to be exposed by a debate, it’s his right. I actually like Arny. But is this ass wipe going to say anything concrete beyond repeating “California is the golden state” with forcibly veiled references to The Terminator every five minutes?

GT: I think Schwarzenegger has been very clear that he is merely a figurehead for an economic strategy conglomerate to audit and strip down the current criminal activity running unchecked through this atrociously run state government. Anything beyond that is gravy as for this campaign. People teetering on leads with an exclusive celebrity monopoly on the local and national media do not waste time debating pollution, medicinal marijuana and illegal aliens with dime-store plebeians.

jc: So the party’s stance is that Schwarzenegger is nothing more than a fancy car being driven by far more qualified passengers.

GT: Schwarzenegger is the hood ornament.

jc: You know there is still a chance this Recall might not happen. The LA Times released a poll last Friday (8/29) that the number for ousting Davis is now at 50%, down from 58% in mid-August.

GT: When I came out here early last week, the party’s goal was to rally the conservatives around Schwarzenegger. By as late as two weeks ago, that was still a problem. Then I get out here and their telling me the Davis comeback is starting to become a concern. Now my feeling, and it’s in the minority right now, is that Davis cannot come back from this because the people who refute booting him won’t make it to the polls.

jc: You only expect a significant turn-out for voters supporting the Recall?

GT: What the fucking LA Times poll does not factor is our extensive research that most Californians opposed to the Recall will choose to abstain from the process as protest to their original votes being appropriated by what they feel is an unfair coup. Their opposition is merely vocal, not political. They will bow out from a process they feel was initially pointless. They’ve already voted, and now they have to vote again? This is the reasoning here among an alarming number of Recall detractors.

jc: That’s insane.

GT: Welcome to California. When was the last time you were out here? When we spoke in San Francisco in ’99? Nearly a third of the current California voter base is on the verge of anarchy. But who can blame them? I’m only here as part of a political strategist conference. People who pose a threat to a Republican victory are my only concern. If they affect Schwarzenegger’s electability, I pay attention. Otherwise, I can’t be bothered. The way I see it, possible anarchy only helps us.

jc: Have you met with Schwarzenegger?

GT: Only in a group, last week. He’s a bright man, with a good heart, and it’s a fucking shame the press out here has seen fit to take his two-week campaign to paint him as a womanizing, pothead, son of a Nazi.

jc: That’s nothing. All of us on the east coast were convinced Gray Davis was feeding live infants to Incubus in his basement.

GT: I heard that.

jc: Before we move on to national affairs, how do you see this playing out?

GT: Davis is finished. The media is lost on this. Our only hurtle is Cruz Bustamante, who is alienating the voter base I just mentioned. Here is a guy who is at once trying to hoist the “don’t recall” flag up the pole, while aggressively running a campaign for governor. It’s the most blatant two-faced hypocrisy known to the political system, and this from a man who is the fucking lieutenant governor under the man who is weeks from being exiled. The only way we don’t take this deal is because it takes place in California. And anyone who claims they know what these people might do are either drugged up or plain stupid.

jc: Didn’t you just predict…

GT: Fuck you.

Next subject. NEXT WEEK PART II – Iraq, North Korea, Democratic Presidential Candidates, Hillary Clinton, Britney kisses Madonna & more.

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Gay Bishops & Other Modern Illusions

Aquarian Weekly 8/13/03 REALITY CHECK

GAY BISHOPS & OTHER MODERN ILLUSIONS

A gay Episcopal Bishop.

What’s next? A Jewish Pope? A black Grand Poobah of the KKK? How about Larry Flynt heading up the National Organization of Women or Rush Limbaugh gaining a chair in the ACLU? Maybe I’d like to be a Wiccan priest? That would be a good one.

It’s freeform dogma.

Get on board.

That’s the rub of the Bible. It’s not the US Constitution. It doesn’t have amendments. Moses has been gone a good long time, and the last guy to question its veracity in the realm of human spirituality was hung up on a crossbeam. And that was two thousand long years ago.

I love humans. I am proud to be one. We set up these insane rules around metaphysical concepts like God and attach tangible regulations surrounding culture and clothes and sexuality and food and all sorts of ridiculous things to it, then we like to excuse these rules willy nilly to allow us to still participate in the metaphysical concepts based on new sets of intangible rules and laws.

I don’t care if Reverend Gene Robinson of the New Hampshire Episcopalians is a homosexual. But that doesn’t matter here. Others who have commented on this hot-button topic do. And that doesn’t matter either. What matters is Episcopalian law. Like other monotheistic institutions that utilize the Holy Bible as a guideline, it deems homosexuality a sin banned by God in the language of Moses in Leviticus circa 1445 bce.

Episcopalians, as all Christians, use the Letters of St. Paul to both the Corinthians and the Romans as a guideline of metaphysical law to damn homosexuality.

Some may agree or disagree with any part of these documents, but you cannot deny their language or intent. And you certainly cannot expect to ignore them while heading up a religion that calls these things immutable laws of the universe.

How can Mr. Robinson claim dominion over the other laws within his institution now that he has sidestepped one? What, some interpretations of Biblical law are debatable, but others are not?

It’s like Thou Shall Not Kill.

There’s no comma after this.

It’s not Thou Shall Not Kill, unless Congress declares war or unless you’re hungry or pissed or happen to not like the culture of the indigenous inhabitants of a continent you feel destined to rule.

What a bunch of fucking phonies we are.

This is why I have no use for institutions based on stringently nonsensical regulations, but some people do, and if they do, they should stick to these laws and boundaries or get the hell out.

It’s like these supposed vegetarians who eat fish or these Catholics who want to get divorced and still get married in the church, or people of the Jewish or Islamic faith mixing their precious cultures or people making fifty-buck bets and calling that gambling.

I’m reminded of that guy who recently claimed contentious objector status after joining the army. What did he think the army was, summer camp with tanks?

If you choose to head up some religious institution that uses the Bible as the immutable Word of God, then you cannot also be gay.

Has anyone read the Bible lately?

I mean really read it. Study its intentions and messages and metaphors? Because I have, several times during the research for my last book; and I’m here to report that if people actually read the damn thing, they would not be too quick to start restructuring it to meet their generation’s needs or evolved point of view.

That’s the rub of the Bible. It’s not the US Constitution. It doesn’t have amendments. Moses has been gone a good long time, and the last guy to question its veracity in the realm of human spirituality was hung up on a crossbeam. And that was two thousand long years ago.

And if you are one of those who think the Bible the absolute direction of the cosmos and the central theme of an omnipotent creator of the universe, and consider its verse the conscience of your judger and redeemer, its time to come to grips with its serious nature. Serious, unwavering balls-to-the-wall nature.

I think if people actually read the Bible, there could be trouble. But people don’t read. They watch television and snowboard and make money and try and get laid. And when it comes time to do whatever they feel like doing or hating or co-opting, they interpret things like the Bible in their own interesting way.

People like to take their righteousness in doses, or like some wise person said: Anything in moderation cannot hurt you.

Here’s where I quote a great man of fiduciary wisdom for our age, James V. Campion, my pop, who, when addressing the sticky subject of income tax says; “People must have it taken out little by little in each paycheck throughout the year, because if people actually knew what percentage they paid in annual income tax, they’d be jumping out of windows.”

Listen, I have no problem with anyone doing whatever they want. I love it. But for the religious set, isn’t there a set of rigorous rules, however insane, that must be abided to be part of the clan, much less lead it?

If not, all Wiccan incantations can now be ordered through me here at The Desk.

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Gray Davis & California Recall

Aquarian Weekly 8/6/03 REALITY CHECK

CALIFORNIA SCHEMIN’

The wife and I plan on moving out to northern California when I’m closer to a natural demise; let that read, if I survive this daily boogie with death I’ve fashioned into a career. But if or when we get out there, we do not plan to vote. Voting does not count in California. It’s what the insiders like to call a “do-over” state. And soon, if a Recall on its Democratic governor, the wildly abhorred, Gray Davis goes through without a hitch, there may be little reason to vote on a local basis anywhere on this continent.

Right now California is broke. Its $38 billion gap between revenues and expenses has crippled the state’s economy to an all-time low, a slow deflation that many economists believe started in 1978 with the infamous Proposition 13 that put a hard cap on the government’s taxing power. The rub is this nifty initiative did not stop subsequent civic officials, including the doomed Davis, to spend freely on schools, prisons and other expensive projects.

People hear Recall and think something is wrong with Gray Davis’ fuel system, like he’s some kind of faulty vehicle sent back to the plant for exploding on national television test runs.

California has become a metaphor for the credit madness that currently engulfs this nation; it has stretched itself far beyond its means. It is also a glaring example of schizophrenic politics; a paradoxical helter skelter of citizen rule that wants everything without paying for it. Less government with more perks. Bold government programs with healthy tax cuts. Few state regulations with a needy increase in bureaucracy.

Thus, California is a deadbeat debt fiend with a tattered figurehead about to be shown the door.

People hear Recall and think something is wrong with Gray Davis’ fuel system, like he’s some kind of faulty vehicle sent back to the plant for exploding on national television test runs. True, the man is a condescending twit who used a $70 million smear campaign to retain power, and a frighteningly easy scapegoat, but hardly the sole proprietor of the disaster he now sits upon.

But Californians are historically fickle with politics. In a bizarre 17-year period from 1967 to 1983, the state posted a gubernatorial experiment in polar opposites the likes of which have been rarely seen in the history of this republic. Ronald Reagan, a reborn icon of hard-core conservatism smoothly gave way to the socialist hippy dreamscape that was Jerry Brown, a collective Freudian episode worthy of a straightjacket. So the Davis Recall, although a clear manifestation of bad legislation and identity crisis, is hardly unexpected in the Golden State.

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Nearly a century ago the concept of Recall was the reactionary brainchild of California governor, Hiram Johnson, a Teddy Roosevelt reformer nut who used the burgeoning “progressive movement” to weed out the manipulation of special interest concerns. Under the guise of preventing private conglomerates like banks or railroads from sending puppeteer candidates to log jam mandates, Johnson’s edict meant to use the power of populist democracy to right election wrongs.

But the language in Johnson’s law is vague. Grounds for Recall could range from questionable hairdos to odd eating habits, a dangerous legal landscape for the directionally challenged Californian.

Currently 18 states have some law allowing Recall, New Jersey is one, but only six have specific grounds, with two of those states -Minnesota and Georgia -allowing a judicial review of those grounds. California, the broke schizo state, is not one of those.

But enacting an actual Recall on a governor is rare. North Dakota is the only state on record to have successfully booted its leader from office. In 1921, Non-Partisan Party member, Lynn Frazier, a well-known socialist with little ideas about handling farm budgets, was also sent packing under the cloud of being a fiscal boob.

The current California petition in question, now boasting well over 1.5 million signatures (easily eclipsing the approximately 900,000 needed), has delegated a Recall of Davis for 10/7. But many state Democrats have been waging a predictable, if not futile battle on its authenticity, mainly because Republican congressman, Darrell Issa has used roughly $1.7 million to bankroll the petition efforts.

The California Left has argued that Issa’s strong connection to pro-life filibusters has procured funds to oust an elected official because of social, not economic woes. But although Davis is a staunchly pro-choice advocate, the argument holds little water. Issa, who has shockingly thrown his hat in the ring for governorship, is a wealthy Californian entrepreneur known for using such pocket-change to fuel grass-roots movement on ego alone. And, as stated above, distinctions between social or economic reasons for canning a governor is laughable in the face of such an ambiguous law.

Needless to point out, the whole Recall thing, although gangbusters in the wild, wild west, could set dangerous inroads nationwide, opening a fun-filled can of worms that would define any election as merely temporary, even within the boundaries of a term; hence, a “do over”.

These kind of vacillating principles do not necessarily raise my personal ire, except to provide more evidence that most of us don’t know what the hell we want from our appointed officials beyond blaming them for a falling sky.

And damn it, if that isn’t democracy in motion.

The wife and I like democracy. So, hopefully by the time our little caravan shuffles off to Big Sur to sit on a cliff and contemplate saner human aspirations, what is left of California’s political scene will include a mass council of weekly votes based on the performance and likeability of state officials. I hear the elderly love to hit the polls, if for nothing else but the laughs.

The wife and I like to laugh.

 

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Kobe Bryant is Not Going to Jail

Aquarian Weekly 7/30/03 REALITY CHECK

TWO-DIMENSIONAL KOBE

Kobe BryantKobe Bryant is not going to jail.

Innocent or guilty, matters not. The rich and famous don’t go to jail. Let that read the rich and famous who are worth a great deal of scratch to the not-so famous rich and their public concerns. Kobe Bryant falls into that category big time, thus he is not going to jail.

The merely rich, but not famous, who lord over doomed corporate malfeasance like Enron go to jail. Some of the rich and famous go to jail for short periods of time like Robert Downey Jr. and Mike Tyson, but that is usually when there isn’t too much more money that can be made to warrant keeping them free. Politicians don’t go to jail either. And even if they happen to stumble in there by mistake, they go to a country club with bars on the windows.

Then there is O.J. Simpson.

No use getting angry with Bryant over this. He is a two-dimensional test tube human. He does not deal with life as we do. He is a walking billboard, a public relations machine. He plays basketball and sells fast food and sneakers. He wears expensive suits and hangs with big celebrities. Everything that exists around Bryant is barely real, like a parallel universe, only with more fun.

Evidence of Bryant’s inability to understand our reality versus his own became apparent when he was first accused of raping a woman weeks ago. That is when he laughed at the ridiculous nature of doing such a thing. Not him. He was adamant about that. The whole thing didn’t compute for him.

Everything that exists around Bryant is barely real, like a parallel universe, only with more fun.

Then emerged the famous three letters that once had a president going from vehement denials to mia culpas in a Washington minute; DNA. With DNA involved, Bryant went from guffawing at the Espy Awards in an Italian suit to a conciliatory press conference in a Gap sweater and loafers in 24 hours. This kind of backtrack would give most humans whiplash. But not the two-dimensional test tube types. They’re pliable.

Alas, physical evidence is tough on the rich and famous, but it doesn’t mean jail.

However, it is always nice hearing the two-dimensional test tube person offering pangs of love in public displays of humility. This is their substitute for excusing all possibility of higher crimes by referring to reality fuck-ups as “mistakes”. This is what these people do. They talk about mistakes as if victims of circumstance, that by merely existing outside their two-dimensional pods they are vulnerable.

Take Michael Jackson for example. His is the mother of all two-dimensional test tube lives. Kobe Bryant has only been two-dimensional since the age of 18. Jackson has been at it since 7. He is so far gone on the parallel universe that a mountain of physical evidence and heinous crimes, financial misappropriations or irrational maneuvers with infants could not get him near a jail cell. We don’t even see Michael as human anymore.

But back to Bryant.

It’s important to point out that there is a good chance that the man, while guilty of the two-dimensional test tube “mistake”, is innocent of a crime. Impressionable youth around two-dimensional test tube lives can be heady. Things happen. Things us reality people wouldn’t understand. Mistakes.

But all that is window dressing, because Kobe Bryant is not going to jail. High-priced lawyers, media smear campaigns, well-orchestrated news events and quiet pay-offs, but jail?

That’s three-dimensional thinking.

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George Bush War Lies

Aquarian Weekly 7/23/03 REALITY CHECK

A SOBER VIEW FROM THE TRENCHES

The President of the United States lied to the American people about the extent of an enemy threat to our borders to perpetuate a war. And so now George W. Bush joins every other man who has held his office while faced with the same stretch of history. Look it up. I only have so much space.

And that last line is specially packaged for those of you who think that a thousand words on a jabbering cunt like Ann Coulter was not enough. Some of you assume I had to fill forty pages with a lecture on American history to educate the masses on the crimes of McCarthyism.

Fuck off.

Put down the video game and turn off the porn for five minutes and read a goddamn book.

It is a moral imperative. Fish swim. Trees grow. Governments lie before, during, and most definitely after war.

Let’s face it; you need history lessons from me like you need MTV babysitting your kids.

Of course the White House and the CIA, and whatever else culling a paycheck from your taxes to keep this government running lied to you about the war. That is what they do. That is what they have always done. And not just this government, but governments across the globe for eons.

You don’t like it, chief? Ready your muskets.

But I would give that some serious thought. I too believed in anarchy once, but that was before I enjoyed the trappings of running water, utilities, traffic lights and civil servants to summon when the crazed neighbor starts shooting off his baby canon over the lake at midnight.

But I digress.

Sure the government lied, the media lied, I lied. This is what happens during war, Churchill and all that “first casualty” stuff. It is a moral imperative. Fish swim. Trees grow. Governments lie before, during, and most definitely after war.

Where the fuck have you been?

Are we only dealing with dumbstruck hippies, Madison Avenue shrills and Bible waving freakazoids now? Is that all that is left us?

Those of us in the trenches see things far more clearly. We examine Paul Simon’s writings “on the subway walls”, and you can damn well be sure we keep our ears peeled for the sounds of silence. And those sounds could not give a fairy fart whether George Walker Bush tells Congress he invented Scrabble or composed the Star Spangled Banner. Down here in the mud, you learn to forgive mouthpieces for the flawed machine. It’s a tough ride, like that yawping loon straddling the A-Bomb at the end of that Kubric film.

You think this president could ever tell you anything binding about uranium in Africa? This is a man who’s own campaign czars tried to keep out of foreign policy debates like it was political cyanide for sixteen months of stumping.

In the face of that, I think the man’s done a pretty good job on the foreign stage. He was only in office for nine months when New York City burned. What did he know? He must have gotten bad intelligence for that one too.

Sure, the world thinks us half-mad, arrogant warmongers, but that was long before Captain Shoe-In got the key to the missile silos.

Iraq was Daddy’s fault. Everyone knew that. The other George Bush has to take the hit for irking those maniacs, with an assist from the Sleeping Clinton Brigade, who thought it wise to pussyfoot with homicidal goons for eight years.

The festering boil of the Arabian Sea had to go. Period. Who cares why anymore?

What those of us in manning the front lines do care about is this horrific budget deficit, escalated now to an historic level of $450 billion and rising 50% higher than estimated last Christmas, and the piss-poor abortion of an economy that the current administration has stood watch over for nearly three years now.

There is something for your outrage. Why don’t you crank up some of the righteous indignation over that nugget?

Lying about war? That’s a given.

Weapons of mass destruction? Maybe. Maybe not.

That’s a debate for those who believe continued negotiating with murderous thugs and suicidal fanatics makes sense. The trench dwellers don’t. And neither do the sounds.

There are clear reasons why Saddam Hussein was in uniform for every picture and video you saw of him. He was a soldier, a fighting man, and he wanted to fight. Our president wears a suit. He can’t get dirty with that kind of nonsense. He’s the CEO of America Enterprises, and right now its going belly up.

The executive branch of the current system we employ here in America has to answer for two things eventually; domestic policy and the strength of the economy. This is not always fair, but it is fact. Look that up too, junior. And what is left of ours will likely decide his reelection, and seal his legacy.

Right now it is in the shit can and my pal Georgetown tells me many steadfast conservative Republicans in Congress think the Bush people have gone around the bend in spending, and no one inside the Beltway has the slightest idea what kind of financial strain rebuilding Iraq and funding Tom Ridge’s folly will do to cripple the nation in the next twelve months.

And these are key months for a first term president planning on keeping the gig.

But the rat pack the Democrats are lining up for slaughter right now couldn’t best Hermann Goering in a race for dogcatcher. And that is not particularly good for the national debate or a balanced election, no matter what side of the infernal fence you reside.

But make no mistake, riling up the troops for battle with anything from questionable innuendo to bold faced lies is a president’s duty.

This is not news.

As usual, it is nothing more than a minor distraction from real problems.

Sounds of Silence, indeed.

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Ann Coulter: Champion of the Dumb

Aquarian Weekly 7/2/03 REALITY CHECK

ALL HAIL ANN COULTER – CHAMPION OF THE DUMB

For those who merely get their junk food media jones from Reality TV or Eminem or video game violence, you are missing one of the great purveyors of grandiose stupidity on the market today; Ann Coulter. Noted author, and celebrated carnival barker; Coulter is the living embodiment of modern pop culture genius, well-dressed freak show merchants masquerading their commentary with bombastic rhetoric, mixed daringly with a waft of jingoistic perfume.

I worship her beatific vision.

Coulter’s efforts are noble and sound. She knows well the avenue of history has long been open for armchair revisionists to sidle up to the microphone and trump hyperbolic issues and hot-button names in an ostentatious peddling of merchandise. Having pitched a book for the past few months, I bow to her prescient supremacy.

Mostly, Coulter is a wonderful siren for our greatest attributes, the inability to understand rudimentary ideas beyond our own prejudiced hallucinations. No other social or political essayist possesses more of a keen eye for P.T. Barnum’s vast audience of ravenous lap dogs in the American heart.

Coulter is a wonderful siren for our greatest attributes, the inability to understand rudimentary ideas beyond our own prejudiced hallucinations. No other social or political essayist possesses more of a keen eye for P.T. Barnum’s vast audience of ravenous lap dogs in the American heart.

This is a sorely needed talent in today’s politically correct world of pusillanimous frauds. She is a maverick among sheep, but Coulter is often vilified for this, while she should be lauded as a hero for our most precious national resource: The Dumb.

In the grand tradition of Jerry Springer, Colonel Tom Parker and Joseph Goebbels, Coulter is merrily plugging her new cantankerous volume entitled, “Treason: Liberal Treachery From the Cold War To The War On Terrorism” with the subtlety of a sledgehammer. And from recent quotes, the book appears to brilliantly reveal how Americans understand history and its effects on today’s social fabric.

For instance, last night on MSNBC, Coulter wildly defended Senator Joseph McCarthy as “a misunderstood American hero whose sacrifices preserved America’s sovereignty for thirty-plus years.”

This is the very same McCarthy whose incredible ride to infamy included an historic monopoly of world-class fear mongering this democracy has ever had the displeasure to endure.

Understand Coulter’s genius here. Aside from Hitler or Manson or Nixon or Liberace, the very name McCarthy, attached as it is to a period of madness called McCarthyism, is notable for its enviable shock quotient. A monument to hate bating and paranoia run amok, McCarthy’s legacy is nothing if not noteworthy. He was a tremendous brute of his times, clinically insane and furiously malevolent, a true celebrity monster. But apparently in Coulter’s luminous tome we relearn that McCarthy’s savagely clumsy attack on basic democratic liberties was “bravery” and that “The myth of ‘McCarthyism’ is the greatest Orwellian fraud of our times.”

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On the heels of Hillary Clinton’s fantastically successful, “Living History” – an embarrassingly potent political manifesto wrapped neatly in a package of scrumptiously infantile musings – Coulter’s grandstanding is sublime, painfully striking, and a clear roadmap to 21st century thought. Clinton’s book aimed to put distance between her and her ass of a husband. Coulter’s work puts a loving stamp on what her president’s dissenters have dubbed “fear-mongering” in the guise of patriotism. But Clinton is a politician, and nothing politicians have written has really meant anything binding since “Mein Kampf”.

Coulter is different. She is a pro, in every brutal sense of the word. Coulter writes: “Liberals are fanatical liars, then as now. Everything you think you know about McCarthy is a hegemonic lie.”

This is excellent hyperbole, with just the right amount of stern recognition, but having not read the entire thing, I can only assume she gets to the bottom of these lies about McCarthy; lies which are a matter of overly analyzed public record for half a century. But the book, or the childish assumption that only Liberals held, or hold, McCarthy contemptible, is not the issue here. It is the use of McCarthy as a notorious figure, and an effigy of politics gone frightfully awry, as a weapon against Coulter’s enemy, The Left.

Trashing The Left, like Senator Rodham’s subtle forms of trashing The Right in her book tour, allow both to employ an important ingredient to mass appeal, consistency. No one wants their Bruce Springsteens jamming funk or Bill Bennetts strung out on cheap wine and loading up on seven-figure Vegas bets.

Some may find championing terrible goons as political martyrs for the benefit of ideology wrong.

Hardly.

Getting massive digs in on the enemy, while refiguring the legacy of a national embarrassment for personal profit has merit. This is what many books have done for decades, rediscovering the Kennedy assassination or the Vietnam War or the Nixon Tapes. It’s good press, even in the face of complete and utter contempt for common sense and truth.

Another fine example from Coulter: “McCarthy was not tilting at windmills. Soviet spies in the government were not a figment of right-wing imaginations. He was tilting at an authentic Communist conspiracy that had been laughed off by the Democratic Party.”

Beautiful craziness.

Did the overall manic dismantling of McCarthy’s crusade have a tinge of backlash fanaticism? Of course. Were there Communists in the government? Sure. In the pall of a Cold War, was it a threat to national security? Correct. Was this why McCarthy was finally harangued by his contemporaries or forever noted as a criminally insane lunatic? No. It was McCarthy’s methods of sidestepping laws, using media outcry and troubled times to promote a sick obsession to shamelessly self-promote his career.

Even Coulter sheepishly admits to McCarthy’s famous lie about a list of 57 names in the US government with Communist ties. But you won’t find that as a headline on the day I write this. You see, in a way, what Coulter is doing is a metaphor for McCarthy’s greatest legacy: Say something completely shocking and outlandish, and make someone deny or address it.

Artistic grace.

And finally the second most successful slant on truth used by Coulter here is her assessment that the Democratic Party was more or less run by a radical anti-American Communist regime since McCarthy’s public demise. This scoffs in the face of horrific mistakes made by Democratic administrations, not the least of which would be the Korean and Viet Nam Wars, instigated, by the way, by Democratic presidents, or the Bay of Pigs disaster, or blah, blah blah.

Coulter is silly, surely, but I, for one, salute her moxy, her guts, her complete disregard for clear thought and simple research to bolster her debate. She is a hero to our trade, and a great patriot, pointing us to the core of our being; not letting facts get in the way of making a buck.

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“Road Map To Peace” Vilified

Aquarian Weekly 6/25/03REALITY CHECK

FINAL ANSWERS FROM THE “ROADMAP TO PEACE”

Man is a Religious Animal. He is the only Religious Animal. He is the only animal that has the True Religion–several of them. He has made a graveyard of the globe in trying his honest best to smooth his brother’s path to happiness and heaven. – Mark Twain

I have been on the road for more or less this entire spring promoting and discussing my new book, “Trailing Jesus”, and because several people are terrified about speaking too deeply on the subject, and because the fanatical culture goons have escalated their daily mutilations in Israel, my publicists have decided it would be a good idea to get me on the radio and in the newspapers and in the bookstores talking about Strife in the Middle East.

Sure, why not? Campion was nuts enough to visit a war zone to chase ghosts while holed up in the desert frantically taking notes on the back of Palestinian propaganda sheets and cocktail napkins from the King David Hotel; why don’t we crank up his acid tongue and have him chime in on the matter?

That’s entertainment.

People – not ideologies or governments or religions – people, who just want to send their kids off to school without gas masks or their husbands off to the office without a flap jacket or head down to the local grocery for dinner without the very real possibility that they will die, simply want to live. Not for God or country, just live for what is: a possibly vibrant and relatively safe life with friends, family and loved ones.

Yes, this is why some weeks back a blathering simpleton from CNN radio had me follow up his ten-minute monologue on the merits of another peace process, neatly entitled “A Roadmap to Peace” or some such insipid nonsense, with a dose of the old Reality Check.

That’s when I whipped out my Twain Quotables and dove in for some fine wisecracking country wisdom. Because if there is one thing Mrs. Clemens’ baby boy knew something about, it was the madness of the human psyche and its most lethal crutch, religious fanaticism; religious fanaticism with a smattering of world-weary providence.

You want to hear the palpable results of unloading a taste of Twain on an unwitting talk show host: Welcome to the silence of the stunned.

“But Mr. Campion, there is more hope now than ever before,” the poor bastard stammered after the engineer repeatedly screamed at him to say anything to fill the dead air.

“Hope is a concept for the grotesquely rich Hollywood types and dumb struck southern senators who have the luxury of getting their morning paper without losing limbs,” I said.

More silence.

“But would you have us stand by and watch these people kill each other?”

“I didn’t realize I was speaking to an us.”

“Would you have the world sit idly by and watch the parade of death and destruction?”

“In a perfect world perhaps the forty-seventh peace process will stick when motivated by the same tired rhetoric and photo ops, but in the one we’re forced to work in, it isn’t really making the grade, is it?”

“But…”

Blah. Blah. Blah.

I will now write down for posterity what I told that lovable CNN rogue two weeks ago, and every kind and hearty soul who meandered out to hear me speak on matters of metaphysical mayhem and applesauce for the past weeks, and that is whatever politics and debate and carefully worded rhetoric has come down the pike in new and improved packaging, the fact still remains, peace in the region is futile.

UNLESS.

Unless those involved are willing to let go of their eons of religious and cultural madness about whatever God promised to what sibling of Abraham and what is the birthright of generations of dead soldiers for Allah and Yahweh.

And we all know this is not going to happen.

See? Futile.

Peace processes in the desert are as perfunctory as mirages for those not used to the heat descending from the vast unwavering landscape before them. People not used to being inside of a desert, or who have not lived with the kind of lunacy that passes for righteousness in Israel right now, cannot begin to pontificate on peace or political compromises.

This is not, nor has it EVER been about politics. It is not about sovereignty either. If so, matters should have been settled in 1967. What no one wants to admit is that the playing field is fixed for a result of total annihilation or bust. And certainly no one – and I cannot stress this enough – no one that is not part of some freedom-fighting plan on the West Bank or treaty wrangling in the Israeli government cares who is victorious.

That is something I can tell you first hand, something I have broached in this space before. People – not ideologies or governments or religions – people, who just want to send their kids off to school without gas masks or their husbands off to the office without a flap jacket or head down to the local grocery for dinner without the very real possibility that they will die, simply want to live. Not for God or country, just live for what is: a possibly vibrant and relatively safe life with friends, family and loved ones.

I know this because I spoke to these people, Jew, Christian, Arab, Armenian, Buddhist, Hindu, and Atheist. They’re out there. Many are the victims of this circle of savagery that will continue long after those who read this, and the caustic jerk who is writing it, will be dust.

And that is why promoting a book about finding the real Jesus among the reams of drivel written and perpetuated in his name for centuries, and talking about peace processes enacted by countries and armies and politicians is as insane as the person failing again and again with the same action and expecting a different result.

Insanity personified.

There will soon come a time to put down the flags and the religious garb and the Torah and the Qu’ran and begin talking to each other as people, real people, not factions of cultures that were purportedly promised land by pie-in-the-sky concepts dreamed up by patriarchal con artists. Either that, or I hope those left standing after the final carnage will have won something for the correct God.

Until then, enjoy your sideshow to reality.

I abstain.

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Bear Hunt Madness

Aquarian Weekly 6/21/03 REALITY CHECK

BEAR HUNT MADNESS

If you live in my neck of the mountainous woods, or some points beyond, like places in New Jersey where no one reads or down in NYC, where the Village Voice is now being run by despots, you will hear a great deal of nonsense about some letter that was written to PETA (Protection for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) about organizing a vigilante group to shoot bear hunters here in the greater Vernon area.

You will also hear a lot of crazy talk about hooded nefarious types involved with The Desk and other seedy individuals seen leaving Fort Vernon with fatigues and bull horns and detailed maps of black bear hunting routes.

This is wrong.

Killing hunters? The irony is admittedly sweet, but it is still a crime here in New Jersey.

Slander is the better word. And those who wish to attach me to such scurrilous rumor will pay dearly, but not with their life. We here at Fort Vernon preach pacifism and civil disobedience, and even though the odd ass stomping must be administered to the right people, a glorious acceptance of peace and love.

I say let the bear fend for themselves. It’s natural selection. I’m sure there were plenty of Native Americans perfectly happy to hang here without any of the white man’s bullshit. But they are gone now, and so soon will the bear be gone.

I didn’t invent madness. I just comment on it. And now people who contemplate the parameters of my wife’s animal rights zealousness now think it necessary to drape me with all kinds of sick innuendo about feeding puppies to traveling bear to properly arouse their taste for blood and then dangle fresh raccoon meat from car antennas during midnight runs off side roads on Route 23.

As if the odd prank could even begin to organize the bear population to break into kitchens or feed on discarded infants.

I know the images are harsh, but you have no idea what kind of bizarre shit goes on up here late night when the bear comes out. It’s like a concentrated microcosm of SARS or Anthrax scares when nothing really happens but panic.

We don’t have terror alerts in the mountains. We have black bear.

Why do you think Orson Wells picked Jersey for his little radio ruse? It works well on the panicky kind. And we have so many up here it’s hard to fathom.

The good people of Sussex county or PETA have apparently not heard of Manifest Destiny or the United States army or the NJ State Police, and they want to shoot off their mouths and get smarmy about citizens taking up arms and cutting down those involved in some Neanderthal hunting activities up here.

I must rail against such nonsensical talk. Killing hunters? The irony is admittedly sweet, but it is still a crime here in New Jersey. At the very least it coincides with the Ten Commandments, and in my continued study of the Bible and other subversive material, that is where the fun stops.

No, I must not only take my name off such irresponsibly and criminally insane rhetoric, but I must implore my fellow Vernonites to bow to clearer solutions and allow the natural order of things to take hold. That is what we were taught in Civics 101 and Sunday school and at the lap of Grandpa, who told us to “Keep our friends close and our enemies closer” and “Don’t let your right hand know what your left hand is doing” and other bits of wisdom that has outlasted dusty paperweights like the Bible.

But one thing this kind of reverse guerilla media warfare accomplishes is to alert us to this latest ham-handed attempt at silencing strange journalists with methods best left unsaid and unwritten and understood quite differently by people who don’t consider their environment and the dangers it presents.

The truth dies hard up here.

Bear are a much easier target.

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NJ Sports Heaven

Aquarian Weekly 6/4/03 REALITY CHECK

TITLE TOWN USA

For perhaps the first and last time in the history of forever East Rutherford, New Jersey is the center of the professional sports world. At least it is for two of the big four, basketball and hockey. Currently, the New Jersey Nets wait around for the deans of fourth quarter collapse, the San Antonio Spurs to dismiss what is left of the Dallas Mavericks, while the New Jersey Devils supply a healthy dose of their own reality check to the Mighty Ducks from Anaheim.

That’s right, East Rutherford, a factory town in Bergen County of a little over nine thousand residents is now Title Town USA.

If a sports team wins a title in the woods and nobody hears it, did it really win it?

Admittedly East Rutherford is no New York City or even Green Bay or no one will mistake the Nets or the Devils place of residence, the Continental Airlines Arena, as the Great Western Forum, Yankee Stadium or even the hallowed grounds of South Bend. There is no mass transit that connects it to a big town or any cultural distractions that pepper its landscape.

Maybe that’s why despite having the best teams in their respective sports for two years no one in the local media pays much attention nor do fans of other teams care enough to root against them.

In fact, if attendance numbers at the Meadowlands this season were any indication, a good number of Devils and Nets fans don’t really seem to care either.

The Devils, although not as successful as the Eastern Conference Champion Nets a season ago, are now three wins away from their third Stanley Cup championship run in the past decade. And this is after a season of listening to hockey people tell you the Detroit Red Wings were the greatest thing since Murder’s Row.

The Devils scored three goals in a Game One victory last night against a team that managed to give up one lousy goal in a four game white-washing of the conference finals, and on the back page of every New York paper this morning are photos of NY Yankees. The Yankees have over 110 games to go before seeing a first round post-season game.

And as for the Nets, who have won a ridiculous 10 consecutive post-season contests, the team’s attendance for a sport that is arguably the most popular in the land is horribly low. So much so that the only story that persisted throughout the year around here was whether the Nets star point guard, Jason Kidd would bolt for someplace where people could actually see his nightly All-Star performances.

Why, I am suddenly guilty of taking some of the glory away by beleaguering the same tired points about East Rutherford and New Jersey being secondary outposts of tri-state sports enthusiasts.

But really, who cares if East Rutherford isn’t a toddlin’ town or has a neat nickname or some historic figure to represent it? Unless anyone considers the possibility that Jimmy Hoffa’s remains may have been scattered below Giants Stadium, along with a host of other unnamed early 20th century criminals of note. Does that diminish the accomplishment?

If a sports team wins a title in the woods and nobody hears it, did it really win it?

This is a fine Zen riddle, but hardly a truism.

Granted, this has now become a culture where apparently nothing matters unless someone gets a weepy documentary on VH1 to commemorate it.

But that is the talk of the big city egoist. East Rutherford does not boast such an animal. It does not have a grand history or a personality, or certainly any ditties written for it. And for that matter, neither does Jersey.

What East Rutherford does have is the final games of two of this nation’s most covered sports.

And soon after these historic weeks are through those teams and their respective sports will go to Newark and East Rutherford will be left with factories and those nine thousand souls. And the Giants and the Jets.

You know, the New York Giants and the New York Jets.

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Homeland Security Is A Scam

Aquarian Weekly 5/28/03 REALITY CHECK

THE HOMELAND SECURITY SHUFFLE

Tom Ridge is a jabbering ass and a con man, and because his Homeland Security is a government appointed quagmire of bizarre innuendo and wild prognostications, we are stuck with him and his ilk for an Edgar Allen Poe stretch of time: Evermore.

That is because Homeland Security is another government agency created from the ashes of the other government agencies that failed to do what they were paid to do in the first place. And it is yet another in a long line of American institutions born of laziness and gullibility.

It is the second full day of the latest High Security Alert sent down from this miraculously insane money pit headed up by Ridge and his posse. It’s an Orange Alert don’t you know? And what does that mean anyway, High Alert? Orange? Are there instructions that go with this, or are we to assume High Alert and Orange mean something to someone somewhere?

Homeland Security is a sham. It is a cover, a band-aid for a gaping wound, and not just the one in Lower Manhattan where the World Trade Center used to be, but also the bigger ones at the once defunct and now wholly resurrected Pentagon and the vacant hallways of the Central Intelligence Agency.

You know what it really means?

Homeland Security is a sham. It is a cover, a band-aid for a gaping wound, and not just the one in Lower Manhattan where the World Trade Center used to be, but also the bigger ones at the once defunct and now wholly resurrected Pentagon and the vacant hallways of the Central Intelligence Agency. It is the answer to our government’s monumental failure to protect our borders, even after decades of international abuses and ignoring the blatant signs of backlash that were oh so prevalent to those mocked as doomsayers and goof balls only five short years ago.

Homeland Security is also a glaring example of the great American tradition: The Excuse. This Excuse annexes a staggered glut of tax monies to provide jobs for the unemployable sops that crawl around the darker corners of Washington looking for a handout while the police and military lounge around waiting for the Next Big Thing.

Because other than that, what in the good name of the Pet Rock do we need Homeland Security for?

To allow the government, ignoring the dangers of pussy footing with Arab oil mob types for a half century, to save face after the next national disaster? Or does it merely allow politicians to make noise after every terrorist rumor so they can eventually congratulate themselves when nothing happens or throw their collective hands up when the shit goes down and tell everyone they told you so?

This is what these people do. They love to specialize and homogenize problems away, a sort of Mr. Clean for social dilemmas.

You see Homeland Security is not unlike the curious invention of the Hate Crime. I can no longer recall a day when beating someone tied to a fence with tire irons for no social reason was not considered a crime of hate. Yet we had to invent something for the abuses of gays and minorities and women. The real laws governing our protection and justice against murderous thugs were not enough. It needed to be qualified to Hate Crimes.

The specialization of America continues with Homeland Security. The Federal Bureau of Investigation isn’t an expensive enough attempt at securing the homeland. We needed Homeland Security for this.

This is a practice akin to union workers expanding two jobs to four or five. It used to take twenty men to build an American car. It now takes forty, because there is one guy to rivet the lug nuts and another to shine the windows and so on. This translates well to the United States government. And it doesn’t matter who is in charge. There is so much fat and bloated numbers of people doing nothing in this government that it always makes room for more.

And that is the plan. Keep the insiders working on our dollar.

Crank up the alerts and change the colors and pray to whatever god suits you that nothing else happens.

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