John Kerry Reports For Duty

Aquarian Weekly 8/4/04 REALITY CHECK

Democratic Convention 2004 G.I. JOHN DIGS IN

John Kerry For 50-plus minutes last Thursday night the Democratic nominee for President of the United States ended four long days of bashing, cajoling, revising and challenging from every spectrum of the party during its Beantown convention, finally setting a course for battle over the next 90 days. When considering the amount of cable, network, internet and radio coverage all over the planet, and the relative ambiguity of his primary platform, this may not only have been John Kerry’s most important hour, but arguably the most dissected speech given by a presidential candidate ever.

And although it was not Ronald Reagan in 1980 or the first JFK in ’60, it put a little meat on the bones of the Kerry campaign and transformed the otherwise vagueness of his vacillating messages that so far had all but added up to “I’m not Bush” into a viable street-fighter mentality needed to force a debate this fall.

After the usual spitfire incoherence of Ted Kennedy and Al Sharpton, the overly contrived shill of Senator Rodham and the expected bombastic brilliance of a Big Bill rally-chat, a fine piece of oration by Illinois senator, Barack Obama and a wildly overrated presentation by the vice presidential candidate 24 hours earlier, Kerry burned through four key segments of what his people believe he will need to defeat a man who barely knocked off the worst campaigner this reporter has ever seen or covered four years ago.

The overwhelming key to Kerry’s coming out party was his military service. No less than ten times by my count the Massachusetts senator roused the locals by referring to his experience as a foot soldier or his sentiments blooming from such a position or his sympathy for the present-day soldier or remembering his fellow Viet Nam soldiers. Beginning with a salute and his announcement that he was “reporting for duty” immediately put the onus on his toughness in these tough times to which the Bush people believe they have erected a kind of monopoly upon.

This puts the expected White House backlash on the defensive for no other reason but its administration’s assistance that everyone must, regardless of opinion “Support the troops!” Well, for half of his acceptance speech, the one that would finally define him to the American people, John Kerry effectively announced himself “One of the troops!”

Somehow Kerry has managed to erase hundreds of hours of sound bites bloated with anti-war rhetoric from his youth, the likes of which seemed to galvanize the Democratic base during the primaries and co-opted the Howard Dean movement to the tune of comeback victories in Iowa and New Hampshire and a burial of Dean. Taking the mantle from the opponent seems to be this man’s style, and that bodes well for victory in this stinking arena.

The second, and not without merit or coincidence, Kerry hammered home images of hope from every corner of populist-speak. Not unlike the 2000 Al Gore snoozer that actually zoomed a 15-point spike in the polls, Kerry read a laundry list of impossible federal programs from (ho-um, here we go again) the ever-popular Universal Health Care to Middle Class Tax Breaks and “hit-the-rich-corporate-devils” commentary to the gauche but always effective swing-vote middle America tap dance of a united, free and working country.

For half of his acceptance speech, the one that would finally define him to the American people, John Kerry effectively announced himself “One of the troops!”

Yet Kerry was also able to invoke a sixties mentality, an almost Hippy-Messiah kind of mantra with “We believed we could change the world. And you know what? We did. But we’re not finished. The journey isn’t complete. The march isn’t over. The promise isn’t perfected. Tonight, we’re setting out again. And together, we’re going to write the next great chapter of America’s story.”

A bold slice of Baby Boomer Pollyanna to say the least.

The man who voted for NAFTA having the balls to shout about halting the export of jobs to other countries has the ring of winner written all over it. Where Gore failed to realize the sick genius of Big Bill, the Kerry people fully understand its importance to political survival.

These first two points has given root to what you will be hearing, seeing and enduring from this campaign over the next three months and it has to scare anyone working for the Bush campaign because the “All-Things-To-All-People” stuff worked gangbusters for Al Gore, and everyone with half a brain knows if he wasn’t hated by most of the voting public he would have waxed Captain Shoe-In with it by Labor Day. Believe me, several key members of the Bush 2000 staff told me as much on several occasions when I warned them of Gore’s power to promise the moon for a vote.

The third point of the Kerry speech, which was without argument a speed-reading exercise to take advantage of primetime network coverage, was the aforementioned “I’m Not Bush” portion. The sign of a serious contender is not forgetting what created your candidacy in the first place: The other guy’s pathetic performance while in charge. For there is no doubt that every re-election bid ever conducted has been a referendum on the incumbent, and this one reeks of it. John Kerry is not too proud to admit, “As long as I’m not George Bush, you have to at least consider me!” The very reason John Edwards is the antithesis to Dick Chaney, physically, emotionally, ideologically, metaphysically, and the perfect reason to invoke the idea that after 9/11 this country was all together in a support group and somehow the Bush administration managed to ruin it.

Last but certainly not least, because the brand spanking new nominee closed with it hard, John Kerry has put out the united front of taking the high road, laying down a positive, touchy-feely gauntlet for the next few crucial weeks when the Republican machine will try and gain a foothold into whatever bump this convention may hold by lambasting him on his flip-flop, liberal mess of a voting record.

To wit: “My friends, the high road may be harder, but it leads to a better place. And that’s why Republicans and Democrats must make this election a contest of big ideas, not small-minded attacks.”

This way Kerry can gain a measure of momentum from something like a Michael Moore propaganda film, while not being straddled with having to defend its aggressive stance. After Moore, for whom I’ve had a good relationship from afar through his lovely wife and his always-passionate and humorous satire, was taken apart by Ted Koppel the other night, Kerry would be wise to take any road that lets the other guy gut Bush like a prize fish and reap the benefits without the inevitable embarrassment.

Every pundit across the land waited for John Kerry to either fall flat on his face or rock the foundation of this election season with his acceptance speech, but on the final night of the Democratic Convention, his first real moment in the spotlight, he did neither. What he did was set up an interesting scenario by which the attack must now come to him rather than from him, and if so, perhaps at a cost for his opponent. He told us he is a soldier who cares about everyone from every walk of life and affiliation and who is not the other guy because that is what being the opponent is all about and when you get on board with it let’s remember to play nice.

John Kerry may still be a blurry image to many of the voting public, but he is now at least an image, and one that the president will have to contend with and not easily brush aside any longer. The Liberal who wants to jack up the military and raise taxes for your financial relief has spoken.

Good luck fighting that nonsense.

Reality Check | Pop Culture | Politics | Sports | Music

 

Read More

Skull & Bones/Kerry & Bush

Aquarian Weekly 7/28/04 REALITY CHECK

2004 Campaign THE MEDIOCRE ELITE ARISE

“The founders of Time Inc. and the C.I.A., as well as several Secretaries of State and National Security Advisors-the men who made the decision to drop the Hiroshima bomb, invade the Bay of Pigs and plunge us into Vietnam, the Tafts, the Bundys, the Buckleys, the Harrimans, the Lovetts-all took part in this initiation ritual of Skull & Bones.” – Ron Rosenbaum, New York Observer 4/23/2001

Since this will have to serve as the official launch of this space’s coverage of the 2004 presidential campaign, the second such foray in the life of this particular column, and the third I have more or less “covered” as a “professional journalist”, I shall come clean.

I have no dog in this fight.

My preternatural abhorrence of Al Gore four years ago, along with facing down the insane hope that Bill Bradley would get out of New Jersey alive and the boredom-induced fantasy of another Ralph Nader ego-fest had landed me in the untenable position to hound the Bush people to ignominious victory – however slight and torpid the whole fiasco turned out. Despite the relative messes hence, I stand by my efforts to deter the spawn of Medea from ever being elected anything higher than Tennessee dogcatcher and sentencing his miserable shill of a wife to doughnut-gorging oblivion.

And however stupid a dream it remains that someday a man or woman of great vision and integrity would ever have the balls, money or political connections to reach this most feculent arena of executive power, I manage to stumble on unimpeded in the practice of fence-sitting despot.

It is my fate.

Some of us accept it and move on, a kind of Tolstoy recognition that most of what we humans endeavor to achieve is rendered meaningless by the mere effort.

It’s comforting. Try it sometime.

However, as resident Loon-in-Residence here at The Desk, I am forever tied to an infuriating exercise called Mining the Truth, whatever level that may be in these times of “my guy is right no matter what the hell the facts may provide”. And I am paid by this periodical to disseminate the odd opinion on a weekly basis, so I strive on boats against the current.

Exclusive club of the elite, privileged and the dangerously ambitious; this is what our framers envisioned for a democracy, but at least those guys had guts.

Firstly, although I do not believe he will win this thing, I do not despise George W. Bush the way most of his detractors do. This idea perpetuated by The Left that the president is some kind of Machiavellian evil genius is poorly researched. At best, and I believe we’ve been pretty consistent around here throughout his term, Junior is patently mediocre, his cabinet wildly overrated, and the overall effect of his time at Pennsylvania Avenue minor.

There was a pretty good chance Bush was going to be under-whelming if this country hadn’t been attacked nine months into his run, and if I remember correctly no one in the Republican Party tried to sell him as International Affairs Chief anyway. The worst you can say about Captain Shoe-In is he was in over his head. But the GOP needed a relative centrist who wouldn’t screw up the sinking Gore ship. These frothing politicos never considered his inability to actual govern; just win a damn general election. Jesus, the power people in his office shook like frightened children a few months after 9/11. Not even they could believe this bumpkin had to make snap decisions for the free world, which is why many of the crazed ones made the calls and now here we are.

But unless this administration is lucky enough to be around when they produce Osama bin Laden (not likely since he’s been dead for over three years) dump that albatross Dick Chaney for John McCain (a Right Wing no-no) or have video of the challenger humping farm animals, it’s over. So why beleaguer the poor boy. He’ll be a footnote like his father and it will be up to your grandchildren’s historians to try and figure out how it happened.

As for the Democratic front-runner, I believe he would fair no better at this job. His spotty record in the Senate is nothing to wax poetic about. John Kerry is more or less the Dems version of Bob Dole – It’s my turn, dammmit!! His claim to fame over these past few months is that he’s more electable than Howard Dean, who managed to scare that screeching son of bitch Chris Matthews half to death, and Matthews worked on the Carter campaign.

I don’t know what Kerry stands for; neither do you, and apparently neither does he. A Catholic Pro-Choice, rich-guy, working-class-hero, anti-war candidate who voted for the war? I liked it better when he was a 60s’ radical telling everyone he was a war criminal on Meet The Press. You think this Beltway lifer is rescinding the Patriot Act or going after large corporations, or the Pentagon, or fashioning universal Health Care out of a shoestring budget? Good luck, smoky.

Look, before we begin this four-month sprint through two conventions, countless late-night rambling diatribes with insiders and campaign spinners and get all bloody and tired, one thing needs to be put on the record, and I promise not to bring it up again: John Kerry and George Bush are both ranking members of Yale’s secret society called Skull & Bones. High finance, white, misogynistic, frat yuppie fuckers of which there are only 800 living members. Skull & Bones is a mysterious ancient club of the North Eastern establishment. The aim of Skull & Bones is to acquire power and pass the benefits to brothers and the like-minded. Dozens of men working for Bush and Kerry belong to this atavistic thing. Look it up. I’m running out of space.

Exclusive club of the elite, privileged and the dangerously ambitious; this is what our framers envisioned for a democracy, but at least those guys had guts.

I often get grief from readers about not revealing my true leanings politically, despite hiding behind this laughable guise of political columnist. So now you know. I hate both these idiots and although I share some measure of ideology and disagreement with both, I also believe it won’t mean a hill of beans when the machine takes hold.

You know, the machine that produces candidates for president of the United States from the same damned silver-mouthed melting pot which produced gems like William Howard Taft, who infamously wrote, “I don’t remember that I ever was president.”

Reality Check | Pop Culture | Politics | Sports | Music

 

Read More

The John Edwards Factor

Aquarian Weekly 7/14/04 REALITY CHECK

THE EDWARDS FACTOR

John EdwardsTrue to his transparent nature, John Forbes Kerry has gone scratch on his choice for vice president. John Edwards is the southern democrat that every northeastern presidential candidate has felt the need to tap into for decades, one that sates the party’s hunger for solidarity and forces Republicans to fight in geographical areas thought untouchable. Meaning the idea of the Edwards pick is not to gain minor victories in the almost impregnable southern electorate, but to distract the Bush forces away from the mid-west battleground states for key chunks of time while they defend once solid ground.

These are the machinations of the front-runner. However slim and vacillating that lead may be – up to and around seven to eight points by press time, according to whatever source you subscribe to – this has been, and still is Kerry’s puppy to lose. Incumbents with this kind of spotty record sitting on sloppy police actions face uphill battles. Daring leaps must come from the Bush camp. This is what the Edwards pick tells us. But how much does it help the Kerry ticket come fall?

A formidable opponent during this past winter’s primaries and the best campaigner currently in this tussle, Edwards helps unify the Democrats the way the reformed ugliness between Bush Sr. and Ronald Reagan cracked the whip for republicans in 1980. The fact is the Kerry campaign is a rudderless ship with no policy direction and little momentum. There has been an air of stagnation around his people for months, and as the roll out of Edwards clearly displays, the Kerry people will milk its energy for all its worth to co-opt the strong Edwards rhetoric of “us vs. them” used effectively as “The Tale of Two Americas”; a postulate of the rich, powerful war-mongers taking advantage of the rest of us regular suckers during the North Carolina senator’s primary run.

It’s more of the same tired crap, but now at least it comes from a decent communicator, one who isn’t chipper over merely NOT being George Bush.

Edwards, unlike Kerry, is a dynamic personality and a self-made millionaire. As an enormously successful trial attorney, he possesses the gift of communicating difficult concepts, couching emotion in scintillating terms, and putting on the kind of show the Dems expected from a Bill Clinton – in other words, a master bullshitter.

Edwards, unlike Kerry, is a dynamic personality and a self-made millionaire. As an enormously successful trial attorney, he possesses the gift of communicating difficult concepts, couching emotion in scintillating terms, and putting on the kind of show the Dems expected from a Bill Clinton – in other words, a master bullshitter. The Dems will doubtless continue to espouse gloom and doom, something Kerry is frighteningly adhered to since his shocking victories in Iowa and New Hampshire, but without so much the sour edge. Edwards exudes the innate ability to tell you bad news with a radiant demeanor and attack like a rabid pit bull as the sunshine kid.

Sound enough reasons for the Edwards selection.

However, the bold move for Kerry would have been John McCain. He tried that bizarre route of crossing parties to put the hammer down on a wounded incumbent and came up snake eyes. So you can’t fault him for trying to rock the Kasbah, but it does leave the door open for McCain to be lured to the post on the opposite side of the voting ledger.

More on that later.

Then there was the traditional elder statesman pick of the party, Bob Graham. Silver-haired experience for the green national candidate with a summer lead helped George Bush four years ago. His pick of Dick Chaney was wildly popular within the GOP and somewhat allayed the fears of an electorate assured of his inability to envision a global view. What terrible irony that turned out to be.

Of course this space has long maintained that Dick Gephardt was the smartest choice. A Missouri man with strong ties to union bosses and an insider approach to hitting the most vulnerable swing-states this fall, Gephardt would have helped secure the biggest electoral votes up for grabs in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, etc. Edwards helps only in distracting the Bush camp in the south. He never showed a pulse up there during any primary.

So what of the chance that John McCain would step in for Dick Chaney come September? A distinct possibility if these poll numbers continue to level out or even plummet for Bush. By convention time the GOP will be so up in arms the president will have no choice but to woo his old punching bag back into the ring for a little of the two-step. And if McCain should nibble – and I’m told this is nuts and he wouldn’t take this bait if it reeked of infinite power – Kerry would not win.

Underestimating John McCain’s appeal to the all-important Independent voter base was nearly a fatal mistake for G.W. in 2000, one the Dem power base knows all too well.

Now before you’re too quick to dismiss this madness, it’s important to remember the kind of desperation the most powerful gig in the known universe slipping through one’s fingers has on a man. From what I could gather within the Beltway two weeks ago, this is more than rumor and could begin to gain momentum once the lead bulges to double-digits.

But back on planet Kerry, Edwards is the logically safe choice when considering two things; Kerry’s solid, if not curious standing in the national polls and the need to galvanize the Democratic and Independent electorate. Unless you’re a complete idiot like Sean Hannity, you must admit there is a definite groundswell against the president, and if people actually turn out this time it is always bad business for the incumbent, unless that guy’s name is Ronald Reagan, and they finally buried that unsinkable loon a few weeks back.

Finally, the power and influence of the Edwards pick can be seen in the vicious first salvos thrown by the Republicans within minutes of the announcement. As they stumble over themselves painting the man as a greedy, slick, liberal, ambulance-chaser the numbers climb and time is short.

Meanwhile, with four and one half months to go two men stand in the way of total victory either way in what threatens to be a death match to the end; John McCain and Ralph Nader.

Don’t think for one minute Nader’s comments on wanting to see Edwards as the pick was any coincidence he is the pick. Right now everyone, and I do mean everyone in the Democratic Party feels without Nader mucking up the works it is all but over, and Nader knows it too, which is why he’ll stay in this thing until the last minute for a power play, no matter what craziness he tells his people in weaker moments.

Reality Check | Pop Culture | Politics | Sports | Music

 

Read More

Saudi Revolution

Aquarian Weekly 6/30/04 REALITY CHECK

YOU SAY YOU WANT A SAUDI REVOLUTION?

Crown Prince AbdullahMake no mistake about this; there is a full-scale revolution breaking in Saudi Arabia right now. This is beyond terrorism or the usual random acts of violence seen around the Middle East, like what is currently become daily routine in Iraq or a right-of-passage hobby in Israel. This is revolution, like what transpired here and in France during the latter stages of the 18th century or in Cuba, Viet Nam and Iran in the late 20th century. And that’s how this government, or any restructured version this November, must understand it and eventually deal with it.

However, unlike the revolutions noted above the Saudi Muslim extremist movement, fragmented and haphazard as it is, has no competent central leadership nor does it have a fucking clue how to unseat a government. It is, they are, all over the map. Beheading foreign transients, assassinating negotiators and blowing up jeeps are all well and good, but where is the government installations or media outlets, the embassy attacks or anything that could signify a true threat to the Saudi monarchy? Granted, it is a weak and silly attempt at revolution, but it is revolution nonetheless.

The plan, for whatever it’s worth, currently revolves around scaring the shit out of American engineers and ambassadors to expunge the 30,000 or so U.S. citizens from Saudi Arabia to weaken its economy and crack the back of its government. Things have not changed in 50 years. Without U.S. and European engineers and scientists the Saudi production of oil – its only export worth a damn – would likely sputter and implode. So it’s a descent plan, and one that’s been enacted by other successful revolutions, however it will not be enough.

You see, unlike Cuba or even Viet Nam the U.S. government, one either run by G.W. Bush or John Kerry will not allow a band of Arab pirates to run amok in Saudi Arabia. This is why on his current book tour Bill Clinton has been praising the Bush administration’s doctrine in Iraq and Junior gushed about “the great Bill Clinton” last week during the unveiling of a portrait at the White House.

Regardless of partisan politics the U.S. government is in deep with Saudi Arabia. Is there anyone left in this electorate who fails to realize why we liberated Kuwait a decade ago and our troops are presently still in Iraq? To secure Saudi Arabia, chief. You think there’s any coincidence the Saudi ambassador knew about the invasion of Iraq before the Secretary of State, who was asked to sell this badly staged magic show to the U.N.? It’s also why the U.S. Army will be asked to defend the Saudi monarchy eventually.

This is a mistake. It is painfully obvious we have backed the wrong horse on this. Let the Saudi’s crumble. It’s time the American people are made aware of the monsters running the Saudi regime and its two-faced policies of making billions on American ingenuity and a U.S. dependence on oil while also sucking up to entrenched traditions of hating Western infidels and filling school curriculums with murderous religious fanaticism. The time has come for these rapacious phonies to be shown the guillotine. If we’re really into freeing the world, let’s start with Saudi Arabia.

For those uninitiated in foreign policy, this is called an End Around. That’s how you beat terrorism; join ’em, or more to the point, let them join us.

Now of course I’m not saying we forget 9/11 and hand the store over to radical loons, but what’s the point of continuously fighting a cadre of fifty different powerless psycho groups wearing masks and skulking in caves and living on the tenets of ancient religious mumbo jumbo? This has doomed other major sovereignties like Rome, Russia, etc. It’s high time we let these cretins run the desert. If it’s their turn to topple the monarchies over there, so be it. Why should we stand in the way? Because we’re afraid these anarchists will blow up the oil reserves and build some kind of religious commune worthy of the Essences and screw the rest of the world?

C’mon.

Whoever takes control in Saudi Arabia today or tomorrow will deal with America, because when it comes to oil consumption, it is the 400-pound gorilla, and they have to deal with us.

We have to stop painting these terrorists as invincible sub-creatures fueled merely by hatreds of freedom and Western customs and begin to realize they’re no different from us. They’re weak and stupid and buy into all sorts of hokey bullshit. They crave money, power, clean laundry, and sex. They’re not mindless brutish aliens hell bent on wiping out the evils of corporate American greed to bring the Arab world back to 12th century customs. They’re cash-hungry power-mad humans, with all the same jealousies and temptations as every other asshole that has fist-fucked this planet for a slice of the pie.

You can bet the ranch the second these shit-stains take charge they’ll be dealing oil to us like the current pack of thugs. We barely understand the names, so what’s the difference what Sheik is selling us the oil? We might even get it cheaper if OPEC goes under. I’m all for that.

Remember the Russian revolution? Remember how Socialist tenets would rule post-war Europe and eventually the globe? There was going to be equality of economic status across the land. Kings will be defunct. Right. Then Stalin booted the socialists out and started the Soviet dictatorship run under the guise of Communism. He beat Hitler so he could become Hitler. And in a sense we helped him.

There’s been a lot of nonsense reasoning reborn with Reagan’s death that America somehow ended Communism in Europe, except the truth is Communism died like all “isms” die, when there’s no money in it.

The popular wisdom to protect oil trade by keeping it from the hands of lunatic factions erupting in Saudi Arabia is wrong. This is because the popular wisdom chooses to believe the creed of criminals wanting to destroy oil production and cripple the United States, instead of realizing that in the history of human experience no people have turned their backs on making a buck. Whoever takes control in Saudi Arabia today or tomorrow will deal with America, because when it comes to oil consumption, it is the 400-pound gorilla, and they have to deal with us.

We’ve been looking at this the wrong way because your leaders are old-school punks who’ve been running around the world imposing an atavistic will on peoples they consider inferior or somehow inhuman. This has gotten us into all sorts of trouble. And I fear John Kerry, if he ever says anything binding besides, “I’m not George Bush” will slip right in and perpetuate the same tiresome dogma. Name one administration, Republican or Democrat that hasn’t.

You can’t.

Of course if you’ve read this space for any length of time you know we consider Osama bin Laden a corpse. But let’s just say for the sake of this argument that he’s still alive. Let him – or any other phony revolutionary lout for that matter – take Saudi Arabia back for Allah or whatever ridiculous con he’s pitching his minions. Allow him to take power and succumb to the big spender in the oil market. Then we’ll buy his oil like the gluttonous goons we are, and soon after, one of the poor saps who bought into his “rebel with a cause” routine will be appalled at the sacrilegious impertinence of dealing with the western devils and put a bullet in his head.

Mission accomplished.

Reality Check | Pop Culture | Politics | Sports | Music

 

Read More

D-Day 60 Years Hence

Aquarian Weekly 6/7/04 REALITY CHECK

D-DAY – 60 YEARS HENCE

“These are the times that try men’s souls. The summer soldier and the sunshine patriot will, in this crisis, shrink from the service of their country; but he that stands it now, deserves the love and thanks of man and woman.”

– Thomas Paine

D-Day RememberedSixty years ago this week the future of Europe and the map of the entire globe was up for grabs. The once unstoppable German Blitzkrieg, which had ripped through Europe like a hacksaw of death and destruction for close to a decade, was finally backtracking against heavy advances from rabid Soviet troops and desert and airborne skirmishes with Britain. The United States contributions to the Allied effort were considerable, (the invasion of Italy and the swift rash of victories thereafter) but not wholly definitive. The word had cut through the US military intelligence that a bold maneuver was needed for American troops to continue to split its attention on a two-front war with Germany in Europe and the Asian theater against the Empire of Japan.

Then came June 6, 1944, forever known as D-Day, when the most ambitious amphibious battle operation in human history turned the World War II effort on its head. Within hours of Operation Overlord’s incredible commencement, the most significant historical day of the 20th century would turn its second half into the American Century. The American soldier, made up of its poor, huddled masses gained a foothold on Nazi occupied territory and within three months Paris was secure and Berlin was all but doomed.

In the annals of this war-torn mess we call civilization, there has never been a more signature few hours than these.

D-Day.

Volumes of books and historical documents cover the details. No point here, only to recall the incredible cunning and immeasurable bravery of the men and women who carried this ridiculously ballsy move out. Now, 60 years later, it is easy to view it as merely heroic, or even strategic as if it makes sense on a map with blue and red lines and tiny figures moving across the terrain of Europe.

But what we discuss here is the almost otherworldly triumph, an angelic form of man against man, the painful realities of Cain and Abel and a mutant fury burning in the hearts of humanity set forth to settle the billion dollar industry of nations. The extraordinary sacrifice of youth laid out by many of the combatants who were scarcely of the age to vote or drink or settle a score in the court of law. Many were barely literate and knew little about the political machinations of hoary leaders or lunatic con men swept up by genocidal madness.

The history of the civilized world shoved into order in one bold stroke. Carried out by less than ordinary people cracking the foundation of infinity. Citizens of these United States who were unable to sit in a café or ride in the front of a bus or enter the confines of a country club or stand at a water fountain or use a public restroom or live in 80% of the neighborhoods that made up the land they represented, pushing up a beachhead of hellish firepower 3,500 miles away. This is D-Day.

The numbers, when digested through the veil of time are staggering.

The largest armada ever assembled, including 5,000 ships, 11,000 aircraft, carrying approximately 154,000 British, Canadian and American soldiers, including 23,000 arriving by parachute and glider. Three thousand of them would not see a June 7.

One day.

The Longest Day.

D-Day.

Handing over a life unspent for the restructuring of a map, for the survival of an ideology, a union, a race, and for the booming economy of countless generations.

Supreme Commander, General Dwight D. Eisenhower became a legend in those few excruciating hours. His cause was great, his guts unquestioned, and his scheme, masterminded over two years with Britain’s finest, a bold and tactical masterpiece. He was its architect. D-Day earned him many citations and statues, and soon after, the presidency. Eisenhower would later tell many of his biographers that even he was nothing more than a soldier among many that day, in fact, hardly a participant of utmost importance.

That kind of description would be saved for G.I. Joe; grocers and ditch diggers, mechanics and salesman, bus boys and couriers, drifters and union men by the score; the common man making an uncommon contribution to the future of the planet. Fathers and brothers and husbands and sons, daughters and mothers, thousands of them, boarding destiny, handing over their sunsets and ballgames and the sweet affection of their lovers for the infinite void of death. Handing over a life unspent for the restructuring of a map, for the survival of an ideology, a union, a race, and for the booming economy of countless generations.

The people who defeated the Master Race were its greatest ideological enemy; the Kikes, Hebes, Niggers, Wops, Mics, Gooks, the proposed drek of the American underbelly saving the free world for the privileged once more. Hitler’s Mud People ending the Thousand Year Reich in a few weeks.

All this talk of war lately has garnered the well-worn notion that World War II was the last “just” war or that its generation of soldier was “the greatest”, that somehow what is happening abroad right now or what transpired in Korea or Viet Nam or Grenada or Bosnia fall under the neat category of military police actions. Not so for the common man, or woman.

They have to fend for the plight of the world politic.

Right or wrong.

Again and again.

Always have.

D-Day.

For 60 years you have known someone who knows someone who was a part of it. Everything before it and after it meant something different because of it.

The soul’s torment marches on.

Reality Check | Pop Culture | Politics | Sports | Music

 

Read More

james campion.com

Aquarian Weekly 6/2/04 REALITY CHECK

THE GEORGETOWN FACTORGOP Trash Talking Part II

John KerryThe following is the continuation of a conversation conducted over the phone on 5/18 between the author and this space’s most reliably inscrutable Republican snitch Georgetown.

james campion: Okay, now let’s get back to this presidential campaign. How much money will Bush have to fight?

Georgetown: I don’t know. Could he have $100 million by July or August? Sure. It won’t matter. Nothing matters now but Iraq. He brought this upon himself. It means everything. It’s a referendum on this administration. It’s a fucking shame.

jc: But Kerry cannot compete financially.

GT: What? He’s loaded. His wife is an international bank. He’s fine. Her money saved him in Iowa. It makes no sense that he’s trying to circumvent the campaign finance rules by holding off his nomination at the convention. It’s stupid politics too. He’ll get a bump out of that thing if it goes as a news story and the networks carry it. If it’s a political rally in Boston, he won’t get nearly the coverage and no bump. He’s taking bad advice. He needs a “Good-Time Hour” attack. This is what those things are now. He needs to show a warmer side on a larger stage. His people know it, but they’re obsessed with money over there. It’s bullshit politics.

jc: This election as of right now, as all incumbent presidential campaigns, is about the president. But eventually Kerry has to stand for something other than “I’m not Bush.”

GT: I’m not so sure, but okay.

jc: Historically Kerry is a better one-on-one campaigner than he is on a larger scale stump. I’m hearing his inability to conduct a massive national campaign will compromise his efforts, so he needs to stay close until the debates. Kerry’s twice the debater Gore was and despite a horribly boring performance from Gore in 2000 and a distinct rally from Bush on the debate front, everyone knows the president’s ability to extemporize in these settings is awful. Kerry has to stay close enough to pummel him in the debates, or it’s a crapshoot, despite the Iraq results.

GT: Fair points, but I would say, above all, if Bush doesn’t raise his approval ratings above 50% by Labor Day this will be a dogfight and that does not bode well for a mediocre campaigner like Bush. He had the advantage of playing from in front and outside the fray in 2000.

jc: Where he earned the apt nickname, Captain Shoe-in.

GT: It’s the exact opposite now. No one, despite what they tell you from Karl Rove on down has a fucking clue how the president will respond. He’s surprised everyone before. It looks like he’ll have to do it again.

jc: Let’s nail down the battleground states. For the sake of this discussion I see 18 currently. Listing in alphabetical order, they are; Arizona, Arkansas, Florida, Colorado, Iowa, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, Louisiana, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin. Take me through them from a White House/GOP perspective.

GT: I hate doing this in May. See me in August. jc: Never mind. This is about when Gore screwed up in 2000 and Bush sr. started to slide in 1992. They both waited too long.

GT: Clinton won in August of ’92 when Perot dropped out. Gore never competed. Never.

jc: Granted, but Bush could have crushed Clinton that summer. He did not respect the campaign. This Bush does. He just completed a tour of Ohio, Missouri and Michigan. And I see Kerry has dumped a ton of TV money into Colorado. He’s been in the Midwest for weeks. It’s go time. Talk to me.

“It’s as simple as this; Kerry leads or is in the ballpark in these Midwest states. If that is the case this fall, he will be president with or without Florida.

GT: For the sake of argument, and it’s very early, mind you, I see Arizona as more of a done deal for the White House. I think the Kerry people were banking too much on how much McCain hates Bush, and make no mistake, he has not forgiven him for South Carolina, but Arizona is not a battleground state. The White House will carry it.

jc: Are you talking about all that pro choice stuff during the 2000 primary after McCain took New Hampshire?

GT: All the stuff. I know people who as recently as Easter have it solid that McCain would not mind seeing Bush crash and burn on a personal level, although I give McCain a ton of credit. He’s never been interested in bettering his career by playing statistical politics. I know one thing; he despises Kerry’s Viet Nam flip-flops more than his grudge with Bush. So it’s a toss up on a personal basis, but it doesn’t matter. I see McCain as a key ally in Arizona, and maybe the whole campaign itself. Believe me, that’s why we have Campaign Finance laws now. The Bush people saw this coming. They appeased McCain for Arizona. It’s going Republican in November.

jc: So they’ll use McCain to circumvent Kerry’s heroic soldier stance.

GT: You bet your ass.

jc: Forget New Hampshire. Kerry is not losing New Hampshire. And Missouri is solid Democrat if Gephardt is the VP nominee. I would say Michigan is also in jeopardy of going Democrat as a result.

GT: Conceivably. I’d count on Missouri, but not Michigan per se. We’re really worried about Ohio. You’re talking a miniscule Bush victory in 2000 there and they’re a bankrupt state with thousands of lost jobs. Bush shouldn’t waste any money in Ohio. He’s done there. Michigan is a toss up with Gephardt or not.

jc: It’s always a toss up.

GT: The most unpredictable national election state ever.

jc: Scale of one to ten, ten being a solid yes, where does the White House stand on Florida right now?

GT: I’m going to say five for you right now, but my gut feeling is more toward seven or eight in November. Do not underestimate the Bush political machine down there. Is the governor working it? Yes.

jc: I think Ohio, Michigan and Missouri, not Florida, will carry the day in November.

GT: It’s as simple as this; Kerry leads or is in the ballpark in these Midwest states. If that is the case this fall, he will be president with or without Florida. If Bush wins Florida, but loses those two or three of those states he’s toast. I don’t think the White House thinks Florida is a concern this time around, and I’d have to agree.

jc: How are the Bush people seeing this campaign, as an aggressive fight or a stabilizing force. In other words…

GT: In other words do they see it as a rabid defense of the prize or a strong hold against a wild card candidate?

jc: Right.

GT: I think they’ll start off stabilizing the fight. They already have. They’ll paint Kerry every which way to Sunday as a loose canon, but eventually these guys have to get down and dirty with Kerry and bring out the anti-liberal guns, or they will not win. You see I don’t view this campaign as “too close to call”. This is Kerry’s to lose now. I think the president has to get ugly soon. Bring the fear. Fear will keep Bush in work. Fear of the unknown is the best medicine. Saved Johnson in ’64 and Truman in ’48. Poll the fear factor. Then you’ll see competent results.

Reality Check | Pop Culture | Politics | Sports | Music

 

Read More

2004 Election Rumor Mill

Aquarian Weekly 5/26/04 REALITY CHECK

THE GEORGETOWN FACTOR GOP Trash Talking Part I

Bye-Bye Already?Even the most optimistic Republican shill has to admit the past 30 days of the Bush presidency has been less than peachy. Frankly, it’s hemorrhaging from every possible orifice, strangely akin to Sonny Corleone at the tollbooth, for those hooked on pop culture imagery. Whatever your paradigm, the last two weeks have arguably been the worst a president has endured since Nixon’s final legs. Between the rising death toll in Iraq, pornographic images peddled by the Pentagon and the useless Central Intelligence Agency, these ridiculous gas hikes, the new stock market doom speak, and the 9/11 commission follies, Karl Rove is suddenly the Dutch boy with his finger in the dam.

The worst of it has come from, of all places, conservative circles. Not surprising, when you consider it was about this time 12 years ago Papa Bush began hearing the kind of rumblings from the far right he could not survive. The prevailing thought in Washington now is neither will Junior.

It launched about a month ago when George Will began chinking at the weakened Bush armor with strong comments about “accountability” in print and then on national television. Followed by our friend Tucker Carlson, who has defended everything from Captain Shoe-In’s drunk driving charge to the insanity of that Medicare Bill charade. Now he’s “appalled” at the handling of Iraq. Not to mention the constant jabbing the Bush people get from the always-growling Pat Buchanan, who has taken it upon himself to paint the current GOP power base and its golden boy as neo-liberals with the mentality of world police and big spenders.

But although all are solid conservative voices of some repute, and Buchanan a frequent reader and contributor to this space, there is only one man in times of crisis that the Reality Check New & Information Desk turns to for the inside scoop on all things elephant, our anonymous snitch hero, Georgetown.

The following two-part discussion was taped during a rushed, but rather lengthy session following political weasel, Dick Morris’ appearance on CNN’s “Inside Politics”, wherein the backstabbing shit heel was hawking a tell-all Clinton book and waxing poetic about the president signing a bill rescinding gas taxes to force John Kerry’s hand.

jc: Normally I think Dick Morris a jabbering psychopath, but he began to make sense to me right there.

Georgetown: Morris is a pimp. I read the gallies of that book of his. I heard he was going to prove Hillary was queer, and what do we get? Scenes of Clinton weeping after the Grand Jury testimony? Who even cares about that shit anymore? He’s lost. What Bush should do is appeal to congress to draft a bill to drill in Alaska and end this madness.

jc: No incumbent president has ever survived less than 50% approval ratings. Bush is at 42% currently. This is about the place in the game when the sheen wore off on his father after the Gulf War.

“Bush is in deep trouble. No doubt about that. But who is going to take advantage of it? Nader? Because he’s the only anti-war candidate. Has anyone on the left listened to Kerry lately?”

GT: Bush is in deep trouble. No doubt about that. But who is going to take advantage of it? Nader? Because he’s the only anti-war candidate. Has anyone on the left listened to Kerry lately? I know the White House has spent some $60 million painting him as some kind of Dukakis waffler, but the fact is Kerry supported this war, and still says he will see it through. He has no plan for the economy, which, by the way has been steadily rising for months. So it’s important to point out that in the end independents have to see a clear distinction between the candidates, and I don’t see one yet.

jc: But you admit Bush is reeling.

GT: He’s looking more and more like a caretaker president.

jc: One and out?

GT: Unless things change, fast.

jc: Historically incumbents lose, new guys don’t win, except for Truman/Dewey. But there doesn’t seem to be too much hope Bush will galvanize the electorate unless they catch bin Laden, who has been dead for over three years, win this war in a couple of months, which will take annihilation techniques that will turn the country’s collective stomach, or these positive economy figures somehow translate into jobs for the mid-west.

GT: Nice breakdown, but here’s the deal. Bush has looked about as confused and dead politically as a man can be, and where is Kerry in these polls? Tied, if ahead at all?

jc: National polls mean nothing. It is like that whole flaccid argument about the popular vote. The presidency is won with an electorate total from states. Who cares if two thousand people in California are polled about Bush or Kerry? Can Kerry make dents in the battleground states? Can Bush fend off enough of the counter momentum that should have cost him the 2000 race to solidify Ohio or Missouri or Florida? And how much worse can Kerry be in the long run compared to Gore, who was a god-awful campaigner?

GT: Granted, but there are way too many variables now and too many weeks to go. After the 6/30 deadline for transference of power in Iraq, where will Bush be then?

jc: Let’s get back to the campaign in a minute. I have to ask you about these conservative pundits slamming Bush lately.

GT: Don’t worry about that. It’s a ploy.

jc: A ploy?

GT: Bush is insulated now. Conservatives never liked this guy. The same way liberals really feel about Kerry. But they’ll suck it up, like we sucked it up to kick the Clinton/Gore ego machine out of office. But now that there’s too many holes in the hull, guys like Carlson and Will want Bush to stand up and be bold, because they see the writing on the wall. Bush is too steadfast about hanging onto losers like Tenent and Rumsfeld, even Cheney, who no one in the party with any money or clout wants on the 2004 ticket. These guys want Bush to jettison the dead wood. They have the ball and chain tied to them. They stink of defeat. Bad publicity and public perception has held Bush’s hand. He says he’ll go down fighting with these guys, but the party can’t think like that. They let a loose cannon lifer like Kerry run things for six months there will be a neutered congress and we’ll all be fucked. It is exactly like the Gingrich revolution in ’94. This government will shut down. You want that, son?

jc: Have you heard the Tom Ridge for VP rumor?

GT: It’s more than a rumor, but Bush is steadfast. This perception of Cheney running things before and after Iraq is 90% on the money. Personally, I don’t think the boy can function without Cheney, and that’s not good for this ticket.

jc: So these conservative voices are putting the scare into the Bush campaign, not technically the administration?

GT: If things had gone better in Iraq, there would be no point. Again, as you say, Kerry can’t win this without Bush losing it. It’s a two-fold approach for the conservative wing. There’s a great deal of people whose voices have been left out of this administration. Many of them made this thing happen. How much money and lawyers do you think it took to secure Florida? How many mid-western church affiliates, Catholic right-to-life groups held off McCain? It’s time this guy realizes who put him where he is. Dick Cheney? Donald Rumsfeld? These guys are dinosaurs. They have no political muscle anymore. They will doom this re-election run.

jc: But don’t they represent the oil men? Where would the whole Bush thing be without these people? It’s why he’s gambled his entire presidency on Iraq. Doesn’t he owe more to them?

GT: Yes, and now it’s one of those things. It’s yours and you don’t know how it happened. Fight communism one minute and you end up with Korea or Viet Nam or the Bay of Pigs. Fight terrorism and you end up like Britain with all the perks of having to liberate and occupy a people who hate you. There has always been this grandiose underestimation of how much the rest of the world despises the U.S. Oh, they’ll buy our products and gain from our scientific and medical discoveries, enjoy our entertainment and luxuries as retail, and they’ll come running if they need military or financial assistance, but in the end, ideologically, in every envious adjective you could muster, they despise us. No president, from Jefferson on, understood that. This one especially.

Next Week Part II

Reality Check | Pop Culture | Politics | Sports | Music

 

Read More

Blaming Rumsfeld 101

Aquarian Weekly 5/19/04 REALITY CHECK

MAN OVERBOARD The Bogusly Self-Righteous Flogging Of Master Rumsfeld

Master RummyThe outrageous glut of evidence coming from the government’s recent censorship of media coverage of flag-draped caskets arriving at air force bases and the ridiculous furor over these “prisoner abuse” photos can lead anyone to assume the American people are woefully unaware of the casualty and operation of war. So, for those humble neophytes, I offer the following:

This war thing everyone was so hepped about? This vengeance jag we’ve all been on since 9/11/01? It’s ugly, petty, brutal and horrid. You don’t get to be squeamish and moral all of a sudden.

War is hell. Ever hear that one? It’s a popular axiom among those who’ve been there/done that. Young kids die senselessly during it. And people conducting these things don’t have the screws tightened onto the old noggin too well. This is why we hire them. Clear thinking, compassionate types make bad war contributions. Moreover, there are a plethora of sadistic freaks who head these things, on all sides. Animalistic torture, sickening reams of propaganda, and the killing of innocents is part of the deal. What did you think was going on here, table tennis?

Take this crazy American contractor roaming around Iraq trying to rebuild infrastructure. He didn’t get it. Now he is beheaded on video. It’s like that poor, misguided fool Pat Tillman. He wanted to be John Wayne. Now he is the poster-boy for ideological suicide.

And before you start sending me your hateful missives about my insensitivity toward these victims of war, I consider them fellow humans and therefore brothers, and if my biological brother came to me and said he was leaving $3.5 million at the tender age of 25 to go off to the desert and get shot at or planned on roaming around Iraq looking for work I would have advised him otherwise. And those who disagree are just not being honest.

But back to the “prisoner abuse” thing.

I cannot believe for one moment that anyone over the age of 10 would be shocked that this country would be fighting any other kind of war? We’re so different? We’re above it? Do you know whose running this thing? Hawks. Warmongers. Oil Men. Corporate land-rapers. When this inarticulate goober of a president stands on his sloping green lawn and has the gall to utter that these tactics do not represent the American spirit, it is so patently false you expect the sky to collapse on his head like some bad cartoon.

This country’s military record of death, destruction, rape and pillaging is legendary. How do you think we got so rich and powerful? Good business acumen? God on our side? Yes, the tooth fairy and Uncle Sam had a baby and called it Liberty. OR maybe it was free land grabs, free slave labor, systematic economic backstabbing, not-so-secret assassinations, and an incredible roll call of CIA global crimes. Ripping off France, Spain, Mexico and anyone else minding the Manifest Destiny store put us in the catbird seat, sonny.

The spirit that sicked those Dobermans on that naked Iraqi grabbing his balls on the front page of every newspaper this week is the same one that slaughtered Native-Americans, torched Atlanta, firebombed Dresden, locked up American citizens of Japanese lineage, murdered women and children in My-Lai, and on and on and on.

Fact is peasant terrorists liberated this country by reeking guerilla warfare havoc on an imperialistic empire. Sound familiar?

I understand its human nature to eat a nice, fat, juicy steak and not wonder how it got there, or slip on those Nike’s and not consider what sweat shop made them. We’re here because horrible thugs with guns put us here. I’m a pacifist and I’m willing to admit it. Do it. It takes the edge off.

Letting our children be murdered while playing Peace Corps police force is a crime of unconscionable depths and should be rectified immediately.

Good. Now doesn’t this fuss over prison abuse ring as hollow as someone complaining about the rain during the Battle of Gettysburg?

And what can you say about the enemy, fanatic religious thugs running around with hoods and sub-machine guns? Five thousand years of violence in the name of Allah bankrolled by oil funds from the west. Starving Bengal tigers are too good for these monsters.

Just a few weeks ago the U.S. Army massacred hundreds of innocents in Fallujah. Not a peep. We get a few porn images that don’t look any worse than some of the shit I did in college, and we’re closing down shop? This is the same logic behind polls that have two-thirds of Americans judging George W. Bush a lying incompetent, but the clear choice for re-election.

So now in steps the embattled Secretary of Defense, of whom I wrote in the 3/6/02 issue of this magazine, “I think it’s important to point out that Donald Rumsfeld has gone insane. His Meet the Press, 2/24/02 appearance frightened me in ways that is hard to discern at the moment, but suffice it to suggest that he is clinically mad and currently has the power of two Caesars and Benito Mussolini thrown in for good measure.”

I went on to point out that to consider an invasion of Iraq, although not a terrible idea, must be run by a maniac to succeed. Loose cannons win wars. History is littered silly with their collective shadow. But although I do not blame The Master of War for these so-dubbed atrocities, I do blame him for conducting a chaotic, non-delineated cluster fuck of a battle plan that has dragged on for 13 months too long.

The idea that the United States of America could take this long to secure a third world desert nation with no army, with the silent, if not tepid support of the Arab nations bordering it, and, what is it now? $50 billion or some gaudy number, and still be screwing around out there is an outrage. Letting our children be murdered while playing Peace Corps police force is a crime of unconscionable depths and should be rectified immediately.

But instead we get The Passion of The Master Donald Rumsfeld, because every White House scandal, like every religion needs a sacrificial lamb. Kennedy gutted the CIA after the Bay of Pigs, Nixon threw his entire staff, cabinet, and the cook to the wolves during the final days of Watergate, The Gipper nailed Ollie North to the political cross for Iran-Contra, and poor Vernon Jordan had a hell of a time during Clinton’s Oval Office Fuck Fest.

But what is this government doing to secure this country we currently inhabit? Forget prisoners being piled into orgy balls. That’s window dressing, like women on television getting massive plastic surgery to sell flat screens. It wouldn’t surprise me if this government’s war effort leaked those photos to blind us to the real problem here: This administration has lost its grip, assuming it ever had one, on this occupation. Why would anyone take the damn photos in the first place?

And if this whole thing turns out to be a CIA affair, coming clearer each day, then it should be George Tenent, and not Rumsfeld who should go. Tenet was so hot and heavy for this mess. I propose we get this murdering lout on the rack and pour hot led into his rectum for starters. See how he likes war now.

Either we secure this thing or risk total anarchy in Iraq and most of the region. Otherwise Israel is doomed, if it isn’t tumbling towards that point already. And even though Iran, Jordan, Syria, Egypt and Saudi Arabia likes to put on the stern Arab face for their terrorist brethren, they would be appalled and frightened and become ornery business partners if this thing falls apart.

Firing Rumsfeld in the middle of this is like firing a coach during the third quarter. It’s too late in the game for this. He’s not getting off that easy. This is his mess; he should clean it up. Send in a mass of troops and take out everything in sight or get the hell out, cross the fingers, batten down the hatches, and get out your plastic to pay five bucks a gallon.

This lunatic has five months to end this madness or he goes when we boot out his boss in November to try something else.

Reality Check | Pop Culture | Politics | Sports | Music

 

Read More

George Bush, Diseased Gambler

Aquarian Weekly 4/21/04 REALITY CHECK

HIGH STAKES – BAD BREAKS The Bush Doctrine of Manic Gambling

“It’s the action, kid. The action.” – Jimmy The Greek

Bush Rolls Dice For PressAbout halfway through the president’s impromptu CYA (cover yo ass) press conference this past Wednesday, I could clearly see the telltale signs of a rabid gambling addict. The glassy-eyed unwavering commitment to “stay the course” despite heavy losses, the implausible denial-speak that it would be worse not to have played the hand, and the remarkably stubborn inability to admit a mistake. I know these signs. I’ve been there. Trust me.

“I know it’s been a bad couple of weeks for us in Iraq,” remarked our president. “No one likes to see dead people on television, but we’re going to finish the work of the fallen.”

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

“If additional forces are needed, I will send them,” the president announced during his opening statement. “If additional resources are needed, we will provide them. This government will do all that is necessary to insure the success of their mission.”

Whether you are for him or against him, backed the war in Iraq or opposed it, you must admit that it was a gamble from the start. Even the president broached it several times during his disturbing performance Wednesday. He had to be bold and aggressive and not wait around for an imminent threat. He was going on a hunch, got an airtight inside tip from spies and foreign intelligence. Saddam Hussein and Iraq was and would continue to be a threat to this nation, another in a long line of murderous thugs laying in wait for the right time to hit us again.

It was as if he were trying to convince himself after awhile. The time is now. Must invade. Put a scare into the troublemakers. Ramp up the war on terror. Shake up the order of things. Shock and Awe. Easy in. Easy out. Show the world we are not to be bullied.

“We will succeed in Iraq,” the president boldly pronounced. “We’re carrying out a decision that has already been made and will not change.”

George W. Bush gambled. Presidents do that. Some come away triumphant and end up with their likeness on currency or pitched in some heroic statuesque stance encased in a monument somewhere. Others eat shit. This particular president is somewhere in the middle and he knows it. Too late to turn back now. As long as he has his money in the middle of the table with the slimmest shot to get even, maybe even walk away with a big pot and buy breakfast for his sleep-deprived, cigar reeking pals, he’s letting it ride.

The White House Press, once a prestigious gig, now reduced to a human Iditerod, will never understand this. You don’t learn about social diseases from journalism professors. You have to live it out in the trenches, put down the rent on a long shot and bite your knuckles if you want to know a hearty soul like George Bush. The group effort to ask the same question 17 times wasted 40 long minutes probing the addict for where he went wrong, what mistakes he made, any regrets? This was a foolish tact, and did not serve the public well. The big stakes gambler knows not of what they speak. The high roller does not make mistakes. Bad Luck. Cold Streak. Someone jinxed me. Maybe. But mistakes? Nah.

When asked if he regretted any decision during his three-plus years at the helm, the president stammered like a school kid trying to flush a cigarette down the boy’s room toilet. And when stupidly pressed to compare the current police action to this country’s most egregious non-war war, Viet Nam, Bush could have said, “Please lady, Viet Nam? That damn thing went on for two decades. We’ve been at this thing barely a year.” Instead he sounded the gambler’s lament: “Don’t queer the results by comparing me with past failures!”

“I happen to think that analogy sends the wrong message to our troops and it sends the wrong message to our enemy,” our president responded.

The high roller does not make mistakes. Bad Luck. Cold Streak. Someone jinxed me. Maybe. But mistakes? Nah.

There ain’t no Red Sox curse and I ain’t no Bill Buckner, boy!

That’s how it goes for George W. Bush. He’s diseased. He needs help.

Usually those who suffer the ultimate fate of the high stakes junky or have the most to lose, family members, loved ones, spouses or college roommates, have to be sated. The addict must allay their fears that he is down, but not out. There’s a sure thing a-comin’ ma! This was evident in Bush’s repeated calls to not contemplate bailing in Iraq. Any talk of that is un-American and only aids the enemy. With apologies to my pop’s favorite film, “Kelly’s Heroes”, “Always with the negative waves, Moriardi!”

A sympathetic part of me chose to view that press conference as an intervention. Too bad the press corps poorly represented those paying for the gambler’s losses, namely us. I’m thinking some of the financial backers of this thing might have lobbed stronger demands on when exactly enough will be enough. When will our resources emptied? When can we expect “Mission Accomplished”? Yeah, that bit of theater a few months back was another clue to the gambler’s mentality. Win a big bet and get close to even and call it the big splash, breaking the bank. Then comes another chance to roll the dice, and bam!

The president had no answers for an end game or new government outlines or anything concerning the future of Iraq on 4/13. I heard that has-been fathead Newt Gingrich say the other night that “the press will know when the president damn well wants them to know.” Oh, good. Someone should remind the Bush people that listening to a pompous fraud like Gingrich would sentence the president to his kind of political oblivion. The press is supposed to mine our elected leader for answers that the tax paying, war-funding populace has a right to know. But the reporters let us down by allowing our top employee get away with the pussyfooting, “Wait and see”, “Patience and Resolve” and “We’ll be there as long as we need to be there to get the job done.”

What job? Free the Middle East? Reign democracy down on centuries of religious and cultural fanaticism? Sounds like the kind of doom talk that the ego-mad British Empire tried on half of the region for most of the 19th and 20th centuries. I recall Russia’s aborted attempt to bully Communism on Afghanistan succeeded nicely in bankrupting the Soviet Union.

The press intervention failed, except if you believe it was a good political move for the president to say anything, as opposed to the ducking and jiving we’ve gotten for the past six months, or to deflect any talk about the economy or any other wild cards for this November.

But like it or not, we’re going for it folks. All the way to the end, whatever end that may be, at whatever cost; lives, money, national safety. Didn’t you hear? Things are better than you think. We will win, but we won’t know when victory comes.

Sometimes you’re up and sometimes you’re down.

Gambling.

As Krusty the Clown’s accountant once told him, “It’s the best thing a person can do, if you’re good at it.”

And if you’re not?

Well, you’re Krusty the Clown.

Reality Check | Pop Culture | Politics | Sports | Music

 

Read More

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.

Reality Check | Pop Culture | Politics | Sports | Music

 

Read More
Page 41 of 50« First...102030«3940414243»...Last »