John Kerry Takes Control

Aquarian Weekly 2/11/04 REALITY CHECK

THE “REAL” SUPER TUESDAY HAMMERLOCK?

John Edwards Fights OnIt’s getting close to go-time.

All that stands between George W. Bush and a second term is John Forbes Kerry, another war-hero senator from Massachusetts with the initials JFK.

Eerie coincidence?

We’ll see if any other (like victory) follows.

After capturing five of the seven states up for grabs on the “first” Super Tuesday, including 128 delegates, with sunny prospects for Michigan and Washington on 2/7, Kerry has cemented the complete support of the Democratic elite. This means glowing endorsements, inside party dope, ever more press, an increasing glut of ads, bloated national poll numbers, a gory slew of advisors, and, most importantly, a shit load of money.

The wheels have already begun turning in the main offices of the DNC. Nobody wants this thing to crawl on after a 2/17 Wisconsin primary the fractured Howard Dean camp is hanging its tattered hat on. Certainly no one wants this hitting “actual” Super Tuesday with ornery southern candidates, John Edwards and Wesley Clark mucking up the works claiming the 2/10 Tennessee/Virginia voters will stem any tides.

Popular wisdom among prime politicos chipping away at a weakened incumbent says a strong national candidate stomping freely through “either” Super Tuesday with little opposition ammo is a recipe for success. Wild talk of “we love the competition” is standard spin for party management, but it is poison for November. Winning the White House may eventually be a personality contest, but the machine that offers up that personality prefers closure as quick as possible.

Here’s what the Democratic Party biggies want to project asap: “John Kerry is sweeping his way into your hearts, across the land, in all conceivable geographical measures and dominating every demographic. He is the clear choice to topple the evil and stupid George W. Bush regime.”

Winning the White House may eventually be a personality contest, but the machine that offers up that personality prefers closure as quick as possible.

Problem with that is Edwards and Clark, each of whom gathered victories in the other two states are not on board. But keeping a proverbial stiff upper lip could merely get them a footrace to the vice presidency. As far as the DNC is concerned, the grand plan is already in place. Voters are window dressing for the rest of this charade.

But the other problem here is what I raucously refer to as the “Clinton Factor”.

Back in ’92, the Dems were gearing up to send a lamb to a George Bush slaughter. Then comes Bill Clinton with little-to-no party power-base support, left to twist in the wind as the press hammered away at every leak and scandal. Clinton laughably thought he could actually unseat a wildly popular president who had more or less just won a war against Saddam Hussein. And somehow, someway, Clinton, (later citing a back room deal with the Dark Lord), survived. He gained momentum, convinced Ross Perot to stay in the race, and won the presidency by default.

More eerie coincidence?

The “Clinton Factor” beats hard in the hearts of Edwards and Clark. Anyone who has been to this point in the fiasco can feel it. It’s a visceral beat, but a forceful thump-thump just the same. Sadly, it used to beat for Howard Dean before he was forced to join the netherworld of denial with Al Sharpton and Dennis Kucinich. Dean is what the late great political seer, Carmella Martignetti used to describe as “dead, but not knowing enough to lie down”.

However, Edwards is a trial lawyer who has been in the politics business for five minutes. What does he know about party solidarity and graceful exits? Edwards has got a dump truck full of Clinton in him. He’s good on the stump, an excellent orator with the ability to connect in small groups and shine on television, and did I mention he’s a lawyer? Clinton was a lawyer. These guys take the art of the lie to new and wonderful heights. Solid candidate material; but not so good for backing down for the good of the cause.

Clark? Well he’s a general. What does he know about politics? Politics is the game of brutal subtleties wherein one knows when to take it on the chin, dust it off, and politely bow for effect. This is a man who never considered running for a school board until six months ago. He’s army, boy. Green to the gills. Never surrender. A plant the flag on terra banshee, and he wants to be president. He wants to fix the world because Baby Bush has made mincemeat out of it. He ain’t going quietly into that good night. Oh, and did I mention the general’s from Arkansas with solid backing from – yeah, you guessed it, the Clintons.

But that’s just talk for the fun of speculation from columnists forced to accept the truth: As long as the party is on board with a powerhouse, the also-rans eat dust. Sad, but true. No eerie coincidences, just miles of bad road.

Traditionalists like to cite the March 2 mass primary as the “real” Super Tuesday. Of course, these are the same people who cling to the idea that primaries should be run and finished in six weeks, not six months, and the Democrats have already had enough face-time and money-spent to capture the title of Czar.

If any of these other guys want a sliver of hope, it’s time to whip out the nude photos or letters from hookers or betting slips or the sworn testimony of drug-dealing Satanists. Unfortunately Kerry seems clean. He’s not very controversial and he plays better from in front.

The question now is can Kerry defeat Captain Shoo-In this summer with either a southern democrat or someone from the mid-west on the ticket. The heavy money is coming in that the Dems will hit former Bush states, Ohio, Tennessee, New Hampshire, try and not fuck up in Florida again, and win a squeaker. This will all save the president from the growing probability of the inevitable second-term disaster.

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The John Kerry Momentum

Aquarian Weekly 2/4/04 REALITY CHECK

NEW HAMPSHIRE FALLOUTSuper Tuesday Looms For Last Stands

“If you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.” – Friedrich Nietzsche

As of the final week in January, the democratic nomination for President of the United States is John Kerry’s to lose. The Massachusetts senator’s bold sacking of almost his entire campaign staff, going into hock up to his eyeballs, and abandoning a pre-New Hampshire ramp-up to put all his eggs in Iowa has gained him two strong victories and front-runner status.

John KerryThis could change.

Ask Howard Dean. The Vermont governor was riding high a mere month ago. He had significant poll leads everywhere, the cover of major magazines, and an embarrassing host of endorsements. People in his camp were so giddy they were shaping their boy up for national debates. Now he’s reduced to spinning cartwheels over being trounced by double-digits in a New England primary.

Such is life on the stump.

But don’t think Dean is dead, despite the orgasmic pundit excoriation following his apoplectic concession speech in Iowa. These are the same assholes that fell over themselves painting Dean as some kind of youth-galvanizing Internet genius.

They would be wise to remember other televised political snap-jobs like Dick Nixon going haywire on reporters after losing the California gubernatorial race in ’62 and Ronald Regan nearly impaling a debate moderator with a microphone in 1980.

Both men unfortunately survived to become president.

But back to Kerry.

Historically the Iowa caucuses and the New Hampshire primary are crapshoots. Iowa is a trade union flophouse for small-time delegates and wannabees and New Hampshire chooses rogue loons like Pat Buchanan or favorite sons like Paul Tsongas. Both states barely have enough delegates to matter and their constituency is white bread personified.

But taking both after being left for dead is hard to stop. No one who has won Iowa and New Hampshire has lost the nomination. Look it up.

But if not Kerry, then who?

Well, if polling is any indication; who the fuck knows? In the most insanely paradoxical exit polls known to modern politics, a 3 to 1 majority of the electorate coming out of the spat rooms in Iowa needed a candidate vehemently against the war. Yet Kerry and North Carolina Senator, John Edwards (both of whom voted for the Bush war machine) carried the day. In New Hampshire it was the “electablity” chant. Yet Dean, a terribly ill prepared national candidate, gained ground, and Edwards, a southern democrat with a hint of Bill Clinton glean dropped into a third-place battle with the increasingly wooden, General Wesley Clark.

The truth is perception is power, and there is glaring evidence that many of the puppeteers in the party lead by DNC chairman, Terry McAuliffe pushed hard for Kerry to get back in the race. The motivating factor, besides Dean’s scary proposition in a national election, was money.

As always.

Because Dean is backed with mostly private donations from college kids and union hacks, the big money people could well abandon him in the summer like the big money people bailed on Bob Dole in ’96.

The truth is perception is power, and there is glaring evidence that many of the puppeteers in the party lead by DNC chairman, Terry McAuliffe pushed hard for Kerry to get back in the race.

The president is sitting on $200 million right now. By August it will double. There are six to eight battle ground states in a polorized national electorate. Winning at that clip takes big cash.

I’m not saying McAuliffe or the insiders thought Kerry would actually win in Iowa, but they could not allow him to nose dive. Winning was a plus.

Back in 2000, the GOP power base did not want John McCain, despite his thrashing of Bush in New Hampshire. By the time the race entered South Carolina, the strong arm squeeked Junior through and he never looked back.

But don’t be shocked if Edwards or Clark stays alive through Super Tuesday. The ticket will need a sourthern democrat to compete. The more airtime they get, the more recognizable they will be. Moreover, a few states (Oklahoma/South Carolina/Arizona) are up for grabs and could put a wrench in things.

Even with a warm and fuzzy southern dem on the ballot, Kerry is a risk come November. He is a New England liberal through and through, and he has an arm’s length record to prove it. Once again, the only two north easterners to gain the White House in the last century were FDR, who defeated a man who would have lost to Al Capone, and JFK, who stole the damn thing.

One certainty during these past two weeks is the Democratic Party, its power people, its candidates and its voters unequivocally despise George Bush. What the Clintons once did to reinvigorate republicans now falls to Captain Shoo-In.

And Bush is as vulnerable as it gets.

Even ignoring Newsweek polls ten months before Election Day that have Kerry at a 4% lead over Bush, the president is in some trouble. His approval ratings slumped after his flaccid State of the Union address last week. The continued administration mutiny of the Iraq occupation, the conservative fallout from three-year amnesty for illegal aliens and the controversial steel-tariff, record unemployment numbers, and this insane jabbering about spending trillions to build condos on Mars, have already frightened Karl Rove and the White House boys.

Bet on it.

They know this much: If Al Gore wasn’t the worst candidate of his generation, and people in Florida could read a goddamn ballot, George W. Bush would be a trivia question.

Bush’s best chance, and Kerry’s worst nightmare, is Dean.

Word is Dean is not going quietly. His people know all about the party’s lack of support for him. (McAuliffe has already gone public in his suggestion that some of the non-winners should hang it up after Super Tuesday.) He has three-times as much money as anyone in the race. (The dismissal of clueless campaign manager, Joe Trippi on 1/28 is hardly a sign of closing shop). And with the delegates he’s gained from endorsements of elected Democratic leaders and party officials who can cast votes at July’s Democratic national convention in Boston, Dean actually leads Kerry 113 to 94.

Dean is the classic political loose cannon in the mold of the fightin’ Buchanan Brigade, and might well brawl until the convention. Or he could really screw things up for his party by bolting for Independent status and taking ten to twenty percent of the vote with him, effectively doing for Bush what the volatile Ross Perot did for Clinton; get him elected with less than 50% of the vote.

So expect the remaining debates and sound bites to get ugly. The end is near.

Such is life on the stump.

NEXT WEEK – SUPER TUESDAY HAMMERTIME

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John Kerry Comeback

Aquarian Weekly 1/28/04 REALITY CHECK

DOGFIGHT REVISITED Surprises and Disguises Tumble into New Hampshire PART II

The only one that can’t win the dog race is the pace rabbit.” – Chris Matthews

Since my last discussion with our Democratic insider, Dibbs, things have gone awry. The heavy but invisible Howard Dean support wilted in Iowa, pulling in a meager 18%, which would have been gangbusters six months ago, but with Golden Boy running free the past three months, checks in at an unmitigated disaster. Meanwhile, the comebacks of John Kerry – expected six months ago – and John Edwards – a late comer to the ball – and the demise of perennial retread, Dick Gephardt has leveled the playing field and put a new perspective on the upcoming New Hampshire primary.

In addition to the resurrection of a surging Kerry and the coming out party of a second place showing by Edwards, Iowa did dramatically reframe the campaign rhetoric. Although three out of four voters chose their candidates based on an anti-war platform, more than half the votes went to the two men who supported the war.

“I think overall Dean lost his message after Hussein was captured. Yet, the polls indicated he had not. This is what added to the caucus’ drama. In the end, Internet buzz and the youth factor did not translate into votes for Dean.

The second most interesting noise out of the caucuses was the zeal with which the electorate abandoned personal ideology and went hard for candidates who would be “electable” in a national race come fall, leaving Dean, long considered a potential wild card sacrificial lamb out and the more conventional polticos in the driver’s seat. Judging from the woeful prognostication performance of Dibbs eight days ago, we began our 1/22 discussion with a vicious berating and continued merrily from there.

jc: Man, did you guys get that whole thing wrong in Iowa. The union boys fucked Gephardt and the kids screwed Dean.

DB: I told you the voters would decide. You’re the one who had Dean battling Clark for New Hampshire.

jc: That still may be, because as of this morning Kerry has leapfrogged Clark and Dean and now leads with a ballpark 5% to 10% cushion. But this could ironically save Dean in the long run. Now he doesn’t have to fend off Clark, the more dangerous southern democrat, and deal with his New England brother until Super Tuesday. But I stand by my column from over a month ago: Dean cannot beat Bush, so what would be the point?

DB: And I stand by last week’s data that suggests strongly that any Democratic candidate would stand in the base forty-percentile range and benefit from key Independent votes left in the Ralph Nader vacuum.

jc: I didn’t believe for one minute Kerry was as dead as the press had it. The man was the choice for four months and then Dean becomes this year’s John McCain. He galvanized the other candidates, was fun press for a while, but in the end the Democrat power base has to push the more electable candidate. That’s what happened in Iowa. Admit it.

DB: It was most interesting how many votes Edwards and Kerry picked up from the Gephardt troop. That was years of Gephardt’s guts floating out there Monday night (1/19). But I think overall Dean lost his message after Hussein was captured. Yet, the polls indicated he had not. This is what added to the caucus’ drama. In the end, Internet buzz and the youth factor did not translate into votes for Dean.

jc: Or money, which Dean still has plenty of, and judging from his apoplectic fit speech Monday night, he plans on spending it all the way to the bunker.

DB: Today’s Zogby polls have what amounts to a dead heat between Kerry and Dean with a hefty 15% undecided. With that many undecided, 5% or 10% either way matters little. It didn’t matter in Iowa, so Dean isn’t going anywhere, nor should he.

jc: Conventional wisdom, which by the way also got it’s ass kicked in Iowa, says that Clark takes a hit here, because he was ramping up to be the southern Democrat, War-Hero Anti-Dean, and now has to deal with North Carolina’s Edwards and the Viet Nam Vet Hero and new Anti-Dean, John Kerry.

DB: Perception is everything coming out of Iowa. Kerry is obviously the man of the minute. But if he fails to win NH with this kind of momentum, he’ll have some answering to do. Dean has 72 hours to resuscitate. But he certainly has the organization and money to do it.

jc: He had it in Iowa and got smoked. You have to come clean on what went down in Iowa, really. I maintain Kerry got down and dirty with party biggies and painted the same picture everyone refuses to publicly admit: Dean will implode on the national stump. Because it makes no sense that 75% of the electorate in Iowa is anti-war and then choose Kerry and Edwards; unless it came down to Dean not being a viable national candidate. Kerry and Edwards have always been the safe choices. Christ, Bush people were talking about Edwards Tuesday morning like the second coming of a Kennedy.

DB: We’ll find out about the Edwards push in South Carolina. Kerry or Dean has to win NH, or come in first and/or second, and Edwards cannot lose SC.

jc: And Clark?

DB: The debates will decide if Clark is a player. NH debates are notorious either as coming out parties or the exposing of lightweights. Clark must distinguish himself tonight (1/22) or he may sink behind Edwards. jc: The Boston Globe has Clark in third at 16% and Edwards hot on his ass at 11%.

DB: As I say, I believe this debate is a seminal moment for the general.

jc: Face it, you guys cannot win the White House without a southern Democrat. Clark and Edwards have bristled at taking the VP job, even in closed quarters. Kerry or Dean will definitely not survive without one of them or someone like Bob Graham as a running mate in the national election.

DB: Graham is an interesting choice. jc: Any idea who Lieberman will endorse with his 7% after he is pummeled in NH?

DB: Not Dean. My guess would be Kerry.

jc: You have any comment on Dean’s concession speech? The crazed banshee deluxe version, of course.

DB: No.

jc: Is it Gary Hart on the yacht or merely a Gennifer Flowers bump in the road?

DB: I think I answered no for a comment.

NEXT WEEK: NEW HAMPSHIRE FALLOUT

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Iowa Caucuses 2004 Part I

Aquarian Weekly 1/21/04 REALITY CHECK

PRIMARY PALAESTRADemocratic Insider Weighs In On The Fight to Battle George Bush Part I

Time is running out on separating the wheat from the chaff in the Democratic run for a presidential nomination. By the time these words hit the streets, there will have been a victor in the achingly hollow Iowa caucuses and less than a week until the all-important New Hampshire Primary, which will likely jettison pretenders like John Kerry, John Edwards, Joseph Lieberman, and the ancillary voices of the past six months of jumbled screamfests masked as debates.

What is slowly shaping up to be a two-man race between General Wesley Clark and frontrunner, Howard Dean (with a weak nod for Dick Gephardt to stay afloat if he challenges in Iowa) could solidify in the next two weeks. But historically these things have a way of settling themselves outside the voter realm; ie – party backbiting, financial favors, power jostling and painfully delivered public retractions. The following is the first of a two-part discussion held over two phone conversations on the evenings of 1/13 and 1/14 with our well-ensconced Dem snitch, affectionately known in this space for the past seven years as Dibbs.

No one I work with has any problem if Dean is the nominee, and there is no tertiary plans to back any particular candidate at this time. It is the people’s choice.

The aim is to get a read on how these political variables, often left for revisionists to decipher, could affect the outcome of these primaries.

jc: Let’s begin on the general assumption that Dean will win a close draw in Iowa and bury the bottom feeders in NH.

Dibbs: Iowa will go to Dean in a close race with Gephardt, but it will be a squeaker. But if Clark beats Kerry out for second in NH, and Kerry is running third in every poll right now, his money sources will run for cover. This is why he spent 40 minutes on Meet The Press Sunday (1/11) referring to everyone in the race except for Clark. He has chosen to ostensibly ignore him.

jc: And why I’m sure Dean has gone the other way on Clark these past few days, calling him a closet Republican. Dean needs to knock Clark down a peg. He would rather beat a fellow New Englander than have a wild card pull in a surprising second. To me, this legitimizes Clark’s recent surge in the polls.

DB: This is expected. The Clark people have studied what Eisenhower went through when he announced as a Republican in ’52. There are still doubts to what Clark is going present in way of opposition in a general election campaign, but there is a great deal of fringe party support for Clark.

jc: I wanted to start with Dean, but since we’re on Clark, is he the party’s only hope to derail what I heard you guys are calling The Dean Debacle?

DB: Nonsense. No one I work with has any problem if Dean is the nominee, and there is no tertiary plans to back any particular candidate at this time. It is the people’s choice.

jc: Yes, and the first pig flight out of Reagan National is at dawn.

DB: Why do you bother to ask?

jc: Where does Clark need to be in NH if he wants to compete on Super Tuesday?

DB: Right where he is. Taking NH has hurt trailers in the past. I think it’s better for him to ease into this thing. Three weeks ago he was third at 10% there, now he’s in second at 20% with a bullet. And, by the way, the most important number is what Kerry comes in at.

jc: I have a Boston Herald poll open online right now, and Kerry is a dismal 15% for Christ’s sake. It was ridiculous he was trailing Dean on Christmas Day, now he’s behind Clark and off the radar. What the hell happened there?

DB: I think Iraq killed a lot of these guys. They supported some part of military action when it was hip, and then when things got hairy, Kerry, Lieberman and Gephart vacillated. Then when Hussein was captured you heard another spin. Dean hasn’t been popular with his pompous anti-war rhetoric, but he has been fairly consistent. And that is the base of this party right now.

jc: Anti-war?

 

DB: More than anything else.

jc: Other than his clever use of Internet shut-ins and galvanizing the fickle youth vote, what is the Dean appeal right now?

DB: Mostly Dean is comfortable in the role of ultimate opponent. We believe, and I can’t speak for all the big party people, but most of the skinny coming out of the Terry McAuliffe staff is that 47% of people who voted for Gore outright, without any state breakdown, is an automatic Democratic vote. And the independents Gore lost, along with what Nader robbed could make any of our candidates formidable for Bush. This nonsense about Dean being McGovern just doesn’t hold water anymore.

jc: Unless Iraq implodes in the next six months, I don’t see anyway these Midwestern lower middleclass voters are going to run out to vote for a staunch anti-war liberal candidate with their kids still in harms way. Again, that all depends on where Iraq goes by August. It is looking more and more like the economy will no longer be an issue by April, but no one expects Iraq to cool by election day. These deadlines for massive withdrawal are fiction.

DB: All indications are there will be no discovery of weapons of mass destruction and soldiers will continue to die steadily. And I guess it doesn’t bother the nation their president unabashedly lied to them about Iraq?

jc: You mean like FDR, Truman and LBJ?

DB: Have you heard this latest bullshit about how there have been less attacks on American troops since the Saddam capture? Right. Now they only hit helicopters and kill nine and ten at a time, instead of a measly one or two. Five less attacks, same number of dead. Sounds to me like Viet Nam, but we’re not supposed to get into those comparisons.

jc: Viet Nam? We’ve been there ten minutes. Viet Nam is still going on. Anyway, I can’t give Bush any more credit than I gave Reagan with Iran/Contra. Bush is a dupe. The pentagon has to lie. It justifies its existence.

DB: Mark this down, the war will decide Bush’s fate. We are betting on that.

jc: Never mind the general election. Back to Clark. Is there or is there not a divide between Clark/Clinton Dems and the rest of the party with Dean?

DB: There is, but not to the extent that is being speculated. There were the same chasms in ’92 with Reagan Republicans and the Bush sr. people. Conservative killed Bush in ’92 by voting for Perot. I think Dean takes care of the liberal vote, even though; ironically the man has a conservative fiscal record in Vermont.

jc: Where is the liberal vote if Clark is the nominee?

DB: Again, our best research indicates, firmly, that the national vote is as split as it was in 2000. You want to go over those numbers again? If a few dumb ass districts in Florida could vote without a color chart you’re talking to your buddy, Georgetown about the Republican primary right now. Things have not changed, unless you consider this piss-poor economy with record unemployment, a massive deficit, and a war on two fronts. The Democratic vote is out there. The question is will they be motivated enough to cast it.

NEXT WEEK – PART II

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Saddam Capture Dissected

Aquarian Weekly 12/24/03 REALITY CHECK

THE CHUNK OF PUKE PRINCIPLE

Saddam Hussein is finally done.

It’s official. I saw moving pictures of a gentleman in latex gloves yanking lice from his scalp. He looked duped by his ethics. Done. A man once again, not a god. Not something calamitous, but silly and sad.

It is always good to parade pathetic pictures of cruel dictators to the world. The bully gets a piece of it now. How does he like the taste? Yeah. Everyone loves that.

The body can handle many toxins, viruses, etc. Some it cannot. It must reject them. The most violent way for the body to reject toxins is through regurgitating them. The world had to burp up Hussein. One way or the other. He had to go. Bad for the body.

We never got the chance with Hitler or Stalin. The Italians did a number on Mussolini, a public disemboweling worthy of their Roman genes. The French sent Napoleon to an island. He was lucky. In the Middle East there are no islands. People end up in rat holes in the desert or go missing like bin Laden. Missing or dead. Most likely dead, because there is no way the Al-Qaeda big boys are allowing any silly/sad moving pictures of the grand poobah of manic itinerancy to be paraded for the devil westerners.

It took a whole lot of time, money, lives and gnashing of teeth to enact the age-old rule of human endeavor applied to people like Hussein or any of those other types mentioned above. It’s called The Chunk of Puke Principle.

Hussein is the chunk of puke.

The world is the body rejecting it.

The body can handle many toxins, viruses, etc. Some it cannot. It must reject them. The most violent way for the body to reject toxins is through regurgitating them. The world had to burp up Hussein. One way or the other. He had to go. Bad for the body.

Chunk of Puke Principle in motion.

Of course there are other toxins, not the least of which is North Korean loon, Kim Jong-Il, who now possess fifty times the nuclear capacity that Hussein was alleged to have had in his possession. And rather than denying it and thumbing his nose at the west, Jong-Il sits upon his tonnage with a defiant pride best known to those mentioned above.

However, there is a caveat to The Principle, and that is how bile attacks the nausea closest to vital organs.

More times than not, over the past half century, the USA is the bile. We attack and regurgitate problems that might affect our vital organs directly. In the case of Hussein, he was an Arab. Arabs are not popular right now. Arabs rammed planes into American property. Took American lives. Arabs threaten American oil concerns. Let’s call oil concerns and terrorist threat vital organs.

Therefore, regurgitation of said virus occurred.

The Chinese make a mockery of human civil rights. Yet, there will be no regurgitation there, or in Korean, close to China. And, by the way, there is no oil in Korea that we know of. There are other places where it would be good to see pathetic depictions of savage brutes given a dental examine, but that will not happen any time soon.

Another part of The Principle that cannot be ignored is that there are some toxins the body creates on its own; not unlike evil regimes like Hussein’s that was bankrolled not only by America’s insane use of crude oil, but its government’s obsession with its neighbors, like, say Iran.

That doesn’t mean Hussein didn’t need to go. He did. It might have been okay for him to be there with any chance ­ no matter how fleeting ­ any chance his regime might pay back those enormous debts that the Germans, Russians and French will now eat. When adding up the billions going down the drain, there can be no wonder by anyone why these governments wanted no part of The Principle to succeed. And believe this humble author, if we could still have the Shah of Iran around, no matter how many lives he might cost, it would not have warranted all-out war.

But that is for another day.

For now, Saddam Hussein is done. And this makes the Bush Dynasty happy. Got daddy’s tormentor.

But at what cost? Politically. Globally. Morally.

Not a worry. This is the war on terror. This is about righteous indignation and a pass to wreak havoc. This is what rich nations and their governments do, and have done for centuries. Can’t help it. Just is.

But it does not make it any less sweeter to see strutting asses taken down. Bullies getting bullied. Kind of like what parts of the world might have felt like on 9/11.

The Chunk of Puke Principle applies to everyone, regardless of perspective.

It is as cruel as its bile.

Think about it.

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Doomed by Hippy Medicare

Aquarian Weekly 12/3/03 REALITY CHECK

HARBINGER OF THE FLOWER PEOPLE

It’s official; the Boomers will doom us all.

The Medicare Bill has sealed the deal.

This latest atrocity funneled by your congress and peddled by this pitifully mediocre president has handed the blank check to the majority of Americans careening towards retirement, and by the time these haughty fuckers are done with Social Security and Medicare and every other ounce of bureaucratic fat, we’ll be left scraping sticky change from the curb.

It’s over.

There have always been fears and debates about the terrible bushwhack the hippies will eventually wreak on the fumes of The New Deal. It has now become a sickening reality.

There have always been fears and debates about the terrible bushwhack the hippies will eventually wreak on the fumes of The New Deal. It has now become a sickening reality.

Benefits for everyone! Yay! Let’s coddle the Flower People until they suck us completely dry and we’re scrambling for provisions alongside Mad Max in the desert. I thought these people wanted to live in communes and fiddle with anarchy and drop homemade chemicals until the Grateful Dead sounded good. Are we to perpetually hold their hands until we end up in the shitter?

The federal budget deficit is at a whopping $374 billion and counting. We’re basically a nation at war teetering on recession with a bevy of tax cuts kicking in. And now we learn that over the foreseeable future we will fund every penny of these fantastic new benefits from our coffers?

It’s important to note that wanting everything, but paying for none of it, has put California on the brink of economic collapse and prompted the ushering in of a barely articulate pop icon into governance.

Look, I’m not going after the 40 million elderly and disabled who use Medicare currently. These people actually vote. Politicians are only interested in appeasing voters, and a preponderance of youth in this country could not give half a fart about voting, so they lose out.

But what of the rest of us who are staring down two decades of a financially bruised federal government that has been fueled on these benefits for three-quarters of a century and will have its hand out when its our turn.

Just the thought of it makes me want to exhume Timothy Leary right now and kick him in the balls on principle.

The Bush people needed a victory somewhere, somehow. This is it. Give the store to the elderly, call it a win and forget the Iraqi mess. And, best of all, it doesn’t matter until 2006, and by then it’s already second term, baby!

Meanwhile it’s party time over at the multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical companies and the insurance companies and the plethora of doctors who frequent the same money pile, sipping Champaign Coolies on the back nine and making secret deals on what drugs to peddle to a nation hopped up on so much legal narcotics we’re ready to salute anything.

This isn’t about helping the elderly or making good on campaign promises. This is about feeding the machine. Those elderly who care have been getting breaks with Canadian prescription drugs for years. The power of pharmaceuticals rivals tobacco, oil and beer right now. What they say goes. And they can’t have cheap drugs being purchased on the Internet when there are locals to be prized.

This bill has effectively taken the onus on ceilings for prescription drug prices out of the hands of the government. This is good. But now private insurance companies and drug middlemen, known as Pharmacy Benefit Management Companies, will merrily continue to hike the world’s highest drug prices into spheres best understood by honest South American drug runners, who have to actually work for a living.

This is not good.

Did anyone notice the spike in pharmaceutical stock prices on 11/24?

I don’t have the space to get into the imminent dangers of this bill to existing HMO’s or how the AARP lobbies have manipulated benefit packages for years or what this could mean politically to Bush or any other useless pustule running around the capital. Read the Wall Street Journal for that noise. But make no mistake, this is about who is eventually going to pay for these bones being tossed to the elderly in exchange for votes.

Let that read you and your children.

And what are we paying for?

Someone else’s overpriced medicine.

Hope there’s some left for the rest of us.

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Who is Running This War on Iraq? James Campion

Aquarian Weekly 10/29/03 REALITY CHECK

ANARCHY IN BUSHLAND

Who the hell is running this Iraq thing?

Really. No joke.

You tell me. Is it the Secretary of State? The Secretary of Defense? The Pentagon? The White House? The CIA? The Department of Defense? The UN Security Council? What? Who?

Between the leaks and backbiting and mixed messages and strange answers and weird innuendo, things have gone awry the last few weeks. Bodies pile up, money sinks into the hole and we have plenty of wild memos and a redirection of power and hip-hip-hooray speeches, but the more this thing unravels it seems like no one, least of all the Commander and Chief is running this half-cocked operation.

Rumsfeld is a lunatic. This much is true. Ever since the wam-bam part of this frolic subsided, he has been pretty much impotent and he doesn’t like that. But too damn bad. Fire this idiot. Break some balls, get on board with this thing or get out.

Someone needs to get Condoleezza Rice and Donald Rumsfeld into the same room and get them to kiss and make up or kick them the fuck off the team. And where the hell is Colin Powel? Wake up Dick Chaney and his oil buddies and put them on alert. But let’s get our stories straight and our belts tightened, because ostensibly you’ve got the balance of global intrigue being run like a Three Stooges skit right now.

I think as the bankrollers of this mess, someone somewhere in the federal government needs to provide us with some indication of what a “slog” means, and what exactly constitutes “sacrifice” and “this takes time”.

What is it? Ten months? Two years? Six generations? What?

Are there weapons of mass destruction? Is bin Laden or Hussein alive? Why the fuck was David Blaine in a box? Are the Red Sox and Cubs cursed, or what?

Ballpark the sucker. Get on the tube and rally the troops, pick a mouthpiece and go with it. Something. Anything.

There has been too much politics involved already. No one cares whose fault it is and who is right or wrong. No one wants to hear whining about how the media is wounding the effort or we must all “support the troops!” every five seconds. There are American kids being picked off like a boardwalk amusement daily and Iraqi civilians burning alive under a Dan Rather sound bite. Is it too much to ask for some order here?

Listen, although no one with one iota of understanding of what the British went through at the start of the 20th century trying to manipulate the political and social landscape of the Middle East thought this thing wouldn’t be time-consuming, expensive and bloody, what has transpired these past weeks is ridiculous. With Rumsfeld sending out mixed signals, administration officials selling CIA operatives down the river through jack-booted journalists, and more of the same tired flag-waving rah-rah rhetoric coming out of Captain Shoe-In, you have to wonder who’s in charge.

This was the worry with G.W. all along. He was dim, yes, but he’d surround himself with the right people, and the right people would rule the day, get us through. But that was before 9/11 and our “war on terror” and Osama and Afghanistan and Hussein and Iraq, and on and on. Right now there are too many cooks in this pot, and none of them seem to have a master plan.

Rumsfeld is a lunatic. This much is true. Ever since the wam-bam part of this frolic subsided, he has been pretty much impotent and he doesn’t like that. But too damn bad. Fire this idiot. Break some balls, get on board with this thing or get out. One or the other.

Hey, that was always the big hitch for those of us who believed the best way to deal with bullies is to bully them, take the fight over there and keep the cheap hits from the homeland, but without the covert nasties from the CIA and no help from anyone outside of Britain, it is time to reassess or get tough. But this vacillating, wishy-washy cowboy crap has got to go.

Screw you we don’t need you, or let’s free people together?

Pick a slogan, a premise, a thesis and stick with it.

Go back into development, tweak this bastard and get back to us asap.

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Schwarzenegger & The Left Wing GOP

Aquarian Weekly 10/22/03 REALITY CHECK

SCHWARZENEGGER & THE LEFT WING GOP

“I don’t care who does the electing as long as I get to do the nominating.” – Boss Tweed

Arnold Schwarzenegger is governor of California for two critical reasons, both of which will effect the next twelve months of the national politic.

Number one; the state’s mandate to oust incumbent, Gray Davis represents a foul mood in this country that things are about as fucked up as they are going to get without some heads rolling, fault or no fault, history or no history. We like our sacrificial lambs toasty when things are bleak.

Number two; the Republican Party is playing, and winning the independent sweepstakes at the expense of its radical continent.

The religious right, social conservative wing of the Grand Ole Party may not be dead, but its been seriously wounded, and will scramble for a foothold in the 2004 national campaign as the boys in charge fight and claw to keep it that way.

The religious right, social conservative wing of the Grand Ole Party may not be dead, but its been seriously wounded, and will scramble for a foothold in the 2004 national campaign as the boys in charge fight and claw to keep it that way.

By midnight last week, the three most potent voices in the Republican Party, (the party that now currently runs things in all major states, congress and the White House) are Arnie the Groper, Uncle Rudy Giuliani and Johnny “campaign finance” McCain. Two of these fellows do not exactly genuflect at the altar of moral fortitude and none of them displays a modicum of social conservativism. Yet all three are now major players in the ruling party for the next calendar year, with or without the support of the right wing of the GOP.

This sets up a few key choices for stalwart Republicans. Use the popularity of these men to rankle the Tom Delays et al and move the party as far left as it has been since Ronald Reagan fashioned the plastic hat, or watch the party go the way of the limping Democrats flailing away at a place in the hearts of the all-important independent vote.

Faces make American politics. No one knows what the hell is going on. You don’t know. Admit it. I used to know, then I stopped caring, then I thought I knew, and now I know something else entirely. Republicrats? Demigods? Give us a face with some moxy and a few hearty hue and cries and we’ve got ourselves a candidate.

The Democrats have lost that face. They need to get one soon, or they will lose again, badly, and maybe for the last time in any significant chronology. This gaggle of second-rate goons trotted out for the monthly debate of the damned does not a solidarity make. It used to be different for the Dems. They laughed at Bill Clinton, and then they hailed him king. Then they kicked him out of camp. Then earth-tone boy lost a squeaker, and now they pray to whatever gods they subscribe a general with no political savvy can make Captain Shoe-in buckle.

Well, it had better be General Wesley Clark. It sure ain’t going to be Howard Dean. He will die a Barry Goldwater/George McGovern death on the national stage. The rest have not distinguished themselves worthy for a run for dog catcher.

Here’s the news; G.W. appeals to the masses. His government is as bloated as any this republic has fostered. Yet he’s tough, or at least talks tough and stands next to military types that look tough and wears their clothes to appear so.

And despite sinking approval ratings, he’ll be a tough beat. All the talk in this space and everywhere else about the putrid economy and the extravagant deficit and blood in the streets in Baghdad and $80 billion invoices to fix the mess will never stand up to the crippling fear of this nation since 9/11/01. And the Bush people will play that one until the end, because there is no clear choice between the president and anyone else the Dems bring up.

Oh, Bush is ripe to be had, but there is no one who has emerged as of yet who can knock him off, and if Schwarzenegger makes any headway in California without taxing those people into the ocean, then G.W. will hop aboard the moderate bandwagon and hope it gets him four more years.

That’s the beauty of being the incumbent, despite running the country into a financial and internationally violent corner. You can lean anyway the wind blows.

And if Schwarzenegger fails?

Stay tuned.

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Covering Republicans 2003

Aquarian Weekly 9/17/03 REALITY CHECK

GEORGETOWN IN CALI Part II

Continuing my 9/3 conversation with GOP snitch, Georgetown, holed up in his suite at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in downtown Los Angeles.

jc: All right, Iraq. It looks like we’re on plan 786 here. Every possible roadblock is up. We’re not unmitigated conquering heroes. There has been an alarming influx of surrounding terrorist organizations. It’s becoming a shooting gallery and a money pit. We don’t have Saddam. We don’t have bin Laden. And now Afghanistan has started to percolate into a cauldron again.

Georgetown: Boo hoo. We are such a weak generation. It takes years to secure countries, and by that I mean both Iraq and the United States. Every sane person agrees that eradicating the Hussein government, whatever the fuck that was, was imperative. So now we want everything afterwards to go away? Where are the protesters who railed against Bush 41 for leaving the revolutionaries to die after Desert Storm? Either you want to aid these people, or not.

jc: The boo hoo not withstanding, what I need to know is how much you know of how together this administration is on going back to the UN for a hand-out, a commitment to restructuring Iraq, and the relative pot stirred by this whole occupation.

“I do think Bush is more vulnerable now than two years ago, but I also don’t believe a drone like John Kerry or a radical like Howard Dean or a blabbering dork like Dick Gephardt can best him in a national campaign within the next 14 or so months. Period. “

GT: Occupation is a bullshit buzzword and you know it. This is a peacekeeping, post-victory stance this country has taken. If people opposed to the war want to take pot shots, I expect it, but it’s whiners like you that make it difficult to debate. You can’t have everything. I know you were in favor of ousting Hussein, so now you cannot pack your bags and leave. This is a mission, not a movie. The credits don’t roll now that the regime has been toppled. You roll up your sleeves and deal with the problem. And that just doesn’t mean the Democrats throwing money at it, or fighting it all the way anymore.

jc: I think I’m pretty secure on record as saying for over five years of published commentary that this should have been taken care of by the CIA a long time ago. What is the point of having a CIA anymore? Once we involved ground troops and sniffed around the UN for permission, and waded around in international money concerns like we did by snuffing out billions of dollars owed to the French, German and Russian governments from Iraq, we put our military and our putrid economic situation in further peril. And for what, really?

GT: So you prefer the old-fashioned assassination, coup de tat to a show of military might?

jc: I want to know what this administration is doing right now. Because I cannot figure it out. I fear they’re winging this thing, and that is why you hear overt backbiting by Rumsfeld and Powell like you’ve never heard out of these otherwise tight-lipped sops. Do you have any information for my readers on what the inside scoop is presently on Iraq?

GT: I do not. I never have, but it’s obvious. There has been a commitment here monetarily, spiritually, systematically. The president has a planned address for next week to run down the numbers. (The president spoke late on Sunday 9/7 and proposed an $80 billion-plus bill for the rebuilding and securing of Iraq, and a possible 12 month mission)

jc: How long do you think this will take?

GT: As long as it does. I don’t know. I don’t know how anyone knows. I can tell you from a political standpoint it cannot aid in the re-election of the president, especially if there is still daily bloodshed. And I don’t know how it can be avoided. But I know this president, unlike the last one, will not be motivated politically. In a week the anniversary of 9/11 will arrive and maybe everyone will remember this country’s commitment to protect itself.

jc: You’d have to agree we may be in more danger now, because of the pomp and destruction of that war, the rumblings in Iran and now North Korea and elsewhere. There is a ground swell of anti-American rhetoric that gets through to the independent voice out there.

GT: After 9/11 there can be no independent voice. Sides and lines were drawn long ago, pal. And anyway, even you would have to admit the anti-American rhetoric had gotten to a saturation point before the attacks anyway. I see this as taking a few with us.

jc: But that’s a perpetual war.

GT: Yes it is.

jc: How long are we going to pussyfoot around with North Korea?

GT: More bullshit. China will decide that. I think there is pretty good documentation now that the Chinese will step in and handle this. There is too much money at stake. I may not agree with all of the Bush foreign policy, but on the handling of North Korea, I do. There is no other choice.

jc: Let’s get on to politics. How do you see this gaggle of Democratic candidates, seriously?

GT: I can’t be serious. These people cannot win. I truly mean that. There is no worrying at the White House right now, at least not politically. The president’s approval ratings have dropped, but his administration is at an all-time low and it isn’t even down in the 30% range. I do think Bush is more vulnerable now than two years ago, but I also don’t believe a drone like John Kerry or a radical like Howard Dean or a blabbering dork like Dick Gephardt can best him in a national campaign within the next 14 or so months. Period.

jc: But its getting less risky to bash this war now, and it doesn’t look like a palpable economic recovery is possible by Christmas, which usually translates into spring again, and then the campaign begins, more or less. So, there is an opening.

GT: Bush is president. He does not have to deal with anything really until late august. I don’t see a clear-cut contender from the current crowd who can beat Bush. The alternative remains a crapshoot, and this is no time for a crapshoot.

jc: Yes, that plan worked gang busters for the first Bush.

GT: None of these guys have the out-of-nowhere political strength of a Bill Clinton. Show me that and we’ll talk.

jc: Hillary in 2008?

GT: Let’s worry about 2004, but if you are inquiring if I’ve heard otherwise, I have not. This was the plan once Gore went down. I don’t think anyone in her camp thinks these dolts are going to beat Bush either. She will not face in incumbent in ’08.

jc: How do Beltway conservatives, of which you are one, see Bush now after this record government spending.

GT: I think, no, I know you will see a far more conservative Bush after he gains a second term. I’ll tell you I thought the fight over the tax cuts were eventually lost. That pissed me off, but I can’t speak for everyone.

jc: Can I get your take on the big Madonna/Britney kiss on the MTV awards?

GT: Didn’t Michael Jackson kiss Pee Wee Herman on that show a few years back?

jc: That’s how I choose to recall it.

GT: I think when a franchise has been built on the back of phony shock promotion; it sets itself up for this fabricated news bating. I find the whole thing painfully wanting in terms of both its provocative content and attention craving. MTV has been finished as a pop culture entity for decades, and so is Madonna. I think the two represent the essence of managing an undignified public death quite well. And I don’t know what the fuck a Britney is? Unless she kissed a canine pedigree on an award show, then I apologize, that’s entertainment!

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Covering The Cali Recall Pt. 1

Aquarian Weekly 9/10/03 REALITY CHECK

GEORGETOWN IN CALI

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GT: Schwarzenegger is the hood ornament.

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

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

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

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

jc: That’s insane.

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

jc: Have you met with Schwarzenegger?

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

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

GT: I heard that.

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

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

jc: Didn’t you just predict…

GT: Fuck you.

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

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