Truths of The 9/11 Commission

Aquarian Weekly 4/14/04 REALITY CHECK

THE DENIZENS OF POLTICS How the 9/11 Commission has Kick Started Election Year

Richard ClarkeAll ye need know about the 9/11 Commission, Richard Clarke’s literary revelations, the Condoleezza Rice media tour, the sudden disappearance of Democratic presidential candidate, John Kerry, and the ramped up ultra-violence in Iraq the last ten days, is that they’re symptoms of politics, and, in an ironic twist of disingenuous grandstanding, constructively aid in revealing certain truths pertinent to the voting citizenry.

For the record, the charge of cynic, normally and correctly thrown at yours truly, does not apply here. There is heaps of evidence that the political quagmire which widely manipulated and ruefully ignored fanatical Middle Easter loons for decades came home to roost on 9/11. I’ve written plenty about that before. It’s in my second book, and in a host of columns the past four years since its publishing, but what we are finally witnessing is its pathetic fallout in spades.

First off, except for the compulsory right wing attacks on Richard Clarke’s recent allegations, he has gotten off way too easy. Finger-pointers are a dime a dozen in Washington. I’ve never been there for more than ten consecutive minutes without having a drink with one. But casting such vociferous blame has the unnerving effect of conspiracy. There is as much blood on this joker’s hands as Bill Clinton, George Bush, and Osama bin Laden combined. His publicity stunt to cry wolf and sell books while leaving the sinking ship smells to high heaven. He looks guilty. He talks guilty. He is guilty.

If Clarke were so brave and heroic in his stance against the threat of terrorism ignored in the Clinton and Bush White Houses’ and the present “misguided” war in Iraq, then he should have walked-and-talked a long time ago. But he didn’t. After working in an advisory role in the realm of foreign threats under four presidents, Clarke was demoted and then relieved of his duties by Bush. Then, conveniently, just when the 9/11 Commission cranks up and the election battle lines have been drawn, he whips up a book and comes clean?

Please. Clarke is a blatant opportunist, and so are my old pals at Simon & Schuster, who used their Viacom partnership with CBS news and its overrated “60 Minutes” space to unabashedly promote him. Clarke comes on like the kid who was at the party when your mother’s expensive vase was stolen and figures to somehow clear himself by spilling the beans. “I told those guys the vase was vulnerable!” Frankly, if I were at that party, he’d be my first suspect. “Where’s the vase, whiny?” Clarke is just another reason among the many to get out to California and find what’s left of Ronald Reagan and punch him in the face. His obsession with bankrupting the Soviet Union bore monsters like bin Laden and now we have this jabbering coward to deal with. We’ve been paying for The Gipper’s shortsighted stupidity long enough.

If Clarke were so brave and heroic in his stance against the threat of terrorism ignored in the Clinton and Bush White Houses’ and the present “misguided” war in Iraq, then he should have walked-and-talked a long time ago. But he didn’t.

Yet, there is light at the end of Clarke’s dark tunnel of exploitation. Although his motives may be skewed and his mia culpa sleazy, he’s not the only one attempting to wipe the mess of 9/11 off his power tie. His rants echo strongly those of Paul O’Neill, another Washington lifer sent packing with a grudge and a book to hawk. However, though Clarke and O’Neill could never be mistaken for political marauders, both tell similar tales: For decades, our government was woefully unprepared for a terrorist plot, both home and abroad, and there was an undeniable preternatural jones in the current administration to invade Iraq the minute the second tower fell in New York.

Both scenarios have lead to serious political backlash. Howard Dean practically had O’Neil, once a Nixon and Ford advisor and close confidant of the vice president, on the payroll. And Clarke’s calling out of National Security Adviser, Condoleezza Rice forced Bush’s hand.

No one wants to be difficult in an election year.

That leads us to Rice’s vehement defense of her credibility after Clarke described her in print and in several interviews as more or less lost on the whole al Qaeda thing immediately following 9/11. Normally tight-lipped, Doctor Rice has been making more television appearances than the four gays guys on Bravo. This politically charged media blitz prompted the 9/11 Commission to rightly suggest she take her song and dance spin on record for the investigation. This forced the White House to acquiesce and give Rice up, something they balked at from jump street, raising the politically damaging echoes of Bush’s procrastination for a 9/11 Commission in the first place. Basically, the White House, eager to impale Clarke’s momentum, defended itself into a legal corner.

Again, no one wants to further intimate a sense of guilt with indicting concepts like executive privilege under oath while simultaneously playing the victim on the Today Show.

This brings us to fair-haired frontrunner, the suddenly invisible John Kerry. His people told me last week that “the senator is laying low to avoid early over-exposure”, which is normal for the spring of a national campaign. But when I broached the convenient timing of his disappearance to the massacre in Fallujah, where American soldiers were murdered, burned, and then kicked and dragged like smoldering dolls by braying street trash, they became unusually obstinate. By “unusually”, I mean that most campaign reps normally find me annoying, but this was, I feel safe in describing, what most professionals would deem overly aggressive.

I tried to explain to campaign rep, Roger (last name withheld) that despite all his candidate’s anti-war rhetoric, the atmosphere of culpability created by the 9/11 Commission must extend to congress and those members who voted to send the victims of last week’s horror show to war in the first place. I then added that their candidate followed that up by making the politically motivated move to refuse further funding of said troops.

Oh yeah, Roger had lots of things to say, most of them laced with expletives. I forgave him. He was frightened. And that’s good news for those rooting for Kerry. When I tussled with the Bush people in 2000 about the evils of Al Gore, they chuckled. Ignoring my Cassandra-like prescience for doom is dangerous. If not for the imbeciles in Florida, their boy would have eaten crow. At least the bottom feeders at the Kerry forces see bad moons when they rise, and by keeping the senator’s head in the sand when the bullets fly on who might be responsible for the foreign relations mess this country is in – of which he would not and should not get a pass – they avoid needless explanatory stump speeches.

The final political animal mutated from the 9/11 Commission is the escalated violence against American troops in Iraq, above and beyond the nasty business in Fallujah. When you talk to the Jerusalem Post as much I do, you get the idea that everything is political with terrorists. They especially love election years, heated arguments over war policy, and the cast of blame for their atrocities, like the one in Spain last month. This has emboldened the resistance against American forces and puts a high premium on coverage. If homeless psychos in cow towns can get the front page of the New York Times, what are the big boys doing to get decent press?

As I write this, Rice is finally testifying (filibustering) before the 9/11 Commission (a politically charged attack unit) and on Capitol Hill (home office of cowardice) the two-martini lunch set are either comparing Iraq to Viet Nam or crying about a “will to win”. Meanwhile Americans die and our money continues to go down the sinkhole known as Homeland Security. Something’s got to give, no?

One way or the other the results will likely resemble your particular ideology or be the same old crap. Probably both. Ostensibly, that’s your job this November. Of course, that’s what they tell you. You know, the denizens of politics.

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Bigotry & Gay Marriage

Aquarian Weekly 3/17/04 REALITY CHECK

BIGOTRY & GAY MARRIAGE

Why are we arguing about gay marriage, again? Please, I really would like to know. Adult gay couples, citizens of these United States, can’t marry? Why? I cannot get around this. Honestly. This isn’t a literary vehicle to confound with circular logic or to flippantly speak to the absurdities of the argument. I am not playing around. I really have no fucking idea what the problem with this is.

Is it moral? What is moral? Isn’t that self-realizing, not publicly debated, much less voted on? Who decides this? Law? Law decides love? Law decides the heart? This is about money, not morals. This is about entitlements, not law. So heterosexuals are only permitted access to entitlements? On what grounds? Didn’t we just spend tons of cash and spill innocent blood excising Saddam Hussein halfway across the globe for that kind of criminal bullshit?

This isn’t about morals. This isn’t even about the sanctity of love, whatever that is. It’s about money. We want ours, to hell with the rest. I know all about that. Typical.

By merely suggesting this madness as a constitutional amendment is a blatant form of bigotry. The chief executive has overreached his job description and displays the worst kind of government oppression that should not be tolerated by any American.

Which is why these frightened dolts we vote for will never touch this thing head-on, not even the embattled president, who started all of this to polarize his right wing contingent once his numbers started to plummet below the acceptable level. It’s a ruse. He’s a ruse. Always has been, and so is his apparent opponent who will not answer this beyond civil unions or state rights, because John Kerry is a scared little frontrunner, who has the convictions of a smack dealer, and is sadly still a better choice than that insane idiot in charge right now.

By merely suggesting this madness as a constitutional amendment is a blatant form of bigotry. The chief executive has overreached his job description and displays the worst kind of government oppression that should not be tolerated by any American. We had to listen to this dolt jabber on about freedom so we can dive head long into his holy war in the name of freedom and then he pulls this hypocritical recrimination.

So, is the argument religious? On what authority? The Bible? The Bible would have the Israelites, of which, in every description of purity, we are few, marrying within the family. It is God’s will that we keep the culture pure. Not your culture, the Israelites. So, if you happen to be an Israelite, marry your kin. If not, which is likely, shut the fuck up about religion and God. We know less about God than anyone with the exception of Mel Gibson and Jerry Falwell, who know less than nothing.

Is it the sanctity of marriage? What the hell is that? The sanctity of marriage? Who decides that? Where is the outrage when Darva Congers marries a millionaire in a televised contest? They can get legally hitched for ratings, but homosexuals can’t marry for love and financial security?

Was that Britney Spears fifteen-minute marriage more legal than Rosie O’Donnell’s? Apparently.

But was it more moral or religious? But don’t get me started on that fat fraud, Rosie O’Donnell. When it suited her to be heterosexual to sell her talk show persona, she was swooning all over Tom Cruise, and now that she’s rich, she is a militant dyke bitch from hell? What a phony. I think her stance on gay rights goes right up there with O.J. Simpson being a martyr for civil rights. Yeah, O.J. is black, and I’ll be starting at center for the Knicks tonight.

And by the way, I don’t want Julia Roberts to get married anymore. She made a mockery of marriage and embarrassed one of my favorite songwriters. I’m partial to Lyle Lovett. So, I’ve decided she cannot get married anymore. Period. That is my logic. I don’t like Julia Roberts’ marital record and I am a fan of Lyle Lovett’s music. Stupid, right? But that argument has some merit. I have solid evidence Roberts blows at marriage. What merit does “gays cannot marry” have?

Moral? Nah. Religious? Nah. Aesthetic? Nah.

Legal?

How is it legal to deny rights? In the name of opening a can of worms: First you allow gays to marry, then fathers will be marrying sons and people will marry pigs or lampposts. Sure, that’s a good one. You mean like we didn’t need to abolish slavery and make African Americans citizens or allow women basic civil rights? Is it a bit like that kind of can of worms? You know how many people had to be jailed and threatened and publicly abused just to allow women to vote? And you know what those arguments against women’s right to vote were? What’s next, five year olds voting? Dogs? Sofas?

Then of course there is the always popular: It’s disgusting. It’s unnatural. It’s disturbing. I’m frightened of it. Yes, good. I’m disturbed by Salsa music, fast food, talk radio, the price of a subway ride, and the L.A Lakers. Where can I sign up for banning these?

This is by far the dumbest subject I’ve had to rebuke in this space, and if you’ve been around for any of the past seven-plus years, you’d have to concur that I’ve had some beauts. But this takes the cake. It is so off the charts silly, it bares notice. There is no possible argument for this, least of all legal. It is patently unconstitutional and is all the reason George W. Bush would need to even broach it, because if this makes it to the Supreme Court, it’s not even an issue, nor should it be.

This is one of the times when you are embarrassed to be an American and even more for being human.

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Of Course Bush Lied About WMD’s

Aquarian Weekly 2/18/04 REALITY CHECK

LAST WORD ON WMD’S

There can be no sane argument that the president did not lie about the invasion of Iraq. Let’s put that one to bed. He had to lie. All that droning on about evil regimes, human rights, direct threat to the US, and freeing the Iraqi people was admittedly weak Mob RulesTexas hooh-ha, but what did you want the man to do, get on the tube and talk about daddy’s revenge and restructuring the Middle East to secure oil concerns, protect Israel, and put a scare into the towel heads?

Nonetheless, as stated in this space before, Hussein had to go. My meager research alone (clearly dissected in past columns) has given me enough proof that if Iraq had continued to be run in that fashion, the compromises for not only Israel but also Saudi Arabia et al would have been grim. Thus, the concept of regime change (formulated over 12 years and three administrations) never was about a how or why, but when.

You know how much money and power was at stake here? So much that if someone told G.W. to do a hoola dance on Letterman to make trashing Iraq an imperative, he would have been trying on grass skirts by sundown. So let’s not have any allusions over a semantics argument regarding WMD’s or any other banal acronyms.

The frame of the debate over this Bush fiasco should be the methods and expediency of the current operation, both of which have been royally flummoxed from jump street. All the fears about Junior being a lost rich boy with agonizingly limited intellect came to pass.

But all presidents lie about invasions. This is part of the gig. Some are better than others. FDR was excellent. LBJ, not so much. Nixon and Reagan were just clumsy and stupid.

The jury is in on George W. Bush.

He stinks at it.

Now we get all the backtracking from the lackeys.

It pains me to see a gentlewoman and a scholar like Condoleezza Rice jump through hoops for political dunderheads. I don’t feel so bad for Colin Powel. His soft-core approach never fooled me. He is the worst kind of militaristic idiot, a useless tool of aggression with a predictably disingenuous twist on the facts. It’s the same old crap from these medal-toting pustules, break stuff first and ask questions later.

However, Donald Rumsfeld deserves to squirm. He was a corn-sniffer for Nixon and took it hard from Bush Sr., and has been rightly diagnosed in this space over a year ago as clinically insane. Nothing that has transpired since has reversed this judgment.

The rest of the administration is goofy. Not as insidious as the Left wants it to be, but it’s not functioning correctly right now.

Functioning rather badly in the realm of foreign relations in fact.

Innocents die, kids with guns run amok, and the map of the globe changes a bit. But the one thing that doesn’t change is the power structure. And as much as we hate to admit it in print, America is part of the power structure.

Okay, they’re lost.

Watching Tim Russert try and yank serviceable answers out of the president on this abortion last Sunday gave me pause. Firstly, Russert, of whom I have great respect, dropped the ball. He let a blatantly stupefied Bush make slap-dag ideology speeches without taking responsibility for anything, and heaving none of it on anyone else either. Most importantly, all prior talk about Bush having sincere convictions on religious grounds to save a wounded country and stand tall in the face of mounting adversity melted in the glare of network lights. The guy came off as a seat-of-the-pants dink. He’s not Nixionian in madness or morally strangulated in Reagonese. He’s lost.

Really lost.

And I can only hope the poor saps who made the call to send that jabbering moron into an interview format amidst plunging approval ratings was shot on site.

That scared the shit out of me. No one should have to endure that kind of meltdown. Anyone arguing that Janet Jackson’s striptease was anymore emotionally damaging is not paying attention to detail.

Now to this ridiculously childish idea that the CIA or the Pentagon act in the interest of public safety.

Who’s buying this laugh-out-loud absurdity?

Since the dawn of civilization, spies make things up and armies choose to fight over it. Most times this combination tragically results in reams of fantasy and we end up with Viet Nam or the World Trade Center disaster. Innocents die, kids with guns run amok, and the map of the globe changes a bit. But the one thing that doesn’t change is the power structure. And as much as we hate to admit it in print, America is part of the power structure.

We put Hussein in charge, fed him weapons, turned our backs on it, and then acted shocked when he went wiggy. America’s fingerprints are more or less over every nightmare from Korea to Iran to Pakistan to you name it. Occasionally, someone has to clean this shit up. If not this guy, then the next guy.

He can crow and hoot all he wants, but soon, if he is unlucky enough to achieve the job of commander and chief, John Kerry will have his hands filled with blood and old sins. It’s the nature of the beast, and the beast breathes. It’s a big ugly thing. And you best be sure you’re ready to ride it, rich boy.

Let’s face it, we’re all guilty.

Raise your fist in anger, but you’re guilty.

You drive a car that runs on petroleum? You’re guilty. You eat bananas? You’re guilty. You use GE products or run around in Nikes, read USA Today or take planes to places?

Guilty. Guilty. Guilty.

The real lie is that you can stomp around like you own everything, expect entitlements with no sacrifice and then hold up iconic villains to answer for your insecurities. But in this crazy experiment called a republic it all comes back to us. It’s not exactly a democracy, but its close enough to be the best humans could devise using eight percent of our brain matter.

Safety and privilege has a lofty price tag. Otherwise, where are the American Indians today? And why are all these people from Africa running around? Yeah, you don’t know. You’re just trying to get by. Some crazy people killed Lincoln and Kennedy. Truman had to torch thousands of innocent Japanese. Shit happens, right?

Sleep well.

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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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