Democrats Circle The Wagons

Aquarian Weekly 10/13/10 REALITY CHECK

DEMOCRATS CIRCLE THE WAGONS
Last Ditch Effort To Fire-Up, Insult & Beg Progressives to Stem GOP Tide

There were no U.S. military survivors at the Battle of the Little Bighorn, but later reports from Native Americans, most notably the widely interviewed Joseph White Cow Bull, who’d taken part in slaughtering every last member of George Armstrong Custer’s charge, believed they could hear the doomed general hollering at his troops. Witnesses to the enemy swore each desperate salvo from the man who’d dedicated the last years of his professional life to wiping out the “red hordes”, changed course, almost manically, as if predicting the very modes of grief made famous in modern psychology; denial — rallying his outnumbered and ambushed troops, anger — questioning their manhood, allegiance and alleged superior genetic make-up to that of the savages, and finally a sad measure of bartering, to save a lost cause in its most dire moments.

David AxelrodCuster may have been eventually and ignominiously bludgeoned to death by a Northern Cheyenne woman named Buffalo Calf Road Woman, but his lessons survived a century and a half of political strategies — some with far better conclusions. The best and most recent example of this was just six short years ago when a weakened president with two fast-failing wars, a bloated deficit and plummeting approval numbers, rallied in a whiz-bang circle-the-wagons last-ditch attempt to rile up his party’s base and take the attack to the enemy, which at the time seemed as pathetic as Custer in his last throes but returned the highest office in the land to George W. Bush.

Recently, Karl Rove, the architect of Bush’s comeback of 2004, has been quite vocal about some of the wildly half-mad candidates mucking up this year’s version of Republican insurgence. He knows better than most when you have the enemy on the run you do not play the long odds. In ’04, when tapping into the increasingly dormant Religious Right vote with promises that if the president’s opponent, the out-maneuvered and oddly silent John Kerry would take power then abortions would flow freely, gays would rule and the glorious war effort against the godless Muslims would be lost.

Rove’s 2004 political mastery was a classic example of badgering, rallying and laying down the choice for the most fanatical among the GOP base; those who’d vote for a weakened Republican rather than face the consequences. The strategy to promise an anti-gay amendment and everlasting military protection neutered the questions about his candidate’s immobilized state and made certain those who had the most to lose would not sit idly by.

This is what the White House has now unabashedly offered as a final stratagem for the battered and bloodied Democrats in congress, who not only face a demoralizing defeat next month, but in avoiding the onslaught have run scared from the president. Even the vice president, known far and wide for an uproariously inarticulate blabbermouth technique, has gone on network television to castigate progressives and liberals to “buck up” and “quit whining”, despite the broken promises to closing Gitmo, a single-payer National Health Care option, a failure at Cap & Trade or Illegal Immigrant Emancipation orthodoxy, and most agonizingly, a sucking up to the “guilty” Wall St. set. This doesn’t even factor in the ultra-left’s hope that Obama was above politics and had more than a minor interest in ending nation building, adjusting existing marijuana laws, and maybe go to battle for gay rights in the military and on the stump.

Even taking the most fundamental approach to party politics, the base is the thing. In cases of an avalanche of mid-term angst and general inner-party malaise, it is the only thing.

Biden is insane, and soon will be replaced by Hillary Clinton to save Obama in 2012, but there may be nothing left to run on if 2010 is completely lost. Progressives, liberals, and even those in the center expecting some sort of epiphany, have gone ballistic, and in so doing, have caused a serious shift in Democratic politics. Thus, as time runs out, and the numbers and impassioned anti-incumbent rage surges against them, the Democrats’ only hope is to temper the blow, stop the political hemorrhaging and hang onto the House or at the very least the Senate.

Even taking the most fundamental approach to party politics, the base is the thing. In cases of an avalanche of mid-term angst and general inner-party malaise, it is the only thing.

Take for instance the president’s recent appearance at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, streamed online to several campuses nationwide, using the social networking and youth movement his staff brilliantly tapped for his improbable 2008 rise and victory. The September 28 speech, symbolically recalling his most stirring oratory after the 2008 Wisconsin primary victory, began earnestly with a Ronald Reagan type “stay the course” routine, with promises of unfinished business, then a dollop of Jimmy Carter “want to go back to the last nightmare?” concluding with a firebrand call to arms for those who he most relied upon to stake his claim; first inside the party against the mighty Clinton Machine and then nationally across center-right tides, where the now all-but lost Independents reside.

It was a rallying cry echoed plenty since, which was piggybacked by left-shilling MSNBC — much as FOXNEWS has shamelessly trumpeted the fractious TEA Party movement — when the week after Obama’s Wisconsin plea, the network hosted a Education Nation week, wherein the focus was on teacher unions and the growing dumbing-down of Americans over the past decades. The hint there is the elitist, and in many cases honest, approach that the radical Right voices count on the electorate’s ignorance with emotional alternatives to critically tangible solutions.

Although the battles are disparate and motivated by local concerns, they have lasting national consequences to the future of Nation Health Care, the Bush Tax Cuts, continued troop surges in Afghanistan, and the effectiveness of President Barack Obama’s last two years in office.

Whether Republican or Democrat, the strategy in such a “crisis” has always been and is now exceedingly employed; rally the troops and circle the wagons with hefty Custer-like denials, harangues and a healthy does of old-world beseeching.

Either way it’s cut, the Buffalo Calf Road Woman is raising her club.

Reality Check | Pop Culture | Politics | Sports | Music

Read More

The Money Season 2010

Aquarian Weekly 9/22/10 REALITY CHECK

THE MONEY SEASON

The kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men, and every bondman, and every free man, hid themselves in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains; And said to the mountains and rocks, Fall on us, and hide us from the face of him that sitteth upon the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: For the great day of his wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand? – Revelation 6:15

Every normal man must be tempted at times to spit on his hands, hoist the black flag and begin to slit throats. – H. L. Mencken

This is the Money season. The mid-term elections are under fifty days away and the running campaign dialogue is about the economy, Jack; jobs, taxes, stimulus and deficit. In 2002 it was Vengeance, 2006 Anti-War; this time around it’s Money. Beohner - ObamaAnd since there are only two political parties to choose from, they’ve opportunely split the baby on how Money is created, saved, spent, utilized and doled out; from the private sector to Washington D.C. Thing is it’s important to come to grips with the fact that there will be nothing new offered by either faction. What the “new” Republicans have in mind, whether it’s the No Government TEA Party enthusiasts or traditional party hacks, it will be no different than Goldwater or Reagan or Gingrich. And what the Democrats counter with will be another healthy dose of FDR, Clinton and Pelosi/Obama.

Not one candidate you will hear from has the guts to tell you what the real deal is. I dare you to find them.

What’s the real deal?

For starters the always populace idea that the national deficit is killing businesses, crushing the dollar, spiking unemployment and laying out a death sentence for our children will be discussed in general terms but with no solutions. This is because fifty percent of the American public eligible to do so fails to pay taxes. Another fifty percent of said public is receiving entitlement payouts.

Ouch.

No money coming in and tons going out create a deficit; from the corner lemonade stand to General Electric. There is no new math. It’s the same shit.

Now, what you’ll get is Republicans repeatedly pointing out both of these factoids, but with a glaring refusal to face the obvious: The nose-pinching decision to either raise taxes, overtly enforce or enhance the current tax laws, or cut a heaping share of entitlements.

All of these “options” are, of course, political suicide, even in a year wherein anyone not in charge is an acceptable alternative, no matter how brainless or bizarre. Not even conservatives have the balls to start fucking with people’s entitlements. That went the way of Calvin Coolidge and his doom-struck clan. Even the Mighty Ronnie Reagan saved Social Security and when the Lords of Newt scared enough of the elderly, they ran to the booths to re-elect the Minister of Fun.

What about hammering away at tax cheats, loopholes and shelters?

Sure.

This will happen. Next week.

Only the Democrats will start pitching that kind of nonsense, couched in atavistic Middle Class warfare rhetoric and the always-gangbusters anti-rich miasma, conveniently forgetting that from the dawn of civilization it is the ones with the Money who put Money on the Money tree. And since this is the Money Season, and definitely not the Democrat Season, this would also constitute a hot steaming bowl of political suicide.

But its desperation time in Dem Land and tossing out unconstitutional pogroms on the wealthy with randomly shifting tax laws, whether the ones in their favor or to penalize them, is expected. Not unlike Republicans suggesting emergency amendments denying another small segment of society — two percent or so — the right to marry.

Hell, like it or not — or having a political solution or not — there is not much wiggle room on either raising taxes or cutting benefits to lower the deficit or risk playing roulette with the tax laws in a time of economic crisis.

Hey, as long as we’re deep into the Money Season, it can’t go without saying this country has always been schizophrenic when it comes to the rich, from celebrities to moguls. We worship them, dream of becoming them, but despise them to the point of wanting to siphon their funds to lighten our tax burden.

This segues neatly into the approaching deadline to extend, revise or let go of the so-dubbed Bush Tax Cuts. Of course none of these options does a thing for the aforementioned national debt but pile upon it.

The Republican plan to perpetuate a non-funded hand-back raises the deficit three trillion. The Democratic plan to revise it and punish the top two percent of the economic equation jacks it to four trillion. No one, not one candidate or political play we are faced with does a thing to stop the deficit from climbing, let alone decrease it.

Not one.

No one.

Meanwhile, as the country was temporarily distracted by a 9/11 hoax hatched by superstitious goobers using their voodoo tome to motivate the burning of a rival’s superstitious falderal, the United States government was selling billions of dollars of weaponry to the very country from which our attackers and their mastermind hail, Saudi Arabia. A supposed American ally, just as the Afghans, Saddam Hussein and lately the backstabbing Pakistani government before them, the Saudis will likely gather taxpayer funded firearms to turn on us in a generation.

Perhaps that would be Money best used to tackle the above issues, but then selling weapons to the world is one of our hottest commodities, like construction, food and engines. It’s just that unless it’s killing machines, we import twice as much as we export, another recipe for economic woes and political fallout.

Hell, like it or not — or having a political solution or not — there is not much wiggle room on either raising taxes or cutting benefits to lower the deficit or risk playing roulette with the tax laws in a time of economic crisis.

Oh, and by the way, this whole deficit whining is mostly a scare tactic. Non-partisan experts pretty much agree that with the lowest interest rates on record the deficit is actually more manageable now than thirty years ago. It’s better to keep money in the pockets of those who can and will use it to create jobs and loan or borrow Money, perhaps even, if miracles are still available to us, create new and improved manufacturing vocations for a change. Many of the same experts figure it’s been a little over twenty years since the U.S. of A. has done anything close to that.

So hard choices need to be made and difficult truths need to be uttered.

None of this is forthcoming from anyone.

 

Reality Check | Pop Culture | Politics | Sports | Music

 

Read More

GOP 2010 Political Hammer

Aquarian Weekly 9/8/10 REALITY CHECK

GRAND OLD PARTY – HOW BIG IS THY HAMMER? Trends, Polls & History Spell Mid-Term Democrat Doom

What makes this election cycle so devastating for the Democrats is that the Republicans have had their numbers reduced so severely in the past two cycles. Republicans were reduced to 42.5 percent of the popular vote in 2008 – their lowest total since 1974. Their share of the two party vote (i.e. just Republicans and Democrats) was 44.5 percent. Even a dead-cat bounce in a neutral environment would have netted the Republicans twenty seats after plumbing those depths.

– Sean Trende “Bigger Than 1994”

Mark RubioDuring the summer of 1937, a time of enormous international political upheavals, from the rise of fascism to the spread of communism and an explosion of modern right wing revolt to the command of modern liberalism at home, the great author-wit, Dorothy Parker was asked to comment on which political party she belonged to. Parker, one of the great radical drunks in American letters, mused; “That not especially brave little band that hid its nakedness of heart and mind under the out-of-date garment of a sense of humor.” Thus marking out territory for this space and the entirety of the Reality Check News & Information Desk’s toil for the past 13 years; an aim to serve the outer limits of political judgment, considering neither the prevailing winds nor its humorous intent.

The winds, as is their wont in these shifting political times, have gone from predictable to historical according to one of the finest political columnists in this country, Sean Trende, who spends his spare time combing over an outlandishly bizarre collection of charts, graphs and polls to cobble together the odd opinion on political trends (pun duly intended). Trende is a warrior when it comes to laying it on the line, often re-printing his previous missteps and copping to weird shifts in prognostication. The above quote is a small gem from his most recent exhaustive discussion on the Real Clear Politics web site on the devastation awaiting the Democrats this autumn.

Trende, while a favorite of this space, is hardly alone. No one with half a brain or a bloated heart thinks the Democrats are not going to be pummeled this November, nor do those blissfully living in the ideological wilderness of the late Ms. Parker. The question has always been by how much? Or more to the point, how many seats can the Republicans snatch; 40 to 50? More? In turn, can the GOP retake control of congress and put the screws to the Obama agenda, pushing the president into the kind of legislative cramp that led to the repeated shut down of the federal government in 1995 and ’96.

In a perfect mid-term campaign world, the opposition party in power is weakened by a poor to horrid economy and a president who, while unnaturally popular at the time of his election two years prior, has taken broad steps in activity that have queered even those rooting for him. As stated in this space, Ronald Reagan’s first term comes to mind, but according to Trende and his mounds of research, the far-less iconic Bill Clinton in 1994 may be more apt.

The Republican PVQ polling percentage as of the time of this writing is also a rock hard ten percent — 51 percent to the Democrats 41 percent, an especially alarming swing since the Democrats obliterated the last vestiges of the Karl Rove Experiment just two years ago and delivered the White House with the most impressive victory in 40 years.

Although Trende’s more conservative approach rightly warns that the “Contract with America” Republicans not only had a unifying ideological agenda but was ushered in by an impressive surge of young lawyers, legislators and number-crunchers, who posed confidently as less fiery political hacks than a no-nonsense accounting firm. This year the Republicans are not only more “colorful” and playfully disjointed in their candidates’ personas, running the gamut from sacked CEOs to wives of former wrestlers, but the TEA Party movement’s chaotic “outside political gamesmanship” has them fractured as never before.

Since many Republican candidates are either spanking new or hardly set, and the embattled Democratic incumbents still regrouping, the general doom-speak perception in the press comes from generic polling, or what Trende and other junkies of his ilk refer to as the Popular Vote Quotient. In less wonky terms the PVQ registers voter confidence in or popularity for either party without mentioning a single candidate.

Trende uses the PVQ in pointing out key mid-term beatings by both political parties in similar volatile environments, such as the aforementioned Republican Revolution of 1994 and the Reagan backlash of ’82, but specifically former Republican uprisings not unlike this year in 1966, ’68, ’72, ’80, and ’86, wherein the GOP polled dramatically higher than Democrats but hit a ceiling in certain counties and districts which kept them from gaining the number of seats the Popular Vote Quotient portended.

This is all very interesting, but there is more than a good chance that because of the wild card TEA Party “outsiders” posing as Republicans and the always unpredictable two-headed opposition to the status quo, 2010 Republican gains could approach 60.

As Trende states in his piece; not since 1932 when merely admitting your allegiance to the Republican Party, much less representing it as a candidate meant a very real threat of tar & feathering, has the opposition party hit this kind of jackpot. Democrats that year, when the crippling damages of the Great Depression vaulted FDR into power, jumped an astounding ten percent in polling from 46 percent to 56 percent, netting 97 congressional seats in the process.

The Republican PVQ polling percentage as of the time of this writing is also a rock hard ten percent — 51 percent to the Democrats 41 percent, an especially alarming swing since the Democrats obliterated the last vestiges of the Karl Rove Experiment just two years ago and delivered the White House with the most impressive victory in 40 years.

Assuming Trende’s historical postulation holds up, the Republicans might not be able to count on crushing 1932 numbers, but then no time in American history has there been a lower polling of congress or less trust and reverence for political figures. Merely considering the kind of kooks that are popping up all over the hinterlands these days, on both sides of the political fence, there appears to be no candidate litmus beyond the choosing of someone for an office they either openly despise or aim to transform into a personal soap box.

Whether throwing all these statistics and reference points into the cauldron that is the 2010 political landscape is wise at this juncture is anyone’s guess. But with less than 60 days remaining to Election Day, it is unlikely a drastic rebound in the economic indicators or a GOP implosion could slow the current anti-incumbent momentum.

But since all politics is local and national polls tend to be poor-to-dismal finite indicators, there is nothing left to do but cast votes; the preponderance of which will not be for Democrats.

Reality Check | Pop Culture | Politics | Sports | Music

 

Read More

Victory For Gay Rights & America 2010

Aquarian Weekly 8/11/10 REALITY CHECK

VICTORY FOR LIBERTY & JUSTICE FOR ALL How the Fight for Gay Marriage Remains Alive & Well

Tradition alone cannot form a rational basis for a law.– Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker upon overturning California’s Proposition 8 to ban gay marriage unconstitutional

God bless America.

It is the greatest nation on the planet, for its governed by the rule of law and not that of majority moral conviction, religious fervor or the whims of the elite or the blather of ignorance and fear. It has stood fast against the forces of enslavement, civil injustice and a strangely reoccurring superstitious perpetuation of discrimination. The echoes of Thomas Jefferson’s most precious ideal; that “all men are created equal” may have been ignored at first, diluted by the times, manifest in period and geographic prejudices, and fueled undaunted by the disdain of the status quo, but was soon exalted, as it must in a country boasting from on high that its land be made free.

Rights For AllHere is a rather important portion of Article XIV of our beloved Constitution (which some crazy people are currently pitching to repeal, because they have horse dung for brain tissue): “No state shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property without due process of law, nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.”

Yee-Ha!

These core ideals, the very fabric of a cause of liberty and a noble Bill of Rights, solidified in the ever-evolving Constitution of these United States (the above “Equal Protection Clause” was added in 1868) gives rise this week to the most important court ruling since the Civil Rights era; the complete and utter rejection of California’s ridiculous Proposition 8. A child with the most basic understanding of middle-school civics could have come to the same conclusion as that of Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker, who has ruled that Prop 8 is “unconstitutional under both the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the U.S. Constitution.”

Of course it is.

Of course denying basic civil rights to tax paying members of this purported free society is not only a blight on our trumped-up sense of national pride, it makes a mockery of our veiled but continued attempt to lecture a good portion of the rest of the world on their human rights abuses. For the entire dozen-plus years I have been filling this space with my bent ideas and half-baked concepts, there has never been a more perplexing case; this denial of basic civil rights, which for some unseemly reason has been cast in votes (in 31 states over 10 years) and debated in churches and private sector forums. It’s a goddamn Right, not the placement of a traffic light or the disbursement of funds to irrigation valleys. Why are we voting on who has access to the Bill of Rights?

Guess what, jack?

In his 135-page ruling, (in this author’s judgment, a more wonderfully thought-provoking and masterfully worded screed of constitutional interpretation has yet to be compiled) Judge Walker, a G.H. Bush appointee, stated that same-sex couples have a fundamental right to marry the person of their choosing, regardless of their gender or sexual orientation, because “describing marriage as being simply between one man and one woman is an artifact of a foregone notion that men and women fulfill different roles in civic life.”

Bing-fuckin’-O.

The very idea that we allowed votes on this fundamental issue of basic civil rights is one of the great embarrassments of this or any century around here. And to think, it was never even denied on the grounds of the most outlandish understanding of the law or the Constitution, its Bill of Rights, or a goddamned thing this republic was founded and continues to persist on; liberty and justice for all.

Therefore, again — of course — the argument for denying the rights of American citizens based on some atavistic, superstitious, (gulp!) religious notion has so little merit it becomes a form of grotesque tragic comedy performed by the most irrational among us.

“That the majority of California voters supported Proposition 9 is irrelevant.” writes Walker. “Fundamental rights may not be submitted to a vote; they depend on the outcome of no elections.”

In fact, Walker correctly ruled, “Moral disapproval alone is an improper basis on which to deny rights to gay men and lesbians. The evidence shows conclusively that Proposition 8 enacts, without reason, a private moral view that same-sex couples are inferior to opposite-sex couples.”

Reason trumps Moral Private View; got it.

Enter stage right, the Equal Protection Clause, which was the key to another landmark ruling last month in Massachusetts in which a federal judge also ruled that the federal Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) violated the Constitution.

Moreover, as a key part of his ruling, Judge Walker goes on to discuss social matters of gender and race inequalities, both of which litter our recent history of civil rights abuses (until as recently as 1967, men and women of different races were forbidden to marry in 16 states) and which sadly the majority of Americans supported.

The very idea that we allowed votes on this fundamental issue of basic civil rights is one of the great embarrassments of this or any century around here. And to think, it was never even denied on the grounds of the most outlandish understanding of the law or the Constitution, its Bill of Rights, or a goddamned thing this republic was founded and continues to persist on; liberty and justice for all.

Evidence of this appears throughout the 138-page ruling, which recounts in stirring detail a parade of incredulous testimony by unsubstantiated “experts” that made no attempt beyond moral outrage and dire predictions of fires in the streets and Satan laughing. (I shit you not, read the damn thing). The Emperor was not only butt naked; he was certifiably insane and had the balls to wield a measure of unchecked power.

Not anymore, bub.

And now, it is on to the Supreme Court — the ultimate destination for this imperative civil rights decision, and for the two attorneys that chose to defend liberty, Ted Olson, who represented G.W. Bush in the famous 2000 general election Gore v. Bush battle, and his partner, the opponent in that very same case, David Boies. Not only does this politically bi-partisan legal team expect an appeal, they welcome it, as hinted in several places of Judge Walker’s ruling, wherein he evoked the name of Supreme Court Judge Anthony Kennedy, who over the years in several disparate cases has steadfastly decided on the side of gay rights. Not to mention the 80, that’s right, fans of the “crazy knee-jerk judge usurping the will of the people and moral superiority”, 80 detailed statements of fact.

And so August 4, 2010 becomes another in a long line of seminal dates in the spiral of American history; a victory for all Americans, who are perhaps a few years from saying we’re closer to providing all citizens with the rights granted by the blood, treasure, and maverick brilliance that beats in humanity’s finest experiment in liberty.

It’s about time.

Reality Check | Pop Culture | Politics | Sports | Music

 

Read More

McChrystal Sacked, So?

Aquarian Weekly 6/30/10 REALITY CHECK

G.I. JOKE U.S. Military’s Revolving Generals & Endless Campaigns of Chaos

New commander-in-chief, same old crap; the United States Armed Forces is in chaos. Already recovering from decades of abysmal derailments and disasters in Korea and Viet Nam to ill-fated underground black-ops from Cuba to Nicaragua to Beirut, and the latest nonsense begun by the dumbly-fabricated braggadocio of Desert Storm and its baby brother in the half-assed colonizing of Iraq to the longest running campaign in American history in Afghanistan, the once proudly invincible U.S. military has now become our longest running pun.

Stanely McChrystalLess than two days after a freelance journalist coerced the commander of international forces in Afghanistan to commit professional suicide in the pages of whatever cheap imitation of pop culture schlock is now Rolling Stone magazine, President Barack Obama was forced to relieve General Stanley McChrystal of his duties. At least the disgraced and quite obviously half-mad general will no longer have to face the embarrassing possibility of retiring during what started out nine years ago as a vengeance jag for 9/11 and to bag its architect, the long-dead Osama bin Laden, but after the loss of 1,000 American lives and a projected cost of $1 trillion has become something of its own tragic comedy.

For the president, embroiled in a half dozen looming and already raging domestic disasters, it is bad timing to say the least. This is Obama’s war, and McChrystal is his man, or was his man, as the swift half-hour White House meeting of 6/23 would attest, the substance of which had the insubordinate general out and the hero of overdue mop-ups, General David Petraeus in. Later that afternoon, a visibly angered president took to the Rose Garden and tried his best to gloss over what has been an overlooked sinkhole of his administration — long debated and dissented by close advisers.

It was the very same advisers, along with the vice president and the president himself, who McChrystal and his aides casually mocked from the fringes of the battlefield, on the record and during operations, to a left-leaning rock periodical. A more damaging sabotage of morale and decorum is difficult to contrive beyond a blatantly defiant Douglas McCarthur-like implosion. It was as if the rot of what has become the ceaseless fighting in a desert wasteland pocked with hidden caves and unforgiving mountain ridges had frayed the edges of the U.S. Army’s top brass. The focus of the RS piece, “The Runaway General,” is not merely the bent rant of an over-worked and rancorously loose-lipped army lifer, but a manifestation of the abject lunacy which permeates an uncertain end game to a War on Terror mismanaged for so long by so many voices and fought by so many brave and run-ragged forces it emerges as a dizzying inertia of bedlam.

It stretches even the most elastic credibility to believe in this day of media by the second and by everyone coming from everywhere that even a man resembling a less provocative but no less puzzling Colonel Kurtz from Coppola’s Apocalypse Now could be so irresponsible or haphazardly calculating to publicly call the National Security Adviser “a clown” or paint his commander-in-chief as “uncomfortable with military leaders and initially unengaged on defense policy”. Then, after being presented the finished article prior to its publication, approved its content without so much as an obligatory retraction. The whole shebang reeks of a symptom of a disease beyond this president and his war or his commanders and their last vestiges of a “strategy”.

Things have not gone well for Obama and McChrystal in Afghanistan, as they had not for George W. Bush for the last seven years of his presidency, or the Soviets in the 1980s, the British Empire in the late 1800s, Genghis Kahn in the early part of the 13th Century, or Alexander the Great way back in 338 BC.

The latest being the very same McChrystal’s oft-delayed siege of Kandahar, which after months of planning was scheduled for “soon”, but by the timeline of how the “war” has gone for most of its duration, will likely launch sometime around Christmas 2012. Touted as the pivotal battle to what candidate and now President Obama has called the critical frontline of the aforementioned War on Terror, its snags simmer below the surface of the general’s queer and very public commentary.

Things have not gone well for Obama and McChrystal in Afghanistan, as they had not for George W. Bush for the last seven years of his presidency, or the Soviets in the 1980s, the British Empire in the late 1800s, Genghis Kahn in the early part of the 13th Century, or Alexander the Great way back in 338 BC. The enthusiasm of a new and improved “counterinsurgency” plan to take out Taliban 2.0, which stressed the always-popular road show of “overwhelming on-the-ground force coupled with an amped-up effort to win hearts and minds”, has soured into a tail-chasing bloodbath slowly losing traction with a majority of the voting public.

For many mind-bending reasons, over 60 percent of Americans polled in the winter of 2008 favored a ramped-up Afghan policy. Despite years of dismantling the original Taliban, backed up by the occasional failures to secure the country, and then what amounted to a dormant exit strategy in order to better run roughshod over Iraq; which if you haven’t checked lately is still rolling along, there were still some people willing to believe. Of course that willing constituency, after a year and a half of a doom-struck re-packaged plan, has sunk to around 40 percent or so. But plummeting support from the citizenry meant nothing for the better part of the last decade and looks to have crapped out now.

Into the breach strolled the high command to jam his standard-issued boot into his flapping maw, a grand mistake that has now likely set things back even further. Something that not only infuriated the president, since he had bought into the entire McChrystal war plan, but has rankled high-level Republicans in congress, who all stand firm with the president — no small feat considering that no matter the issue almost none of whom have so much as budged in Obama’s direction. It is especially odd when considering the current anti-incumbent landscape and the fast-approaching mid-term elections.

The only explanation for such a maneuver is that with no end in sight, and most of the legislature unable to wash nine years of blood from its hands, they’re all-in. But politics, lunatics and Jann Wenner’s flaccid rag aside, the most pressing issue is the sad state of the United States military; spread frighteningly thin and literally holding a shifting line in the sand. How mush shit are these poor people expected to eat before someone with half a brain ends the insanity?

The answer the president gave to this question would come as he concluded his post-McChrystal Rose Garden address by stating that the change in leadership is not a change in policy. And thus, the Pentagon, in a banner year boasting at least a $700 billion budget, more than 10 times that of the State Department, will continue to toil in the world’s deadest of ends; making the Obama pledge to begin the withdrawal of the 94,000 American troops in Afghanistan by July 2011 the biggest joke of all.

 

Reality Check | Pop Culture | Politics | Sports | Music

 

Read More

Obama Loses Left

Aquarian Weekly 6/23/10 REALITY CHECK

EXIT STAGE LEFT Obama at a Crossroads with Progressives

What the battle over national health care could only portend has now come into glaring reality in the wake of the BP Oil Gusher, which is well into month two and showing no signs of slowing. It is official; the president of the United States has lost the Left.

All the crazy talk from the extreme Right about birth certificates and irrational blabbering about a weird amalgam of fascism and communism with a dollop of radicalism mixed in has masked the growing unrest on the side that counts for Barack Obama. There is no presidency without the Left and certainly no prayer of a second term either.

Unlikely PairIt appears that by the third paragraph of his first Oval Office address things for Liberal Central have gone from sickly to flat-lined for Joe Cool. Perhaps it’s a penchant to wait an agonizingly long time to chime in on events that directly affect his presidency or his almost detached sense of intellectual miasma that has raised the ire of his most rabid supporters, but whatever lip service the Obama address paid to a need for alternative energy and environmental concerns, the broaching of which had the Right in a predicable froth, turned out to be nothing more than a fart in the wind for liberals.

No carbon tax. No Cap & Trade. No steadfast demand for a detailed Energy Bill or a harsher rebuke for Big Oil.

The Left had first whispered, then wailed about what is now pretty much universally accepted as the worst man-made environmental disaster in the history of this nation becoming another missed opportunity to jam home legislation to reshape the country. As it seems was the failure to include a Single Payer Option in the watered down Health Care Bill or a stronger demand for Immigration Reform as the ethnic, cultural, and social lines were being drawn in Arizona. Not to mention the still open-for-business Gitmo after huge revelations of illegal torture techniques sanctioned by the previous administration. Oh, and by the way, there are still two wars a-raging, one that has now become this president’s own dubious gamble in Afghanistan.

But the BP disaster is such a slam dunk for the Left and its many environmentalists vs. big business crowd, it appears almost comical that what they believed in the autumn of 2008 was their president would not exploit it more fervently, as say the glut of neo-cons who dove headlong into a complete Middle East reconstruction during the country’s lust for vengeance following 9/11.

For a short time these past weeks there was an outcry about the president’s lack of leadership during this crisis, which on the surface appears dumb, but when studied more closely, is patently asinine. Leadership? Did we need fireside chats or blustery speeches? Maybe we were looking for him to don a flak jacket and fishing togs and stroll along the surf shaking his head despondently, giving impromptu press conferences while hosing down cranes.

You guys are our sugar daddies and we’ll take our beatings and eat your dung and turn around and thank you so very much. We sleep with the great whore and we sleep well.

So of course the White House brain trust comes up with bright idea to sit Joe Cool at the Oval Office to say the same thing every president for the past half century has said about “weaning ourselves from a dependence on oil” and “developing alternative energies” and “holding Big Oil accountable” and “devising new regulations”, while calling for a series of special commissions to dig fancy trenches under the sea.

It was hardly Obama’s finest moment and registered uncharted rancor among liberals everywhere from the media to college campuses to the furthest reaches of intelligentsia. Many wept like children, others just bitched like, well, bitches.

And although the Left went ballistic on the last two Democratic presidents, it is still astounding how much this one, a different model on so many levels, resembles the last truly effective Republican chief executive.

After the first two years it was becoming glaringly evident to all in the Reagan administration that the Right had gone from intermittent gripers to an outright mutiny. Complaints of The Gipper being soft on the Russians, cow towing to the stalwarts in congress, and revealing a more reserved sense of compromise and level headedness that resembled nothing of the rousing candidate they had championed so fervently, Reagan’s once soaring approval ratings dipped severely as he faced a good old-fashioned mid-term horse-whipping.

Like Obama, a charismatic symbol of the newly charged era of progressivism, Reagan’s repackaged conservatism made him a different breed of Republican. But what Reagan learned and Obama has now come to realize is that when expectations to take down the status quo and wreck the system from the Right or the Left is met with the rigors and demands of actually running the immovable monstrosity that is the Free World, there remains for your hardcore base only disappointment.

Obama’s Health Care Crusade in the face of rising unemployment and at best a vacillating economic recovery, sent much of his Independent support running, but despite lukewarm to despondent reaction from the Left, whose majority believe its results a grotesque genuflect to insurance moguls, the BP spill has become the last straw.

Mere months after one of the most unlikely and politically savvy victories of any president, Barack Obama has reached the critical crossroads of his presidency. With far less experience than Reagan and with a much less empathetic rival party, which has treated his first two years as if he were more usurper than elected official, Obama has to use the Reagan model of small victories, appear unifying, and begin to rebuild a trust inevitably eroded by the toughest gig of them all.

One of the greatest lessons to be learned from the unerringly positive approach to politics displayed by the Gipper when times get tough is to tell your base if they don’t like it they can go back to the way things were with the other guys in charge.

Then blame everything else on the press.

Reality Check | Pop Culture | Politics | Sports | Music

 

Read More

Chris Christie’s Faux Revolution 2010

Aquarian Weekly 5/26/10 REALITY CHECK

N.J. FAUX REVOLUTION 2010 Checking in on Governor Chris Christie’s Reduce-Government Experiment

When the Reality Check News & Information Desk moved its operations to the mountains of Northwestern New Jersey in the late summer of 2001, there was some trepidation as to the level of local politics it would cover. There had been major fallout in New York from years of underhanded and admittedly vicious attacks, not to mention ill-conceived unabashed mockery from Albany to Gracie Mansion, never mind Westchester contacts that became both rankled and legally vindictive. But the pull of N.J. politics and its tawdry history wet our appetite for shenanigans like never before.

Chris Christie In WonderlandWhen called upon we came with swords sharpened, but usually stayed out of the “regular dealings”. Even now when called by friends and most recently my esteemed attorney to join a fight on school budgets and the teachers’ union, we tend to balk. This is not out from lack of concern or civic duty, but a regrettable deficiently of faith that any type of petition, rally, or endless political meandering could curtail The Machine.

It was a flaccid and mostly mean-spirited expose of The Machine that this space eventually offered to the Huffington Post upon its request last year for us to make heads or tails of what regularly goes on in this state. Motivated by our two-part investigative piece in 2004 entitled, “Notes From The Cesspool”, the popular liberally-based news site asked yours truly to expound on our published assessment that “the Garden State had reached an enviable level of corruption so fantastic it trumps the nightmare that is Florida.”

Once again the veiled attempt to paint an understandable framework to N.J. political doings ended in my final salvo which concluded that “politics here is akin to a social dizziness, a kind of all-encompassing paranoia, like Steven King’s Jack Torrence wielding mallets at his family for a shot of beer.”

And this is what current governor, Chris Christie took ownership of this past January, becoming the first Republican to run this mess in a dozen years. Christie’s aim, stemming from the fervor gripping the entire nation in this The Year of the Faux Revolution, wherein taxes must be cut as entitlements grow or at the very least keep rolling along untouched, was to slash the state’s bloated budget and make the hard choices in cutting into N.J.’s massive deficits.

Problem for Christie, as it is across the nation, as recent primaries and soon-to-be mid-term elections portend, is two-fold: As much as the citizenry rails against taxation, it also does not want its stuff taken away, and that’s where Democrats — which run the state’s legislature and will likely (despite national Republican gains this fall) will be running the legislature come 2011.

Christie, once a symbol of anti-establishment uprising, has now become The Man. The fickle public has once again seen the sacrificial way of The Budget Cut, and it is not happy.

Christie, once a symbol of anti-establishment uprising, has now become The Man. The fickle public has once again seen the sacrificial way of The Budget Cut, and it is not happy. This fuels Democrats to cry, “I told you so” and then to fuel fears of going without while completely ignoring the obvious need to choose between endless government-provided measures, from stop lights to libraries, and lowering an exploding deficit hardly ceased by an expanding tax burden.

The backlash against Christie’s proposed school budget cuts and general state-run services has been rabid. Many of the same groups polled, and eventually those who rushed to the voting booths to sweep in an anti-incumbent, anti-big government, tax cutting, fiscally responsible alternative, are now roundly pissed. These are the same socially liberal and fiscally moderate independents, as well as so-called hardline blue dog Democrats and staunchly conservative Republicans who had swung more to the Left than ever before in 2008, and were then roundly pissed at what they believed was a snow job by our current president.

Mainly, these people; whoever they are and whatever they represent, do not know what the hell they want. Either that or they are incapable of dealing with the parameters of reality as presented by measuring factoids, like, for instance, simple math.

N.J. Democrats, for their part, have been crying “tax cuts for the rich are not fiscally responsible and leave the middle class wanting”, which has a certain comforting if not recidivist ring to it. Ultimately controlling the coffers, and using the tide of “keep your hands off my entitlements and keep my kids in schools and make damn sure cops are patrolling my neighborhood and garbage is picked up weekly” to battle Christie’s hard-swallowing budget proposals has sent us all back to Square One.

Hence the recently proposed Millionaires Tax sent to the governor’s desk as this goes to press, which will most assuredly be vetoed by Christie, despite his backtracking on eliminating senior property tax rebates in his current budget plan. Christie, who has been chewing daily on humble reality pie of his own, now sees the silly notion of actually balancing budgets and cutting taxes in a state where there is an expected level of living, which is highly expensive and never fully paid for, but continues to roll along madly. As if finally giving into the delusion of his electorate, Christie claims with the restored benefits, the budget could still be balanced.

This kind of talk renders the Christie Experiment in Change as neutered and useless as what has become of the country’s perspective on Barack Obama’s attempt at such a notion. And it will absolutely put the kibosh on the populist rage that swept 47 year-old Rand Paul — a fair Libratarianm but lousy politician — into the national spotlight; another post-Boomer type that ignores the writing on the wall, which reads in bold caps: GOOD LUCK, SUCKER.

So let New Jersey’s misfortune in No Solution is Palatable be a lesson to the rest of the nation.

Unless someone actually has the balls to raise taxes to pay for more stuff or cut taxes and ignore the public’s hue and cry in getting less stuff, there will be another election between bellowing billboards with fancy ties propped by powerful slogans which will result in the same old song and story.

Reality Check | Pop Culture | Politics | Sports | Music

 

Read More

Arizona Calling (SB1070)

Aquarian Weekly 5/12/10 REALITY CHECK

ARIZONA CALLING How Law 2010 Pushes Immigration Reform to the Brink

Though many people will disagree, I believe Senate Bill 1070 is what’s best for Arizona. – Governor Jan Brewer upon signing into law Senate Bill 1070 on 4/30

Jan Brewer's Mighty Pen Upon the launching of my web site in the early months of 2000, a 3,000-word screed from a concerned Arizona law officer was posted on its now defunct Sound-Off page. It emphatically stated that if in the following decade the United States government didn’t do something about the state’s “sieve border security”; there would be “terrible bloodshed” and “dire consequences”.

Bingo.

Fast forward those ten years, and Arizona now has a Wild West showdown of murderous proportions, whose death toll rivals the slaughterhouses in Iraq and Afghanistan.

A grievous dereliction in the federal government’s duty to provide for the common defense and preserve U.S. sovereignty, long derided in this space, has reached such a pressure point in Arizona that its local government thought it necessary to enact what amounts to an abject mockery of constitutional law.

SB1070, rubber stamped by Governor Jan Brewer, is nothing more than a hand-cupping, throat-shredding scream for help.

Mission accomplished.

For the bellow has been heard loud and clear.

Worded very much as the last vestige of survival, stemming from a Mexican drug lord war spill-over which has resulted in a plethora of random beatings, stabbings and collateral violence against Arizona’s citizens, the 1070 Law could not have hoped to survive a national outcry of racial profiling and unconstitutional tyranny, but more importantly the bevy of ensuing lawsuits and a predictable Washington intervention.

Fact is Brewer and the Arizona Senate ran out of legal and sane options. Because no one in an ostensibly free society could accept Law 1070 as a sane or legal option; in fact, the thing is so completely irresponsible, it even leaves the police at risk.

To wit:

The law lists a Context of Arrests; in other words, the fashion in which the Arizona police are to enforce it: Routine policing (bar brawl, speed trap), Routine suspicion (no hunches), and Not relying solely on race.

How then, you may rightly ask, is anyone going to effectively round up illegal aliens, of which by the way there are — according to the Office of Homeland Security (your tax dollars at waste) — 460.000 in Arizona today, without racially profiling, working on hunches, or going beyond “routine policing”?

The answer is they cannot. Thus, the 1070 Law is set up to fail, or at the very least, set up to cause illegal search and seizures, police-state abuses, and those rough-and-ready lawsuits. Truth is the damn thing is an atavistic draconian national embarrassment.

And yet this brilliantly directed showpiece by Arizona lawmakers, fronted dramatically by their governor, has now fully engaged the federal government and our president, who correctly pointed out in numerous speeches hence the law’s ridiculous constitutional liability and hardly a concrete answer to what now amounts to a new and improved concern for Immigration Reform.

Once again: Mission accomplished.

The mere fact that the president is on this subject, faced with massive oil spills, a Tennessee flood disaster, a Time Square terrorist plot, and the endless financial reform histrionics, is a bell-ringing success for crazy bill gone even crazier law.

Make no mistake about it; because of Arizona’s desperate and wholly reckless legal hissy fit, the nation’s eyes are now squarely focused on what has been an escalating problem for states bordering Mexico. It is no longer merely an argument about fining businesses who employ illegal aliens, their free health care or running under the radar of national security and other tertiary criminal activities. Now it’s lunatic drug dealers and gun runners blasting away at suburbanites; mothers and children being hacked to bits on street corners and the elderly bludgeoned by thugs who waltzed unhindered across our border.

This is why 70% of Arizonans back the law, just as you would too, if you were frightened for your life. Intellectually, there is a reason to raise eyebrows, as I surely did in the months following 9/11, as Air Force fighter planes whizzed the East River or tanks remained parked outside the Lincoln tunnel. Overkill? Police state? Or a reasonable response to a horrible breech of national security.

There is little arguing the law’s ratification as anything other than unconstitutional chicanery or the wild plea for federal assistance long overdue, but it does come with some precedence.

Since 1940, federal law has dictated that aliens must carry papers, such as U.S. citizens keeping passports at the ready in foreign countries, including all of Europe. Moreover, since 1976, the Supreme Court has recognized that states may enact laws to discourage illegal immigration without being pre-empted by federal law. As long as Congress hasn’t expressly forbidden the state law in question, the statute doesn’t conflict with federal law and Congress has not displaced all state laws from the field, it is permitted. This is why Arizona’s 2007 law making it illegal to knowingly employ unauthorized aliens was sustained by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Basically, it seems, Arizona can do whatever the hell it wants, save Martial Law, which is pretty much next.

Ah, that is until the vagaries of carrying out the law — the whole reason we have laws is the penalty levied if said laws are broken — then a great deal of problems arise. And the backlash is going to be expensive in an economic downturn. Therefore, without further ado, I give you, with the teeth of a rabid dog, the federal government’s time to face the music. Suddenly, amidst the wrangling over Health Care Reform and Financial Reform, bailouts and stimulus packages, here comes a state begging Big Government to do its job or else.

Don’t think this will not be an issue come November when the Live Free Or Die set and their candidates of choice weight in on its aftermath, from civil libertarians to xenophobes.

Mission accomplished.

Reality Check | Pop Culture | Politics | Sports | Music

 

Read More

Our Case Against Financial Reform

Aquarian Weekly 5/5/10 REALITY CHECK

G-R-E-E-D Humanity’s Case Against Financial Reform

I tried to break the spell–the heavy, mute spell of the wilderness–that seemed to draw him to its pitiless breast by the awakening of forgotten and brutal instincts, by the memory of gratified and monstrous passions. – Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness

Two men watch as two wolves struggle for survival. The first wolf is kindness, the other is greed. One man asks, ‘Which wolf will triumph?’ The other smiles and says; “The one I fed.” – Native American Proverb

Goldman SachsThe principle hazard of the columnist trade is its guarantees of repetition. The aim is to take a fresh angle to arguments or unfolding current events and spin them in a readable and oft times, hopefully, convincing manner. We do none of that here. Repetition to the point of revulsion is our practice. You would be correct in assuming it something of an art form. It may be presented in various and mainly vulgar and chaotic ways, but it is nonetheless the same tired crap.

For nearly fourteen years now, the Reality Check News & Information Desk has regurgitated one particular point — whether dealing with politics, social issues, pop culture, art, music, sports, or civilization’s frailties and triumphs — that human nature is what it is, and no matter how one wishes, hopes, even prays to alter it through speeches, protests, laws and other tawdry over-reaching miasma, it remains human nature.

And nothing in the realm of human nature is as strongly defined, nurtured, and set alight than greed.

Freud and his minions would argue sex, and others of a more spiritual slant would cite love, but they are both way off. Love & Sex are emotional offshoots of greed. From the moment a child latches onto a breast for milk or grabs some inanimate object and attaches a sense of self-esteem and comfort to it, irrationally blurting, “Mine!” thus begins a sense of entitlement and destiny engendered in a spirit yearning to breath free. It is nothing more than greed; pure, unblemished, and groaning with hormones.

Egalitarian all-for-one-and-one-for-all concepts are unnatural. Sharing; the most selfless act we teach our youth, is unnatural. Do you share your spouse? Maybe, if there is a special arrangement and it’s kind of your thing, but mostly, you don’t. You also don’t share your home, but for a few days or a room or two, or your car or your bank account, unless it is part of another spousal arrangement, and so on. These are possessions granted as such by a free society. It is the blessed freedom to build ownership, but, alas, also the freedom to lose it.

This is the beauty of America; in all its horror and glory. The liberty bestowed on our human nature, unbeknownst to generations of peoples from all over the globe, allows us to find out about ourselves. This has led to terrific progress, greatness, and societal evolution; well documented in volumes of U.S. history, and it stands to reason that the no-so flattering elements are also part of that history.

It is a history built on the freedom to break it all down to one common denominator; greed. A bunch of British landowners wanting to gain ownership of property — a word denoting greed — carved out of the wilderness. Period. Basically, the Declaration of Independence is a 1,338 word hosanna to “Mine”! This country’s entire formation, foundation, and evolution in a brutally and furiously free nature, is all about G-r-e-e-d.

Its ultimate manifestation is Wall St.; the speculation of trade, commerce and economic fluidity; where the everyman to the titan can take his most precious commodities and send them adrift on a wing and a prayer, striving for fortune with a modicum of fear it may disappear in a puff of smoke. And if the art form of the columnist is repetition, then those who call Wall St. home deal in prognostication, and all the manipulation and subterfuge that comes with it. Guess work. Con artistry. The enticement of the gamble — the definitive greed high.

A risky place to play with human nature, but one built on it most primeval form. It beats in us, as a heart of darkness.

Certain members of our society, some in the media, and others in our churches and most in a civic capacity, tend to separate human nature from our institutions. It is an easy target, mainly because institutions are so prevalent. It is simpler to cast generalities upon subjects we don’t like and ignore the diametrically opposed equation when something we do like is attacked in the very same fashion. This allows for human nature to define, for instance, something like Wall St. bankers or massive investment firms with their cloudy vernacular and inside jargon, as an evil conglomerate.

Of course this is nonsense. Evil is just an intangible quality we attach to shit that doesn’t work in our favor. It is used against us when those in opposition want to paint us with the same broad stroke, whether al Qaeda or some other ridiculous palaver, as we in turn use it to wipe them out.

If anything, Wall St. and everything it stands for is based solely and completely, and I dare say, uncompromisingly on our inherent lust for greed.

Make no mistake about it, Wall St. exists because people want to make money, not advance society or observe moral obligations, or serve the greater good. Sometimes these ideas happen as a consequence of “making money”, but more times than not, it’s the bottom line. Its aim is to feed the greed, and use our freedom to grab the brass ring in any way, shape or form it can.

But then when those freedoms are “abused”, as in the case with much of the crazed feeding frenzy that sank the economic solvency of the Western World in late 2008, whether it’s massive banks or irresponsible investment gurus, a fantasy housing market or other tried-and-true free market scams, the ensuing outcry rings a tad hypocritical.

Do people take their assumingly hard-earned cash and dump it into a system to buoy the spirit of humankind or prop up the economic structure of its people at large? Or do they do it to grow it for a sense of financial security — another buzzword for greed.

Big dividends/Big losses; all part of the free market society, which explores the very nature of our being. But people being people, we love the former part of the equation and the latter not so much. If the latter happens then things must be regulated and controlled and goddamn it people have to go to jail for acting like…well. acting like us, only on a much wilder and wholly criminal way, of course.

I’ve recently heard an alarming number of our citizenry, from the president to many pundits and politicians claim that the free market system does not exclusively subsist for greed, that it is not some bizarrely massive casino, and that somehow the freedom to make scratch is outweighed by the thorny issue of losing one’s shirt.

This is gobbledygook, like vapid yakking about Founding Fathers and American Spirit and Shining Cities on Hills.

Freedom, really true freedom, allows for human nature to run its course, and to regulate, castigate and investigate its ambitions runs counter to our own nature, the nature to grab and hold and keep away from others.

Like what I told the jeering throng at the NJ TEA Party Tax Day extravaganza two weeks ago; if you really want freedom, true American, unhinged freedom, be prepared to have a stark and yawning chasm between winners and losers, survivors and victors.

Financial Reform?

Good luck.

Reality Check | Pop Culture | Politics | Sports | Music

 

Read More

2010 U.S. Allies Run Amok

Aquarian Weekly 4/14/10 REALITY CHECK

WITH FRIENDS LIKE THESE…

Rumors of Afghani President Hamid Karzai’s drug use in the wake of his inflammatory anti-American comments are highly suspect. While it is true that Karzai has an insatiable appetite for chewing pure hashish bricks, it would be hard to tie this activity to the insane gibberish he decided to announce to his people after meeting with the president of the United States two weeks ago. Drugs are merely an excuse for being a self-destructive asshole. Stating that the U.S. fixed an election he won and that its armies, which now keep him from being executed, must leave or he will join those who aim to execute him is the talk of an idiot, not a hash fiend.

Hamid KarzaiKarzai suffers less from drug abuse than politics. He is a politician, and as such, must play to his base, which consists of religious lunatics with an irrational hatred of western values or some such voodoo bullshit. Moreover, many of these constituents see Karzai as an American stooge. He must turn this around quickly, faced with a looming deadline in which the crucial U.S. presence in that lunatic asylum ends.

Karzai’s loose-canon babbling matters little, since his days are numbered. Anyone with any grasp of Middle East political savvy has given him less than a week to live the minute the last marine leaves. What does matter is that Karzai is just one of several U.S. allies continuing to act smugly in the face of our generosity and military sacrifice. At least Karzai has the balls to be a two-faced conniver, unlike the last president of his former neighbor, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, who kissed America’s ass for years after 9/11 to hide the embezzling of millions of U.S. tax dollars.

Musharraf and Karzai are symptoms of this antiquated U.S. foreign policy that was rightfully born during the Second World War but continued haphazardly during the Cold War; this penchant to capture the hearts and minds of nations through force, executions, and coups to better promote democracy and freedom throughout the world to the point of military disaster and near bankruptcy.

The tribal kill-tank that is today’s Afghanistan is an unfortunate offshoot of America’s secret war to kick the Soviets out in the 1980s, which was left to disintegrate into chaos once the job was complete. Another fine example of the U.S. spending blood and treasure to correct its original foreign policy catastrophe.

For an even more pertinent model, check out Iraq. As stated ad nauseum in this space for years, despite naive drivel that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11; if the first George Bush didn’t play war hero in Kuwait, there would have been no U.S. military presence on “holy ground” and al Qaeda would not have had a prime source for causing the kind of havoc it did in the 1990s, which lead inevitably to the horrors of 9/11.

These are tough economic times. Extravagances like being responsible for the survival of an ungrateful and obstinate pack of morons must be addressed.

The worst part of the whole Afghanistan/Iraq goofiness is the United States did not get the proposed stranglehold on oil riches after decades of playing half-baked neo-con dunderheaded international three-card monte with half the region.

Then we have the always-intriguing call for democracy in Palestine, which was made manifest in open elections wherein the people chose a world-class terrorist outfit. Not to mention it is perfectly legal for citizens of Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, two main allies we liberated and protected, to openly donate funds to al Qaeda.

But the Arabs are only half the problem here.

Nowhere in the Fourth Estate is there a more pro-Israel stance than exhibited in this space. It has raged for years about its sovereignty and applauded its military brilliance, but this latest nonsense with that strutting ass, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over treaty-busting settlements in the Gaza Strip, summarily shoved in the face of the American vice president in March, is as sad as it is suicidal. Without U.S. weapons and mounds of cash, Israel would have been a smoldering heap by 1978.

Netanyahu is the prize thoroughbred in the smirking stable of American lackeys that operate under the delusion they have control over their fate. It started in the spring of 1996, which happened to be the month I spent in Israel. I was in country when Netanyahu had three hyperbolic-laden debates with then Prime Minister Simon Perez and then on Election Day, when he acted as if he’d conquered Europe. Netanyahu’s militaristic, right wing nationalism is cute, but exists in his own fantasy. He is a puppet of the United States, as every one of his predecessors has been (of which he is one, having been ousted in ’99 before returning in late 2005) and his successors will be.

It’s just the way it is, jack:

No America, no Israel.

Netanyahu’s demand for the United States to stay out of Israel’s business is akin to crazy people waving signs at Tea Party rallies to keep the government off their Medicare.

It is time to face the hard truth: Nation building, like Liberalism and Conservatism, is a failed American philosophy, which for some strange reason seems to go on unchecked.

But the American tradition of repeating mistakes aside, there is a tried-and-true American staple that is currently misguided: anger.

As Americans go loony over a tepid National Health Care Reform Law their government spends billions a year to prop up the damaged social construct of sanctimonious blowhards and backstabbing narcissists half a planet away. Not to mention our kids losing limbs and lives over this miserable shit.

Under this kind of geo-political meandering you would think the United States would have stopped the Congo War by now, which has claimed over five and a half million lives since 2001. Maybe we’d stop doing business with China, which is an abject civil liberties joke. Perhaps we might consider storming the Vatican and eradicating the systematic raping of children?

In January of 2003, this space called it Selective Heroism; all that talk about Axis of Evil was stupid and expensive. It didn’t work in Viet Nam or any of the ensuing meddling.

These are tough economic times. Extravagances like being responsible for the survival of an ungrateful and obstinate pack of morons must be addressed.

Reality Check | Pop Culture | Politics | Sports | Music

 

Read More