Deep Throat Revealed, Or…?

Aquarian Weekly 6/8/05 REALITY CHECK

DEEP THROAT – A TRIBUTE

Deep Throat EscapesThe evil that men do lives after them; The good is oft interred with their bones. – William Shakespeare Julius Caesar Act III

By now everyone has heard that 91-year-old W. Mark Felt, former second in command at the FBI during the Watergate scandal that eventually took down the 37th President of the United States has finally come forth as the identity behind the infamous Deep Throat. The most notorious anonymous source in the history of journalism, so dubbed after the celebrated porn film of the same name by then Washington Post Managing Editor Howard Simons, the paper that unleashed the investigative talents of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein to uncover a series of outlandish crimes by Richard Nixon, has been bandied about in books, college classrooms and documentaries for three decades. None of which had successfully fingered Felt among dozens of suspects. Some still argue it could not have merely been Felt, and I agree.

Up until Felt’s confession, the accepted theory was that Deep Throat, as most deep-background anonymous sources, was a composite of several hidden voices. This made sense purely because Deep Throat’s knowledge of numerous interconnected events and key characters was so vast and his access inside the White House so complete that anyone outside of Nixon’s most loyal inner sanctum could not have achieved it. However, the composite theory works on a simpler level. Woodward, merely a metro reporter who had been with the Post for a lousy nine months would have had a tough time selling several off-the-record sources as evidence that the most powerful position in the land had plotted and bankrolled this kind of cheap underhanded prank. One “deep” imbedded source was an easier pitch.

But those are simply theories. Evidence that an FBI source, however “high-ranking”, would not have been able to provide the kind of evidence portrayed in the Post’s 1973 stories appears in more detail in Woodward and Bernstein’s masterful, “All The President’s Men”. The book contains, as do many of the ’73 articles, several references to Deep Throat as a White House source or top-level insider, someone with first-hand knowledge of the Nixon tapes, incriminating documents, and a spectacular history of insidious plots hatched by the most powerful people in the country. Could this have merely been Felt?

Of course Felt was apprised of the evidence compiled by the FBI in the ongoing investigation at the time, but as a top man in the bureau, could he have been doing his job while snooping around gathering dirt from several different sources himself?

John Dean, then White House counsel and point man for the 1972 break-in said this week that Felt’s prominent position at the FBI so soon after the death of lifetime director J. Edgar Hoover made it practically impossible for Felt to have had the time or the balls for such tasks as writing cryptic messages in Woodward’s NY Times to arrange clandestine garage meetings that sometimes took up hours of the participants’ time. Dean had his finger on the pulse of events from start to finish. It was his riveting testimony at the hearings that was corroborated word-for-word on the infamous smoking-gun tape that ultimately buried Nixon. When the president finally asked him to put his name to paper outlining the gory events leading up to Watergate, one of several blatant scapegoat moves, Dean turned coat to save his ass. When he went to the FBI with his story, Dean admits he pretty much knew who could have been leaking what, and Felt never made his list.

It is fair to deduce that if Mark Felt was the Deep Throat and not a source composite, then he had help, much help in gathering the type of gaudy facts that eventually, with air-tight precision, destroyed the presidency of one of the most crooked politicians this country has ever produced.

No doubt Felt was a prime candidate. He had an axe to grind, believing, among many of his colleagues at the FBI that Nixon’s appointment of Assistant Attorney General L. Patrick Gray as director instead of a veteran insider reeked of an overt kind of self-serving. Gray’s name was later pulled when he admitted to sharing the FBI’s investigation of Watergate with Dean, who then had designs on helping the White House cover-up their party to the incident.

Felt was also privy to all of the mounting evidence that began to “grow as a cancer on the presidency”, so much so that Nixon urged his cronies to steer the FBI away from the proceedings claiming it a CIA matter that was of utmost importance to national security. Right then Felt, wounded by being passed over and wanting to seal Gray’s fate, would have had ample evidence and motivation for spilling the beans on Nixon. It is also important to note that Felt, originally a spy detector for the bureau, was later convicted and then pardoned by Ronald Reagan for authorizing FBI break-ins of war protester headquarters in the ’70s. He knew well the tactics of the Beltway and could identify a juicy breach from a mile away.

After the revealing Vanity Fair article was presented to the press this week, Woodward, who met in a DC garage seven times with Felt during the Post’s investigation, corroborated the confession in a statement followed by a brilliantly detailed column unfurling his close friendship and series of spot-on info Felt had funneled him long before Watergate. Woodward tells of Felt’s fears of the Nixon Administration’s “corruption” spilling into the FBI’s domain of illegal wire-tapping, opening of mail, and authorized break-ins – all later corroborated tactics of the Nixon era.

This is precisely why all this talk lately about Felt being some kind of traitor snitch who should have gone through the proper legal channels to prosecute Nixon instead of leaking evidence to cub reporters is ludicrous. By the time Felt, rightly or not, was passed over for FBI director the bureau was in turmoil. Hoover, the FBI’s only director, was dead. For decades he ran the tightest ship in DC, and in many ways held more sway than the president. The White House, as many had tried in the past, was beginning to put a stranglehold on several forms of the government, especially Hoover’s former untouchable domain. It was hard to fathom who was Nixon’s bitch and who was up and up. Well-worn stories of Gray dumping vital evidentiary records into the Potomac are all Felt would need to know before unburdening his soul.

To hear Woodward tell it, the best case scenario taking all of the evidence through the ringer; the surveillance of Woodward’s apartment to arrange the garage meetings to the detailed descriptions of major conversations and documents coming straight from the Oval Office to third-rate burglars and CIA rejects etc., it is fair to deduce that if Mark Felt was the Deep Throat and not a source composite, then he had help, much help in gathering the type of gaudy facts that eventually, with air-tight precision, destroyed the presidency of one of the most crooked politicians this country has ever produced.

Woodward concludes in his latest piece for the Post, “Because of his position virtually atop the chief investigative agency, his words and guidance had immense, at times even staggering, authority. The weight, authenticity and his restraint were more important than his design, if he had one.”

But the question remains for this reporter: Who was behind Deep Throat?

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GOP Gridlock

Aquarian Weekly 5/18/05 REALITY CHECK

GOP GRIDLOCK – PART II Social Security, Conservative Judges, Putin, Iran, North Korea & Political Suicide

Vladimir PutinMy conversation with Republican insider Georgetown from the last week of April continues.

jc: Let’s just say for the sake of argument you guys can get some semblance of this Social Security reform onto the floor. What are the chances that a compromise can be met?

Georgetown: Before mid-term elections? None. Like I said, there are too many jobs on the line here. This is the issue, political survival, and unless it is handled correctly it could swing the power, or at least senate power back to the democrats. I think it more than a worthy cause, maybe the most worthy cause, but it’s political suicide within 19 months of an election. Democratic opponents in certain districts have already started pouncing. There’s tension building and some of these congressmen and senators are not going to the mat for this, not if their job is on the line, and it is.

jc: In a nutshell, it’s either the battle for judges or Social Security reform.

GT: Yes. If the battle is waged and stymied on one front, it could halt the momentum of the other. The ideological war is currently, and I think dangerously, winning out over the fiscal one, and that is where the main rift between conservatives, fiscal conservatives I’m talking about now, not the bible thumpers, and more moderate republicans lies. The true business hawks have lain low since the election, but they are barking now. We want the judges, sure. We need to fight back on those key social issues, but I believe if there is a knock-down drag-out it should be over Social Security and not gay marriage and abortion or other ancillary moral issues. It defeats the purpose of a congress to be too far-reaching, especially in this divisive a political climate.

jc: I think Social Security reform is inevitable. It might not be the convoluted Bush plan, but it is inevitable. The moral issues come and go and come again. So, I ask you, what survives this administration?

GT: Sadly not the reform.

jc: You think it’s dead.

GT: As a doornail.

jc: Let’s get to this government’s credibility on issuing threats to other nations, Iran, North Korea, whatever, based on intelligence evidence compiled by the CIA and selling the inherent dangers to its people based on the track record leading up to the war in Iraq. Why doesn’t anyone see this as a problem?

“You are supposed to make the Democrats look like stallers and backbiters, not make the party in charge look like power mongers.”

GT: I’ll tell you why, because we’re on the righteous course now. This is not a defense plan; this is a restructure policy internationally. We have put the onus on nations to cut the shit, not keep us out of it. This is a change from the Iraq theories of threats by a nation with WMD after being attacked on our own soil. Iraq was sold on security and then freedom. We’re on the freedom track now. Ridding the world of tyrants. Tyrants usually insolate themselves with huge weapons pile-ups. This is now a no-no in the defacto war on terror. I think it a clever tact.

jc: Change the argument to fit the issue.

GT: Right on.

jc: But I don’t think you grasp my point. We are now making allegations against Korea and Iran that are eerily similar to those leveled against Hussein. Now, in the case of Hussein they turned out cooked, but these are dead serious. But with the first having been the big thing on the back of nothing…

GT: It compromises our position internationally? No it doesn’t. We’ve already stated in several places on a myriad of occasions that this is a global war on terror. It is on going. It evolves, and it evolves on our dime and our time. We just move on over to the next bad guy when we see fit. This is the whole thing. It has to move, like a shark. It’s shark foreign tactics. Hit and run, pick the target and stay on it. The best part about this is one of these rogue nations are going to get to the bottom of the Osama bin Laden MIA shit. You just know someone from Iran is going to execute this idiot, so they can claim great friend of the United States and then point the finger if we try and keep them from building a massive war machine. I’m telling you, that’s coming.

jc: What do you make of Vladimir Putin? Is it the same old crap, or is this guy a maverick? And what’s Bush’s fascination with him? If there actually is one. And what’s with this proposed meeting in Russia?

GT: Putin is an imperialist. He will fight for his slice of the Middle East pie. He’s already started. This bullshit with Ariel Sharon, wherein he’s whipping up plans for peace and restructuring settlements in Israel is laughable. He couldn’t give two shits about Israel. It’s a grandstand to get involved in what he sees as a serious doctrine to change the political landscape there. Listen, I’ve always said that you can tell how your foreign policy is going when everyone tries to rip it off for their own gain. Putin is the proof that Bush’s plan, however ass-backwards and inept it can look sometimes, is sound.

jc: But doesn’t Putin have a right to be involved? Even though I share much of your cynicism about his sincerity. I mean, this is happening in his backyard.

GT: Sure, he can do anything he wants. Doesn’t mean it’s not a transparent power grab. I think our president might say as much when he goes to Russia.

jc: And this accomplishes the “Let me play chess with the Arabs, find your own war zone to gut” doctrine?

GT: Funny. Take it on the road.

jc: One last thing about the world stage. Do you think the Brit election will mean a hill of beans to the final three years of this administration or the final months of this congress?

GT: Nope. Small potatoes.

jc: Big ally.

GT: It’s a bit noisy for me.

jc: How many judges do you get through?

GT: One. I think one. Maybe two. A big maybe. It’s a fair fight. No one with a background in these things is complaining. But someone with a conservative record is getting through. Count on it.

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GOP Gridlock

Aquarian Weekly 5/11/05 REALITY CHECK

GOP GRIDLOCK – PART I Conservative Insider Unloads On Republican Congress

Ying & YangI have known Georgetown for about 15 years now, more or less. He has provided my readers an interesting and oft times hilarious insight to all things Republican, while maintaining his anonymity. It is this anonymity that has allowed him the fresh honesty for and against many policies of his party and this government without reprisal, and whether I agreed with his assessments or argued them our deal has stayed the same: He gives me the inside scoop and his ornery take on it and I print it in this space. Little edits. No pussyfooting. But during these 15 years, he has rarely, if ever, displayed as vehement an opposition to his party’s direction and procedure as he did late last month during our most recent conversation.

As usual, the following is a two-part excerpt of almost an hour of his rants, instigated by your truly to some degree, but it is mostly a candid and strikingly frank assortment of criticisms leveled at the most dominant GOP federal government this republic has ever seen.

jc: The accepted theory on George W. Bush’s first term was that he was far more fiscally and socially conservative than his father, who I know you and many conservatives had problems with, taxes, the Gulf War, etc. Now that evaluation has to come into question. This government has its hand in everything from social issues, private affairs of citizens, restructured environmental issues, Medicare pork, and has managed the most spend thrift budget ever. And this president, who has yet to veto a single bill, has rejected none of these subjects.

Georgetown: I’ll tell you this, there is a serious and growing rift in the party between social conservatives, mostly lobbied by the religious right, and fiscal conservatives, many of which began as hawks during the ramp up to the war, but who now believe it to be a money pit, and one that we will not be able to recover from for at least a decade and has been a detriment to more pressing domestic policies. Period. This is no longer a maybe or if, it is a real and present danger to our control of this congress, and one, in my estimation, that will break the back of the president’s push of Social Security or tax reform. This war is doing to Bush what Viet Nam did to Lyndon Johnson’s ability to govern the country at large. It is badly run and terribly administrated, and if there is isn’t a mass exodus of Republicans in the house and senate by late summer on most of the White House’s agenda, it will be news. These people have to save their asses.

jc: So there’s a battle for the heart and mind of the Republican Party, which ostensibly makes up the United States government right now.

GT: Take the Tom Delay thing for example. There are many Republicans who want this guy hung out to dry. This is bullshit. He has given the Democrats an easy target when we’ve got judges to be nominated, bills on the docket, and this John Bolton thing, which is the lynchpin for the Bush foreign policy in the Middle East. We’re going to shake-up the world politic, right? Let me ask you, do you think Bush likes bringing in the Saudis and having them read all over the Washington Post that his proposed ambassador to the UN is being depicted by fellow Republicans as Attila The Hun? Have you ever seen anything so bush league? It’s dime store politics, and it makes you wonder who the hell is in charge.

jc: But how does Delay’s problems factor into that?

“You are supposed to make the Democrats look like stallers and backbiters, not make the party in charge look like power mongers.”

GT: This is the same shit we pulled on Clinton. By the time the Lewinsky thing became public, his ability to govern was nil. He was shot. This killed the Democrats in the mid-term elections and made him one of the earliest lame duck second termers ever. Delay is the face of this government right now. Who the hell wants that? I’ll tell you who, George Bush. His “loyalty” crap is crippling the government and landing the party in a corner. That bullshit with him walking off the helicopter with Delay last week was political suicide. I watched that and thought, “Jesus, we’ve forgotten how we got here.” It sure as hell wasn’t on the back of punks like Tom Delay or Bolton for that matter, who is a self-serving bureaucrat, who is so far up Dick Chaney’s ass its scary. You think Dick Chaney cares who runs this government over the next two decades? He’ll be lucky to live past Christmas.

jc: Where’s Karl Rove in all of this?

GT: Not happy, I’ll tell you that much. But Rove is a campaign wiz. He concocted the God vote thing. They needed him to rattle the social cages to bring out the anti-gay, anti-secular, anti anti-war vote. He did his job. You want him to tell Bush to sell these fanatics down the river when he’s beginning a second term? Why? To save the party? He works for George W. Bush. His man has won all the elections he’s going to win. It’s over. It’s our problem now.

jc: But you do support Social Security reform, right? So that means private accounts, and doesn’t private accounts amount to political suicide?

GT: You pick your battles in this town. I applaud the president for his courage to at least broach the subject, but he has to consider that other people need to win elections beside him. He’s done. He will try and hammer away at things for another 16 months and then he will attend a few dinners, make a round trip of the globe, and shuffle off into the sunset. But then what does he do, hand this party over to social liberals like Giuliani and McCain?

jc: So how much does Delay and Bolton and Social Security effect the judiciary nominations?

GT: Killing them. Fucking killing them. And now they want to press the issue of filibuster reform. Holding up judge nominations is as American as apple pie. You always think you’re going to be in control forever, but it’s a pipe dream. There will come a day when the Republicans will need to filibuster again, and then what? Here’s the problem with restructuring congressional power, your force that to be the issue and take the onus away from the nominations, which is wrong. You are supposed to make the Democrats look like stallers and backbiters, not make the party in charge look like power mongers.

jc: Then Delay attacks the courts with the Catholic League over the Schiavo case and it looks like you’re trying to stack the deck.

GT: Exactly. Now you’re playing real life politics.

NEXT WEEK – PART II

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We Want John Bolton

Aquarian Weekly 5/4/05 REALITY CHECK

WE WANT BOLTONAmerica The Ugly Has Spoken

John BoltonNot even the most optimistic Democrat on Capitol Hill thinks the rabidly vilified John Bolton won’t be the next U.S. ambassador to the United Nations. They fully comprehend, as well as the realists among them that he represents the will of the people. This past November we rubber stamped the mean, war crazy jingoists, and damn it, if we don’t deserve our pit bull to crack a few heads around the United Nations then what was the point of voting George W. Bush back into office in the first place? It sure wasn’t his stellar economic record or a stirring command of the English language.

We have political capitol here. Didn’t the memo go out? Wasn’t there a general e-mail head’s up received on this? We voted. Bush won. He won on a record of boorish and aggressively dangerous behavior, combative and unyielding to anything resembling sober reason. This is obviously the agenda. He is also God’s choice. What is the argument? Let’s get on with it already.

Look, no one around here gives half a shit about the latest and greatest independent intelligence report that proves for the hundredth time that this government went mad over flimsy evidence to wage a money pit war on Iraq. Fuck that noise. We needed to crush the Evil Doers, or at least the Evil Doers that peeved off the president’s daddy, and, as a result, we’re more than willing to bankroll the rebuilding of it for the next two decades no matter what. So save all your bleeding heart analysis for the French hippie freaks. We want Bolton.

We want the “quintessential kiss-up, kick-down sort of guy”. He represents the American spirit; uncompromising, self-aggrandizing, quick to judgment, and conveniently patriotic. His ambitions are our ambitions. Three million more of us put any doubts of this to rest on Election Day, and a couple of thousand more Ohio residents made it law. If Captain Shoo-In wants John Bolton, an oft-quoted anti-UN big mouth to kick the ass all over the world stage than so be it. You think those kids who come back in boxes every day from the Middle East or the family members they leave behind care who we piss off after two years of bloodshed?

Grow up.

There’s a new sheriff in town, and he has the badge to prove it. The proverbial cards are on the table. John Bolton is aces up and the pot goes to Washington DC.

This is the New World now. We don’t fiddle around with diplomacy. We have The Dick Chaney School of Batten Down The Hatches & Hang On To The Women & Children, Here Comes The U. S. of A. international view for ya. It’s the 9/11 blank check theory of foreign policy, and its here to stay, so deal with it. Maybe the rest of the planet should have gotten on board when we were scrambling around like lunatics looking for scapegoats. Then there would be no need for outcry and long Congressional hearings that frivolously spend our tax money on done deals.

Yeah, I know, Bolton screams and yells at secretaries and doesn’t particularly care about playing nice with other government agencies and he may or may not have treated Colin Powell like his bitch. It’s a small price to pay to jam a first class jerk off into the malaise of the United Nations. Give it a little spit shine and weaken its resolve to keep us from gutting the world to protect our interests. We’ve been cow towing to these fossils for far too long. We’re the muscle and the money of that operation, so instead of sitting around making pretty, its time to stop all the silly role playing and finally show the rest of this poor, docile planet who’s boss.

The administration and its mouthpieces like to call this appointment and its fallout Reform. We are reforming the United Nations. It is a way of reminding everyone that its main headquarters resides on our soil, a few blocks from where the towers went down and all this craziness ensued. Reforming means no more begging to enact our will on things. No more meetings. No more dancing for our supper. We are reforming the UN from ostensibly being an objective international forum to our blind handmaidens. It’s our address that bares the checks sent all over the place to combat famine and pestilence and it is our army that ousts beret-wearing religious war mongers, so we’re going to make some changes around here.

You know, Reform.

The mask is off. We no longer appear to peddle global compassion, while doing whatever the hell we want. Now we come hard, without the song and story. No more fancy pants chats or teary-eyed speeches from phonies like Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton. We have the Texas Oil Man in charge; the Shit-Kicker King. He is our hero. He is the savior of the Western World. The British know it; now so will everyone else slow on the take, like the Democrats, who still think they have a say in this.

Those woefully uniformed who are left out there will now finally know what kind of bulldozer is coming to rearrange the furniture, get acquainted with the Bull/China Shop policies we got going here. No one will dare feign surprise about what kind of mayhem follows. There’s a new sheriff in town, and he has the badge to prove it. The proverbial cards are on the table. John Bolton is aces up and the pot goes to Washington DC.

Cue the madman with the axe, taking chunks from the bathroom door.

“Heeeeeere’s Johnny.”

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The Government & Terry Shiavo

Aquarian Weekly 3/30/05 REALITY CHECK

DECONTRUCTING THE CONSTITUTIONHow The God Fascists Are Trampling On Your Inalienable Rights

Tom DelayThe powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people. – Amendment X United States Constitution

“I was in the house when the house burned down.” – Warren Zevon

This government’s deconstruction of the Bill of Rights and Constitution since 9/11/01 has been outright oppressive and downright criminal. It has managed to make a complete mockery of Amendment IV and Amendment I, and now the 109th Congress has seen fit to ignore Amendment X in a grandstanding political maneuver so patently absurd it bares serious scrutiny by the members of this republic.

The Terri Schiavo case is the very reason I repeatedly tell friends and colleagues to read their constitution. Read it every day. Download it off the Internet, take it out of the library, buy a hand pocket version of it, and get to know it well. It is all that stands between you and government tyranny or the wonton desires of fanatics. And this, my friends and colleagues, is the age of King George and the God Fascists. The Enlightenment is in a shambles. Superstition and false morals have invaded the system like parasitic vermin. Get it in writing, team up the lawyers, and be willing to fight dirty.

This is no time for outrage or long-winded speeches. This is a time for reflection and reaction both personal and public. It is time we put our houses in order, ready our muskets and wait for the hordes to come charging over the mountain, because they have long begun their ascent, and it does not look to be abated by law or reason.

Know this: Elections and sedition are for sheep. Wolves earn freedom. It’s time for a serious uprising.

The blind audacity of the federal government to halt its tasks for the will of the people and suspend the law of the land while the president of the United States rushes in at the eleventh hour to sign law based on an individual case of state rights is martial law. Period. The irony is that this is a Republican run federal government, which claims in its stringent platform to defend state rights and reduce the powers of the federal government.

Whle you chew on that one let me take a moment to point out that I do not agree with the actions of the subject’s husband. He doesn’t want to divorce this poor woman, so he demands she starve to death? This is a murder of convenience. This is not a mercy killing. If someone is unable to function and has a living will that stipulates they want to pull the plug, so be it. This is not one of those cases. Also, I would like to make clear I do not agree with the woman’s parents either. By law, and this is why I am so adamant that the denial of basic civil rights to gay marriage is so egregiously unconstitutional, a spouse has full and complete rights. This is not negotiable, nor should it be.

The Terri Schiavo case is the very reason I repeatedly tell friends and colleagues to read their constitution. Read it every day. It is all that stands between you and government tyranny or the wonton desires of fanatics.

But make no mistake; this is a clear case for the state’s court system. This is why we have it. Checks and balances. Simple civics. Look it up. The federal government has three basic functions, uphold the constitution, protect the borders and deliver the mail. One out of three is not good enough.

The funny thing is the federal government’s failure to protect the borders on 9/11 has caused it to usurp power and enact crazed laws all over the joint, from the vague terminology of the Patriot Act to the loosely translated use of the military. These leans on civil liberties are not ideological – conservative nor liberal, they are unconstitutional. They are above the law. Just like congress sticking its nose in Major League Baseball over drug abuse when dozens of businesses in this country piss all over the environment, create new and improved toxins for us to inhale and ingest, openly steal money from stockholders and farm out manufactured labor to Dickensian work camps all over the Third World. How about the FCC imposing $500,000 fines for ambiguous indecency standards while huge foreign conglomerates own 70% of the airwaves and the White House infiltrates news programming with fully-produced propaganda schlock?

Am I the only one who is incensed at these sanctimonious cretins pointing fingers and riling up the locals on certain issues, while blatantly ignoring others? Am I the only sap who gets miffed when shitheels like Tom Delay run roughshod over the ethics of his office while working diligently to block an investigation, and then has the unmitigated gall to stand before the American people and talk about morals as if he invented them?

I’m also not amused at this nonsense about the sanctity of life. Oh, boy, these phonies can’t wait to wave that tattered flag at you. Then you realize that 40 million Americans are currently denied health care and their government has done nothing to even investigate it. They did manage to pass a Medicare bill last year that handed the pharmaceutical companies a blank check, but that was when morals took a back seat to Calvin Coolidge’s axiom that “the business of America is business”.

All this noise about Terri Schiavo is just that, noise. It has no legal merit, and morally it is thorny and sad. I detest the details as much as the next guy, but she should not be a political football for the federal government. This incessant meddling and horseplay with its power and reach has gone above and beyond for too many consecutive months to let it stand much longer. And although I am all for the federal government intervening when an entire race of people are denied civil rights, it is not for the government to intercede on the behalf of one person who does not effect the general populace.

Finally, if I may be so bold, it needs to be mentioned that Shiavo is in this condition because she was a world-class bulimic, resulting in heart failure and irreversible brain damage. She destroyed herself by her own free will, kind of like an alcoholic or a junky. And I ask you, how much of a furor would the Moral God Police be whipping up if this were a hobo junky from Harlem?

I wager none.

Now, let’s all hop off the high horse and get back to screwing up Social Security reform and spending our money like drunken sailors.

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Condoleezza Rice Spins

Aquarian Weekly 3/23/05 REALITY CHECK

CONDEE SPINS ETERNAL

Secretary of ShiteI feel for Condoleezza Rice. I really do. I like her. I think she is by far the smartest and most sincere of the wild and wooly Bush Cabal. And as allegedly misguided as she was along with everyone else at the helm before 9/11, I believe she was just another sad symptom of the illusion this country’s government had lived under since the end of the Cold War.

But it pains me to see her eat shit the way she has time and again in front of the American press, the international press and a host of world leaders. Colin Powell, the former Secretary of State, could no longer eat the shit. This is why he is gone. But Rice auditioned well for the job during the 9/11 hearings when she went toe-to-toe with Democratic senators on “what the big boys knew and when they knew it”, prancing deftly around facts and timelines that showcased her considerable mettle and loyalty to the cause by gobbling massive quantities of excrement and emerging as a martyr for the good and true.

Don’t get me wrong; Secretary of State is a pretty good reason to eat shit. Hillary Clinton feasted on the stuff just to be first lady. Most people do it to keep a mid-level gig in some faceless corporation. Secretary of State is a few heartbeats from the presidency and comes with a cachet rarely, if ever bestowed upon intellects. Former recent secretaries like Henry Kissinger (Nixon’s savage bombing of Cambodia), Cyrus Vance (Carter’s disastrously planned rescue attempt of the Iran hostages) and George Shultz (Reagan’s Iran/Contra fiasco) gorged on the dung. Piles of it. And not one of them is getting into to heaven for it.

But I was not particularly fond of any of these gentlemen, and I never got the willies as I do now watching sweet Condoleezza parade these spin doctored fabrications around the globe like a jabbering marionette. It is sad and disturbing and I can no longer abide it quietly.

To wit:

On the leading candidate for Iraqi Prime Minister, Ibrahim Jafari, a “former” terrorist (former terrorist like being kinda pregnant or sorta dead) and well-known American foreign policy dissenter (a nice way of saying “hates us”) Rice has been laughably extolling his virtues to defend the purported democratic process. Last week Rice stated that Jafari “will be a fighter in the war on terrorism”, which is completely antithetical to the profile the CIA is willing to cop to and just plain silly talk.

The fact is a toad like Jafari and the predominant Shiite presence in the Iraqi democratic process creates another sort of anti-American political conundrum for the current administration. This is why falling back on the “fighting for the freedom of Iraqis” fable following the flop of the “US threat and WMD” song and story leads to wider problems. Not the least of which is Iran, considered among many US officials for close to a decade as the “real enemy”, now developing a nuclear bomb with no counterbalance from a weakened Iraq.

Oh what a tangled web we weave…

Concerning the uprising against Syrian troops stationed in Lebanon, a fishy stage show reminiscent of CIA-instigated protests in Central America for three decades and a cheap political attempt by the Bush administration to label a “victory for freedom”, and the subsequent mass retort provoked by the terrorist all-stars known as Hezbollah, Rice is coy. At once she manages to denounce Hezbollah as a “rogue terrorist outfit threatening to the United States” while responding to its legitimate political power recognized by the UN as a shoulder-shrugging downside of the democratic process. Rice knows well the powder keg that is Lebanon, and to spin a freedom march from the obvious seeds of another likely bloody civil war is so patently ridiculous not even this loose canon president is dumb enough to sell it.

Rice’s dance of the absurd is in lock step with the fantasy this administration has concocted since its many-layered theory of war two years ago in Iraq.

Truth is Lebanon has been, and always will be a breeding ground for anti-Israeli fervor. Syria’s military presence, while abhorrent to the new and improved Middle East freedom chatter of this government, is a necessary evil for the security of Israel and American concerns there. Despite Syria’s disdain for Israel, ironically, after years of horror in Beirut, the Syrians brought order and managed to expunge the IDF, leading to immense popularity and more than a little anti-American sentiment. But there was also a sense of lockdown, sovereignty, and protection. Left to its own devices, the Lebanese could prove more troublesome to US efforts in the Palestinian/Israeli conflict than most know, except Condoleezza Rice. She knows.

Rice’s recent appearance on “Meet The Press” had her chewing on chunks of crap when faced with the administration’s proposed appointment of a lunatic like John Bolton to ambassador of the United Nations. “He has a wealth of experience in UN affairs”, Rice told Tim Russert, which is tantamount to saying Michael Jackson is familiar with children. Bolton, known inside the Beltway as Bush’s Pit Bull, has publicly mocked the UN, calling it, among other undiplomatic descriptions, “obsolete”. Yet Bush, after grandstanding international unity all over Europe last month to help pay for the Iraq money pit, is sending this maniac into the cauldron of a corrupt and bitch-slapped conglomerate reeling with a lethal dose of figureheaditis. Rice, for her part, is rubber-stamping Bolton as “a very important part of my team.”

Anyone who listens to Bolton for 30 seconds knows he is an ass. He is the worst kind of myopic bully, the type of ideologically rabid monster this space warned against should Bush continue to run amok around this planet. If he is unleashed on the international scene he will no doubt be an embarrassment to an already yawping farce, and it is disconcerting to me that a brilliant and normally even-handed Condoleezza Rice has to vouch for it.

…when first we practice to deceive.

Rice’s dance of the absurd is in lock step with the fantasy this administration has concocted since its many-layered theory of war two years ago in Iraq. This maze of circular logic unleashed on the American public is so convoluted in patriotic pap by now it defies definition. Alas, Condee rides the dragon, and I feel for her.

In the spirit of this thorny trap, Rice has taken to calling the current opium-rich, unprecedented production of drugs in Afghanistan (described haughtily as a victory in freedom during the presidential campaign) as “a narcotics problem”. Yes, and Anne Boleyn had a headache. She also dubs Korea a “willing negotiator” sounding more and more everyday like Chamberlain handing Hitler Eastern Europe on a platter.

I have found it in my heart to forgive Rice for trying to tame this monstrosity, the way I gave Powell the benefit of several doubts before he went off the rails at the UN with tall-tales that embroiled this country in a bankrupt police action under questionable pretenses. My leash, irresistibly short for the authors of this mess, is longer for bureaucrats of the system, but for sweet Condoleezza and the looking glass on Pennsylvania Avenue, the slack is tightening.

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Explaining Media Liberal Bias

Aquarian Weekly 3/16/05 REALITY CHECK

LIBERAL BIAS IN THE MEDIA Explaining The Obvious To The Uninitiated

Dan RatherThe exit of embattled CBS news anchor Dan Rather this past week has renewed age-old discussions on liberal bias in the media. This always brings a smile to my face, for I, as consequence of experience, have always known that the accusation rings hollow in the sense that if by painting the press with one bold ideological brush stroke will somehow force it en masse to either back off its alleged job as public watch dog or make it more rancorous against the purveyors of liberalism. This has never been the case, nor will it ever be, no matter how many Dan Rathers are thrown under the bus, anymore than the moral lunacy of the right will be curtailed by revelations that Bill Bennett is a terminal gambling freak.

I have no love for Dan Rather. I met him once about 20 years ago, maybe more. I don’t remember. It was long before he was stomped by thugs on Park Avenue for failure to acknowledge “Kenneth’s frequency”, but long after he started a mosh pit on the floor of the ’68 Democratic Convention. He was perfectly cordial. I never saw him as an elitist or even that passionate about anything, really, least of all frequencies or punk music. He was a newsman. You can identify their species from a mile away. No sense of humor or fashion, myopic dinks with a tinge of nervous energy you might misconstrue for pretension. I don’t think he wanted anything more from life. None of these people do. They live for news; disaster, murder, political suicide, celebrity implosion. Personally, I never forgave Rather for that farcical report on the 20th anniversary of the Kennedy assassination in which he presided over a theater of the absurd proving “without a shadow of a doubt” that Oswald acted alone. Honestly, its fictitious zest made the Bush National Guard Papers seem tame by comparison. But that’s my problem.

Sure Rather is a liberal. So were Walter Cronkite and Edward R. Murrow, Jacob Riis and Walter Winchell, Margaret Fuller and Ernie Pile. Most reporters, journalists, newspersons are liberal. Unless you’ve studied or practiced this craft, it is apparently hard to grasp. This is true of yammering asses like William McGowan or Bernard Goldberg, neither of whom know the first thing about reporting the news, but answered a curious calling to write books featuring “in-depth analysis” of American journalism. Some might call this stupid. I concur. These poor saps are busy discussing party politics in the cauldron of human nature, a folly if there ever was one.

In order to get up for a life of reporting, one must believe one can/will change the world, make government work diligently for the people, expose the bad guys, celebrate the common man, while repeatedly taking shots at the rich and powerful for the general good. It is a tough calling in a country where the rich and powerful run things, make laws and do whatever the fuck rich and powerful wants. This is an acceptable reason for the remainder of journalists not already raging alcoholics or recovering from some kind of addiction to barely cling to a last remaining shred of sanity.

Shitty hours, crappy pay, lunatic editors and horrific travel routes will leave even the most centered among us with a flimsy excuse for optimism. Believe me, when you’re dealing with the sickness of the human psyche on meager wages and no sleep, you are bound to steer your allegiance to things like civil rights, government programs, underdog causes, conspiracy theories, counterculture pursuits, etc. Big Business, Real Estate Moguls, Religious Fervor, Military Industrial Complexes, Imperial Foreign Policies, and the odd nasty political malfeasance tend to rile these creatures up.

Shitty hours, crappy pay, lunatic editors and horrific travel routes will leave even the most centered among us with a flimsy excuse for optimism.

This is why most of the modern American newspaper chains were launched by Socialists back when Socialism meant power to the people and the rejection of money and progress running roughshod over natural resources, human dignity, and the truth. There was always a sense among the originals that the press would not only keep the tyranny suffered under King George at bay, ala the searing pamphlet by the first subversive patriot Thomas Paine, but it must also force the issue of change and progress like the printed abolitionist movement from brave souls like Horace Greeley, who started the Herald Tribune as a daily anti-slavery rant or Mary Livermore who published the Woman’s Journal as the genesis of suffrage.

Journalists are also skeptics. They need proof for stuff. Lovely and warming concepts like God, country, and apple pie don’t swing a good reporter. It’s the facts, ma’m. The beauty of skepticism leads to edification through research and training in diverse thought (another key reason people keep missing for why most American universities or higher learning institutes breed liberal idealism). Not accepting tenets on face value, to question everything from traditions to subtle to overt forms of bigotry is the foundation of journalism and, for that matter, a free society for which journalism is supposed to serve.

It always struck me as odd that people do not bat an eye when conservative thought enters free enterprise or fiscal responsibility (sans military build-up and corporate stock and tax fraud) but yet find it necessary to debate the leanings of journalists.

But saying that liberal optimists who have convinced themselves that what they do is important for the survival of the republic and not for greed or fame or notoriety is not necessarily true either. Every news jockey in this country would trade some part of himself or herself professionally to get ahead, find a bigger audience and translate that into cash. This is especially true in American journalism.

I personally know heavy leftists who lied to FOX News, the National Review or the Washington Times to get a gig in a more conservative news organization, and vice versa to get gigs at the Village Voice, the New York Times, or Newsweek, more liberal publications.

So, in the end, the publicity monsters like Pulitzer and Hearst still beat in the chests of our journalists, who begin their journey of reporting with all the wide-eyed cheer of the most naïve college sap and end up voracious capitalistic fundamentalists. It’s a crude journey, even for someone like Dan Rather, whose only crime was laziness and the false sense that being rich and powerful makes you resistant to accountability.

That kind of armor is reserved for the presidency.

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A Citizen’s Guide to Tax Reparations

Aquarian Weekly 2/9/05 REALITY CHECK

TORCH SONG OF THE MONEY WISEA Citizen’s Guide to Fair Tax Reparations

“We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties.”– James Madison

“Pay me, sucka.” – Muddy “Mississippi” Waters

My attempt two years ago to secede from the union failed miserably. Some bullshit about landowner’s rights and state dues and back taxes, loop holes all. The best attorneys I could find in the tri-state area were felled, leaving me to write off 250 yards of barbed wire and six long months of trying to wrest a work visa for my wife out of the State Department. Heavily maligned and poorly executed as it was, my reasons were well argued and my solvency was good, but New Jersey is a tough nut to crack. Ask our last governor, who played the gay card and was sent packing. Suffice to say; if you want to claim your meager patch of land as a separate nation, sans an application to the UN and a working military, it is nearly impossible on this soil. Trust me on this.

However, in the spirit of such a bold move, this year I will attempt to recoup any personally earned or gained moneys funneled into the Social Security fund for the past quarter century plus with the caveat that I will ask for nothing from the United States treasury when my time is due.

It is important to note; whether this government restructures Social Security or crosses its collective finger for the future, it will not longer be my concern. I certainly hope things work out for the rest of you. I’ll be happy to keep tabs on the results for this gig, but for now I wish to take personal action and pull up stakes.

To this end, the letter I drafted and submitted through my congressman is lengthy, boring and mostly pointless. The highlight is thus:

“I wish to extract any funds I have heretofore put into this forecasted bankrupt mechanism of government. I will pay any penalties, sign any affidavit, and secure any insurance needed for such a transaction. You will never have to worry about me again. I shan’t come crawling back with my hand out. Enclosed is my Social Security Card to be turned in with extreme malice. This is not a joke or a symbolic gesture of dissent. I want my money and I want it now.”

We’ll see how that goes.

When I pay for an automobile and it breaks down every day and the radio doesn’t work and the brakes are faulty I don’t allow the dealer to tell me to “hang in there” and “the thing moves in a forward motion, so that is some sort of victory, no?” I chuckle and demand a refund.

In the meantime, it is important to note that all this decrying of Social Security lately, years too late for my blood, has to take a back seat to the money pit that is Iraq.

Anyone calling the 1/30 election there a victory is not familiar with the term. Victory, according to Webster’s is “an achievement of mastery”. Although it is a miraculous achievement that the country was not burned to cinder with rivers of blood running in the streets of Baghdad, I would not call the voting process a victory.

Here’s how I define victory:

Remove US troops from the equation and have another one of these babies. Let freedom ring, so to speak. Then we’ll have a fair result of political expression. If I had armored guards surrounding me I could sleep comfortably on Webster Avenue in the Bronx with two grand in my pocket. Some might call that urban safety; others might deem it a fixed game. I side with the latter’s camp on that one.

Granted, I expect our president, the architect and CEO of this doomed operation, to call it a victory. At this point he would be wise to call the safe passage of camels and one-legged peasants to the Euphrates a victory. But ignoring the company spin line, I agree with one thing King George has decreed time and again; the birth of a democracy is hard. There was plenty of bloodletting here in the first few attempts at voting. Jesus, this republic went nearly a decade with no constitution, bill of rights, an army, or anything resembling a federal government. It was fun times for anarchists, land barons and religious folk, but it wasn’t a nation, and neither will Iraq be until the foreigners get the hell out.

Until then I suspend optimism and look to aggressively recover my investment on this abortion, especially in the wake of hearing talk there will be another $30 billion needed from the taxpayers to continue policing chaos.

No sir, not me. I’m done paying for this thing. I’ve seen the results. Not a big fan. When I pay for an automobile and it breaks down every day and the radio doesn’t work and the brakes are faulty I don’t allow the dealer to tell me to “hang in there” and “the thing moves in a forward motion, so that is some sort of victory, no?” I chuckle and demand a refund.

This is a case for an old fashioned do-over. I no longer want my money going toward this thing. If all the flag-wavers want in, great! Good luck to you. Count me out.

That’s right, I’m on record: I do not support our troops. Shudder if you must, but at this point anyone choosing a free trip in uniform to the Middle East over prison does not get my support. My pity? Yes. My sympathy? Absolutely. Support? No more. No how.

I choose instead to ignore the pentagon, these silly Donald Rumsfeld press conferences and whatever statistics anyone wants to e-mail to me on either side of the debate, and object conscientiously.

As a stockholder in this country and its actions here and abroad, I will happily wave my right to sue the company on misuse of funds and misleading investors on the length and breath of things if I can simply bail out with my losses. I’ll even cease trashing the thing in print. I just want whatever percentage of my taxes that have gone to Mission Iraq returned promptly. Fair is fair.

And in order to quell any suggestions that I move to another country, I say no. I like bad television, shitty food and sports. I prefer instead to enact my rights and cause trouble with the hopes it will inspire the spirit of democracy and freedom the world over. That, and I’m a selfish prick.

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In Bush We Trust

Aquarian Weekly 2/2/05 REALITY CHECK

IN BUSH WE TRUST

Buddies Forever“All who live in tyranny and hopelessness can know: the United States will not ignore your oppression, or excuse your oppressors. When you stand for your liberty, we will stand with you.” – George W. Bush Inaugural Speech 1/20/05

Aside from the whole FDR fear thing and the “Ask not…” rhetoric from JFK, George W. Bush made as bold and weighty a statement on the occasion of his second inauguration than any president of the past century, and despite its ragingly sanctimonious myopia, one this space applauds heartily. Honestly. I’m not kidding. I am all for it.

It’s a nice sentiment, a tad hyperbolic and utopian, even blatantly idiotic in its far-reaching schmaltz – something most might say with no real intention of ever seeing it through, like the romantic fool telling his beloved he would die for her. But I think this guy is serious as a heart attack. He had better be. That kind of proclamation is not something the citizens of this country or the rest of the world should take as political grandstanding. So I’m behind it one hundred percent, and anyone who is not does not get to continue along with me or George or the rest of the human race. It’s a new day. We are now the judge, jury, and police force of the world.

Hoorah!

So despite the fact that I believe, deep down, this president is likely as full of hot air as any who have preceded him, a well-earned pessimism of the office, I will stand with him, and most importantly, hold him to it. The slate is clean. All sins are forgiven: The bad economy and foreboding ridiculousness of this Medicare mistake, the outrageous deficit, the egregiously run and vaguely explained war, and all this jabbering about God and morals aside; for once I will give management the benefit of the doubt. Does this guy deserve a lick of it? Nah. But never again let it be said I am not for the success of this or any president or the ambitious goals of our government.

Here’s the catch: I want George W. Bush to back up his words. I am rooting for him. I will sit here and wait patiently for the results, as should you and the rest of the planet, whether you think him a dog, Satan, a brilliant savant, or somewhere in between. Granted, he had a previously unprecedented shot to capture history with the world watching mere days and weeks after 9/11. He fucked that up. Big time. Then we have “All who live in tyranny and hopelessness can know: the United States will not ignore your oppression, or excuse your oppressors. When you stand for your liberty, we will stand with you.”

It’s a big leap, but good for him. Reach for the stars, I say, the last go-round for the big cowboy. So let’s roll up those denim sleeves and slip back the ten-gallon white hat and get to work. Four years ain’t that long.

Here’s the catch: I want George W. Bush to back up his words.

All who live in tyranny would start with China, which this country openly trades with and the UN recognizes despite its historic and continued crimes against civil and human rights, forced abortions, execution and mass imprisoning of dissenting citizens, religious leaders, writers, artists etc. Oh, and that nastiness with Tibet. Oooh, that’s bad, man. I can’t wait for King George to spit in their face and demand to let their people go. My testicles tingle at the thought of it.

Then it’s onto Democratic People’s Republic of North Korea. These guys are nuts. That Kim Jong Il makes Saddam look like Bazooka Joe. After the tongue lashing we give to China, George will go medieval on those fuckers. I will be so proud to be an American again; leading the way, not caring a lick about economic solvency or international trade or what China or Russia might think. Stick it to them, like France and Germany, and all those countries that really don’t help our economy and oil consumption, a true humanitarian gesture – might I add daringly, a Christian offer of peace and empathy.

Then it would be onto Africa, where in the bloody Sudan, which according to Amnesty International and the highly credible contributors to Human Rights Watch (http://hrw.org/) is a top candidate. Since February 2003, its city of Darfur has been the scene of massive crimes against civilians of particular ethnicities in the context of an internal conflict between the Sudanese government and a rebel insurgency. Almost two million people have been forcibly displaced and stripped of all their property and tens of thousands of people have been killed, raped or assaulted.

How about Rwanda next? Those people have needed help for a decade, while we were cockfighting with Iraq thousands were being systematically slaughtered in a seemingly endless civil war. I think a selfless act of diplomacy and harsh words from our beloved King and his army of freedom fighters would not only be appropriate, but damn heroic.

Finally, we will choose gain over pain as we stand firm against America’s favorite monarchy, and the central figure in the 9/11 attacks and most of our problems with terrorism for the past fifty years, Saudi Arabia. Oh, this will be a tough one for our intrepid King George. It will take guts to jab our allies, our major Middle Eastern oil source, and a contributor of billions of dollars to our corporations and real estate concerns here at home.

Oh how proud we will be to see the tough and rumble George W. Bush, so brave and steadfast in his speech, back up his bragging like Muhammad Ali and smite the enemies of liberty and freedom. The oil companies – his political base – and conservatives and liberals alike will shudder, but he will not waver, because “All who live in tyranny and hopelessness can know: the United States will not ignore your oppression, or excuse your oppressors. When you stand for your liberty, we will stand with you.”

We’re waiting…

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Beware The Doctors

Aquarian Weekly 1/19/05 REALITY CHECK

MALPRACTICE LUNACY OR MEDICAL TYRANNY?

“The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.” – William Shakespeare King Henry VI, Part II, (Act IV), Scene 2

Beware The DoctorsDoctors really don’t know what they’re doing.

Take one aside at a mixer after his or her third Manhattan and ask. They’ll tell you. And when you’ve talked to enough of them off the record it will hit you: No one has a clue how you tick or what keeps you ticking. It’s a crapshoot, like predicting the weather or prognosticating the Oscars. My mother calls it “the educated guess.” Call it what you will, it’s wacky science and you’re the lab rat.

That being established, no matter the circumstance or political rhetoric, should there be any legislation passed that would diminish the amount or severity of liability placed upon doctors, hospitals, drug companies et al, if these guesses go awry. Otherwise what is now a free-for-all in medicinal darts will turn into something out of an Aldous Huxley novel.

What the 109th congress will now debate, along with the desperately needed – but doomed to oblivion – Social Security reform, the fate-sealing eternal tax cut, what to do about the gluttonous 23% increase of federal spending the past three years, and more nonsense about adding bigoted amendments, is the extent of your right to protect yourself from the tyranny of medicine.

By which I mean for instance a maddening expansion of pharmaceuticals consumed by Americans in the last decade. This alarms many pundits. I am not one of them. If people need to be medicated to stay the fuck off towers with an automatic weapon, I’m all for it. Most of us are nuts. This is a fact. Medicine has curtailed the results of this; a cause for celebration, not harangue. The self-righteous louts who deride the medicated are delusional, which is our most heinous social malady. But, alas, there is no drug to assuage the delusional, unless you count religion. I do not.

Of course there is always the odd prescription of mood-altering drugs to depressed teenagers with suicidal tendencies that sort of-kind of might cause an increase in depression and suicidal tendencies or the sedation of rambunctious toddlers with some nifty narcotic to zombie them up. But I’m not sure what level of outrage this rouses in the grand collective, so I’ll call it an epidemic for lack of a sane definition.

They can tort reform all over the map and you’ll still pay through the nose with less or no rights in case all this guesswork lands you in a wheelchair or worse.

However, anyone who has been to a physician in the past few years knows well of what I broach. And I’m not talking about massive screw-ups like people dying on operating tables or given a lethal dose of something or a frighteningly bad diagnosis that leaves them crippled or dead. It’s the quick check-up to unnecessary craziness that needs to be accounted for.

To wit; I was diagnosed with high cholesterol two summers ago. My doctor could not whip out the samples of Lipitor fast enough. He was busy cranking out a handy prescription when I suggested exercise and diet. Soon after the obligatory derisive chortle, I demanded I have three months to lower the “bad” cholesterol naturally. I did. Lipitor and my doctor lost out.

Now assuming the best-case scenario, which doesn’t have my doctor in cahoots with a massive pharmaceutical company, and he isn’t a lazy ass, he was likely guessing that drugs were best for me. I disagreed. I guess I lucked out.

But if you take this story and ratchet it up considerably to bring in larger physical problems, you might get the picture.

The government wants you to believe that lawyers and frivolous damage claims are ruining the medical profession, keeping you from the best care, and jacking up the cost of health care in general. This is bullshit, like most of what this government, or any government tells you. The fact is the toothpaste is out of the tube when it comes to health costs. They can tort reform all over the map and you’ll still pay through the nose with less or no rights in case all this guesswork lands you in a wheelchair or worse.

Bash lawyers all you want. It’s fun. I do it in weaker moments. Bashing attorneys is the comedic equivalent of the fart joke. It never fails to get a laugh. It’s cheap and it always works. But when you are damaged goods, you had better get a good one or you will be one of the forgotten.

Many malpractice lawsuits are out of control, but making laws to curtail or put restrictions on the amount and severity of legal recourse is how this country deals with aberrations of any kind; throw the baby out with the bathwater. The federal government, the FBI and the CIA can’t protect us, so chuck civil rights. Lunatic children shoot up the schools, outlaw guns and video games. Drug problem? Jail everyone. Homeless problem? Make them disappear.

Why should the American people give up the right to sue lousy doctors or negligent hospitals just because the denizens of our court system cannot tell the difference between a frivolous lawsuit and a legitimate claim? We have regulated ourselves silly. So much so, that many of us crave some form of chemical to keep us from facing the truth.

And what is the truth?

The AMA and huge Pharmaceutical corporations have stronger lobbies in Washington than you and me. They dump tons of money into campaigns. Those campaigns find themselves in chairs in congress and they make the laws. We eat shit.

This is how it works.

Shakespeare knew this. That’s why the above quote, often misused to mock the law profession by those who still think Randy Newman hates short people and we didn’t steal Texas, is really about the first sign of abuse of power. A character that goes by the name of Dick the Butcher, whom the author describes as “the head of an army of rabble and a demagogue pandering to the ignorant” and who plans on overthrowing the government, utters it.

It is a warning about letting things run smoother by giving up the right to have a voice if you become a casualty.

Consider this another, if not less literary, warning.

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