Populist Outrage Oh-Nine

Aquarian Weekly 4/1/09 REALITY CHECK

OUTRAGE SQUARED Pitch Forks & Torches, La Spring Chic

Anger is not an argument. -Daniel Webster

A.I.G.Outrage is cheap currency these days. Cheaper still then in late 2004 when it appeared as if all critical decisions at the State Department were being made by lab chimps and the Pentagon was leaking lysergamides. Now it’s a full-out poll-to-poll pogrom on both the rich and powerful and the poor and disenfranchised. Bankers to welfare moms, stockbrokers to inside traders are all on the block. This president, the last president, this congress and the last one, the Treasury secretary to the chairman of the Federal Reserve are all suspects. We’re pissed; pissed at ourselves, at capitalism and socialism, at do-nothing politicians and do-to-much politicians. We want stuff fixed but we don’t want to pay for it, all the while demanding a strange mutation of regulatory freedom. But most of all we don’t know whom to skewer first and why.

This is the American trip. We’ve been here before in too many incidents with too many origins to mention. I would say it’s less an American thing than a human trip – to want everything and for someone else to make it happen – but since I’m an American, I will be glad to represent.

I hear outrages every day from every corner of colleague to friend to passerby. I hear it on the radio and on TV and read it in the newspapers and online. Some of it is well founded and should be expressed, as it was in the 2008 elections. Almost anyone paying attention understood that the overwhelming reason for Barack Obama’s victory as well as the Republican trouncing on Capitol Hill, although not the only one, was the tanking economy. Elected officials were hardly the only guilty parties. Huge lending institutions, Wall St., greedy insurance firms, disingenuous mortgage companies, pie-eyed consumers and insatiable borrowers are all to blame for what can now be pretty accurately described as the deepest economic downturn most of us have ever seen.

But outrage is a fickle bitch goddess. It’s like the morning dew. It settles on roses as it settles on dog shit. As is our wont here at the Reality Check News & Information Desk, we concentrate on the dog shit.

Let’s begin with almost all of the punditry outrage, which is an interesting hodgepodge of the uninformed, the half-baked and the plain idiotic, ie; former Clinton advisor and present mudslinger, Dick Morris asserting there is a conspiracy within the present administration to nationalize the banks by having the toxic-asset plan fail so the need for the teat of government kindness will be in vogue. Then there is The Nation’s Katrina vanden Heuvel calling for the disgraced criminal ex-governor, Eliot Spitzer to take over the Treasury Department. Fuck it. If we’re going in the Ann Coulter bin for crazy grandstanding, why not pardon Bernie Madoff, yank him out of maximum security and have him run the U.S. Treasury. In these troubled times, who’s made more money than Madoff?

Democracy? What a sham that is. You know what fuels democracy? Money. Know why we even live in a so-called democracy? Money. You know why we won the Cold War over a decaying concept of 19th century communism? Not moral fortitude or guts or American know-how, and certainly not any doddering fossil like Ronald Reagan. It was money. We had it, the Soviet Union didn’t. Game. Set. Match.

And really, that’s what most of this outrage is about. Money. And why not? What’s more important than currency, property and assets? Nothing – not religion, family, love, sex, drugs, mom, apple pie or goddamned baseball. This is why for six long years I argued against every goody-two-shoes on both sides of the ideological aisle that wiping out half the Middle East and sending people to die for oil was far more a salient purpose than spreading democracy. Democracy? What a sham that is. You know what fuels democracy? Money. Know why we even live in a so-called democracy? Money. You know why we won the Cold War over a decaying concept of 19th century communism? Not moral fortitude or guts or American know-how, and certainly not any doddering fossil like Ronald Reagan. It was money. We had it, the Soviet Union didn’t. Game. Set. Match.

I get correspondence to this space daily on the usual falderal that angers people, not the least of which is all the psychopathic abandon this country has enacted all over the globe for a century. And not one of these atrocities, mistakes or even triumphs happen without money – solvent, liquid, hard capital.

This is why your federal government is taking your tax dollars, which is the bedrock of this fancy democracy, and throwing it around like a soused sailor on leave. Without all of this money, there is no government representing the people, who are then out on their asses, left to pitch dime store Christianity and social injustice overboard for a burka and a Qur’an.

Why do you think the president has gone on what can only be described by the sane among us as a Brangelina-level media junket. The Tonight Show, 60 Minutes, ESPN, town hall tours, special hit-and-run prime-time press conferences, a friggin’ op-ed in 30 major newspapers across the globe, Joe Cool has gotten in front of this thing, putting a likable face to a mass fiduciary tourniquet, something the congress not only lacks but willfully destroys.

What has Nancy Pelosi done that has not circumvented the White House at every turn? Churning populace fodder out of daily angst, like dragging the CEO of A.I.G. into the chamber for a Roger Clemens time-wasting lynching or heading this unconstitutional wrist-slapping 90% taxation on further corporate bonuses, which literally had the president, a constitutional lawyer, laughing like a school girl on national television more than once. Not to mention the shameless fan dance House members – led by poster boy for bad loan central, Barney Frank – unfurled in the face of Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke, the former of whom makes less sense than a shock-treatment outpatient and the latter of whom continues to illustrate his spectacular lack of reasoning by telling the American public he wished to sue A.I.G. for disgraceful bonuses when the company had every right to proffer them.

Lord knows I do not begrudge outrage. I’d skip like a giddy schoolgirl if some proactive miscreant were to extricate the CEO of Cablevision from his post with a butterfly net and a polo mallet, but where would that get us? It’s just not constructive.

Our best bet right now is to bury our remaining funds in the backyard, barricade the environs, and wait for the carnivorous fiends who put us here to clear out the mire. They always do, and we always pay, and there’s always another buck down the line.

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The Great Leap Of Faith

Aquarian Weekly 3/4/09 REALITY CHECK

THE GREAT LEAP OF FAITHGovernment For The People And By The People Buys The People Economics

The social science concerned chiefly with description and analysis of the production, distribution and consumption of goods and services. – Webster’s Dictionary

Economics is the science which studies human behaviour as a relationship between ends and scarce means which have alternative uses. – Lionel Robbins

I think I coulda landed on a dime. I really do. – Evel Knievel

No KiddingAfter a mere 35 days in office, the president of the United States placed his nearly two-year, almost robotically orchestrated rise to power on the slimmest of reeds. There Barack Obama stood, defiantly confident in front of a joint session of congress, scaling the most ambitious mountain of far-reaching, nut-crunching populace agenda this nation has seen in close to a century. With the dexterous oratorical skills that put him there, he stomped the terra with the unflinching audacity of a man backed by a 70% approval rating facing down the seemingly unstoppable implosion of the free market system. In the malleable parlance of political analysis, this was a Whiz-Bang rousing yawp, part ego-stroking patriotic nonsense artfully mixed with a parental-like scolding, topped off with the obligatory schmaltz needed to bring it all home. Indeed, this is the rise-to-the-occasion candidate nearly 60% of the country voted for, hitting the high notes, working the room, kicking the ass.

But no one, least of all Barack Obama, can argue that financially manipulating a crisis, stopping the bleeding, and halving the deficit simultaneously is anything more than a gamble; it is more likely the political equivalent of Evel Knievel, a rocket, and Snake River Canyon.

Forget the economic future, near or far, it is bad and about to get worse, and when it returns to something approaching normalcy it will forever deconstruct the way we do business, buy stuff, sell stuff, make stuff, and cheat the tax man for decades to come. All of this has nothing to do with speeches and bills and congress or the president. It never has and it never will. It is about biting off more than one can chew, and even a child will tell you this leads more times than not to choking.

Money problems, be they debt, investment, purchasing or selling of goods, has two ways to roll, throwing more money at it, or ignoring it and letting it do what money does. The latter theory has brought us here, to the brink.

Doing nothing can sometime be as serious a crime as doing too much in the realm of governance. Two of the worst presidents in our history live in infamy for lack of action; James Buchanan, who floundered around as a bumbling caretaker while the country plunged towards Civil War and Herbert Hoover, who managed to deftly rephrase “Let them eat cake” all the way into the Great Depression.

However, history is also littered with examples of governments doing something working in the adverse. Take the recently doomed Bush Doctrine of restructuring the Middle East in the form of faux democracy, an outsourcing of ideology that has tanked in every century since the keeping of records. It turned out, as predicted by anyone using a fair portion of their brain, to be a spectacular bust and sucked the president and his band of cronies into a political quagmire in which they were never again able to emerge.

Even if civilization evolves by government intervention as in our aforementioned Civil War, there is likely a mass of blood, destruction of property, plundering of fortune, and decades of fallout in which to deal.

It is important to point out that although this current economic meltdown is without refute a crisis more threatening than any terrorist attack, nowhere in the annals of objective descriptions regarding the concepts of economics does the word “government” appear; to find this anomaly one most head to political manifestos. Yet, in the checkered history of the civilized world, there are countless examples of governments mucking around in “the social science of production, distribution and consumption”. This is tantamount to governments jamming its business into all “the human behavior” as well, be it personal, sexual, racial, familial, etc. In almost all cases, okay, let’s be honest, in all cases things go badly. Even if civilization evolves by government intervention as in our aforementioned Civil War, there is likely a mass of blood, destruction of property, plundering of fortune, and decades of fallout in which to deal.

But these are queer times. This is a president and a congress, Democrats-all, that have overwhelmingly taken power on the strains of an anti-rich, anti-deregulation, anti-greed, and anti-stupidity revolt. They have been given a blank check, a collective open-hand of goodwill from the majority of a republic desperate for The Turn-Around. This is their time, as it was for the Republicans after 9/11. In fact, it was the sum of the Republican reaction to 9/11 that put these people where they are. They know this. The American people have told them as much.

This is the same electorate which spoke clearly after 9/11, as Bush rightly pointed out in his last press conference; “Does anyone remember what things were like right after it happened? I do.” Vengeance and Jingoism ruled the day. It was not some kind of master plan by the commander-in-chief, as has been the sloppy history of revision. It was a clamor, loud and long, from every corner of this nation; to get the bastards, make them pay, show our pride and force and renew our sense of security. Why do you think a refined hippy like Hillary Clinton voted for all-out war, which doomed her run for the presidency eight years later? It was all the rage, that’s why.

And Recovery is all the rage now; the American people are screaming for these people who made all the speeches about saving our ass for over a year to DO SOMETHING! These will likely be the same people, and you can already hear them, that will be whining and crying when the whole thing goes belly-up. And it will go belly-up, because that’s what history tells us, even recent history that continues to perpetuate the myths that the New Deal saved the nation and that Ronald Reagan never raised taxes or ceased the bloating of the national budget any of the years he was in charge.

Maybe then the Republicans won’t look as silly as they do now, former spend-fiends thumbing their noses at every turn to appear a the genuine loyal opposition and sending a goober car-salesmen like Bobby Jindal before the public stammering on about “people” over “government” as if two-thirds of these “people” he speaks to aren’t already begging for a hand-out. Jindal, a political butter knife sent into in a mortar exchange, represents the very disconnect the Republicans have with the zeitgeist; “Let’s send the young, brown guy in to regurgitate the same tired falderal and we’re golden!”

But the Republicans no longer have a say. They are window-dressing. They fart into the gale and call it ideals. But their sad wander into the wilderness has just begun. This is all on the Democrats and Joe Cool now, and if it works, great, if not, it’s the shit house for the whole lot.

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Vox Stimuli

Aquarian Weekly 2/11/09 REALITY CHECK

VOX STIMULI

Are you taking over Or are you taking orders? Are you going backwards Or are you going forwards? – Joe Strummer

What is transpiring throughout the world economy is about survival now. It is not about ideology or theory or political one-upsmanship. There is no longer room for heroes, only villains. There certainly will not be any winners, only those left to tell the tale to future generations, who will no doubt repeat the same mistakes we have repeated. Pork It Up!But make no mistake about this; the time for claiming anything resembling victory or a shot at sainthood has passed. What is in front of us, as a nation, as a people, as a globe, is dire, immediate, and possibly devastating. Thus, what congress and the president of the United States currently propose, debate, and eventually put forth as a Stimulus/Recovery/Relief/Reconstruction whatever will either be nothing more than a band-aid on a hemorrhaging wound, a stop gap for deeper measures to come, or a complete reevaluation of the self-preserving concepts offered by a free market capitalist democracy.

In other words, this is some serious shit.

And when the Serious Shit comes, no one wants to hear about Political Capital or Fiscal Responsibility or Socialism or Earmarks or Staking Claim to Righteous Indignation or Blame. These are tools for historians and fodder for fence sitters. But even those on their lofty perch are down in the muck now. This is Go Time, folks. No one is exempt. It is the bottom of the ninth with two outs — the final set, the final match. For the government it is 9/11 all over again, only this time the enemy is not from without, but within. This is why I humbly propose that whatever bloated garbage has coagulated into our life-preserving Stimulus Bill by House Democrats be exposed, that names and earmarks be listed and collated, and ultimately impeachments handed out. Then, perhaps, if warranted, criminal charges levied.

Too harsh?

Has anyone bothered to notice the job loss numbers? Does anyone realize the ramifications of this imploding housing crisis or what is left of solvency on Wall St.? Does anyone remember what the word BANK means anymore?

The old rules no longer apply. We are through the looking glass. Twentieth Century thinking is debunked. Everything you have known and loved is shredded in an avalanche of desperation. Armageddon is for pikers. This is Apocalypse Now. Those in charge should act accordingly. Anything less deserves the stocks.

Picture if you will your house aflame and your frantic calls to the fire department. Then picture their arrival, and as they crash into your burning home, each proceeds to avail themselves of your valuables, as your children scream from the top floor and your very existence goes up in smoke. You are forced to sit and watch in horror as each firefighter tries to get his, while also deftly maneuvering to save themselves from the lapping tongues of fire.

This is a fair analogy of what we face today in Congress. This is why those who saw fit to save the day by adding a ridiculous amount of government pork and personal perks for their states to the tune of billions of tax dollars into what could very well be a fatal or emancipating bill must be expunged from office. We cannot have greedy, selfish future candidates festooning our lifeboat with vats of bilge, while desperate people cling to subsistence. It’s not personal or political. We are beyond that now. It is merely a matter of survival: Not Revenge For Eight Years Of Baby Bush or The Second Coming Of Clintonia. This is about willing applicants sent to Capitol Hill to make hard and binding decisions, but instead are fist fucking us into oblivion.

The old rules no longer apply. We are through the looking glass. Twentieth Century thinking is debunked. Everything you have known and loved is shredded in an avalanche of desperation. Armageddon is for pikers. This is Apocalypse Now. Those in charge should act accordingly. Anything less deserves the stocks.

This is the real deal now. All talk about irresponsible Republicans is true. It was true during the campaign and it remains so. But we put an end to all of that in November. We did not send Joe Cool to Washington to pussyfoot around with lifers. He’s there to take The Baptist’s blade and begin to cut at the weak roots, saving us from this insatiable mismanagement that has put us on the verge of collapse.

All the posturing by cretins like Nancy Pelosi, who suddenly thinks it is 1994 and she is Newt Gingrich decrying the stank of power mongering ideologs while slowly erecting the greatest abuses of fiscal sanity known to the modern world, has to be put in her place. There is nothing left for the New Regime to do now but take this screeching twat aside and make her beg for a crumb. She must be made example.

The Democrats didn’t win. Barack Obama did. They rode the coattails of Joe Cool into masking an 18 percent approval rating. Pelosi is, as is her Congress, a wretched failure. They ran in ’06 on stopping a “war” that still rages. Fuck her. Fuck Harry Reid. And fuck every goddamned Republican who tries to grandstand. Their way of doing things were run out of office on a rail. Oh, they’re day of final reckoning is nigh. Believe me, jack.

If this is the New Dawn in American politics, if there is to be a future around here, never mind Super Power, then there has to be pit bull tactics applied to our so-called legislative watchdogs.

Because, let’s face it folks, like it or not the only thing that stands from total and utter annihilation of our monetary system is the federal government. It is not 1982 or ’87 or 2002 or God helps us all, 1929. There are far more people now with far more wealth and property and far too many countries with their fingers in our pie to close borders or declare world wars or rebuild the government. This is about action of pre-Civil War proportions. This is about nationalism of either tyrannical measures or socialistic uprisings. Tax cuts? Bank loans? Bail outs? These are ships that have long left the harbor, never to return.

This is a new world order with and a new guy in charge and I demand he begin to kick the ass and take the names.

To his credit our president has done what the two previous dolts refused to do, and that is to go on every television network and claim responsibility for the pathetic series of nominations to his cabinet that culminated in the abortion known as Tom Daschle, whose credentials in the field of hypocrisy is now legendary. Never mind his name being stricken from public service, by all rights he should be deported to an island and made to eat roots and berries and forge his own demented society from scratch for the period of time in which he would have EARNED the $130,000 of tax he “failed” to pay.

Failed?

Daschle just didn’t pay them. And like Pelosi and her gang of fiscal marauders hijacking our lifeline, this is the political equivalent of a cop killing. It shows an utter disdain and rejection of our social fabric. And with such a disregard for civilization, they deserve to be rendered incapable of playing along anymore.

After 9/11, George Bush had the entire country and world at his feet and proceeded to act like a petulant dunderhead. Barack Obama is sitting in the same seat during an even greater threat to our survival.

The bell tolls.

Who has the balls to answer it?

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Obama Presidency Under Microscope

Aquarian Weekly 1/28/09 REALITY CHECK

THE CHANGE EXPRESS The Obama Presidency Under The Microscope

When the Kennedys rolled into Washington in the winter of 1961, there was some fanfare, much trepidation, and a long road of uncharted territory, but it was nothing like this. Cold War, Catholicism, youth, inexperience, and controversial election results aside; what Barack Obama walks into now is beyond anything Saucy Jack had to experience. It is quite simply unprecedented. Super BarrackSome of it is good; he is the first candidate since Ronald Reagan to win a significant victory with the “new” credential tag, he has the majority of the country’s demand for “change” in his back pocket, and is following a disastrous predecessor. The rest of it is bad, really bad; a stretched military on two fronts abroad and a broken economy the likes of which has not been seen in over half a century at home.

Pressure.

If the inauguration week was not enough of a pressure-cooker, wherein a tsunami of ethnic, special interest, celebrity and counter-culture voting blocks exposed their nerve endings over days of hyperbolic pomp, then the first hours on the job with nearly every single move dissected and analyzed should do it. The most asinine minutia surrounding a second “swearing in” for what the administration has called an “abundance of caution”, which ended in the predictably ridiculous harping on all-things Bible.

There is not much argument that even in its first hours, this is a presidency like none other, and not because the commander-in-chief is the most inexperienced since Abraham Lincoln or the first truly Liberal or obviously the first African-American, but because the Information Age, which has threatened to break down the doors of governance for decades, is in full swing. But what do you expect from a 24-Hour harangue of sound bites, borrowed clips and endless chatter on some ten year-old falling down a well in Fargo? When real news hits we need updates, explanations and scrutiny.

Pressure.

Big time.

Can you imagine if in the first ten months of The Change Express we’re attacked or if the new guy dares solicit blowjobs from the help? Not on your life, fella. Barack Obama can do nothing wrong, save his decision-making, which is always up for fair debate. But pulling an Iran-Contra or a “Read my lips” moment is hardly an option here. Not this time, and not now. What were considered nothing more than carefully structured mi culpas from Big Bill and a colossal host of “disappointments” for Captain Shoo-In will be nothing short of catastrophes for Joe Cool.

 

First time. One time. Every time.

This is what happens when an entire generation goes bust. The Boomers were supposed to “change” everything, but instead ushered The Sixties well into the 21st century with the Clinton and Bush failures. The chasm caused by the Kennedy/Nixon battle, up through the culture wars, civil rights marches and women’s movement, to the interminably long and outlandishly criminal Viet Nam conflict muddied their political genes; a divided country for forty-plus years culminating in the closest most contested and ambiguously decided national elections in U.S. history. So now here comes Joe Cool, not only a new ethnic face, a new ideological face, he is the face of a new and untested, unblemished generation.

Pressure.

This is why the pragmatic, almost robotic nature of Obama has been on display the second his ass hit the Oval Office chair. Beginning the Gitmo shutdown and outlawing any mode of torture, freezing government pay, banning members of his administration from lobbying, and expanding the parameters of the Freedom of Information Act amounts to more than a fair start. It certainly beats the hell out of minor tax cuts and midnight basketball. But if every president is judged on whom he chooses to accompany him on the ride, there is already much to deconstruct.

Firstly, the president’s cabinet is anything but Liberal or big government. Instead it is pockmarked with moderate Democrats and Republicans and even one former Bushie. The alarming preponderance of ex-Clinton types mock the “change” mantra, but appears as the lesser of the possible evils for the nagging “experience issue”. The best that can be said about this assemblage is its blatant ignoring of southern accents.

However, a few specifics offer red-faced embarrassment and outright Sarah Palin lack of vetting. Most pressing is the appointment of Hillary Clinton to Secretary of State, which by any measure of objectivity reeks of political expediency and Democratic cronyism. And speaking of Clinton nightmares, the Eric Holder choice for attorney general with the stank of the abominably wretched Marc Rich pardon on him does not make it easy to forget the eventually disgraced John Ashcroft having once been bested by a dead man. And let’s just call tabbing Tim Geithner, a smarmy tax evader, for Treasury Secretary a bad joke and be done with it.

Call them hiccups or screw-ups based on your side of the ideological fence, but agree that they will not go away. These people, Joe Cool’s people, cannot be inept or sneaky or politically motivated or self-righteous or act merely out of self-preservation. They MUST function. This is not a rehearsal or a test or a weird kind of experiment. Barack Obama is the leader of the free world in a time when for the first time the United States of America is weaker economically, militarily, and ideologically than it has been since its great leap fifty years ago.

Excuses are past for dupes, half-ass types with insider connections, or daddy’s gaggle of mutants mucking up the joint. This is not the deal we signed on for, Mr. Obama. No surprises. No bate and switch. No mediocrity. No quarter.

First time. One time. Every time.

Pressure.

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So Long George W. Bush

Aquarian Weekly 1/21/09
REALITY CHECK

SO LONG CAPTAIN SHOO-IN: OUR BEDEVILED BOY HOWDY
A Reality Check Trip Down Memory Lane Covering The Bush Cabal

So Long, Captain

I feel for Captain Shoo-In. He is in over his head. Badly. But he cannot and will not stop. I could see it in his resolve, hear it in the quivering of his voice, and feel it in my bones. This is one Texan who is going all the way, staying at the table and waiting for the once-in-a-lifetime straight flush, banking on nailing the Trifecta or biding his time until Monday Night Football. As long as the bookie answers the phone, there’s a chance. This is why wars, like casinos, run 24-hours.HIGH STAKES — BAD BREAKS: 4/21/04

The final epitaph to the tenure of our 43rd president is that he was far more adept at procuring the job than actually performing it; manifested most glaringly in his rare public appearances when it seemed as if his brain experienced sharp stabbing contractions, a searing ache that dulled the reasoning centers allowing only facile gurgles to escape. This bizarre malady provided him with an unprecedented carte blanche to hand over his most pressing tasks to “pals” or more entrenched Washington types that proceeded to avail themselves of the most incredible streak of power mongering known to the office. What will be written in the years to come, as it has been in a record-shattering number of published mea culpa tomes for the past few years, is that the George W. Bush Administration presided over an impressive stretch of bad luck, poor execution, and finally, the ultimate dare to future presidents to prove themselves more inept.

The federal government failed us on 9/11. Its primary purpose is to protect our borders. The leader of this government happens to be the president. The president happens to be George W. Bush. The Electoral College decided that two Novembers ago. The Supreme Court upheld it. I defended its decision. Therefore I defend the right of the people of this republic to blame its leader for the death of its citizens and destruction of its property during a full-scale terrorist attack.THE BLAME GAME: 6/5/02

Any sober review of the Bush years is obliged to lead with 9/11/01 and his administration’s criminal lack of defense of the nation’s borders — specifically its greatest city — and the resultant actions of its fallout. Massive deficits, imploding economy, occupation of Iraq, domestic spying, predatory abuse of executive powers by the vice president, spectacular incompetence at several and varied levels of federal governance aside, the unconscionable tragedy of 9/11/01, and everything thereafter, is on Captain Shoo-In.

It was a name this space gave the governor of Texas in the summer of 2000, when we joined forces to halt what seemed like the inevitable march to power for Albert Gore Junior. Captain Shoo-In was part mockery, part prestige; carrying with it a purpose, more formula than man, more pomp than distinction. It is also how I referred to “the candidate” when I told his soon-to-be-famous puppet-master, Karl Rove, half-soused and thirsty for blood, that come autumn it was Go Time.

George W. Bush is a dumb ass and will no doubt be a useless leader in the fumes of this barely legal victory, but he won. Al Gore lost. To write that is divinely real, like Fitzgerald’s “high white note.” His stupidity notwithstanding, Bush will forever stand as the symbol of a two-party system joke rendered on a populace sure that it spits out the worst humanity can offer. But he is not Al Gore. He lost.REQUIEM FOR A LIGHTWEIGHT: 12/20/01

The world was before all of them then, the political madness, eerie paranoia, and foolish pathological waves of volume lying unfurled as if a red carpet of fantastic possibilities. Who knew it would present itself with alarming regularity over eight long, painful years; particularly the final half of those years when what was left of The Bush Legacy reeked with rampant humiliations culminating in being pushed to the curb by his own party during the 2008 presidential campaign and having shoes tossed at his head by rogue journalists in the country he bet his nuts on?

Gnashing of teeth is in vogue at the Pentagon these days, where they are heard weeping down the corridors, each one of them wondering what the hell happened? How did we, the strongest, richest, nation on earth wage a war so ineptly, so myopically, as to render what was a wounded, vengeful, united nation into a mass war protest? This was a popular war, now it appears to be the worst kind of murderous sham. PUNCHLINE IRAQ: 12/13/06

One For The ThumbCaptain Shoo-In never saw it coming. This was not his thing. Detail was like gum on his cowboy boots, which he proudly sported that fateful Year of The Golden Dragon. The Captain would not trail in 2000. He was as he had been from birth, a Frontrunner, and 2000 was a fine year for the dynamic pairing of money and name recognition. The first weeks, months, and long campaigning dénouement of our foray into the 21st Century was always Junior’s for the taking, and to his ultimate credit and our dire consequence, he took it, or rather he paid for it, along with the Supreme Court, where he fired his first salvo against what would be the final gasping breaths of modern conservatism; allowing the judicial system and not the Voice of the People to decide The Decider.

Today, if Goldwater saw a Republican president of the United States signing off one hundred percent of the domestic spending for six consecutive years, funneled to him by a Republican Congress handing over nearly half of the national budget on rebuilding the ideological face of entire regions across the globe, while getting re-elected on “moral” grounds and not performance record, he would never stop puking. CONSERVATISM VS. FUNDAMENTALISM: 11/8/06

Being handed the free world by the judicial branch was a faux pas Junior could live with, but it cast a bitter precedent on All-Things Bush for the foreseeable future; whether in the ludicrous entitlement rush of the infamous Medicare Bill or the ridiculously liberal No Child Left Behind, the queerly designed emancipation of illegal aliens, the colonizing of a sovereign nation, or as a consequence the most bloated domestic spending ever. There was not a bill Baby Bush would not and did not sign, and somehow those on the Right, the real Right, not the lapdog party bagmen, barely spoke out against it. This is what high times at the top of the ticket bought for The Watchdogs — a reconsidering of their precious ideology.

But, alas, they were not alone. Lord knows the press never said a word for most of All-Things Bush, at least not until it was far too late. The Bush Years will be credited with the Death of Modern Conservatism, but far more egregiously for its healthy participation in the Death of Journalism. It was, those first two crucial years after 9/11/01, a stand-down policy in the national press; sans the frenzied attention paid to surreptitious chemical warfare and shadow-men at airports and weird scenes from the mail system. It was a time for flag lapels and yellow ribbon pins and keeping the hard queries to one’s self in a manic ramp-up to war, its subsequent military operations or whatever expensively homicidal fiascos transpired afterward. It is why George W. Bush and his cabal of nincompoops were allowed to wreak havoc for so long: They would soon be cast as the rancid gore of evil by the same lazily jingoistic press corps that allowed them unmitigated free reign in the first place.

Ahhh, the ugliness has now hit home. It ain’t the media after all. We came late to the dance. We gave this gaggle of hubris-mongers a free pass, and now lookie here! It’s a goddamn gaffe and the approval ratings are Nixonian and Carteresque, and soon when the history comes due on this rampant disjoint generations will wonder who the hell was minding the store. MR. MOJO SINKING: 4/5/06

Turns out that despite the late-to-the-party hue and cry, none of the has-beens that doomed The Captain were evil or insane; they were nothing more than The Mediocre Elite. This is what passed for the Best & Brightest in the Bush Years; Donald Rumsfeld, John Ashcroft, Tom Ridge, John Bolton, Paul Wolfowitz, George Tenet, Scooter Libby, Dick Cheney; inefficient retreads from our botched past dragged from the ashbin of history to crack the very foundation of democracy. It is, if nothing else, an impressive line-up of abject failures. There isn’t enough space in a thousand volumes to recount their dumbness. Suffice to say it was never pretty or particularly artful, but it did help to make All Things Bush appear as if it were scratched together by an army of third graders jacked up on a steady diet of Pixie Sticks chased with Mountain Dew.

Bush’s approval ratings flounder somewhere in the mid-20s, close to a Watergate low. Stunning, even for a monumental screw up. His war is now officially a suicide anvil roped around his neck and Jesus has abandoned him. He no longer speaks in private anymore, at least not anything close to coherent. In public he manages to burp out weird things like “internets” and some Seussian nonsense about “Victory is not no violence.” Insiders say he lives in constant fear there’s another Scooter Libby stumbling drunk and angry through the White House looking to dump more foul odors on his office. Key aids are on 24-hour notice to keep him informed if the vice president shoots anyone else.FRAT HOUSE FRACAS: 5/16/07

'Splainen'Ultimately, the Bush Administration’s hard right turn from the muted campaign jargon of “compassionate conservatism” and “humble foreign policy” into saviors of the moral, cultural, and political universe unraveled beneath a torrent of substandard denizens and most disturbingly a steadfast adherence to The Plan; whatever the hell that was. From the State Department, attorney general’s office to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the age of Bushies — policy-minded drones who wore their allegiance as a badge — ignored minor details such as civil liberties, the anonymity of CIA agents, separation of church and state, freedom of dissent, etc. But they did it for love; of God, country, and legacy, all of which turned to sewage on our dime.

Americans want to relate to the fantasy model of the Everyman. They want a man who believes, whether it’s asinine, insane or astoundingly feral. Kennedy believed the bullshit. So did Teddy Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan. These were believers. They had it down. That’s why they won national elections. George W. Bush is a believer. He is president, again. John Kerry pretended to believe. He is going back to the senate.Second Term Madness:11/10/04

There will always be a sweet spot in the heart of The Desk for Captain Shoo-In. We covered his every move, and sometimes even agreed with one or two; especially the attempt to privatize Social Security and expunge America’s Mistake, Saddam Hussein from power. The argument that 9/11 “had nothing to do with Iraq” has always been hog dung. You don’t meddle around in “holy land” with Arab sovereignty and muscle your way into the ancient order of tribes with your nifty Desert Storm and expect it to go away quietly. It had to be done, but it had to be done efficiently, which was beyond George Bush or any of the people paid to make it happen.

Today, mere hours before he exits into ignominy, the 43rd president leave a nation fatigued and broke after six years of war and occupation, a record deficit and a hemorrhaging economy. There is a distrust of government now that rivals the dark times of Nixon, and the Republican party, his party, is broken into a billion pieces. The Age of Reagan; tax cuts, deregulation, global manipulation, and passive aggressive buffoonery is done.

Mission Accomplished.

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Mr. Burris Goes To Washington

Aquarian Weekly 1/14/09 REALITY CHECK

MR. BURRIS GOES TO WASHINGTON

Remember the case of Roland Burris the next time some prickless dink prattles on about Founding Fathers and the almighty Constitution, or God given freedoms and the law-abiding exquisiteness of The System. Tell them Tag Teamnone of that matters unless it is performed in action, through the letter and spirit of law, and not through some ideological, half-assed political ceremony of the absurd. For what the 111th Congress of these United States, and most egregiously the Democratic Party, is currently doing to the process of government as dictated by our democratic framework is patently criminal.

Burris’ appointment by embattled Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich may turn one’s stomach, perhaps like a little man-on-man love or burning cloth symbols or expressing one’s liberties wherever they may lie on the socially acceptable scale, but it is not a basis of democratic law. It is anything but. Just as the idea that certain members of a political party or their fancy new president or their tired drone congressional leaders can sidestep constitutional law on the grounds that it was hatched in the cloud of “criminal complaint” flies in the face of the same Democratic Party which argues about Guantanamo Bay detainees. If they are entitled to their day in court and due process under the guise of “innocent until proven guilty” — and not in the press or the goofy court of public opinion — then so is Blagojevich.

Until that day Blagojevich is the governor of Illinois, and as such, empowered by that office to choose the successor of a vacated senate seat as stated in the 17th Amendment of our constitution. He has done so. Whether this jibes with anyone’s political, personal or moral objectives is not the point, nor should it be. It is the power and privilege of the office Blagojevich was elected to, by the people and for the people, and he has made his choice.

The legislative branch of the federal government manipulating the actions of a state governor, whether under investigation, arrested, vilified or not, is a dangerous game, especially now at the dawning of a new administration with a massive economic stimulus package to be debated and passed. Illinois is entitled by constitutional law two representatives in the highest branch of congress, and that branch has no right to deny it.

The only binding recourse for this congress to cite is Article One, Section Five of the Constitution: “Each House has the power to judge the elections and qualifications of its own members.” The body has refused to do so. Why? Because it is a bogus argument. The qualifications (age, residency, citizenship) are all in order and Burris was not elected, but appointed, which sends the matter to the Illinois state legislature, which refused to act, and thus handed the whole shebang back into the governor’s chair, where Rod Blagojevich presently sits.

This is the end of the actual sane and legal part of the story.

What the fuck is the difference between a man openly selling a seat in congress for cold, hard cash and another one getting it through cash laundered in bribes, television ads, backroom donations from special interest groups or organizations, or the wholly unfair panoply of redistricting, family ties, favors owed, or any of the dozens of idiosyncratic reasons a person ends up in the position for such a prominent seat of power in the first place?

It only becomes a different story because what is being heaped upon Blagojevich’s choice is an unlawful attempt at casting penance upon another embarrassing Chicago-Politics episode, and in any reasonable conclusion, hostile and bordering on racketeering. According to constitutional and Illinois State Law, which are the only realities that should or do matter here, it is not up to Harry Reid or the president elect to decide who or what emerges as a replacement for the state’s senator. Certainly the media, the people or the sitting members of congress can have a say and protest and make cases against the appointment and by due process make strides to block or debate or filibuster it, but rejecting it outright by concocting bullshit scenarios about the state attorney general from Illinois refusing him a state seal or this imbecilic falderal about a “tainted selection” is seedy, petty, and most importantly…say it with me brothers and sisters…Unconstitutional!

Of course this is nothing new for the Democratic Party and its rogue’s gallery of thuggish miscreants, who time and again for over a decade have stonewalled such great Americans as Ralph Nader and Bill Bradley and other “undesirables” from playing in their precious power games. And it is certainly nothing new for the wildly inept and criminally insane behavior of prominent members of this body for decades, most recently trolling airport stalls or flirting with young pages, collecting truckloads of Alaskan gifts or whatever bilious chicanery Tom Delay displayed daily as legislative deportment. Is it a sad state of affairs that a man who left a woman to die in an automobile forty years ago is allowed to be a celebrated senior senator from Massachusetts as poor, innocent Roland Burris twists in the wind? Sure, but for reasons of money, stature, name and power, Ted Kennedy neatly sidestepped that little screw-up to be one of the most influential liberal lions of the modern Democratic Party, the same party which today pushes a legally appointed official to the curb under the guise of proper decorum.

This brings us, as always, to the putrid fan dance of hypocrisy seen nightly on most of your C-Span stations: What the fuck is the difference between a man openly selling a seat in congress for cold, hard cash and another one getting it through cash laundered in bribes, television ads, backroom donations from special interest groups or organizations, or the wholly unfair panoply of redistricting, family ties, favors owed, or any of the dozens of idiosyncratic reasons a person ends up in the position for such a prominent seat of power in the first place?

Oh, and this sidebar argument that there has to be an African American representative in the senate or there should be one to replace Barack Obama is stupid and a classic American insult to blacks everywhere. I thought I heard some jackass on MSNBC blather on about having a proportional amount of blacks and women and Hispanic representatives to that of the census. Again, as moronically naïve and dim-witted as that position is, it is for the people or law or constitutional debate to decide, not a few high-minded chieftains of government imposing punishment against the purported mockery of their station.

So while the Obama Administration’s first 100 days near, and a broken economy awaits this magic stimulus package, the United States Senate is three seats down; one from political smugness, the other in a contested Minnesota election that stinks to high heaven, and the last from the Empire State where the clubhouse leader appears to be an airhead. But it all pales in comparison to this latest outrage, no matter what backroom dealings put a band-aid on it as this goes to press.

I know one thing, if I were sitting in the electric chair in Chicago today and the governor stayed my execution, I’d be none too pleased to have the guy at the switch answer, “I’m not sure this Blagojevich character is a straight shooter.”

ZAPP!

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Oh Nine: Year Of The Guilty

Aquarian Weekly 12/31/08 REALITY CHECK

OH-NINE: YEAR OF THE GUILTY

Two-thousand nine will be the year of The Guilty.

Rod BlagojevichExoneration is in the air. Free rides. Hard promises. Credentials for all; particularly those who don’t deserve them — the powerful, the beautiful, the twisted and the onerous. It will be especially productive for the onerous, where the beating of the chest will pass for intellectual currency. Balls will be all the rage in Oh-Nine; big, shiny pairs — and those unable to acquire them or flash them in a pinch will be in the shit-can.

It will be the year of Blogojevich, the Man From Illinois, who has joined the long line of criminally insane governors, but in Oh-Nine there awaits Retribution. Listen to him now; “They have nothing. I will fight.” Shit, yeah. In Oh-Nine fighting will take the place of half-assed lying. Double-speak is not going to cut it. Shuck-And-Jive will have its place, but there will be less to exploit with bullshit when raw defiance is readily available. It will be a time to go all-out, not pitter around making excuses for putting into practice the fundamental principles of good old-fashioned Capitalism: Play To Pay is back. Skinny ties, pastels, mash-ups, liquid speed balls, and Cash On Hand; An Ayn Randian/ Ubermensch kind of free-wheeling.

Blogojevich will be the shining symbol of the New Year’s proud stomp; a staking of claims and a sober revision in Ignoring The Sidelines. This, of course, will mean that Oh-Nine will be silly with shameless entrepreneurship. Shame is not an option now that the bottom has dropped out of the pocket-pickers game. Demure malfeasance is passé. It will be a Blogojevich fire-sale milieu; everything has a price and someone will pay it. No more haggling. All choices will involve money; faith, love, the whole gamut of existential concepts will be readily available on the cheap. The line forms on the left, and you had best get there early; because once the kitty is empty, that’s it, jack.

Always the impatient act-first-ask-questions-much-later progressive, the president has gotten a head-start on Oh-Nine by rolling out his first of several lists of pardons for The Guilty, where Scooter Libby is its most fortunate beneficiary. The vice president’s bagman can breathe easier now. The days of apologizing for doing the bidding of The Cowardly have passed. In Oh-Nine, The Guilty will no longer be pariah. Each and every Backstabber will be expected to walk proudly in the glaring light of day; stand tall and wave a symbolic fist. The Cowardly have no place in Oh-Nine. Cheap frauds and moral goblins like Dick Cheney may have to euthanized to clean the slate.

Shame is not an option now that the bottom has dropped out of the pocket-pickers game. Demure malfeasance is passé. It will be a Blogojevich fire-sale milieu; everything has a price and someone will pay it.

Ninety percent of Talent is showing up. Woody Allen said that. He was trying to be both funny and philosophical, but it turns out he was mostly prescient. Showing up will also be all the rage in Oh-Nine. Ask Caroline Kennedy, who has emerged from a lifetime political cocoon to wave Camelot aloft once more. Succeeding in making it less wretched to sell a Senate seat in Springfield than it is to hand one to American royalty in Albany, the Kennedy brand has made yet another comeback.

Not to be undone, the Cuomo’s fancy offspring is also throwing his hat in the ring. How about Pataki’s daughter? She’s cool. I used to work with her in Westchester. She’s smart and attractive and has the right last name to beg her way to Capitol Hill.

But, shit, by the time the Nepotism Twins make a bid for Washington, Oh-Nine will be in full swing, and so shall our familiarity with Realistic Expectations, the mantra of the new president of the United States. Barack Obama’s first 100 days of rescuing the national economy, rebuilding international relations, and gutting the federal government’s incredible mass of dead weight, will be pushing the great “Proving I Am Not The Christ” syllabus.

Realistic Expectations is an important ingredient to survival when failing to come with the H-Two-O party tricks, shuffling upon it or making with the wine. Many of the Oh-Eight holdovers are waiting patiently for Change to give way to Divinity. This bodes well for another comeback in Oh-Nine; Crucifixion, which, like Jell-O, one can always anticipate finding room. In Oh-Nine, the stakes in modern politics will be that high. Politicians, now reviled and run out of town aflame with derision will be expected to perform miracles. Sadly, for those living on Cloud #9, the president-elect is merely a politician. This can hardly be denied. He will not escape Oh-Nine anymore than we can.

Oh-Eight was an excellent example of Rejection. We rejected antiquated notions of jingoism, racism, phony Republicanism, and the Baby Boomer Lie. It is a new time for a new generation. But as the utterly defeated George W. Bush will tell us, The times do not often jibe with The Plan. If not for terrorist invasions and hurricanes or economic implosions, a dunce can make a pretty fancy chief executive. But Times trump Plans, and when the Kumbaya chorus has died down and things get kicking in Oh-Nine, The Guilty will replace The Cowardly, and politicians may have to raise the dead, but it will be anything but boring.

I’ll see you there.

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Auto Industry Bailout

Aquarian Weekly 12/3/08 REALITY CHECK

BEGGARS & CHOOSERS Hard Promises On The Road To Automotive Welfare

History is more or less bunk. It’s tradition. We don’t want tradition. We want to live in the present and the only history that is worth a tinker’s dam is the history we make today. – Henry Ford Interview in Chicago Tribune May 25th 1916

Henry Ford’s bastard children are currently suspended in the slow ascent of Oliver Twist’s empty gruel plate. Attached as if by a pulsing umbilical cord is the world economy, jobs for thousands of tax paying consumers, several and varied satellite industries from media, transportation, culinary, service, litigious, and big labor, not to mention the entirety of the technological engineering fleet of American Century sad sacks looking for a peculiar method to prop up our past and sell it as progress. The American Auto Industry is weeks from going belly up in an already eroding economic slog, and with the federal government in transition, over half the states already bankrupt, and what is left of Wall Street becoming a drooling Dali rendering, there is not much choice but to turn to us, the American Tax Payer.

Beginning Of The EndThe People’s Republic Of America to the rescue!

These are curious days and we are crazy with empathy now that the Lefty is on his way to the White House to put right all the crimes of Captain Shoo-In, who is now officially the only sitting president of these United States to be completely ostracized from the reconstruction of his own shit’s nest.

Yes, Virginia, we’re going to keep America strong in the global economy, secure its national defense, and restore order to our fiscal sovereignty, but not without conditions. Those who sit idly by and rail against the demise of the free market system with the manufacturing hub of this economy on its last legs whistle past several graveyards. These are the same sub-mentals who would pitch the fit of all fits if the president allowed our national defense to go under. However, only suckers hand over blank checks to doomed business templates. If it means raping and pillaging this broken monstrosity called the American Auto Industry, then so be it.

Our first act as The Controlling Interest begins with the sacking of the entire management teams at Ford, GM, and Chrysler for fucking the workers and screwing consumers with their half-assed, greedy, mendacious falderal masquerading for countless decades as good, old-fashioned American ingenuity. These dunderheads must suffer banishment from all modes of future free-enterprise leadership until which time the debt has been paid in full with fair interest. Their time has quite obviously passed.

The new blood will be made to endure a rigorous baseline IQ exam, and not just business acumen, but also the basic function of reason in which they must at least hit the sixty percentile or be forced to walk from coast to coast beneath a dunce cap. These tests must be passed on C-SPAN with Ivy League business professors looking over their shoulders mocking them verily.

Secondly, and most pressingly, the United Auto Workers must either accept new rules on these insane demands for the workforce or there will be fatal cuts in personnel starting with reps, lawyers, and lobbyists. In fact, in trade for our boundless generosity the UAW must lend thirty percent of its employee base to do our bidding; rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure, aiding in the withdrawing of troops in Iraq, and general everyday chores like garbage removal, babysitting and something in the line of sweeping.

Believe me when I tell you this take-over stuff is gangbusters.

When you consider that the whole of the American Auto Makers must adhere to a minimum of franchises per state, almost twice what they can afford, and that over 20% of the contracted workers are absentees per fiscal year while being immune to discipline or expulsion is beyond ridiculous. The gravy train stops under The People’s Republic Of America.

Look to the Auto Industry’s Grand Daddy, Henry Ford for wisdom in these dark hours of pending bankruptcy. His deranged fascist rants, while sounding like the plaintiff wail of a doomed dinosaur sinking beneath the tar pit of history, have a ring of veracity rarely heard in this bleating whine of present day entrepreneurship. We don’t want tradition. We want to live in the present and the only history that is worth a tinker’s dam is the history we make today.

It is a new dawn; embrace the future with aplomb and a frontier spirit. The Twentieth Century is dead. If you would like to join it, well, that’s entirely up to you. We, with the money, choose to look ahead.

Believe me when I tell you this take-over stuff is gangbusters.

I’m digging this ownership of the banking set thus far. I recently stormed into my Bank Of America branch and demanded all manner of perk and a drastic halt to all the passé, pre-bail nickel & diming. Using the tried and true James V. Campion method of sticking it to the “lenders”, I began throwing my primary stockholder weight around. No more paying for personal or company checks, no more fees at ATMs, no more jacking around with their five-layered incongruent Internet banking crap. I told the goddamned bank manager to stand down; the people are in charge now — and hell if he didn’t acquiesce.

It’s good to be The Man.

Look, these deadbeats are going to get the money. No way this economy can handle the dissolution of over a million jobs, both direct and tertiary to the auto industry, and survive. This country cannot function without some kind of domestic manufacturing. This is the time to put the hammer down, the hammer of The People.

It is not a question of IF these self-mutilating fossils of industry will get our money, but WHEN. And if it is WHEN then it’s under our conditions.

Take it or leave it.

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An Open Apology To America 2008

Aquarian Weekly 11/12/08 REALITY CHECK

AN OPEN APOLOGY TO AMERICA

Dearest United States (Most of),

I was wrong.

Despite my hard-line skepticism, serious doubts, and relentless cynicism born from over two centuries of recidivistic dementia, you did not elect a middle-aged Anglo-Saxon, Protestant white guy who pandered to your basest fears while treating you like a spastic ten year-old. You did the unthinkable, the historic; expunging the old-boy’s network filled with tired retreads with lobby-addled dance cards and corporate lackeys, labor racketeers with Birch Society, Morality-Quack, Hollywood, Oil Baron, Wall Street golf enthusiasts.

You did it. You made history. You buried history. You literally put a new face on your presidency. You voted in overwhelming numbers from middle class white single moms to lunch pail beer swillers to college dinks and fist-pumping queers and radical outsiders to fed-up genuine conservatives and leftist pinkos to disgruntled retirees and proud minorities and even weary first-timers nourished on well-earned apathy.

You put a man into your White House who only 21 months ago was nowhere. No money. No name. No affiliations. No press. No groundswell or demo-marketing focus group pollers. No favor-handing, my-turn party craven resume. No silver-spoon nepotistic underachiever credentials. No misogynistic double-talking viper psychosis. A first-generation American with a black father from the jungles of Kenya and a single mother from the wheat fields of Kansas having to leap frog the entire Democratic Smear Machine and the Republican Madhouse.

You said you wanted change, and instead of whipping yourself into a senseless frenzy and then looking the other way, you did the unthinkable. You voted for change. You went out and enacted the concept of democracy; however distorted, manipulated and dysfunctionally imperfect it remains. You gave the democracy thing a whirl.

And as astounding as it feels to actually write this, you did not need ugly rhetoric or wild shenanigans, under-handed tactics or silly slogans or scorched earth backbiting and angry retorts from every corner of the antiquated two-party death knell to do so. The steady, bright, even-keeled, unwavering hope peddler put it to you and you actually voted for him.

You kicked tradition in the balls. You stomped the terra and made history, and while you were at it, you did not ignore your darkest corners of it. You faced it, as the candidate faced it with you.

And I am especially pleased with your youth, which had been pummeled with nonsense for four decades when Viet Nam and riots and thug-police and a corrupt FBI and unbridled CIA and a lunatic president battling the fire-breathing, march-happy underground radicals obliterated the middle-ground of your body politic setting up one bummer after another; Kent State, Watergate, Malaise, Savings & Loan, Iran/Contra, Desert Storm, Contract With America, Monica Lewinsky, Ken Starr, 9/11, Patriot Act, Mission Accomplished, to name just a very few.

I did not think you had it in you. I had heard forever how motivated and pissed off and fired-up you were going to be, and come Election Day, I was disappointed in you every time. Every time. But not this time.

Granted, it took the greatest economic meltdown in 80 years and one car wreck of a campaign to move you quickly in this direction, but move you did. And I am proud of you and I owe you a public and humbling apology.

Four years ago, in the wake of the inconceivable re-election of George W. Bush, I wrote this about you…

“Turns out Zell Miller’s apoplectic lunacy at the convention three months ago was right on the money. He was goofy, but he spoke for the electorate. Miller represents the majority. It hasn’t changed in 220-plus years of this republic. You want to change the hearts and minds of the hinterland? You want to jerk the South from its Bible Belt? You had better get the army together, like Lincoln did. Burn their cities and teach them a thing or two. These people are still fighting the damned Civil War. Those people who were power-hosing the black folk in Alabama and Mississippi and the Carolinas during the Civil Rights movement? They’re still there, and they had children, and they’re not trading the country in for any slick talking Yankee lawyer who ain’t down with Jesus. Give them a smiling hick like Carter or Clinton or they’re sending you back to the Ivy League.”

Well, Virginia and North Carolina kicked my ass but good this time. Those states, along with Colorado and New Mexico out west, where the new economic centers are, beat the hell out of convention. The blaze of true change engulfed weirdly entrenched places like Missouri, Indiana and Iowa, and put old Democratic politico junctions in Ohio and Pennsylvania in their place. Barack Obama, the next president, didn’t even need them or the almost entirety of the south; like he didn’t need them to defeat Madam Hillary and put to shame the sad excuses offered up by losers like Al Gore and John Kerry. He did not need them to beat the white, military veteran who yelled “Socialism” and “Radical” from sea to shiny sea.

You kicked tradition in the balls. You stomped the terra and made history, and while you were at it, you did not ignore your darkest corners of it. You faced it, as the candidate faced it with you.

On the eve of the most unlikely victory in your rich and bizarrely brilliant ledger, Mr. Obama stood before a cheering mob in Manassas, Virginia, the site of the bloody battles of Bull Run, mere miles from the capital of the doomed Confederacy, and within shouting distance of the home of your father, George Washington and your most endearing author, Thomas Jefferson, who had both dreamed of and fought for liberty while inexplicably owning human beings. Then, after carrying that state in his improbable ride to the most powerful post on the planet, standing before a million weeping revelers in a park where 40 years before in the wake of Martin Luther King’s assassination the Democratic Party went up in flames as thousands of protesters were beaten bloody by crazed cops on national television, in the home state of your greatest president, the emancipator of the slaves, Abraham Lincoln, Barack Obama, 47 year-old junior senator, a black man, embodied your greatest promise; all men are indeed created equal.

It is a story of achievement so starkly inconceivable it does it no service to encapsulate it in the words bound by political commentary. Only poetry. Only song. Only someone not yet born will be able to immortalize it properly.

But until then I offer this humble request for forgiveness.

Now excuse me while I take a few weeks off and then get back to irrationally deconstructing everything you hold dear and reducing it to badly humored fodder.

Your proud son, jc

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What’s Worth Voting For 2008

Aquarian Weekly 11/5/08 REALITY CHECK

WHAT’S WORTH VOTING FOR A Final Demented But Well-Meaning Overview From The Middle Ground

Better fare hard with good men, than feast it with bad. – Thomas Paine

I’ve been howling politics from the rafters, on stages, in living rooms and kitchens, apartment stairwells and street corners, and in every bar from NYC to San Francisco with friend and foe for well over two decades. I have culled a paycheck to do so as a free-lancer and in this space for much of it. I have reveled in its oddities and absurdities, marveled at its prominent depths and smattering of heights, battled against and with the best and brightest, worst and dimmest, and occasionally even gotten involved. Much of it has been either to cause trouble or to plant tongue firmly in cheek and have a chuckle. But I have never taken The Vote for granted.

Grassroots RevolutionAround here The Vote is sacred.

I have yet to vote for a Democratic nominee for president of the United States. I voted for a Republican once in 2000. I did so assuming the candidate would likely be a minor disaster, which was proven understated. But it was never a vote of approval. I merely did so to aid in the eventual defeat of Al Gore with whom I had a personal vendetta. When I did vote prior, I voted Independent or not at all. Every trip to the booth has begun from a point of conscience and personal pride, exercising my right to choose the person I’d want on the job or I would respectfully abstain on the grounds that a vote for just anyone would incriminate me.

John Anderson, Ross Perot and Ralph Nader never had a shot, but I slept well with my decisions and laughed heartily during every minute of Iran/Contra through Monica Lewinsky and so on.

Seven elections, four Independents, two protests in absentia and one George W. Bush were always followed by the obligatory laughter.

But laughing along the sidelines will no longer be an option.

This week I cast my vote for Illinois Senator Barack Obama. I do so for reasons repeatedly established in this space since that evening way back in early January when the candidate stepped to the microphone in Iowa, having miraculously revealed chinks in The Machine, and delivered the finest stump speech in more than two generations. He has done nothing to shake my confidence over two campaigns, one brutally contested for his party’s nomination and one burped up by his opponent.

What this ultimately means is unlike almost every election I have followed and commented on since engaging in schoolyard fistfights over McGovern/Nixon in ’72, the candidate I fully endorse actually has a chance to govern.

How the hell did that happen?

For starters, I am pleased with Obama’s demeanor, cool sense of self and his overall decorum under the type of pressures no other presidential candidate in the history of these United States has had to face. He is the ultimate underdog; a ridiculously inexperienced, intellectual, Liberal, northern, African American senator. Nothing close to this list has come within a bullhorn’s shout of the White House in the 219 years we’ve been doing this. The fact that Obama has beaten the steepest of odds has already been interpreted here as victory.

Secondly, I have been duly convinced of Obama’s rational decisions at every turn and a somewhat sincere attempt at formulating ideas and alternatives to the madness that is our failed federal government. The only caveat to this assessment is his repeated denials of hanging with crazy people, which he most certainly has, and his choice of Senator Joseph Biden, who is as crazy as they come and another abhorrent Baby Boomer big mouth that thinks by simply showing up we’re all better for it.

But let’s face it; anyone who has ever served or lived for that matter has dabbled in matters of crazy. Lord knows you agree with that one.

Mostly, I strongly believe that it is his time, his generation’s time, and his culture’s time to give it a go. And so I shall vote for him.

Unfortunately for both the candidate and me, this is dangerous.

For the first time, a major party candidate did as little as possible to placate its base — Right or Left — and decided to go his own route in his own way; equal and effective parts grassroots, generational, technological, and oratorical.

First off — again, well established over the course of decades of printed material and four published works — I am a lunatic. Proud of it. Think of the most radical, cynical, vulgar and unconscionable ball-cracking contrarian and multiply it beyond your imagination. This is yours truly on a good day. I am a miserable, spiteful, vicious bastard the rest of the time. Pissing me off is not a good move. I tend to become a rabid mutant when disappointed; feral, spastic, and downright depraved when fed garbage and told its ice cream.

When I think something is already screwed, as it is 98.9% of the time, it’s easy to laugh it off, but when I am counting on someone or something and they fail to deliver, I tend to hurl derision every which way. It’s best when I have no expectations. Ask my wife, my family, what is left of my friends or any poor soul who spends five uninterrupted minutes in my company.

This is why I have found it far more pleasant to avoid expectation altogether. Whether I root for a team or purchase the talents/labor/utilities or heaven forefend, a product from anyone within our free-market economy, I expect to be hosed. I presume to fight, scratch and claw for every dime, right, or voice I attempt to infuse into a myriad of situations.

A good example of low expectations is my overview of the American electorate and its previous gaggle of victors.

I think most of what arises through the national political scene is akin to a sad parody of futile embarrassment. Most of what I have been forced to vote for, cover, or witness for the better part of my 46 years of existence has more or less resembled a steaming pile of horse feces. Thus, I have concluded that most Americans, like most humans, are a puerile collection of damaged goods, delusional egoists, or just plain stupid. Therefore, I count on these people getting the leaders they deserve; corrupt, lazy, and phony miscreant ignoramuses.

This, of course, translates nicely into the philosophy that John McCain is the perfect president. He is erratic, mean-spirited, confused, and at times downright scary. If you were to wrap the American psyche into a fun-loving ball and throw in a dapple of religious zealot gooberism with this vacant-eyed running mate of his, you’d have yourself a Clinton or Bush or Reagan or Carter or the usual mediocre fare.

This is why, along with he being a white, vaguely conservative, flip-flopping military veteran; I have been more than amazed McCain hadn’t wrapped this puppy up by Labor Day. Most candidates with this list merely have to avoid stabbing their mothers in daylight or kicking a paraplegic to be elected, especially when facing the Obama list. Apparently, somewhere along the line, voters thought whatever the Republican candidate was doing trumped these sins, which tumbled him into the unenviable position of being a symbol of the most unlikely of defeats.

Barack Obama is the first viable alternative to these repeated shams: Inarticulate, carousing, half-cocked, plastic, quasi-religious, social marauders, whipping up a frenzy of tired old proxies from long-dead campaigns. Obama has not pulled these tricks. He has not gone negative or petty or stooped to the latest feeble notion to appeal to The Dumb, despite long-discredited institutions like the NY Times or whatever passes for fading Sixties liberalism these days.

For the first time, a major party candidate did as little as possible to placate its base — Right or Left — and decided to go his own route in his own way; equal and effective parts grassroots, generational, technological, and oratorical.

Maybe it’s why he is considered radical and new and represents change and appears to some as un-American. Who the hell has grown up in this fixed and damaged national political environment and could aptly define someone uttering something smartly compiled and coherently processed?

Well, this weird angle worked like gangbusters around here and put me in the strange position I’m currently in: The cozy place normal voters have continuously settled with previous candidates, hope, enthusiasm, and (gulp) trust.

Hey, let’s not get nuts. I have no signs standing on my property or a bumper sticker on my car, and I do not own any article of clothing with the man’s name or face on it. As a member of the rogue press, I did not donate time or money to promote the candidate or his agenda. I certainly do not look for ideology in a candidate. No politician could begin to identify anything that rattles around in my head. It’s best that way. I do not expect this candidate to take on the entire establishment and turn this puritanical country into an unrecognizable frenzy of revolt.

That would be nice.

But I’ll take Barack Obama.

The closest thing I’ll get to a candidate with a chance.

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