Robert Novak & Journalistic Ethics

Aquarian Weekly 7/19/06 REALITY CHECK

UNRELIABLE SOURCES How Two Bobs Are Killing The Free Press

Robert NovakIn the long, steady stream of crumbling credibility surrounding this god-forsaken Valerie Plame outing case, syndicated columnist Robert Novak released the names of his confidential sources this week, or at least the confirming sources in the 2003 story that lead to this mayhem in the first place. Nobody is surprised at the revealing of Karl Rove, who, unfortunately, is not going to prison, and nobody beyond the most insufferable Beltway nerds have any clue who Bill Harlow – a purported spokesman for the CIA, which is a contradiction in terms anyway – is. But neither name is important here, nor is the identity of the original source. Here we only, finally, discuss the concept and importance of protecting confidential sources to the power and priority of a free press, the penultimate blockade in our 230 year-old experiment in democracy.

Novak, along with celebrity journalist and a hero of anyone who has done this job for five minutes, Bob Woodward, who, in recent decades since toppling Tricky Dick, has morphed into a celebrity political slut, have sold out one of the most sacred tenets of this profession: Do Not Reveal Sources.

This atrocity comes on the heals of last year’s jailing of journalists Judith Miller and Matthew Cooper for attempting to protect sources, an incident which brought to the surface over a dozen cases across the country in the past 24 months of accredited journalists subpoenaed in federal cases and forced to reveal confidential or background sources under the threat of prison.

Nobody loves to bash the mainstream media more than me, and God knows I have been unkind in this space to my chosen profession, or part-time profession now, or whatever it is you might call what we do here; but if the press is going to be this weak, then batten down the hatches, we’re officially living in a fascist state.

Then we have this asinine argument two weeks ago that the NY Times should sit on the electronic spying of bank records, as if the public has no right to know that federal agencies are tapping into private accounts. You can certainly argue social responsibility or timing or even the age-old national security issue (see Berlin, 1933 for details) but you cannot argue rights. It’s nuts. It’s stupid. And folks, unless you have yet to visit the most rudimentary civics class, it’s unconstitutional.

But enough Basic American History and Journalism 101. Back to Novak and Woodward.

Last year Woodward barbed and winced and then apologized for a similar story he penned on the Plame affair, going as far as engaging in childish schoolyard antics, by telling everyone the aforementioned secret source spoke to him first. Jeez. Bully for him. However, through all this weeping, back-biting, and sickening consolation, we get the name of former Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage, who has repeatedly offered a telling “no comment”, which means he is, of course, the primary source.

So I guess it’s too bad for Armitage. Simply because he entered into a sacred agreement that he provide information for a story, regardless of whether anyone thinks the story pertinent, politically motivated vengeance, or nonsense, he has to scramble and eat shit. This is, in journalistic parlance, an abomination, not unlike what normally fills the space of this column weekly. But I digress.

Listen, if Armitage wants to reveal his identity, this is his right. But he should not be forced out, not by special prosecutors or publicity-starved journalists, or anyone at any time. It is foremost Armitage’s right to privacy being infringed upon, but it is also the right of a free press to gather information for an important story and not selling out their primary sources to do so that is the most heinous element to this mess.

I don’t care who’s guilty in all this Plame case. That’s Plame’s problem. I’m sure everyone is guilty. Maybe Scooter Libby will be the scapegoat. Maybe not. Maybe his “I’m a nutso Alzheimer’s victim” defense will fly. Not sure. Don’t care. Not anymore. Politics is ugly and war is hell. Plame is a small causality compared to the thousands of people either dead or maimed in the past three years. What I do care about, as should you, is that a sad majority of the national press in this country is chucking the final remnants of investigative journalism into the scrap heap: The Deep Background Off-The-Record Source.

I’ll tell you one thing, if I had the goods on an important story to impart, I would go nowhere near Novak or Woodward. I don’t give half a fart how long these geezers have been pounding the trail. They cannot be trusted. But who can be trusted? Ah, good one.

So it should be considered an outrage for anyone who celebrates freedom as bestowed upon us through bloody revolt, raging debate, and countless speeches from rich white guys that the supposed free press can be bullied this way. I have had enough of this bullshit. Nobody loves to bash the mainstream media more than me, and God knows I have been unkind in this space to my chosen profession, or part-time profession now, or whatever it is you might call what we do here; but if the press is going to be this weak, then batten down the hatches, we’re officially living in a fascist state.

Christ, I have been one of the saner voices in the wilderness over the pasty years when all of my radical and left wing pals begged me to compare this government to Nazis or scream about baby killers in Iraq. I have stayed out of that arena. I choose to sling arrows from a more logical point – in the middle. But I will not sit around and watch tired incontinent hacks like Novak or prima donnas like Woodward piss all over the immutable right and duty of journalists to protect sources, no matter what.

The bidding on the identity of Georgetown begins now.

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Al Qaeda Shell Game

Aquarian Weekly 6/28/06 REALITY CHECK

AL QAEDA SHELL GAME The Great Con Of Terrorism

Interchangable PawnThere’s a big article in this week’s Newsweek magazine that echoes the fantasy that has been conjured by not only the mainstream media, but, more alarmingly, by the CIA and the Pentagon, and the whole of the United States government: This al Queda everyone has been so hot about since 9/11 is a tangible entity. It is not. And this bit of misinformation has been as dangerous an enemy as we’re told al Queda is supposed to be. Those in charge don’t admit it, or won’t admit it in public, because they have no idea what or who al Queda really is, and that would not go over too well if they went that route.

The worst part is this is not any grand revelation. It’s been a repeated mistake that has had grave consequences for this country before and after 9/11/01, not the least of which is the bloody dog and pony show currently going down in Iraq. And not only did those in charge of the thing mistake insurgents for guerrilla warriors, but also clumped at least three warring factions as “the Iraqi people” for four years running now. As in, “The Iraqi people yearn to be free of a dictator” and “The Iraqi people want the right to vote” and “The Iraqi people will treat us like liberators”.

Wrong. Wrong. And, guess, what? Wrong.

There were never any Iraqi people. The “Iraqi people” didn’t think so; therefore we shouldn’t have gone along with it. But we did. We didn’t recognize the Sunnis or the Kurds or the Shiites as completely separate religious, cultural, and geographical entities, which were held together by the iron fist of madness, and left to their own devices would fight to the death to gain control of the hearts and minds of a fractured nation. And because we failed to realize this, we now have our military embroiled in an all-out civil war, one in which we cannot abandon anytime soon without looking like master chessmen sacrificing pawns for a minor victory down the line.

But that is a discussion for another day. Now we speak of al Qaeda, and more precisely its latest fallen “leader”, Abu Mussab al-Zarqawi, made infamous by his televised beheading of American Nick Berg two years ago, and whose death a few weeks back drove confetti sales up inside the Beltway and had everyone giddy with joy.

The bigger picture? There is no al-Qaeda. There is only chaos.

And that’s where we come to our Newsweek article and its query over “Who Will Be al-Zaqawi’s Successor?”

Successor? What do we think this is some kind of hostile corporate take-over, an NFL coaching change, or the Queen of England here? There is no successor. There is no leader. There is no al-Queda. It is a ruse, a smokescreen, some kind of shell game that fractious hordes of murderous rogues are playing on the big bad U.S. of A. This is why this space has maintained for five years now that the celebrated figurehead of western hatred Osama bin Laden is dead. He had as many enemies within the radical Muslim community (and just using the word community here is short-sighted naiveté) as he did without. It’s a free-for-all, kids. The sooner we cop to this, the sooner we’ll be able to deal.

A prime example of this came home to roost this week when two U.S. soldiers were found mutilated beyond recognition by purportedly al-Qaeda in response to al-Zaqawi’s death. A brand new loon by the name of Abu Hamza al-Muhajer, aka Abu Ayyub al-Masri, aka Youssef al-Dardiri, another Reagan-funded member of the 1980s’ Afghani Freedom Fighter clan, claimed mastermind/leadership duties on this abomination, and according to reports and web blogs and other completely unreliable sources, Mr. Whatever is now the “successor” to al-Zarqawi. We call him Mr. Whatever because there are also more reliable reports out of London and Jerusalem the morning I write this that al-Muhajer and al-Masri are not even the same guy. But the real problem here is that some other branch or segment or off-shoot of al-Qaeda, whatever that is, (and there are now five or six of these in Iraq alone) claims responsibility.

Of course this is business as usual in the underworld kill-fest of terrorism. Usually in places like Israel or Pakistan you have to get in line to claim responsibility for this kind of brutal shit. On a fair day four different news organizations will throw a dart at a board with names of various independent terrorist organizations (and again I use the term “organizations” with the utmost irresponsibility) and hope for the best.

According to Newsweek, right now in Iraq there are at least eight known terrorist groups claiming to be an arm of al Queda. They are the Mujahedin Shura Council, which consists of the Victorious Sect Army, the Monotheism Supporters Brigade, the Al-Ahwal [Fear] Brigade, and the Al-Murabitun Brigades. Then there is the Ansar-al-Sunnah, the Islamic Army of Iraq, the Mujahedin Army, and the 1929 Revolutionary Brigade. And as far as we, the CIA, the FBI, the U.S. Military, Dick Chaney, Donald Rumsfeld, Katie Couric, or the gray-haired guy who won American Idol know, none of them wear any kind of uniform or espouse a specific political agenda or ideology, except to cause as much mayhem and murder as possible. I guess that’s an ideology, but none that we, quite obviously, can fathom.

You see, and this has been brought up here (“The New War” – Issue: 9/1/98) and elsewhere over and over but has not sunk in enough to be useful, this enemy is not the Nazis or the Soviets or pick-and-choose your direct identifiable enemy. This is a roaming pack of thugs and criminals and crazies that you cannot wage war on or give speeches about or pinpoint in any military conventional way. A glaring example of this is the “Mission Accomplished” flack the president takes to this day. The fact is the mission was accomplished: Saddam Hussein and his Baath Party were expunged from Baghdad. This was the mission, however steeped in lies and propaganda: This was the mission.

Since then the mission has been something else, which is why Republicans in Congress this past week arguing that pulling out of Iraq is tantamount to surrender is playing both sides of the fence. First they agree with me that the mission had been accomplished, and now we’re trying to build a nation, but when the debate tumbles in that direction they conveniently try and make this about The War. It is not a War, it is an occupation/policing of a violent civil conflict and a fending off of random acts of murder, and it should have never come to this if the people running things had understood the bigger picture.

The bigger picture? There is no al-Qaeda. There is only chaos.

How do you fight chaos? I don’t know. We pay people to handle that. But I know one thing: You don’t do it like this.

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The IDF Summer Tour

Aquarian Weekly 6/26/06 REALITY CHECK

THE ISRAELI DEFENSE FORCE SUMMER TOUR
On The Road Again With The Humorless Kill Machine

Bierut BurnsThe Israeli Defense Force has gone crazy.

This is not good news for anyone in a turban with an Allah fixation. It is worse news for anyone standing next to these people. At least the militants will be massacred for a cause, however extraordinarily pathetic that cause might be. The rest are just human run-off.

Innocence does not matter. Innocence is like a speed bump to the world’s fiercest fighting unit. Innocence. Regret. Conscience. Mercy. These are not in the vocabulary. The IDF does not scare. It does not wince. It just keeps coming. Retreat? Only when the USA says so, like six years ago when Lebanon began to emerge from the dark ages. Otherwise, it’s hardcore advancing. Pure. Brutal. Destruction.

But it’s not World War III or the End of Times, or anything else the kooky Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah says it is. It is horrible for some, devastating for most, and scary for all – but it is only the beginning.

In all due respect to Nasrallah, who will likely be a charred corpse by the time I finish this column, his Hezbollah, just like al Qaeda or the PLO, is merely a pawn in a greater game. Soon, when Iran finally stands up for itself, instead of funding cheap hit-and-run artists, and Syria gets its collective head out of its ass, then Isreal will have a real enemy to pummel. Perhaps then the USA can get involved, or the UN, or some other impotent gaggle of neckties.

Until then it’s crazy time.

Hey, it’s not like we didn’t warn these idiots: “As far as Iran taking over as ‘The New Threat’, many familiar with the region and the country’s capabilities for war know it pales in comparison to what Israel holds and is more than willing to use at the drop of a hat. And pretty soon, if someone is wacky enough in this crumbling administration to will it, there could be word that they’ll have to fend for themselves. And once the IDF gets the green light, they will point the finger at Iran. Go ahead and tally up the potential devastation. I dare you. Know this: The Iranians will not come out on top.” (“Iran Crisis Is A Fraud” – Issue: 4/26/06)

Lebanon should not be left out of the equation either. It’s as good a reason as any for why 30 years of rebuilding has gone kablooey in a few days. Just think of it as another democratic experiment gone awry in the theocratic capital of the world. Hezbollah running Lebanon. Hamas running Palestine. The Israeli Defense Force going ballistic.

Either way you slice it, it’s bad press for starting democracies in crazyland. Freedom is just a word.

Adolf Hitler was free.

Genghis Khan too.

All those slave owners from the birth of this nation until the military smacked them around were free as birds.

Free. Free. Free.

But, as is my wont, I digress.

So Iran wants to drag Israel into a two-front war? Drag the U.S. into the mess to make the kind of waves it takes to keep North Korea off the crazy charts for a weekend? Sounds good in the pitch, but once the script is fleshed out and the casting is done and the director is on board, all you’re left with is Iran in a two-front war: Whipping up Shiite mania in Iraq to kill American soldiers while keeping the soon-to-be severely fractured Hezbollah in the game.

Meanwhile, here comes the IDF. Pissed. Armed. Razing the landscape. Running amok.

Not too bright.

But then Iran can never be obliterated. Too big. Worth too much to too many people. They can afford to be stupid.

Syria? They’re a whole other thing altogether. The rest of the world would hardly bat an eye if Syria were torched from the desert. What excuse does Syria have for being involved in this Islamic suicide pact? At least the Israelis are a threat to democracy because of over-zealous military vengeance, and Iran is clearly insane, but if Syria thinks it’s going to get a pound of flesh for being unceremoniously booted out of Lebanon last year by acting as a tinderbox for this giant ball of Hebrew flame coming down the pike, then it has sorely miscalculated.

Hope they really dig Mohammad, because he’s going to have some serious company soon.

The saddest of all is when finger-waving, red-faced loons start speaking out from these apoplectic religious outposts: “We will rain down terror and rejoice as the blood of your children run rivers through the streets!” Sure, on the wrong end of a one-to-ten ratio, skippy.

It’s like watching those painful pre-event interviews with the morons who insist on “running with the bulls” in Spain. They seem so confident, almost beatific, a tangible sense of joy wafts across their rosy expression. Then they are speared by a full-charge, grunting beast and they cry for their mommies.

You want to jump through the screen and stop these blathering zealots. Tell them they are loved. Drink a beer. Listen to a little James Taylor. Get a job. But don’t fuck with Israel. Especially an Israel that has a weakened United States two doors down dealing with a pile of shit six-feet deep. It’s a recipe for a heaping portion of death.

But it’s too late now. The ass kicking has begun.

Every once in a while the ass kicking is needed. Every so often the fervent believers have to be shown the real deal: Missiles. Tanks. Real Soldiers. And not the U.S. kind with the compassion and rebuilding and securing towns, but the blasting and pillaging and crush, kill, destroy.

Every so often, more so than not, the crazies get crazy in crazyland.

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The Democrats Are Finished

Aquarian Weekly 6/21/06 REALITY CHECK

THE DEMOCRATS ARE FINISHED Reasons Why Even With A Fixed Game, The GOP Will Remain in Power

Nancy PelosiThis crazy half-reasoned notion perpetuated by the rooting press and a hopeful citizenry that the Republican Party is doomed and that come November the putrid approval ratings of this mediocre-to-bungling president, along with soaring gas prices, a vacillating stock market, a botched-to-bankrupt war effort, a litany of investigations, and a landslide of hideous Capitol Hill corruption, will swing voters to the Democratic Party is at best silly, and at worst, stupid. The Republicans are not going anywhere. And the Democrats? Ha…ha, ha, ha…woo-ha, ha…gulp…ho, ho, ha ha heeeee!

Are you people out of your fucking minds? Have you slept through the past six years of this administration and GOP rule? These guys can do anything. It doesn’t matter what annoying crap these morons spew or what sort of questionably moral or legal or barely decipherable programs or issues or theories they throw out there, they are here to stay. Count on it.

Sure, I’m a history guy. You can cite tons of recent history that says that no president can be in the low-30s in approval ratings with all of the lunacy that has passed for governance over the past few years and have his party retain power in the Congress. But I would have bet the Clemens Estate that the bloodied corpse of this man would have been sent packing two years ago. He’s pretty much stunk up the joint since those towers in Manhattan hit the ground, and was well below the historical bottom line poll numbers for winning in 2004, but he was re-elected – by an even larger overall margin. And his party retained power then, just as they will this November.

Oh, you’ll say, “But Mr. Campion, or James, or dumb-ass, since then you have the Katrina screw-ups, the failed restructuring of Social Security, the Medicare Bill gaff, the Scooter Libby, Karl Rove, Tom Delay and Bill Frist fall-out, the Abramoff revelations, the appalling 9/11 commission report, the Abu Ghraib horrors, the Guantanamo Bay fiasco, the vice president shooting, and, Jesus, man, this god awful clusterfuck of a war!”

Face it. The Democrats are finished. Then it will be left up to the Republicans to completely annihilate this republic and FINALLY wake up the rest of us to consider finishing them off as well. Believe me when I tell you, it’s for the best.

All good points, and you might add that even I, for a short time, was duped into thinking these maniacs were screwed. I even wrote it down and sent it to press with my name above it, and this paper printed it. But they are not screwed. On the contrary, I believe the results of the 2006 mid-term elections will, for all intents and purposes, kill the Democratic Party. It almost happened once, back in 1976, when all Jimmy Carter had to do after the Watergate disaster was show up. Then he barely hung on against Gerald Ford, a man for whom even the staunchest Republicans represented the ultimate stuck pig.

And so, I can confidently predict another Republican victory (maybe a few seats go, but not enough to swing power) marking the end of the Democratic Party, because the signs are there. You know how these religious fanatics are always looking for signs of the apocalypse or the second coming of Jesus or Mohammad or Charlie Chaplin? I happen to be able to read the clouds, the writing on the proverbial political wall – and fans, the writing is clear: Don’t count on fun and impeachment, and more investigations, or anything like that. Count on more of the same.

It is the Democrats last chance, and they will squander it. Then they will whither and die.

Item: Last week in San Diego, the first major symbol of possible Republican angst in the voting booth reared its head when Republican Brian Bilbray beat Democrat Francine Busby to replace imprisoned former Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham in the 50th Congressional District. In a contest the Union-Tribune correctly dubbed as “a gauge of voter attitudes for the national midterm elections”, Bilbray carried the day. It is well known that San Diego is faithfully conservative, but so is the majority of this country, and say what you want about this Bush Kabal, Duke Cunningham is one of the most corrupt and insane politicians to emerge from a gooey quagmire of reprehensible behavior, who took stealing, cheating, lying, and overall villainy to new and exciting heights. Did it matter? Nope.

Another significant sign that the Democrats’ Waterloo is nigh is this whole Constitutional Ban on Gay Marriage nonsense. Of course Bush, who failed to even utter this proposal to “stabilize society” since the week before his re-election, has brought this steaming pile of bigotry out of mothballs to galvanize the base. Who cares? It does! And that’s all that counts.

Item: Nearly 60% of America opposes gay marriage, and some 42% favor some kind of national law to ban it. Whipping these atavistic zombies into a frenzy is sound politics, and speaks to a larger issue – many congressional districts teeter on the precipice of social issues, whether local or not, and Republicans currently have a stranglehold on it. Period. Push comes to shove, they will use wacky fringe issues to batter Democrat opponents, and recent history shows it works like gangbusters.

The final problem with extrapolating the paltry Bush approval ratings or the avalanche of bad news pummeling Congress weekly to build a “voter anger” or “voter need for change” theory is that even though only a jabbering simpleton, or, say, Sean Hannity, can even fathom contemplating this current government as remotely decent, the majority of people in this country like Bush. I like him. I think he’s just a lousy president and a doofus, but I don’t dislike him personally. He’s not a bad man, just overwhelmed and stymied by his own limitations – mentally, emotionally, politically, and, well, in just about every base facet of human capacity to function.

So, even though, when forced to give an answer on whether Captain Shoo-in knows what the hell he’s doing, people will respond, “Not really.” But if they think he should be tarred and feathered or run out the District of Columbia on a rail? “Nah.”

To the voting public, Bush and the Republicans are like a mediocre, but lovable, ballplayer, that, although deserves booing, also engenders support.

Hey, I get a lot of mail from angered and fed up people, there’s just not enough of you to pull out 14 Congressional seats in four months. Not when you include the Red states involved and the overall philosophy of this country.

Face it. The Democrats are finished. Then it will be left up to the Republicans to completely annihilate this republic and FINALLY wake up the rest of us to consider finishing them off as well. Believe me when I tell you, it’s for the best.

Or you can pray to whatever god you might subscribe to that a woman is elected president in ’08.

Ha…ha, ha, ha…woo-ha, ha…gulp…ho, ho, ha ha heeeee!

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The NSA Tapes

Aquarian Weekly
5/24/06
REALITY CHECK

THE NSA TAPES – Reality Check News & Information Desk Hotline Tapped

NSA TapesEditor’s Note: Due to a gaping loophole in the Freedom of Information Act, the following transcripts on private conversations between members of the Check Staff and/or James Campion, with outside sources compiled by the NSA, were obtained and sent to press unedited for the purposes of authenticity. Our legal department omitted last names and referenced names for obvious reasons. Do not be shocked. This could be you.

MARCH 7 – 11:23 AM Incoming call from Jack C.

Melissa (staff bully): Desk, can I help you?

Jack C (stalker): Where’s Campion?

Melissa: We don’t know. We never know. It’s best that way.

Jack C: But I have to speak to him. What’s his cell number?

Melissa: Cell phone? No. No cell phones. You have to use Morse Code.

Jack C: Morse code? Who the fuck uses Morse code anymore?

Melissa: Campion. Morse code – hard to trace and easy to save incoming information.

Jack C: I’m not going to…

Melissa: It’s simple, dim wit, just always remember a dash is equal to two dots and the space between parts of the same letter is equal to one dot.

Jack C: But I don’t have an instrument…

Melissa: And please don’t forget that the space between two letters is equal to three dots. And if you want to really piss Campion off, put more than a single space between two words, because that equals five dots. Five dots! Get it?

Jack C: Ma’am…

Melissa: Are you writing this down, suckfish? (line breaks up here)

APRIL 12 – 2:45 AM Incoming call from Parker P.

Carl (nervous intern): Desk?

Parker P (actress): Never mind, I need to speak to the managing editor, please.

Carl: Ms. xxxxx?

Parker P: You know who this is. I cannot be kept waiting!

Carl: Everyone is asleep.

Parker P: You’re not asleep.

Carl: I’m standing guard.

Parker P. I got problems.

Carl: Call the cops.

Parker P: It’s not that kind of problem. I need money. Tell Campion I need money. Just tell him it’s The Thing. He’ll know what I mean. The Thing. Don’t screw this up. There’s a time situation here, and it’s closing in.

Carl: Do you know what time it is, Ms. xxxxx?

Parker P: I’ll ask the questions here! Tell Campion to wire money to a Western Union station outside of Toledo for The Thing! The goddamned Thing! Make it a rush. In fact, I might need double.

Carl: Perhaps tomorrow…

Parker P: Listen to me, shithead! Some serious stuff is going down, and I’ve got to have this money, and I’ve got to have it before dawn! Otherwise there’s no deal! And I’m telling you right the fuck now, if Campion gets wind that I called and asked for the cash for The Thing and you didn’t wake him, and we miss out, he is going to blow a stack. And then I’m going to drive up there and beat the mortal snot from you with my bare fists. Do you understand me now? (call is cut short here)

APRIL 22 – 5:47 PM Incoming call from the Village Voice

Erin D (wife): What?

Unidentified Village Voice Editor: Wow, you’re answering the phone now? I thought Campion made you up.

Erin D: He did, go away.

VV: We need copy on this McDougal Street Flasher piece.

Erin D: What part of go away didn’t you comprehend? I’m up to my ass in shutters right now and I’m no secretary.

VV: Why did you answer the phone then?

Erin D: Seriously, I’m going to find you and make you pay. Do I even like you?

VV: I’m pretty sure we’ve never met.

Erin D: I know you. Didn’t I whip you in an arm wrestle at Chumley’s?

VV: That wasn’t me, that was xxxx xxxxxxxx.

Erin D: Right. I snapped that boy’s tendon right in half. Pretty good for a five-foot, 97- pounder. I love when men think they can take me. I bet I can take you.

VV: Can you at least take a message or let the machine pick up?

Erin D: Nah. (dial tone here)

MAY 14 – 9:35 PM Incoming call from Peter B.

James Campion: Yes?

Peter B (gadfly): What’s up.

JC: Nothing. You?

Peter B. Not much.

JC: Sounds good to me.

Peter B: Watching the Yankees game.

JC: Got the NBA on. Rooting for Lebron. Wife’s a big Pistons fan. She’s kicking me in the shins every time King James gets to the rack. And he’s getting to the rack, son. Ow!

Peter B: She’s sick.

JC: Why I married her.

Peter B: You know what the hell’s going with this Carl Pavano character?

JC: I think he’s in the witness protection program.

Peter B: He’s been out for a year. They say this is second or third rehab after he fell on his buttocks covering first base in March. His buttocks. Fell. Two months for that.

JC: Jacked on steroids.

Peter B: Likely.

JC: The King for three…! Yes! Hey, put that down… (sounds of struggle here, communication interrupted)

May 16 – 4:19 PM Incoming call from Dan B.

Dan B. (songwriter): Maestro.

JC: Admiral.

Dan B: You know, every couple of weeks I wander into a bookstore and head right for the fiction section and look to see if there’s a new J.D. Salinger.

JC: He hasn’t published anything since 1963.

Dan B: I know, man, The Four – There’s always just the holy, sacred four. That’s all there ever is, or will ever be – just those. But why?

JC: Maybe that’s all he had in him.

Dan B: I can’t accept it. How can anyone that good at something, that incredibly brilliant, just bag it? It’s Salinger we’re talking about! Salinger!

JC: Maybe he still writes, but hates publishers. I hate publishers. I really hate publishers.

Dan B: So? It’s not like Salinger would have to go on a book tour and sit at Barnes & Noble and sign books for three hours or go on the Today Show. He’s friggin’ J.D. Salinger!

JC: Maybe he hates writing. I pretty much hate writing. No, wait, I love writing. On third thought, I hate it.

DB: He has to realize he’s cheating the world. He has too. To be that great at something and kill it off. Halt it. It’s like a suicide. It’s creative suicide. He killed off Seymour Glass and that was it.

JC: He probably writes every day and has hundreds of stories, dozens of novels, and no one will see them until he dies and then his kids will exploit his legacy.

DB: They say he writes ten thousand words a day, and has been since the mid-sixties.

JC: I think that’s kinda romantic, pounding out tons of work for no one, for no cash. He’s obviously clinically mad. That’s it – he’s a nut. Or maybe he’s writing under an assumed name.

Dan B: Thomas Pynchon. Yeah, Thomas Pynchon is Salinger’s pen name.

JC: Maybe Dan Brown. Salinger wrote “The Da Vinci Code”.

Dan B: He writes for TV sitcoms now.

JC: Hey, I’ve got an idea. Let’s become terrorists.

Dan B: Okay. (high-pitched squeals over the line – agents crash in)

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james campion.com

Aquarian Weekly 5/10/06 REALITY CHECK

PRAISE BE TO OIL BARONS Why Chairmen Of Huge Oil Companies Should Be Worshipped As Gods

And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God. – Genesis:17-8

Our LordI have finally found religion, and with it, a god I can bank on. The religion? Oil profits. The emissaries of this god are the chairmen of the companies showing these miraculous, some might say, sanctified profits. Yahweh has nothing on these guys. Allah? A piker. Jesus? Well, he did say, “Our father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.” Of course he was talking about retired Exxon Mobil CEO, Lee Raymond, who recently collected a $400 million send-off package. This is not a typo. $400 million. Really. What invisible omnipotent monotheistic patriarch can deal with that? None. What new age nonsense peddled by nincompoops like Tom Cruise can provide this kind of beatific joy? Nada. The Bible says Abraham was a grossly wealthy man, but even he couldn’t hold a menorah to Lee Raymond.

If there is such a thing as a kingdom of heaven it resides at Exxon Mobil, and/or Conoco or Chevron, who have all reported records profits over the past calendar year and recently set all-time records for cash flow. These companies are not just in the black, they are in the deepest of black, the blackest of all black, or as Nigel from Spinal Tap might say, “None more black”.

How black, smoky?

According to the Wall Street Journal, the bible of our new and improved religion, this past January, Exxon posted the highest quarterly profits of any public company in history: $10.71 billion for the fourth quarter of 2005 and $36.13 billion for the full year. The highest profit margin in history. History! These people are printing money. Not even drug dealing, pornography, or gambling rakes in that kind of scratch.

This is why the American people see this as some sort of crime. It has to be. “The rich bastards are insatiable fiends!” Bullshit. Not a crime – perfectly legal, or the perfect crime, if you will. Perfection. This is the aim of all the world’s religions. But they suck air compared to this. I dare say sex sucks air compared to this. Can we call it the greatest thing known to living man? Sure. Why not? World record profits from something as asinine as refining a natural resource? It’s insane, but true. It makes raising Lazarus look like a bad David Blaine Special.

Profit is no crime. It is masterful business practice. It is as pristine as transmogrification. Better. Transmogrifying is crap. Ascending into heaven? Why? When you can have more money then, say, God? Yeah!

All big-time oil companies are riding high, but the true god is Exxon Mobil Corp. This past week they posted the fifth highest quarterly profit for any public company in history, and with oil prices above $70 a barrel it could go down as the company’s weakest quarter of the year. It’s a goddamn down turn and they’re in the top five earning periods ever! Stockholders are outraged! “Christ, what has become of our golden cash cow? Send Moses up the mountain for a few more tablets!” Thou Shall Not Point The Graph Downward.

Raymond forbid.

Profit is no crime. It is masterful business practice. It is as pristine as transmogrification. Better. Transmogrifying is crap. Ascending into heaven? Why? When you can have more money then, say, God? Yeah!

Remember, all of the world’s religions started out as some kind of crime against the cultural landscape. Have an open mind here. It’s all I ask. Jehovah’s Witnesses are always yammering on and on about eternal rewards. To hell with that, jack, true rewards come in the black gold!

These numbers are so off the charts and gas prices are rising at such an alarming rate that Congress is now investigating and the president is making speeches standing at the pumps. Congress? The president? Are we supposed to buy that these whores aren’t on the take? All of a sudden after years of generous government appropriations, environmental regulation rollbacks, conglomerate tax breaks, and Middle East wars that there isn’t enough moolah to spread around? Right. And the AMA isn’t pushing Pfizer products. Halliburton isn’t making a windfall from dead soldiers. Yes, sir. Everyone is innocent.

The perfectly legal crime.

No crime. Religion. Feel the love. Open your hearts and wallets. Past the basket! Praise the Petroleum! Give ’til it hurts. Volatile flammable liquid hydrocarbon mixtures for believers! Infidels be damned!

Face, it, the only crime here is that you and me aren’t in on the take. You pump uncontrollably into these gas-guzzling monstrosities I see you dingbats trying to parallel park on Third Avenue, and for every gallon the gods take in 9.5 cents. Nearly 10 cents a gallon profit! And then they grease these robotic anti-environmental, capitalistic mouthpieces to defend your right to own as big a vehicle as you want. “Don’t let the tree-huggers tell you that you can’t drive a Hummer! Drive whatever you please! As long as it takes gasoline, sucker. Lost and lots of gasoline.”

Have you accepted Exxon Mobile as you personal savior? Well, then…you’re shit out of luck, pal. Get on board. Get born again! It’s all the rage. But instead of some silly non-profit salvation, you get to buy mansions with high brick walls and moats and sail yachts and purchase small islands in the pacific so you can treat people like lepers.

I read in last month’s Forbes that Chevron’s CEO David O’Reilly pulled in $37 million in total compensation last year while doing the moonwalk across the main office’s water fountain. He might have healed the sick and the lame, but you won’t find too many infirmed at the company picnic this year. Their souls are safe as milk.

Business Week also ran a series this past winter on James Mulva, Conoco Phillips’ CEO, who received $17 million for a Christmas Bonus. There is no truth to the rumor that he was visited by three wise men, but there is plenty of evidence he was able to move several miles of the Rocky Mountains rather than take the long walk himself. “Fuck Mohammad,” Mulva proudly stated. “He only moved one mountain! I moved a whole friggin’ range!”

Later in the six-page spread, Dick Chaney was incensed to find an unflattering artist’s rendering of Mulva in the Washington Post. The vice president was quite adamant that any cartoon depiction of Oil Barons would be grounds for death. Many Chevron employees considered rioting, but they were too busy at the bank.

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Iran Crisis A Fraud

Aquarian Weekly 4/26/06 REALITY CHECK

IRAN CRISIS IS A FRAUD No Sense Wasting Valuable Paranoia On Macho Bullshit

Mahmoud AhmadinejadSometime very soon Americans will finally be sick and tired of hearing about the Middle East and its nations’ collective religious, political and cultural madness. Maybe not tomorrow or next week, or perhaps not even by 2007, but the time is coming. Sooner than you think. It became tiresome eventually for the French and the British, and soon we will tire of it. There’s only so much theocratic nonsense one can stomach before giving up and leaving them to their bad craziness. Oil keeps us interested, and 9/11 opened many eyes, but really, what are we dealing with: A few hate-mongering sand cretins and Qur’an fanatics? Nothing Israel can’t handle with a little leeway from the UN and a back-turning exercise from the United States. All gone. Soon.

Let’s get this out in the open right away: Iran is no threat to anyone. Let them develop nuclear weapons or energy, or whatever it is going on over there. The Russians are all for it. Of course they are, it’s their only hope to secure the region from either complete chaos or U.S. colonialism. Right or wrong, that’s how they see it. We screwed them out of millions when Hussein went belly up. We’ve got troops all over the desert. It’s only fair they get a dog in the fight. So throw them a bone.

Granted, Iran is a loony bin. It’s run by atavistic royal Pooh-Bahs horny for international attention and scared shitless the Big Bad is going democratic next door in Iraq. We know now this is why Saddam lied to everyone about weapons, whether he had a few or not, because he was pretty sure (and right on the money, actually) that it was just a matter of time before the Iranians would waltz across his border and rape his land. He had it coming. Back before the whole Kuwaiti thing, Hussein tried invading Iran. He claimed it would take 48 hours. Eight years later he limped back and chose another enemy, one less dangerous, the U.S. That is until the spring of 2003 when it all went sour and he’s now reduced to ranting like a cartoon character before doomed judges. Soon he will hang and that will be that. Thankfully.

Go ahead and tally up the potential devastation. I dare you. Know this: The Iranians will not come out on top.

But as far as Iran taking over as “The New Threat”, many familiar with the region and the country’s capabilities for war know it pales in comparison to what Israel holds and is more than willing to use at the drop of a hat. And pretty soon, if someone is wacky enough in this crumbling administration to will it, there could be word that they’ll have to fend for themselves. And once the IDF gets the green light, they will point the finger at Iran. Go ahead and tally up the potential devastation. I dare you. Know this: The Iranians will not come out on top. Not even the most fervent Allah freaks can allow that, and certainly not Vladimir Putin and the Russians. No one wins a war with Israel. They trail only us and the Chinese for missile tonnage.

Why do you think Captain Shoo-In is huddling with Chinese President Hu Jintao? We need a crazy buddy. The Chinese are crazy. Really crazy. Crazy rich too. We’re into the Chinese for so much cash I’m pretty sure they own the Pentagon and Fort Knox by now. Which is good for me. Let them deal with the horrendous fallout of the past three years. We’ve got American Idol finals to cope with.

But enough about our Boy President, he’s looking more and more like a flat broke black jack loser stumbling into the hock shop looking to pawn daddy’s watch for one more hand. His wild ride on this bloated national debt has made him China’s cabin boy. He’s a goddamn deadbeat with Nixon-like approval ratings. If the Democrats manage to steal Congress back in November, he’ll be impeached and spend his remaining White House time lawyering up the place. It’s the Israelis who will take over soon. And the Israelis are 2-0 in these things.

About a dozen Arab nations, some all at once, tried to take on the Israeli Defense Force twice, and both times it was not much of a fight. Sure they want to wipe out the Jews, but you know what? They can’t. Not today, not tomorrow, not ever. And if they insist on it, everything will be gone. Then we’ll have to get those Hybrid cars up and running. But history tells us the rich and powerful sitting on billions in their lavish palaces rarely put it on the line for a losing cause. This has only happened once, right here, 240 years ago, when the rich land barons took on Mother England to avoid taxes. But an ocean separated the combatants, not a border or two. You wonder how far George Washington’s rag-tag militia would have lasted if England was, say, Canada.

This brings us to this asinine speculation that the U.S. can and will threaten to use force against Iran. This is not going to happen, even if the military wasn’t already embroiled in several Middle Eastern fights. It is nearly impossible invading Iran. For one, it’s four times the size of Iraq with three-times the populace, and we’re having enough trouble there. Secondly, we’re not ruthless enough to deal with these maniacs. We’d be building hospitals and starting governments in no time. Meanwhile, the remaining sickos will be ramming jeep explosives into tents. It’s a nightmare that only works once at the expense of America’s sons and daughters. I’m pretty sure Cindy Sheehan would get her own network late night show if that happens.

Look, I’m all for fearing maniacs. Try North Korea. This is one steaming pile of trouble harboring no compunction to reduce us to cinder, and they have the backing of the aforementioned Chinese, who are biding their time until we are completely dead broke from war games and have to sell them the mid-west at rock bottom prices.

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Scooter Libby Will Sing

Aquarian Weekly 4/19/06 REALITY CHECK

SCOOTER’S SONG Who Will Lewis Libby Bury To Stay Out Of The Stockade?

Rove Damage ControlIt’s looking more and more as if Lewis “Scooter” Libby is going to sing. He is no Ollie North. He’s more like John Dean. And just as both of those gentlemen were caught in the whirlwind of Washington power plays, he will have a choice to make: Take one for the team or twitter like a canary. Of course Libby’s front may be the most egregious of all, because it is the kind of muss and fuss which normally accompanies a furious ramp-up for war. Ah, but when the music stopped, and all the chairs had been taken, the man his buddies once affectionately called Scooter was the sucker left to take the fall. But, the thing is, on the way down Libby decided he would not go alone.

This latest furor over the president’s leaking of “classified” information that wasn’t necessarily “classified” because the president can declassify anything he wants is only the beginning. There will be more. I am told by very reliable sources, much more. It will doom the Republicans on Capital Hill come fall and put the final nail in this lame duck second term, which has all but flat-lined anyway.

Writing in this space eight years ago, it was at this crucial point in the Monica Lewinsky mess that I knew Bill Clinton was more or less finished. The wild flim-flammery of the definition of certain verbs and skewed timelines had the distinct odor of guilt. I did not require any taped mia culpas or stained dresses. The jig was up for the Minister of Fun right then. He was on the trail of no return. And that is where we find Captain Shoo-In, the Boy President. He is done for, in more ways than one.

The deeper ramifications of this “he said/he said/they said” nonsense reside in what Libby is willing to do to stay out of prison. Does it mean he goes after the CIA, George Tenet, blast open the case for war, the strangely vacillating intelligence reports, read and then misread and finally compiled for the UN under the masquerade of back-room dealings? Does he take the case inside the White House; break out the details of weird meetings with Saudi kings and EXXON bagmen burning up the direct line to the oval office? Does Libby take down his boss, the unflappable Dick Cheney, who has managed to shake up the power structure in this administration time and again on every foreign policy decision since the towers came down in lower Manhattan?

A figure this powerful with serious connections in Washington cannot be trusted to handle the pressure of being locked up. The man has already claimed fractional dementia with clinical memory lapses. He’s fainted more than once during inquisitions and there is mounting evidence he has harmed himself in several ways to elicit pity. He is a loose cannon by any stretch of law-speak.

Where does Mr. Libby’s story end?

Not even Libby’s lawyers know. A figure this powerful with serious connections in Washington cannot be trusted to handle the pressure of being locked up. The man has already claimed fractional dementia with clinical memory lapses. He’s fainted more than once during inquisitions and there is mounting evidence he has harmed himself in several ways to elicit pity. He is a loose cannon by any stretch of law-speak. He can say anything, and anyone you talk to surrounding this case tells you he will say anything.

The best the administration can do now is paint Libby as insane, jabbering with fear and unable to handle the notion of going to prison, stammering on about smear campaigns, faulty premises for war, and hazy memories of the vice president stumbling around the halls of the White House in the middle of the night drooling like an animal, brandishing a shot gun, and calling Junior out for a showdown. “Jesus, just to think of a proud man like I. Lewis Libby struggling to free himself from a straight jacket fills us with a sadness we cannot bear. We pray for he and his family and wish him a speedy recovery from his delusions.”

Believe me when I tell you Karl Rove is not going let a message boy like Scooter Libby bring down his president. Pretty soon you’ll hear some pretty graphic stories about Libby’s secret stash of amphetamines and his preternatural proclivity for young boys. Oh yes, it will be disturbing, and make you wince to think of a deviant like Scooter Libby working side by side with a great American like Dick Cheney. The pure sensationalism alone will make you forget about any real crimes

And you can be sure the disseminator of this information will not be dumb enough to allow anyone to reveal his identity. And to think all of this to intimidate and discredit Joe Wilson’s criticism of the Iraq War; terribly cheap tactics like the Daniel Ellsberg/Pentagon Papers leak that drove Richard Nixon into the kind of despicable acts that dwarf all others. The Bush people, most notably Rove, believed Wilson was a threat to national security. Robert Novak was on the payroll. There isn’t a journalist in Washington who would refuse to go on record to confirm that. Novak would take cash from the Flat Earth Society to pen a scathing expose on Galileo’s cross-dressing obsession. Hell, I would do it for half price.

Threatening Wilson through his wife’s connection to the CIA was two-fold: Send shockwaves through the place the way Kennedy did after the Bay of Pigs disaster or Nixon did when Howard Hunt, a former CIA man, lead a trail of deceit right to Pennsylvania Avenue, and then put the fear into Wilson.

This is an age-old routine, using the press to smear opponents. Thomas Jefferson did it every chance he could. It’s inexpensive and effective and the citizenry tends to buy it. However, as history has proven in many ways, Jefferson was no dummy. He employed one of the most powerful and brightest political minds of the era to bludgeon his enemies, leaking half-truths, weird innuendos, and downright lies to the press for a laugh. James Madison, author of the Federalist Papers and a future president, was Jefferson’s mad dog, not some insipid crony named Scooter. This is just another glaring example of how the political gene pool has gone in the shit can these past 200 years.

The good news is no one on George Bush’ payroll is as conniving as Madison, not even Rove, who has become as overrated as James Carville. The bad news is these idiots are as bungling as advertised. The rest of this story rests in what the vice president’s assistant is willing to divulge and its eventual collateral damage. But the mere notion this is not a house of cards is way off the mark. It’s just a matter of time now.

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Immigrants Equals Cheap Labor

Aquarian Weekly 4/12/06 REALITY CHECK

VIVA LE CHEAP LABOR!

Immigration ReformAs Congress nears its eventual vote on illegal immigrants gaining amnesty and/or probation, we must remember what this body of government represents; the whole of the republic, a republic built on the strength of free and cheap labor. Let’s face it, kids, without slavery none of your big empires make it out of the garage. Whether we’re talking Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Great Britain, you name it, there’s slavery involved. Good way of building and maintaining a bottom line. Free labor and war, these are the bedrocks of any decent empire. We have ours, and its history is littered with it.

We’re the Big Bad because we got people to do the shit work for free. And when that went kablooey with the razing of the South, we imported others to do the shit work for practically free. Then unions were formed, and that went the way of the Charleston. We ran out of victims, so we let them sneak in and had them work for peanuts. Now some 11 million illegal immigrants currently living in this country predominantly survive by doing the kind of manual labor card-carrying citizens refuse to do or do for living wages, for next to nothing.

These people are everywhere. And right now as you read this, a preponderance of them are being exploited.

Illegal immigrants = Illegal workers = Illegal employers.

Wowie, do we have a fine mess, Ollie.

Until recently, they were invisible, however. They don’t pay tax, but how much tax could they possibly pay? And they don’t have benefits, but how many benefits could they earn? They were the big white elephant in the corner, even after 9/11, when Americans were horny to export and expunge and vilify anyone not “on the team”. But now its time to “fix it”. Fix what, exactly?

What are we really voting on here?

The continued use or abuse of desperate people to do anything – anything – to avoid returning to their native land? Or is this a referendum on finally securing our borders? Perhaps it’s some kind of nifty do-over, like after the Civil War, when half the country’s “citizens” were criminals. But, hey, what are you going to do after 600,000 people are massacred? Do over!

So, what are we really voting on here?

Survival 101. It goes on all over the globe. No one is exempt. Keep the wheels greased and the engines moving. Not everyone can live in the big house. Some people have to push the broom. You gonna push the broom, princess?

People? We’re not voting on people. Business is the business of this country. People are flotsam. It’s the Calvin Coolidge two-step, quite popular in the halls of this government, the very foundation of it, in fact. Not only do rich snobs use illegal immigrants to raise their little crawling trophies, (god forbid we clean junior’s ass) companies also hire them for construction, landscaping, and whatever mass employment lends to keeping costs down and production up.

Cost down. Production up.

These are not just tenets of good business, they are tenets of a good economy, a solvent economy that lends and borrows and makes war, trades and deals and makes due. Survival 101. It goes on all over the globe. No one is exempt. Keep the wheels greased and the engines moving. Not everyone can live in the big house. Some people have to push the broom. You gonna push the broom, princess?

It’s not about people. Never is. People are table scraps in the grand buffet of profit. Collateral damage. It’s about money, bubba. Everything is about money. For instance, if the law means anything, there should be a mass evacuation of these people. Not affordable. Perhaps securing the borders. Too expensive. You wanna build a wall around this country? Whose gonna pay for that? You? Me? These bankrupt, in-debt-to-the-tits federal budget gorgers? Right. Next week.

The other inescapable element of this whole “voting on amnesty” farce is it does not bode well for this nation to be freeing people of other nations while kicking out the impoverished immigrants. Especially since this is a nation of people rank with despot ancestry either kicked out of other countries, on the lamb, yanked from the jungles, escapees of some kind of genocide or refugees from the kind of abject poverty that had the huddle masses traveling countless miles for countless months with nary a piss pot while entire families waited at home for the first post card from Golden Street, USA.

I’m proud to say I am the offspring of that last bunch, yearning to breathe free and get to work in the sweatshop for five-cents an hour. Dragging your garbage around so you won’t have to see it. Yeah, I have that coursing through my blood, Jack. It feels good. Makes you want to see somebody else get a break. Right?

As I write this there is a story coming over the wire that the Senate has some kind of descending penalty plan. If you are in the country illegally for five or more years, you get to take a test for a green card. If you are in for more than two or les than five, you have to do laps and forty push-ups or whatever, and if you just busted in, you have to go back. In other words, anyone breaking the law for longer, gets preferential treatment. I would love this if it didn’t screw up my plan to renounce my citizenship and then sneak into the country to avoid paying taxes. Damn it!

But don’t worry, those who are sent back can apply for citizenship, and when they pass they can be dumped on our streets to try and survive on meager wages while donating forty percent of it to Social Security and Federal and State taxes. Then they’ll run back out and sneak back in again.

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Andy Card We Hardly Knew Ye

Aquarian Weekly 4/5/06 REALITY CHECK

MR. MOJO SINKING

Goodbye DeadweightThus, we will begin the coronation on what has in recent years proven to be, if nothing else, an entertaining embarrassment: The Second Term. Seeing how second terms have not been kind to any president in my lifetime, to say I have every confidence it will end in disaster is to barely scratch the surface of the girlish excitement that rattles my bones. And those who didn’t live through Watergate, Iran-Contra, or may have forgotten the beauty of 15 months of Monica Lewinsky and Kenneth Starr, could not fully understand the opportunity it provides cynical old political junkies like myself. SECOND TERM MADNESS Captain Shoo-In Gets a Rousing Rubber Stamp (Issue: 11/12/06)

Andy Card is small potatoes. As Chief of Staff, he was impotent in this whole mess, and his sacking (resignation/firing/retirement) will be of small significance to any proposed “shake-up” the frightened Republicans on the Hill have been calling for. Seven months remain for the GOP to defend its power in Congress, seven months for this president to rise from the ashes as another second-term causality, and seven months for things to appear radically different before the hammer comes down and the wheels spin in the other direction.

History tells us it’s sooner than later, but I maintain, with redistricting and retirements and other unforeseen mishaps this summer, it will be nearly impossible for the Democrats to take back the legislative branch of this government and put the Bush Cabal up on trial, as fun and apt as all of that might seem. But it doesn’t mean the dents have not become irrevocably deep or there isn’t this one-way-street type of speed-addled careening out-of-control vibe that has taken hold in the Beltway now. Reversals are out in ’06. It’s time to stand in the fire and take it like champs.

People still basically like Bush, they just think he is a lousy president, like everyone around here loving former NY Jets coach, Herm Edwards. He was a funny guy, likable, the kind of chap you want over for a beer. He just couldn’t coach a football team worth a damn.

So this Reaganian dumping of the main staffer, Card, for damaged goods, budget director, Josh Bolten, doesn’t have the same resonance it once did. Donald Regan had the old man’s back, making calls, smoothing over the curious. He had to go. Iran-Contra was patently criminal. Wrong, for sure, but with a gargantuan heaping of corporate arrogance that ended up ceremoniously defecated on the Constitution. It was not lying about war, or reactionary John Wayne tactics, or the badly formulated war-hawk nonsense we have here. This is fucked, yeah. The sheen is off the apple, jack, but it ain’t enough bloodletting for yours truly.

A lot more people are going to have to go to jail for that to happen, and that is not going to happen. Not on this planet, smoky. Down here we lobby like a motherfuckers, provide the lip service, and then throw the mild mannered to the wolves. Good advice if you’re taking on water, can’t get the vehicle up to speed. Survival guide tactics; throw off the useless weight, and then, according to our boy president, the new baggage will be in charge of cleaning some more house.

According to former adviser to both Bushes, Mary Matlin, “The president’s given (Bolten) full license to remove or to recalibrate for the purposes of re-energizing and getting our mojo back.” Matlin went on to tell CBS News there would be more changes, but what that would do in regards to “changing any mojo”, she was not entirely certain.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist told the Washington Post, Bolten “rides motorcycles” or some other insignificant claptrap, and that’s good enough for me. I’m used to it. It tickles me in the private places I enjoy. But where is the mojo, son? Gone hiking with the credibility sherpa and a parade of hungry huskies trying to get the hell out of here before the final shovel-full of dirt comes down?

Holy shit, that was way too many conflicting metaphors, even for this space. Ignore it. They’re only words, like mojo, or budget director or recalibrate. None of them have anything to do with the fallout that is The Second Term. They’re merely symptoms, like the media.

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.

Look, Card had nothing to do with the run-up on Iraq or the fallout of Katrina or the Dubai extravaganza or the Medicare Bill that will soon reap the whirlwind of bankruptcy. He did not have his fingerprints on anything to do with sailing past the law of the land on wire-tapping the citizenry, which is likely to end in impeachment proceedings unless the Democrats are left out of the barn. And this country is not ready for any kind of reprimand or even censure of the commander in chief. People still basically like Bush, they just think he is a lousy president, like everyone around here loving former NY Jets coach, Herm Edwards. He was a funny guy, likable, the kind of chap you want over for a beer. He just couldn’t coach a football team worth a damn.

And speaking of sports farces, this whole cleaning house/infusing new blood stuff on Pennsylvania Avenue is as flaccid as Major League Baseball’s “investigation” into steroid use. What a joke this is. What are they investigating, something we already know? Too late, bub. Genie has left the bottle never to return. I have a good idea, let’s take away home run records and pennants and MVP awards, and let’s get all the owners to give back all the money these chemical spills brought in, then let’s run the commissioner out of town on a rail.

You know what this all is, you fans of politics and baseball? White noise. Muzak to relax yo mind and float downstream.

Tap your foot and get in step.

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