Wisconsin Recall Bust

Aquarian Weekly 6/13/12 REALITY CHECK

RECALL BUST Wisconsin Makes Big Bucks Off Political Theater

As far as Machiavellian political maneuvers go, The Wisconsin recall election was a bust. Governor Scott Walker, who had already won an election two years ago, was forced to run again over some bogus Democratic Party/Federal Employee Union petition by barely a quarter of the state. Worse yet, he had to spend time and energy defeating the same guy he roundly beat 17 months prior. As far as a media blitz, though, it was hugely successful. Cable news got two to three weeks of host yammering and a spate of bemused reporters standing in front of statehouses. It certainly beats the hell out of covering the completely meaningless New Jersey Republican primary. But where it really hit a home run was the influx of national attention and state funds that poured into Wisconsin during the thing.

Scott WalkerIt is the first time outside a Green Bay Packers run that the citizens of Wisconsin have appeared this relevant. Wild protests, legal wrangling, heated debates, backdoor deals, inter-party tensions, walkouts, brawls, and the rare recall election option put the Badger/Cheese state in play. Turns out its young governor, a nerdish wonk, the kind of dweeb beaten repeatedly for most of his early life is no evil genius or dark figure. Hardly. He’s white bread, middle-America haircut material, an eat-your-vegetable-and-hold-your-nose austerity chief. Walker is nothing if not a microcosm of what you get from say a Mitt Romney or Quint from “Jaws” — Sorry, folks, this place is insolvent; time to suck it up, so we can get your businesses back on a payin’ basis.

Which brings us to the money.

The Republican Party and its anti-union interests (13 out-of-state billionaires) poured in a surplus of $30 million with nearly four million contributed to pro-union and Democratic Party brokers, about an 8 to 1 split in favor of the governor. The totals ended up around a cool $62 million to basically put on a show for the nation; big time profits that will do more to yank the state from its morass than anything Walker could have accomplished in a decade.

It was a Mr. Magoo deal; dumbass incompetence falling ass-backwards into riches; a state version of Donald Trump complete with the gibberish.

But aside from opening up the cash coffers and exciting political junkies, the Wisconsin Recall came and went with everything remaining in place; people who want to be are convinced this is a TEA Party victory and have claimed it so, and others have called it the bane of modern draconian politics from the Right, as Bill Clinton did in his brilliantly conniving way the other day when he couched all this Republican austerity with the disasters in Greece, France and Spain; where the entitlement swansong has led to double-digit unemployment and teen rioting.

None of this is true, of course.

It was a Mr. Magoo deal; dumbass incompetence falling ass-backwards into riches; a state version of Donald Trump complete with the gibberish.

The Wisconsin Recall had nothing to do with the all-but dead TEA Party or the new Clintonion “vast right wing conspiracy”. It merely made the citizens of the state re-do a vote for the guy they voted for in the first place. Disagreeing with the governance of an official is no reason to rouse up a recall; malfeasance, mental incompetence or blatant disregard for the state constitution, maybe. Otherwise you are assured that a minimum 25 percent of any electorate will be unhappy about the results; in this era, it is well north of 40 percent. It’s a bullshit concept and resulted in nothing more than senseless hoo-ha; the cornerstone of political theater. But it was a cash bonanza, so all is forgiven.

And this goofy notion that this is a referendum on any other state’s unions or what will happen in the presidential election this November is as asinine as the arguments two months ago about gas prices.

Atavistic one-trick ponies like Walter Russell Mead, acting the part of a 1930s union buster, surmises in The American Interest that “Scott Walker attacked the American labor movement where it lives.” Yes, like when Jesse Jackson blathers on about racism in New York City instead of in the South where, if he had any balls, he would set up camp. Let’s see this song and dance in Michigan, jack. How about Ohio? This is where the American Labor movement lives and breathes and wields its bloated power. Hacking off health plans for schoolteachers in a cheese state where manufacturing isn’t even on the map does not a national referendum make.

But Mead’s disjointed partisan claptrap did make one salient point beyond providing an excellent sample of his spectacular naiveté, the Democrats and the Left did pick this fight and it was dumb and it was doomed and by all rights of honest battle, they should pay a price. But they won’t.

Maybe Mead and his ilk never heard that all politics is local. The people of Wisconsin, who haven’t cast a majority vote for a Republican since 1984, will vote once again for a Democrat, and what goes on in the rust-belt from Pennsylvania through Ohio into Michigan will depend on each state’s current standing and the strength of each campaign’s ground-level muscle. They are disparate pieces of a larger pie. Ohio — toss-up — Pennsylvania — Democrat — Michigan — an interesting twist of Romney home state versus the successful bailout of the auto industry; so far it appears to be a serious lean towards the president.

Walker barely campaigned. He smartly stood his ground and allowed the special interests of the national party brokers; the ones who shoehorned Romney past nickel-and-dimers like Santorum and Gingrich, to fill in the cracks with cash and manpower. The unions received a few appearances by MSNBC and Bill Clinton but were widely ignored by the Wall Street president not wanting to queer his anywhere from five to nine point lead in the state. The idea that this will alienate the important and powerful union lobby for the Democrats in the fall is fantasy, just like the Religious Right staying home or (gulp!) voting for Barack Obama because Romney has a lengthy record as a social liberal.

The national lessons of the Wisconsin Recall is recall away if you want to get some attention and money, but don’t expect a different result.

 

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The Art of Politics vs. The Act of Liberty

Aquarian Weekly 5/16/12 REALITY CHECK

WELCOME TO THE FUNHOUSE The Art of Politics vs. The Act of Liberty

Whoopie!

The president of the United States agrees with the Bill of Rights. This is a novel concept, like when a kid begins to understand the alphabet as not merely being the lyrics to a cute song to memorize or a series of strange symbols that form different sounds but pieces of a larger linguistic puzzle. I guess if Barack Obama, a constitutional law professor, has “evolved” into this realm of sound legal reasoning after a half century on this planet, a Harvard education, and three years as leader of the free world, we should shout hosannas to the highest mountain or decry him as a heretic and whatever “war on…” has re-entered the vox populi.

Not here, bub.

Gay MarriageHere we’re not fond of latecomers to the obvious. Detractors, and there are many, to this thinking claim that it is about time a politician in some form of power base utter these sentiments. Sure. Baby steps. First there’s “Will & Grace”, the vice president on Meet The Press, then some non-denial denials, spin doctoring, sample polling, and voila! common sense reasoning of civil rights and the liberties purportedly granted to American citizens by the United States Constitution!

Hoo-Ha!

I feel like cracking a beer and saluting this great nation. Oh, yes, the enlightened have triumphed again over the darkness of ignorance and we’ll forge ahead, as we have done time and again for nearly 240 years of blessed freedom!

Right, and George W. Bush was going to enact an amendment banning same-sex marriage in 2004 if you elected him again. You did. And you know how many times this was mentioned after January of 2005?

Anyone? Bueller?

Zero times. Yes. Not a wit. Not even a ‘looking into it” or “under advisement”. Captain Shoo-In was as successful at that as winning wars and keeping us out of Chinese debt.

This Obama “coming to religion” (pun duly intended) on this issue of same-sex marriage and the law protecting the rights of the citizenry of our humble republic reeks of Woodrow Wilson promising the women’s vote to the suffrage movement during his desperate run for re-election in 1916 and then ignoring it and the suffragettes for three long years before being brow-beaten by congress to ratify the 19th Amendment, allowing, finally, embarrassingly, pathetically, women to vote.

And Wilson is what passed for “progressive” at the turn of the American Century. This is akin to calling Adam Sandler a thespian.

In election years presidents will say all kinds of things for different reasons. Lincoln’s re-election centered on relocating freed blacks to Caribbean colonies in Belize and had his head remained bullet free maybe the Great Emancipator would be now known as The Great Evictor or maybe it was just off-the-cuff campaign-speak. I am sure, in a bizarre confluence of circumstance and social interaction, that the 50 year-old Obama, a man from my generation, a man who had directed the course of his life to the intricacies of constitutional law would suddenly arrive at this conclusion due to the wisdom of his barely teenage daughters and the loving example of their friends’ same-sex parents. But for the sake of intellectual safety, I’m going to lean on the side of dicey.

This is our embarrassment now, my generation and our flip-flop president, all enlightened, like coming to the eventual conclusion that sucking smoke into the lungs would somehow be harmful or feeding piles of processed fast food into our kids wouldn’t make us grotesquely obese.

But we’ve been on this for well over ten years now and admittedly it was hard to imagine any really high-level player in American politics saying such a thing and not being doomed for it. And Obama may still be, but the electoral maps says otherwise, and one wonders if he has the gall to dive into a social battle with what looks to be a lesser but still Republican-controlled congress on a fringe social issue. But one thing is certain, if this is how the president is thinking and he intends to govern this way, if re-elected (again, still both of these are of rather dicey propositions) then it will be in his Supreme Court appointments that may ultimately determine what should have, and technically already is, determined: The denial of basic rights to any citizen is not only un-American (an ideological almost spiritual slice of poppycock), it is patently illegal under our most sacred tenet, the Constitution.

Let’s face it; Obama hedged his bet by immediately pointing out this was a state’s rights issue, which brings us back to wondering what the hell all that constitutional law learnin’ was for?

The yin-yang of all this controversial fallout is that the Republicans, more directly; their candidate for the highest office, Mitt Romney must take the other side, garnering the all-important religious-fanatic/bigot-centric vote. Romney, on record during four different campaigns as being not only for same-sex marriage but vowing to champion it, has gone the Santorum route on this, as he must. This is his only shot in swing states not named Florida. The base will love it, the FOXNEWS geeks and Rush Limbaugh and whatever other Right Wing dog and pony act is out there protecting us from ourselves.

But what of the independent vote? What of the religious liberals, or those who somehow have innocently mistaken tradition for law or morals for liberty, the foxes that were allowed a prime spot in the henhouse during Morning in America when The Gipper unleashed the primordial slime of Ed Meese to run roughshod over pornography and music and drugs and artistic dissonance. It’s too late to expunge these nuts; they are more powerful than six Black Panther parties and five KKK resurgences. These are the carping knuckle-draggers that have interpreted a nation of laws and personal liberty as a pox on Israelite Bible fantasies. They are the ones who mistake the distinction of a homosexual citizen as a convenient substitute for citizen the way their predecessors mistook the distinction of women as an excuse to deny citizen rights or the distinction of African Americans first from human and then citizen. They’re act is as old as the parchment they besmirch.

This is our embarrassment now, my generation and our flip-flop president, all enlightened, like coming to the eventual conclusion that sucking smoke into the lungs would somehow be harmful or feeding piles of processed fast food into our kids wouldn’t make us grotesquely obese.

The whole thing is another sickening reminder of how far we are from thorny concepts like freedom and liberty and all those flag-waving, ribbon-tying shenanigans that have put us on goof-alert for my entire time sucking air on this spinning sphere. We talk a good game but are paralyzed for long stretches when the going gets tough. That fact that the president of the United State uttering the idea of upholding the Bill of Rights for a segment of our fellow taxpayers is news is all you need to know about how utterly ridiculous a declaration of We The People really can be when ignored.

 

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GOP Lockdown 2012

Aquarian Weekly 5/2/12 REALITY CHECK

GOP LOCKDOWN Republican Establishment Begins to Clean House

Reince Priebus is on the wagon. The RNC chairman’s days of drunken violence and crude behavior are behind him. Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and the faux conservative uprising of 2010 has been duly defeated. The TEA Party is a memory and so is all of the ugliness of Paul Ryan and debt ceiling debates. Revolution and upheaval has been replaced with spin-with-the-wind business lingo; the framing of national debate best figured by pinpoint polling results. This is about quiet opposition and bland rhetoric; gone will be the religious pronouncements, social reconstruction or fatalistic demagoguery. Show time, folks, is over. The return of Rockefeller Republicanism is back.

Mitt RomneyMitt Romney’s Machine has crushed the soul of Conservative politics, strategically engineered by Priebus and his party cronies to manipulate the general electorate come fall. It has been a steady slog, interrupted slightly by messy voting and nose-holding support from those who naively misread the 2010 mid-term elections as some kind of binding grass roots anti-government sentiment, the way the Left was sure the 2008 elections put the kibosh on the prior eight years of geo-political, big government overreach.

The Republican Party is not in the business of changing or challenging or creating serious opposition to the status quo. It wants a healthy slice of the status quo and its titular representative, the head of its aims, is Willard Mitt Romney, a 65 year-old moderate ex-governor and mediocre corporate raider with comportment from central casting and an amazing ability to live not only above the fray of most pressing national issues, but outside any true ideology. He is a political automaton created to be the face and breadth of a political party – easily molded and coachable. His debate performances, although mildly uneven and malleable, against fairly ferocious debaters in the primary season was testament to his ability to shift and parry. His post-primary speeches, strikingly general election orientated, rang the bells Republican leaders needed rung; “You don’t like this, neither do I, and I’ll stop it.” No details, no plans, no direction, but up.

Anyone who thinks this horribly weak model is not a good national election candidate is working on a short memory. Bill Clinton comes to mind, a centrist candidate with a fairly moderate gubernatorial record, bobbing and weaving his way through primary gaffs and faulty rhetoric. Of course, Romney is no Clinton in the sense that his charms fall more on the muted side, if there are charms at all, but this is the perfect anecdote if you are going against the Rock Star President, Joe Cool; who is well liked to the tune of over 70 percent, despite nearly the same number believing he and his policies stink to high heaven; an interesting balancing act that only Ronald Regan was able to pull off in 1984.

The Republican establishment might not have enthusiasm, glitter and pizzazz on its side, but it knows that this year that’s bullshit. Glitter and pizzazz straddled the party with Sarah Palin, one of the most damaging characters that hit the national stage in over half a century; a truly vacuous polarizing gasbag, who while exciting the base scared the living shit out of the crucial Independent vote and handed vital states like North Carolina, a Republican stronghold, over to Barack Obama.

This time the polls, although hardly a trustworthy measuring stick in the past two presidential election cycles, have been steady for months. Even with the complete obliteration of the Hispanic vote and a major shift among women voters, the Independent stronghold for Obama in 2008 has continued to wane without halt. Depending on the poll more Right Wing pollsters decide the Independent vote comes in at 45-37 in favor of Romney, but more balanced have it at 47-45, which is spot-on for a fairly non-threatening economic-centric (bland and steady) candidate to keep, if there are no Sarah Palin screw-ups.

Mitt Romney’s Machine has crushed the soul of Conservative politics, strategically engineered by Priebus and his party cronies to manipulate the general electorate come fall.

But social, gender and independent voting blocks aside, this is not technically a national election (ask Al Gore), but a gathering of electoral votes throughout 50 diverse states of varying districts, social constructs and economic realities. Think, for instance of Michigan, a state for which Romney and the Republicans have rightfully determined is a goner, whether its candidate publicly decried its subtenant business existence during the auto bailouts or not. But Pennsylvania, a Democratic bedrock for decades, is in play. The party had figured as far back as January during Priebus’ booze-addled hiatus, that Santorum was going to follow-up his 2006 senate re-election bid trouncing by failing to win his home state, a state he would likely cough up in November. If Romney is the candidate the party thinks it has bargained for, Pennsylvania and even Ohio could be taken.

This is the only way Romney can win. While national sentiment and modest Independent support is a given, the electoral map is not friendly territory, and only a non-factor candidate can change that.

Right now Republicans poll miserably in the swing states, as well as many of the states not guaranteed to the president, meaning if the economy does not improve and/or unemployment doesn’t dip into the mid-sevens, a scarecrow with enough money could put dents into this reality. This was never going to happen with Santorum or Gingrich or the bevy of misfits before them. According to Republican thinking, this time around cold strategy, not passion wins the day. Passion was 2008, and what Republicans want is to forget that year and the economic collapse its party helped to create and the resultant big-government stimulus that ultimately averted it.

What in late 2007 this space described as a detriment could well be a winning element in 2012:

“Watch Romney speak some time. Really watch him. The eyes dart spastically, the brow furrows, his speech patterns falter and then queer altogether. He often looks like the boy who has just realized he’s lost in a department store; that eerily suspended moment of panic-clarity before the freak-out. Romney has that look right now as he blurts out the phrase “moral convictions” every thirty seconds to keep from convulsing. I half expect a reptile to explode from his rib cage at any moment.” – MITT ROMNEY – DON’T ASK – DON’T TELL – Issue: 12/12/07

This was our coverage of a speech Romney delivered trying to separate his Mormon faith from that of his legitimacy for the presidency, the kind of speech that makes religious stalwarts like Santorum ill, but makes strategic sense. It was something Romney and his advisers felt he had to do in 2007, but now rings as hollow as Romney himself. This is economic times, not a time for “moral convictions” to which Barack Obama wins in almost any poll conducted.

It is the year of the tortoise and the hare, in which the Republicans will paint the president as a celebrity good-guy whose charisma has failed to unite, galvanize and “change” this nation or more importantly this government over his first term. That, and only that, and whatever unforeseen happenstance may happen this summer, will give the Republicans a chance to do what five years ago seemed like a goofy pipedream, control the two main branches of the government again, as it did in 2000, when the nation had a surplus and thought itself impervious to international attack.

In other words, the salad days for Republicanism, before the Bush/Rove/Cheney people hijacked it with so-called anti-Republican nation building and non-funded government bloating.

A state-by-state, statistical strategy devoid of purpose or direction, beyond winning the White House, will transform Mitt Romney’s weakness into strength.

 

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The Buffett Rule?

Aquarian Weekly 4/25/12 REALITY CHECK

THE BUFFETT RULE?

It’s national campaign time and the Democrats have joined the crazy. Six months of idiocy from the Republicans was apparently enough. Check that; to understand what is going on in congress with what is officially coined the Paying a Fair Share Act is merely the volley returned for the TEA Party induced mayhem that stalled Capitol Hill during last year’s Debt Ceiling Debate. Congress has now become the land of vacant bills thrown into the chamber to make grandiose ideological statements with a political slant; or, as they like to say on K STREET, “business as usual”.

The Paying a Fair Share Act has as much teeth as the legislative branch of the federal government not paying its bills, to which it should mean none. But what it does accomplish, although eventually backfired on Republicans – unless there are still some who hang their hat on calling this the “Lowered Credit Rating President” – is put the 99 percenters (the latest street-cred protest, ala the TEA Party) in the conversation and fan the flames of class warfare and populism that is polling through the roof these days.

It’s a wise move from a defensive party hoping to maintain the executive branch in a crawling economic recovery and escalating gas prices, but it’s the epitome of farce; “a light, humorous play in which the plot depends upon a skillfully exploited situation rather than upon the development of character”. Substitute “plot” with “public discourse” and “character” with “law” and you got yourself a free campaign ad.

The Paying a Fair Share Act is pure showbiz. Its premise is ineffectual at best and at worst, infantile. You know, like selling the idea that sending your kids to be maimed killing Iraqis will keep you safe. It’s the grand ruse you must swallow to be part of an ostensibly free society wherein freedom is merely doled out incrementally through a series of pacifications. We agree only with this systemic patronization because, really, what’s our choice?

The origin of the Paying a Fair Share Act is of course the famed Buffett Rule, dubbed by Barack Obama in 2011 after billionaire Warren Buffett’s claim that he pays a lower tax rate than his secretary. This led to Senate minority leader, Harry Reid’s proposal of a 5.6 percent surtax on millionaires. This predictably went nowhere with a Republican majority in the House of Representatives and wasn’t even broached in the president’s 2013 budget proposal, but suddenly with the Rick Santorum follies shut down for the season, here comes the big guns.

Of course, big guns are never needed when shooting fish in a barrel, as it is when the rich are put on trial. It’s the oldest scam on the books. French Revolution, Russian Revolution, Cuban Revolution, hell you can make a solid case for the American Revolution propping the wealth class up as a symbol of a country’s ills. You could even rightfully argue that in all those cases the wealth class was indeed public enemy numero uno, but what does that do for the proletariat but to be force-fed into another cauldron of steaming bullshit to be exploited by the fallout?

The Paying a Fair Share Act is pure showbiz. Its premise is ineffectual at best and at worst, infantile. You know, like selling the idea that sending your kids to be maimed killing Iraqis will keep you safe.

This is no place to start bringing up capital gains taxes and debt reduction and redistribution of wealth. Let the economists and pseudo pundits frame their own guesswork there. The problems with both the Buffett Rule and the Paying a Fair Share Act can be found in its choice of terms; “paying” and “fair” and “share” and “rule”. None of these apply to the United States of America, no matter how many countries we bomb or benefits we bestow. This was not a country founded on “fair” in any way shape or form. It is also a country loath to “share”. In fact, there are still paid employees of the state who yammer on ceaselessly about the veiled threat of socialism the minute they hear the words fairness and sharing. This is why in its humblest way this is the greatest nation in modern civilization. It reflects the barest truth about life in general: It is unfair and sharing is about as natural a human trait as flying. And “paying”? Who the hell likes paying for anything; monetarily, emotionally, personally, or otherwise? And nobody, but nobody, beyond the truly religious (.00001 percent) digs a fucking “rule”.

This space spent months last year warning Republicans that harping on the national debt was bad mojo which would come back to claim its pound of flesh, and boy has it ever. Republican Patron Saint, Ronald Reagan once proclaimed that “deficits don’t matter” and he did so because his main goal was to cut taxes and bloat military spending, the former of which he failed miserably to achieve having raised taxes some seven different times during his two-term presidency, as the latter he joyfully scored again and again. This apparently is still the Republican goal, which is something akin to toasting sobriety. Without raising taxes and cutting spending the national debt will soar, something the Bush 43 presidency blatantly illustrated, and precisely why 60 percent of Americans are keen on having the rich foot the bill.

Here’s the thing; why don’t all the wealthiest assholes that want to pay down the debt pool their money and do it. No rules. No fairness. No sharing. No new laws. Just get together a handful of billionaires, pro jocks, rock stars, computer geeks, reality TV jack-offs, and slip some checks to the Chinese. Find that dipshit G.W. Bush and his daddy and pull some of his own patriotic bullshit and guilt him into some funds. The Clintons are worth millions. Let’s pony up, Billary.

The biggest problem with the Buffett Rule and The Paying a Fair Share Act is that it forces the hand of those with coffers to legally hand it over. Why not appeal to their better angels, or failing that (since “better angels” usually does not apply to hiding laundered money in the Cayman Islands) boycott their interests. Now we’re talking some real grassroots, ugly, sweaty unfair misrule of democracy.

Until then, count this as the first salvo to pit popular opinion against Mitt Romney, who already has a steep hill to climb pivoting on some goofy anti-Latino and anti-women shit he had to spout to jettison the pesky Santorum that has cost him dearly. This is why you already hear him desperately pissing on the media. Maybe Romney forgot, the key to democracy is that “unfair” applies to everyone.

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Revenge of the Nerds

Aquarian Weekly 4/11/12 REALITY CHECK

REVENGE OF THE NERDS GOP Establishment Corner Conservative Insurrection

The Alamo for theshort-lived TEA Party Era and its social conservative underbelly is nigh. It takes place as this goes to press with its best presidential candidate left ignoring polls, election results, pundit prognostication, entrenched Republican power-plays, high-profile endorsements, a paltry campaign bankbook, history, and his party’s better wishes to quit. Rick Santorum’s consolidated support has a staunch foundation that appears ready to make one last pitch to Republican voters to curtail the candidacy of moderate, Mitt Romney. And the anger in the Republican Party today is palpable.

Reince PriebusDespite protestation to the contrary, party officials are convinced that this primary season has severely weakened an already pathetic candidate, who after nearly six years running for president has taken far longer than any expected to clear a shaky field. The process has taken its toll; shedding likely Independent support as well as eradicating the women’s vote, which has gone from a 14 percent gap to a present 37 percent chasm. A national candidate with a singular economic message in a dire economic landscape was dragged kicking and screaming into ethnic, social, religious and gender issues that has cost the party precious time and money in which to aim at an extremely vulnerable incumbent.

The party knows this middling argument that a protracted primary fight that assisted the branding of Barack Obama in 2008 does not apply to Romney. In the winter of ’07 Obama was an unknown commodity and trailing a political monolith whose credentials and long-standing party affiliation was daunting. Hillary Clinton not only owned the Democratic Party when Obama began his long slog to the nomination, she had all the money and prospects to earn her Madam Shoo-in tag. Not to mention Obama’s grassroots, social media strategy that took time to develop and expand in each state he contested; something that closed the familiarity and money gap with each primary.

In this hackneyed analogy, Romney is Hillary Clinton. He has the party gravitas, the treasure and the name recognition that by all measures of competition should have laid waste to what at first was a comical set of challengers that eventually turned into a rank amateur opposition. Newt Gingrich never had any money and hardly maintained a coherent strategy from the opening bell. After the anti-Romney wing ran out of Trojan Horses, Santorum was left standing — a man with less resources and a far more haphazard organization than Gingrich.

But it mattered little in the end. The Republican Party rounded up every statesmen, governor and celebrity within the contiguous United States to beat the drum, albeit half-heartedly, for Romney, reasoning that the object is to present a viable candidate to defeat this president, a constitutional lawyer, whose signature piece of legislation is about to be deemed a pox on that very document by the Supreme Court with an over 8 percent unemployment number and rising gas prices. Money and pressure from the media — along with several antediluvian stances on 21st century concepts — sunk Rick Santorum and the underground conservative movement. Allowing a rotting corpse to foul the Republican brand any longer is political suicide.

But Santorum was never the issue for the anti-Romney contingent. They would have been just as happy with Michelle Bachmann or Rick Perry or the television hack or the pizza guy. Hell, up until two weeks ago there was serious talk by respected political minds of a brokered convention and another goddamn Bush being yanked from the closet to front the ticket. And so with the tolling bell, the anti-Romney voices shall rise up with a plan to press Gingrich to finally drop the charade and hand over his support and more importantly his delegates to Santorum for one last Pickett’s Charge.

As stated in this space months ago, Mitt Romney will be your 2012 Republican candidate for president of the United States. The only question has ever been how strong and legitimate a candidate would be up to his party and the always annoying but effective noise of the voting booth.

However, reports are now surfacing that Gingrich is adamant in making a mockery of the Republican Convention in August, threatening over the past weeks that he would seriously consider an exploratory independent research party to siphon votes from a general election pool that would in all likelihood end up in a four to six point dogfight by November. Getting out of the race for Gingrich, who realizes at this stage of his career — his advanced age and legitimacy within the party he once toiled for — has scorched every bridge he has crossed and is acting like the worst kind of political wild animal; a man with nothing left to lose.

Gingrich’s exit is the key to sustaining any real hope for survival until August for the anti-Romney contingent. Making the case that a two-man race has prevented Santorum from truly challenging Romney will have to suffice. Having a candidate drop his home state, as it appears Santorum will do in Pennsylvania barring overcoming a 12 percent deficit, is a sinking narrative, but not the death knell wrongly reported.

Ignoring the expected hoopla surrounding Romney’s inevitability, the math simply does not add up. He cannot make the requisite delegate count by August and even with a body-blow victory in Pennsylvania, beginning on May 8, the month holds a minefield for the Romney campaign. If previous primary results are any indication, contests first in Indiana, North Carolina and West Virginia, then onto Oregon (May 15), followed by Arkansas and Kentucky (May 22), and finally the mother of all Southern primaries, Texas on May 28 will at the very least keep Romney in a stalemate and may make a case for a Santorum alternative.

This is why Republican Party officials are calling for order and not a complete count of the votes. Santorum was technically right the other evening when he proclaimed the primary season at its halftime. There is voting to be done, none of which will make him the nominee, but could dismantle the inner workings of the party the way the Ronald Reagan late surge in 1976 pushed Gerald Ford to the brink, making him spend money and time proving for all intents and purposes he was as ineffectual a candidate as originally presumed. Ford’s improbable two-month comeback against Jimmy Carter fell just short, a deficit Republican historians say now could have been solidified had Reagan not selfishly cut the incumbent president to ribbons.

That is the Reagan Revolution in a nutshell; the revolt was internal, like all serviceable revolts, and like all serviceable revolts, provided casualties. But Rick Santorum is no Reagan. He is unlikable, spiteful and quick to irrational anger. Unlike Reagan, an actor, union leader, corporate pitch man and governor, he is untrained and sloppy and he, according the political high rollers, is a beast in the hen house that they have responsibly invested, maneuvered and intimidated all variables to secure.

As stated in this space months ago, Mitt Romney will be your 2012 Republican candidate for president of the United States. The only question has ever been how strong and legitimate a candidate would be up to his party and the always annoying but effective noise of the voting booth.

 

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Health Care on Trial

Aquarian Weekly 4/4/12 REALITY CHECK

HEALTH CARE ON TRIAL

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 is unconstitutional. I have written this repeatedly over the past year; originally in HEALTHCARE U.S.A. 3/24/10 and later that year, CITIZEN HEALTHCARE 12/29/10. It was true then and it is true now.

No politically charged Supreme Court decision in this politically charged election year is going to change that. It is not within the boundaries of the Congress of these United States to make such laws as to force its citizens to purchase insurance. This should have been the case for the 1935 Social Security Act that forced Americans to purchase retirement insurance or the Enrollment Act of 1863 that forced American men to fight for the Union and every subsequent Selective Service or Draft laws that wiped out thousands upon thousands of American citizens, many of them in unconstitutional “wars” like Korean, Viet Nam, Afghanistan, Iraq I, Iraq II or even before all that the Militia Acts of 1892 that forced every American to buy muskets and gunpowder.

U.S. Supreme CourtThis shit has been going on for a long time, folks.

Hell, the damn U.S. Constitution was only four years old when the second official congress and George Washington, the first president, pissed on it. The next guy in charge, John Adams, by far the most influential revolutionaries of the 1770s, but a lunatic chief executive, signed the Alien and Sedition Acts, which granted the president the power to deport citizens of questionable allegiance to the United States and jail or deport journalists for writing “slanderous” or “malicious” (determined by the White House) anti-government sentiments. Andrew Jackson became the godfather of Jim Crow by wielding an iron fist across the fruited plain with the 21st congress’s unconstitutional 1830 Indian Removal Act. Oh, boy did the South hammer that baby home over one hundred years of racketeering, voter intimidation and government-sanctioned murder.

Need we go on?

Yes?

Okay, how about this nation’s most revered and influential chief executive, Abraham Lincoln, who forced an entire region to restructure its moral and economic foundations through military invasion, which brought with it an unconstitutional drafting of the poor, the eradication of due process and habeas corpus, the jailing of dissidents against the federal government and of course the radically unconstitutional Marshall Law. Woodrow Wilson subsequently abused these “safety during war time” tactics during WWI and FDR during WWII when both presidents interred thousands of innocent German and Japanese civilians respectively. The world champion of unconstitutional nonsense, Richard Nixon used the same scheme to bug, slander and intimidate anti-war protestors, wielding the CIA, IRS, FBI and the Immigration and Naturalization Service in a clumsy attempt to destroy political opponents until he was asked to leave the premises.

Some of these cases were never challenged, some challenged and overturned or embarrassingly watered down or left to expire ungracefully. Some were regionally challenged for decades like the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which was a needed intervention of the federal government to impede Bill of Rights abuses. In the recent case of the Patriot Act, a whopper of unconstitutional chicanery, every case that was brought against it was successful, rendering most of it flaccid and ineffectual.

Not so with what the political culture pejoratively refers to as Obamacare, which has been challenged in lower courts across the land in several states and exonerated each time. Every liberal and conservative judge has seen fit to uphold the law as constitutional, despite its controversial Individual Mandate, an invention of the ultra-conservative Heritage Foundation in the 1990s and vocally supported by the Speaker of the House and leading Republican voice at the time, Newt Gingrich. It was a collective Right Wing knee-jerk response to the massive socialized medicine overhaul presented by then first lady, Hillary Clinton.

The federal government is not without precedent for this maneuver, of course.

This same blue print was formed and enacted by another current Republican challenger to the president, Mitt Romney, when his derisively coined Romneycare became the law of Massachusetts in 2006. And the man he now challenges? Barack Obama spent thousands of campaign dollars horse-whipping the aforementioned Ms. Clinton for “mandating Americans to buy health insurance or pay a penalty” in the spring of ’08, something he signed into law 24 months later.

The Individual Mandate, reeking with congressional history through Conscription and Social Security is the constitutional sticking point of Obamacare and not the Single-Payer socialist model utilized in every industrialized nation in the free world and what the liberal/progressive lobby has bellowed about for 60 years. This is a halfway house for insurance companies, one of the leading lobbies in the final days of this law’s formation, to gain millions of new clients.

Perhaps only the Individual Mandate will be struck down by a predictable 5-4 margin or maybe, in an uncommon move by the highest court in the land, a reasonable hedge decision of cutting off the Individual Mandate clause and leaving intact the most controversial law since the Patriot Act and certainly as economically driven a law since the Civil Rights Act. But as a fulcrum to the process, the Individual Mandate may take with it the entirety of the law and consequently the thousands of participants either benefiting or being hounded by its slow infusion into the national marketplace.

The federal government is not without precedent for this maneuver, of course. The vagaries of the Constitution’s Commerce Clause, although in spirit was originally included by the framers as a legal means to prevent a federalist construct in interstate trade and currency, certainly left a gaping legal hole in its letter. It is not unlike the currently eviscerated Stand Your Ground law that proponents claim was not implemented to include blue-line wannabes chasing down and murdering black teens. Sorry, no rule is singular, and neither is the Commerce Clause.

Thus the Commerce Clause has been used for a myriad of insanities over the two-century plus existence of this republic and it has its place here. If the Supreme Court rules against it, then it will be doing so in abject rejection to former rulings on Wickard v Filburn, which allowed congress to limit the amount of wheat grown by an Ohio farmer in 1942 or the 2005 criminalization of homegrown marijuana case of Gonzalez v Raich.

When the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is eventually ruled unconstitutional in June of this year, it will certainly reveal an incredible opportunity for those motivated enough to abolish Social Security or Medicaid or Medicare or Federal Income Tax or any of the dozens of federal laws that are and have always been unconstitutional.

Don’t tread on me?

Indeed.

 

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Super Tuesday Dud 2012

 

Aquarian Weekly 3/14/12
REALITY CHECK

SUPER DUD
Derailed February for GOP Ends with a Super Tuesday Whimper

Money, influence, and party politics are turning to chum whatever reasoning Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich can muster for staying in a race for the Republican nomination for president. The contest has been, for all intents and purposes, over since this space declared it so on January 18. Well, not completely “over” in that it will take an unforeseen streak for the inevitable nominee Mitt Romney to reach the requisite 1,191-delegate threshold by the August convention, which makes way for greasy dealings and backstabbing galore.

Romney is SafeBut at this juncture either Gingrich or Santorum would have to first convince the other candidate to leave the race and make Romney sweat his 38 percent voter ceiling to lend the slightest credence to a sustained candidacy. But neither is likely to do that and thus with mostly proportional delegates awarded, this dog-and-pony show will likely drag on long enough to force the Romney camp to spend crucial general-election cash and endure a slew of unflattering interviews and awkward stump speeches further yanking its candidate to the Right.

So far the Right has not been kind to Romney, neither in base voting, which languishes in the 28 percent range, nor perception; whether it is his spectacular three-hour flip-flop on the idiotic Blunt Amendment or the bold-face lying on his opposition to a single-mandate Health Care Law, which he trumpeted as late as 2009 in his own Wall St. Journal op-ed piece. It is a place Gingrich initially (immigration) and now Santorum (social issues) have succeeded in cornering Romney that has slowly eroded his national election polls among likely Independent, women and Latino voters.

Still, the math favors Romney measurably.

Super Tuesday’s six-out of ten state grab-bag for the frontrunner may have provided fodder for punditry, but it hardly changes the cold fact: Even a mano-a-mano campaign with either Santorum or Gingrich would call for the challenger to net over 60 percent of the remaining vote to make this competitive.

Thus…over.

Wrangling over a margin of victory in Michigan or Ohio (likely Democratic states come November) or his no-show Southern vote unless Ron Paul is the only challenger on the ballot, as was the case in Virginia (another strongly potential Barack Obama battleground) still finds Romney entering the late-spring in a commanding position to gather more Republican establishment power and unite the guaranteed 42 percent of the national electorate.

And so the two-year TEA Party run is reduced to a sad echo and whatever is left of the whining “Anyone but Mitt” contingent will be expected to get in line like obedient anti-Obama automatons, hold their collective nose, and vote, vote, vote.

The only question now is how much more damage can the Gingrich/Santorum Road Show do to the Republican brand?

Gingrich is finished. His campaign trail has lead to a sad commentary on his character and more so on his very subsistence on the national stage that appears more of joke every day he spits out his predictable Clinton-Era drivel. He is the comedy relief, the new Donald Trump; a slow-motion political car wreck merely perpetuated for cheap headlines and bombastic quotes. Ironically, only his sworn enemy, the media — beyond a Las Vegas gambling mogul — gives a shit about Newt Gingrich anymore. He’s good press like Lindsey Lohan or the Octomom. Gingrich has succeeded in being the celebrity footnote he’d always dreamed, but this farce of his has a week to go.

Santorum is another thing altogether.

I’ll tell you one thing; I’d rather be a slut than a victim.

Santorum has the Mike Huckabee mojo behind him. He will keep getting Republican votes, as they were painstakingly created during the Reagan Revolution and used to great effect by Karl Rove in George W. Bush’s 2004 re-election. The Religious Right may not have national muscle, but regionally, especially in the South, it is a bitch and it resonates. It resonates so sharply that a candidate with practically no funding and an organization so inept it failed to fill out simple campaign paperwork that cost Santorum key congressional districts in Ohio and the entirety of Virginia Primary is still relevant.

The Religious Right, despite its abhorrence of the Catholic Church, urged Santorum to up the ante on the religious liberty canard, attack birth control, slander homosexuality and engage in an embarrassing breadth of moral proselytizing. This daily emesis stirred the Liberal press, which consequently tumbled into the Conservative radio market, where its champion, Rush Limbaugh channeled his inner Howard Stern and began to sound like the crazed mother from Carrie, chasing over 30 sponsors and provoking his obligatory public apology.

Why in the world, beyond placating sponsors, would a man handsomely paid to be provocative have to apologize for doing his job is anyone’s guess, just as it is anyone’s guess why the Georgetown law student he called a slut, or any woman or man over the age of ten for that matter, would give a flying fart what this gasbag says?

Fuck Limbaugh and fuck this whining little shit, and fuck the president for “calling to see if she was all right”. This gratuitous condescension reeks of dime-store misogyny and sets women’s rights back decades. Limbaugh is a glorified carnival barker with crippling marrying and eating disorders. This Sandra Fluke woman is as much a victim as the poor souls who have to listen to her sniveling martyrdom. If she is a victim at all, it is merely of bad taste and a shitty swipe at humor from a guttural swine that wouldn’t know funny if it bit him on his considerable ass.

I ask you; who isn’t the victim of bad taste?

Holy crap, this column has gone off the rails.

Suffice to say the only subjects worth writing about when the alternative is Mitt Romney are disc jockeys, law geeks and a Democratic Party that exploits this kind of atavistic “kitty stuck in a tree” garbage every woman in America should find offensive.

I’ll tell you one thing; I’d rather be a slut than a victim.

And I’d rather not write anymore about Mitt fucking Romney.

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The Frontrunner Shuffle 2012

Aquarian Weekly 2/29/12 REALITY CHECK

THE FRONTRUNNER SHUFFLE or Where the Hell is Reince Priebus?

Since I am the only reporter willing to go on record as to the extent of the Republican National Committee Chairman’s increasingly alarming drinking problem, it is also incumbent on this space to place it in context with the queer developments surrounding its fallout. By all accounts and clearly evident in the dramatic closing of Republican establishment ranks prior to an unsuspecting and purportedly damaging Rick Santorum surge in popularity, the spastically bizarre public behavior of Reince Priebus, while understandable, has sent shockwaves through the halls of the GOP powerbase mere days before the Michigan and Arizona primaries.

Rick SantorumAfter an alleged 72 hours of no sleep and a regrettable slip in press judgment, Priebus spent the first week of February tossing out urbane similarities between a sitting U.S. president and a foreigner accused of negligent homicide. This prompted angry stewards of billionaire Republican donors, David H. and Charles G. Koch to summarily pull the chairman from the public spotlight. Several backroom meetings for which the buzz from moles included “mild face slapping to repeated beatings over the head with a rolled up Wall Street Journal” led to a Priebus media blackout.

A spokesman for the RNC claimed that the days leading up to what aids are now describing as “the post-Triple-Sweep” binge wherein Priebus, caught shouting at a frightened cabbie in front of Denver’s swank Hotel Teatro, disappeared without a trace.

Reports of the RNC’s befuddled reaction to the abject whipping of party frontrunner, Mitt Romney by a suddenly resurgent Santorum sent Priebus’ already fragile state and penchant for Scotch-shooters to deplorable levels. Assistants were left to scramble to bus in confused vagrants and angry students promised Xbox 360 systems to fill out the student center at the University of Colorado for what was to be a victory speech turned funereal groan. By the time Romney was done speaking the crowd had turned ugly, but word spread that Priebus was already halfway to Grand Junction, where he was to pick up the latest windfall of Salt Lake City Super Pac money that never arrived.

Priebus then disappeared until his unhinged television appearances and the subsequent Koch Brothers beatings.

Problem was that no one noticed.

There has been a great deal of doom-speak coming from the war room lackeys now that a crazed fox is in the 2012 hen house. Many who believed Romney’s steady politico static-free waxen anti-Obama figure would cast a mighty shadow over what the Grand Old Party was sure this past summer was the weakest incumbent since Jimmy Carter. Rick Santorum was considered at best as a strange counter-point to whatever wild nonsense Newt Gingrich was spouting to split enough votes to keep a moderate billboard candidate from unraveling.

Two weeks of a religious loon going off half-cocked about sex, drugs and Satan was not on the agenda.

Long before the Santorum nightmare, worries began to fester throughout the party when Romney stumbled off script and told a CNN morning show that he didn’t care about the poor and chuckled lightly when asked why he thought his extra 300 grand in speaking-engagement income for 2011 was small change, but once his tax records were brought to light and the Republican machine began accusing the White House of playing “class-warfare”, all appeared well. Best of all, Gingrich spit the bit in two uneven debate performances and in an obvious panic started talking seriously about building lunar colonies and calling it a 51st state. Consequently, Romney stomped in Florida, a key swing state Barrack Obama carried in 2008.

Suddenly, the Mister Fix-It routine was ringing a tad hollow.

Combined with a subsequent Nevada caucus win, the word cocky was used in several interviews with insiders this space conducted after Florida. The Romney camp, backed by RNC strategy, ignored the sanctioned Missouri Primary, which was stripped of its delegates due to scheduling problems with the party. But while Romney spent his time trying to sew up Colorado, a caucus he would lose to Santorum along with one in Minnesota, the former Pennsylvania senator spent weeks pulling together his Iowa plan of door knocking/flesh pressing retail politics in Missouri to complete the 2/7 sweep.

Banned from media appearances, rumors abounded that the party dispatched Priebus to Maine to stop the bleeding, and with heavy party participation, which reports out of Bangor are now citing as “insider party fraud”, Romney squeaked by Ron Paul. Stunned, the Paul campaign, having done its own Santorum-like sweep of the state for months, challenged the results, and once the local and then national press began sniffing out the tallies, it was obvious that many counties — key Paul strongholds — were either not counted or erroneously called for Romney.

Details of the shenanigans pulled by Republican officials in Maine are sketchy and the delegates are being withheld pending investigations or a complete re-vote, but what has happened in the past three weeks to the Romney campaign does not exactly defy explanation.

For one, Romney’s only claim on his candidacy is a de facto John Kerry argument that he is the most electable and not the guy currently in charge. And secondly, he is the self-proclaimed economic wizard and therefore holds the best fulcrum against a damaged economy. But as weeks wore on past Christmas the stock market made its three-year Obama administration climb up to 13,000 for the first time since the spring of ’08 and was soon followed by a slow dip in unemployment and a gradual pace of domestic growth, consumer confidence, and a Super Bowl ad by a Hollywood touch-guy icon lauding the resurrection of the once tanked U.S. car industry.

Suddenly, the Mister Fix-It routine was ringing a tad hollow.

Meanwhile, with a renewed advantage in an upward economic swing and its opponents for the moment stalled, the White House found itself embroiled in a ridiculous Religious Liberty vs. Public Health issue that was nothing of the sort. This ready-made controversy emboldened the social issue/culture warrior base of a party that had been yanked back into a fiscal responsibility platform by the TEA Party surge of 2010. The grateful recipient of this severe shift in public debate from money to contraception is Rick Santorum, who took the football and literally threw Hail Marys all over the joint; pulling out the Jerry Falwell playbook on family, God and apple pie until it hurt.

Santorum hit every cultural low note from Detroit to Tempe and actually took minor leads in Michigan and Arizona, as well as overtaking Romney in the national polls. His Johnny Lunch-Pail gate mixed with a sweater-vest kind of sweet uncle charm made Santorum the perfect anti-robotic Romney. According to Republican strategists, Santorum’s only weakness as a national candidate is that he is out of his fucking mind, much of which was on full display in a plethora of stump speeches given since his Triple-Sweep performance. A careful reading of his 2008 religious/culture warrior screed, It Takes a Family; Conservatism and the Common Good that made the rounds of media derision didn’t help.

This daily dose of voodoo goofiness forced blow-back from the highest rafters of party donors, many of whom leaned so hard on Santorum it reduced his recent polished debate performances into a glassy-eyed Al Goresque charade in a CNN debate days before the primaries. This roused a Romney poll comeback. At one point in the televised massacre, Romney had Santorum apologizing for voting for derided crap the last two-term Republican president pitched as viable policy.

One week until Super Tuesday and Reince Priebus is still at large.

How long until he finds Jesus?

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The Israel Threat

Aquarian Weekly 2/22/12 REALITY CHECK

THE ISRAEL THREAT A Sideways Path to War with Iran

The near east U.S. military outpost known as Israel is about to go rogue. For all intents and purposes, much to the eternal glee of Hezbollah and whatever is left of al Qaeda, our overextended and bankrupt nation is about to be dragged into a direct confrontation with Iran. This maneuver, while antithetical to any sane solution in dealing with an already heavily sanctioned and highly motivated regional instigator, bloodshed is coming; and not the big-talk, ostensibly humanitarian carpet-bombing campaign we usually employ. This is the IDF we’re talking about, the most deadly efficient military in the world. It will not be pleasant and it will plunge the entire shit house into flaming wreckage and our fingerprints will be all over it.

Benjamin NetanyahuMake no mistake, the United States of America wants no part of Iran and hasn’t for decades of seriously dangerous Iranian madness, not the least of which happened in the late-70’s when its theocratic revolution topped off festivities by taking American citizens hostage. During the post-9/11 American “humanitarian carpet-bombing campaign” in Iraq, Iran (mortal enemies of Saddam Hussein’s Iraq) repeatedly aided, funded and directly carried out insurrectionist attacks on U.S. soldiers and contractors.

None of this brought about even a discussion on the invasion of Iran, nor did its tired rhetoric about turning Israel into rubble and massacring the evil Jew sautéed in a thick Arabic sauce of Holocaust denial. And this was during the Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld era of war-tribunal-free-for-all. Now after over ten years of Middle East wars, economic disaster and a renewed sense that no amount of bombing, killing and nation-building is going to take the crazy out of the crazies, a conversation about taking aggressive action against Iran is about as an unwelcomed as can be imagined beyond a CPAC Convention.

This would normally be bad news for Israel. For without a nod from the United States, Israel cannot seriously contemplate all-out aggression against Iran, never mind the type of military invasion it has hinted at for months should Iran cross some imaginary “redline” of nuclear advancement.

However, the bad news is also on the other foot, since according to Israel the “redline” is apparently within striking distance.

This week’s show biz routine rolled out by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, which featured an unveiling of an operational nuclear reactor with fancy fuel rods and impressive form-fitting white labs coats, was in one bold swoop a show of scientific progress achieved by 16th century tribesmen, a nose-thumb to international sanctions and a veiled threat to Israel. There was high talk of medical isotopes and major progress on nuclear centrifuges, all of which the U.S. State Department announced was “nothing new” and what the international community was expecting for some time, even in the face of Iran’s continued insistence the operation is purely an energy upgrade.

Israel has every right to defend itself and has a fair argument against an emboldened Iran, but beyond finger-wagging speeches by the White House and deeper sanctions, which has already damaged the Iranian economy by over half; it will have to do so without an American figurehead.

No one, of course, believes a word of it. But while the U.S. sees a slow-moving national ego-stroke within a region quickly turning into an anarchistic tinderbox in Syria, Egypt and Libya, Israel, and especially its knee-jerk Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, sees opportunity.

The Central Intelligence Agency lists Netanyahu as a loose cannon, whose iron fist approach has garnered him non-consecutive victories over a 16-year period and a host of belligerent military campaigns of variant successes and failures, His performance last year berating the president of the United States in the Oval Office in front of the international press and the assassinations of Iranian scientists over a two-year period has put the U.S. on notice. Despite billions of American aid and military might, Israel will not sit this one out.

For its part, Iran has been begging for an irate reaction from the blustery Netanyahu. Its underground terrorist hits of Israeli diplomats in separate bombings of India, the former Soviet Republic of Georgia and most recently Bangkok, the blame of which has been denied by Iranian officials, has carried with it an air of vengeance and overt saber rattling that flies in the face of its own diplomatic attempts to reopen nuclear talks with the West. This has all smartly transpired amid rumors that there could be an olive-branch agreement to allow UN inspectors to tour the Tehran nuclear facilities.

This and U.S. intelligence reports that Iran is at best two years removed from achieving the ability to make warheads, has dispatched a State Department envoy to Tel Aviv to allay Israeli fears and keep the United States from dealing with what appears to be no imminent threat its interests.

Although the same people who believe Iran is developing its nuclear capabilities for energy concerns also believe there will be a threat at some point in the next five to ten years, there is a two-front dilemma occurring in a more pertinent area to U.S. interests; the vital Strait of Hormuz. This slender waterway provides the transport of nearly one-fifth of the world’s oil supply, which not only affects the West, but Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Oman, as well as the new burgeoning republic or Iraq to the north.

The United States decade of carnage in the region and the crumbling resolve of a once moderate to malleable Arab coalition, one in which George H. W. Bush exploited to exacerbate the already pathetic ties to our oil addiction, has forced this stand-off into a diplomatic pussyfoot. Our Saudi alliance against a nuclear Iran, tenuously kept under wraps, is threatened by any hint of U.S. military involvement in Israel’s growing fury. It is simple pragmatism. It confronts each and every era in this volatile loony bin called the Middle East to which we must bow or begin trading in those monster trucks for hybrid minis.

Israel has every right to defend itself and has a fair argument against an emboldened Iran, but beyond finger-wagging speeches by the White House and deeper sanctions, which has already damaged the Iranian economy by over half; it will have to do so without an American figurehead.

But what is the reality in that?

As a wise man once uttered; “Slim to none and slim just left the building.”

And thus, in an ironic twist Israel has become as dangerous a threat to U.S. security as any terrorist organization.

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Joe Cool Carries The Two

Aquarian Weekly 2/1/12 REALITY CHECK

JOE COOL CARRIES THE TWO White House to Play Percentages in 2012 Race

For ninety interminably long minutes on 1/24/12, the president of the United States played his hand. All that anyone needs to know about the obligatory laundry list cum base rouser that usually fills a final first-term State of the Union address is that it’s going to be the Summer of Populism for the most pragmatic chief executive of my lifetime. This is how Barack Hussein Obama burst upon his first campaign for the job he eventually won in the autumn of 2008, and the way he has governed since. The White House will play the percentages, weigh the margins, and use the Karl Rove schematic for winning a national electoral election: Ignore useless national polls and vacillating approval ratings and figure the best way to get to the magic 270.

Barack ObamaWhile his proposed Republican challengers walk all over each other trying desperately to shift Right, mainly because two of the frontrunners have to distance a centrist to liberal past and get the party’s nomination, Joe Cool studies the trends of a thorny electorate that has shown the kind of mercurial nature mostly exhibited by the bipolar. In the last decade alone the national vote has gone from geo-political to anti-war to wildly progressive to conservatively entrenched to whatever the hell is happening now.

This is why Obama’s State of the Union appeared to be written by less ideologue than actuary.

The Numbers People are what matter in elections. They have the vital information on who is available to woo, who is already on board, and who is most likely to be courted. National politics is not sport. An election, as it is at every level, is a sum-game; the first one to the measuring stick takes the oath. Emotions, ideas, credentials; these are the tools of the loser. Winning a presidential election is about key numbers — not the most, but the most within the most. Think of a Salvador Dali painting sifted violently through a Warholian blender. This is the Electoral College in action, a warped contest of democratic synergy dominated only by those who embrace nuance.

And here’s what Joe Cool’s Numbers People read…

Currently, the percentage of Americans jazzed about cutting deficits and protecting the Middle Class tax burden by raising the tax rate on the wealthy is 73.

Seven out of ten Americans in this polarizing political climate is a margin akin to a Hugo Chavez election result. This will get the attention of even the most naïve Numbers People. As unpopular as any proposed tinkering with National Health Care was two years ago, which gave rise to the TEA Party movement, sticking it to the rich is even more beloved. This also includes the trendy Occupy Wall St. movement, whatever that is now.

Not only has the idea of putting the squeeze to the wealthy grown in popularity since the hilariously unnecessary piss fight over raising the debt ceiling a few months back, but it has happened on the insistence of Republicans. Normally, or more to the point forever, Republicans have mocked deficit hawks as chicken-little anti-capitalists. This has changed, and thus become bad news for those who know that the only way to cut deficits and pay off the national debt is through either draconian cuts to popular programs or raising government revenues.

Election year calls for austerity is shitty game planning. Ask Jimmy Carter. So it’s raising revenue, and the way this works is whoever has the most is usually tracked down. Kind of like your rich uncle when your band was after seed money for that P.A. you needed to gig.

No matter the national anger, the lukewarm base reception or the perception that we’re careening toward the new Greece, 19 gets Barack Obama a second term.

The White House will be jacking up this winning formula to dizzying degrees if half of what we heard in the State of the Union can be believed, because 73 percent of anything sings the high note to 46 percent approval ratings and 63 percent wrong-track polling.

Although much of the anti-Obama stuff, a fair portion of it fabricated by dumb-speak about a forged birth certificate, Muslim roots and socialist leanings, is white noise to Independent voters; the other key set of digits for the Numbers People.

In the last three presidential elections not skewed by Ross Perot, the Democratic and Republican bases equaled out at 42 percent each. This means that roughly 16 percent of the national vote is Independent, which rolled to George W. Bush in two elections and overwhelming in Obama’s column in 2008. Recent polls have the Independent vote, including newcomers, which were predominantly Democrat in ’08 but a fair portion have flocked to Ron Paul so far, ballooning to nearly 30 percent. However, much of this polling, according to the best Numbers People, cannot be trusted since there appears to currently be a rabid anti-government sentiment on both sides of the political aisle clearly borne out in the 11 percent approval for 112th congress.

Still, neither party can rely on the base to elect their candidate. Independents remain the only source of gained votes, the individuals for whom every attack ad, stump speech and debate performance will be aimed.

Finally, Numbers People, for all of this talk about “people”, are not as interested in the human error of spastic belief systems and knee-jerk political climate changes. The actual “winning” lies in the Electoral College and its 270 votes needed to be president.

Right now the White House has gone on record in surmising that with Obama’s fat-cat coffers and concentrated canvassing of Democratic strongholds, the president is most likely to garner the John Kerry votes of 2004. This is what gamblers call an even bet, the short odds, the hedge numbers. This, according to Numbers People reasoning, leaves them 19 electoral votes to corral. No matter the national anger, the lukewarm base reception or the perception that we’re careening toward the new Greece, 19 gets Barack Obama a second term.

This, mind you citizens living in the non-numbers world, is an exacting summation without an actual opponent, which appears to most assuredly be either a rich robot or a raving lunatic; or if you are a student of recent history; Michael Dukakis or John McCain.

So, while the rest of the nation and the world heard a State of the Union replete with political rhetoric and class warfare tactics wrapped in a red, white & blue gunny, friends of the Numbers People heard the cold clatter of calculation.

Carry the two and hail to the chief!

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