Saddam Capture Dissected

Aquarian Weekly 12/24/03 REALITY CHECK

THE CHUNK OF PUKE PRINCIPLE

Saddam Hussein is finally done.

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

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

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

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

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

Hussein is the chunk of puke.

The world is the body rejecting it.

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

Chunk of Puke Principle in motion.

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

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

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

Therefore, regurgitation of said virus occurred.

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

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

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

But that is for another day.

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

But at what cost? Politically. Globally. Morally.

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

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

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

It is as cruel as its bile.

Think about it.

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Doomed by Hippy Medicare

Aquarian Weekly 12/3/03 REALITY CHECK

HARBINGER OF THE FLOWER PEOPLE

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

The Medicare Bill has sealed the deal.

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

It’s over.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This is not good.

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

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

Let that read you and your children.

And what are we paying for?

Someone else’s overpriced medicine.

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

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Who is Running This War on Iraq? James Campion

Aquarian Weekly 10/29/03 REALITY CHECK

ANARCHY IN BUSHLAND

Who the hell is running this Iraq thing?

Really. No joke.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Schwarzenegger & The Left Wing GOP

Aquarian Weekly 10/22/03 REALITY CHECK

SCHWARZENEGGER & THE LEFT WING GOP

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And if Schwarzenegger fails?

Stay tuned.

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Covering Republicans 2003

Aquarian Weekly 9/17/03 REALITY CHECK

GEORGETOWN IN CALI Part II

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

jc: How long do you think this will take?

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

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

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

jc: But that’s a perpetual war.

GT: Yes it is.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

jc: Hillary in 2008?

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

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

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

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

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

jc: That’s how I choose to recall it.

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

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Covering The Cali Recall Pt. 1

Aquarian Weekly 9/10/03 REALITY CHECK

GEORGETOWN IN CALI

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

GT: Schwarzenegger is the hood ornament.

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

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

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

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

jc: That’s insane.

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

jc: Have you met with Schwarzenegger?

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

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

GT: I heard that.

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

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

jc: Didn’t you just predict…

GT: Fuck you.

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

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Gray Davis & California Recall

Aquarian Weekly 8/6/03 REALITY CHECK

CALIFORNIA SCHEMIN’

The wife and I plan on moving out to northern California when I’m closer to a natural demise; let that read, if I survive this daily boogie with death I’ve fashioned into a career. But if or when we get out there, we do not plan to vote. Voting does not count in California. It’s what the insiders like to call a “do-over” state. And soon, if a Recall on its Democratic governor, the wildly abhorred, Gray Davis goes through without a hitch, there may be little reason to vote on a local basis anywhere on this continent.

Right now California is broke. Its $38 billion gap between revenues and expenses has crippled the state’s economy to an all-time low, a slow deflation that many economists believe started in 1978 with the infamous Proposition 13 that put a hard cap on the government’s taxing power. The rub is this nifty initiative did not stop subsequent civic officials, including the doomed Davis, to spend freely on schools, prisons and other expensive projects.

People hear Recall and think something is wrong with Gray Davis’ fuel system, like he’s some kind of faulty vehicle sent back to the plant for exploding on national television test runs.

California has become a metaphor for the credit madness that currently engulfs this nation; it has stretched itself far beyond its means. It is also a glaring example of schizophrenic politics; a paradoxical helter skelter of citizen rule that wants everything without paying for it. Less government with more perks. Bold government programs with healthy tax cuts. Few state regulations with a needy increase in bureaucracy.

Thus, California is a deadbeat debt fiend with a tattered figurehead about to be shown the door.

People hear Recall and think something is wrong with Gray Davis’ fuel system, like he’s some kind of faulty vehicle sent back to the plant for exploding on national television test runs. True, the man is a condescending twit who used a $70 million smear campaign to retain power, and a frighteningly easy scapegoat, but hardly the sole proprietor of the disaster he now sits upon.

But Californians are historically fickle with politics. In a bizarre 17-year period from 1967 to 1983, the state posted a gubernatorial experiment in polar opposites the likes of which have been rarely seen in the history of this republic. Ronald Reagan, a reborn icon of hard-core conservatism smoothly gave way to the socialist hippy dreamscape that was Jerry Brown, a collective Freudian episode worthy of a straightjacket. So the Davis Recall, although a clear manifestation of bad legislation and identity crisis, is hardly unexpected in the Golden State.

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Nearly a century ago the concept of Recall was the reactionary brainchild of California governor, Hiram Johnson, a Teddy Roosevelt reformer nut who used the burgeoning “progressive movement” to weed out the manipulation of special interest concerns. Under the guise of preventing private conglomerates like banks or railroads from sending puppeteer candidates to log jam mandates, Johnson’s edict meant to use the power of populist democracy to right election wrongs.

But the language in Johnson’s law is vague. Grounds for Recall could range from questionable hairdos to odd eating habits, a dangerous legal landscape for the directionally challenged Californian.

Currently 18 states have some law allowing Recall, New Jersey is one, but only six have specific grounds, with two of those states -Minnesota and Georgia -allowing a judicial review of those grounds. California, the broke schizo state, is not one of those.

But enacting an actual Recall on a governor is rare. North Dakota is the only state on record to have successfully booted its leader from office. In 1921, Non-Partisan Party member, Lynn Frazier, a well-known socialist with little ideas about handling farm budgets, was also sent packing under the cloud of being a fiscal boob.

The current California petition in question, now boasting well over 1.5 million signatures (easily eclipsing the approximately 900,000 needed), has delegated a Recall of Davis for 10/7. But many state Democrats have been waging a predictable, if not futile battle on its authenticity, mainly because Republican congressman, Darrell Issa has used roughly $1.7 million to bankroll the petition efforts.

The California Left has argued that Issa’s strong connection to pro-life filibusters has procured funds to oust an elected official because of social, not economic woes. But although Davis is a staunchly pro-choice advocate, the argument holds little water. Issa, who has shockingly thrown his hat in the ring for governorship, is a wealthy Californian entrepreneur known for using such pocket-change to fuel grass-roots movement on ego alone. And, as stated above, distinctions between social or economic reasons for canning a governor is laughable in the face of such an ambiguous law.

Needless to point out, the whole Recall thing, although gangbusters in the wild, wild west, could set dangerous inroads nationwide, opening a fun-filled can of worms that would define any election as merely temporary, even within the boundaries of a term; hence, a “do over”.

These kind of vacillating principles do not necessarily raise my personal ire, except to provide more evidence that most of us don’t know what the hell we want from our appointed officials beyond blaming them for a falling sky.

And damn it, if that isn’t democracy in motion.

The wife and I like democracy. So, hopefully by the time our little caravan shuffles off to Big Sur to sit on a cliff and contemplate saner human aspirations, what is left of California’s political scene will include a mass council of weekly votes based on the performance and likeability of state officials. I hear the elderly love to hit the polls, if for nothing else but the laughs.

The wife and I like to laugh.

 

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George Bush War Lies

Aquarian Weekly 7/23/03 REALITY CHECK

A SOBER VIEW FROM THE TRENCHES

The President of the United States lied to the American people about the extent of an enemy threat to our borders to perpetuate a war. And so now George W. Bush joins every other man who has held his office while faced with the same stretch of history. Look it up. I only have so much space.

And that last line is specially packaged for those of you who think that a thousand words on a jabbering cunt like Ann Coulter was not enough. Some of you assume I had to fill forty pages with a lecture on American history to educate the masses on the crimes of McCarthyism.

Fuck off.

Put down the video game and turn off the porn for five minutes and read a goddamn book.

It is a moral imperative. Fish swim. Trees grow. Governments lie before, during, and most definitely after war.

Let’s face it; you need history lessons from me like you need MTV babysitting your kids.

Of course the White House and the CIA, and whatever else culling a paycheck from your taxes to keep this government running lied to you about the war. That is what they do. That is what they have always done. And not just this government, but governments across the globe for eons.

You don’t like it, chief? Ready your muskets.

But I would give that some serious thought. I too believed in anarchy once, but that was before I enjoyed the trappings of running water, utilities, traffic lights and civil servants to summon when the crazed neighbor starts shooting off his baby canon over the lake at midnight.

But I digress.

Sure the government lied, the media lied, I lied. This is what happens during war, Churchill and all that “first casualty” stuff. It is a moral imperative. Fish swim. Trees grow. Governments lie before, during, and most definitely after war.

Where the fuck have you been?

Are we only dealing with dumbstruck hippies, Madison Avenue shrills and Bible waving freakazoids now? Is that all that is left us?

Those of us in the trenches see things far more clearly. We examine Paul Simon’s writings “on the subway walls”, and you can damn well be sure we keep our ears peeled for the sounds of silence. And those sounds could not give a fairy fart whether George Walker Bush tells Congress he invented Scrabble or composed the Star Spangled Banner. Down here in the mud, you learn to forgive mouthpieces for the flawed machine. It’s a tough ride, like that yawping loon straddling the A-Bomb at the end of that Kubric film.

You think this president could ever tell you anything binding about uranium in Africa? This is a man who’s own campaign czars tried to keep out of foreign policy debates like it was political cyanide for sixteen months of stumping.

In the face of that, I think the man’s done a pretty good job on the foreign stage. He was only in office for nine months when New York City burned. What did he know? He must have gotten bad intelligence for that one too.

Sure, the world thinks us half-mad, arrogant warmongers, but that was long before Captain Shoe-In got the key to the missile silos.

Iraq was Daddy’s fault. Everyone knew that. The other George Bush has to take the hit for irking those maniacs, with an assist from the Sleeping Clinton Brigade, who thought it wise to pussyfoot with homicidal goons for eight years.

The festering boil of the Arabian Sea had to go. Period. Who cares why anymore?

What those of us in manning the front lines do care about is this horrific budget deficit, escalated now to an historic level of $450 billion and rising 50% higher than estimated last Christmas, and the piss-poor abortion of an economy that the current administration has stood watch over for nearly three years now.

There is something for your outrage. Why don’t you crank up some of the righteous indignation over that nugget?

Lying about war? That’s a given.

Weapons of mass destruction? Maybe. Maybe not.

That’s a debate for those who believe continued negotiating with murderous thugs and suicidal fanatics makes sense. The trench dwellers don’t. And neither do the sounds.

There are clear reasons why Saddam Hussein was in uniform for every picture and video you saw of him. He was a soldier, a fighting man, and he wanted to fight. Our president wears a suit. He can’t get dirty with that kind of nonsense. He’s the CEO of America Enterprises, and right now its going belly up.

The executive branch of the current system we employ here in America has to answer for two things eventually; domestic policy and the strength of the economy. This is not always fair, but it is fact. Look that up too, junior. And what is left of ours will likely decide his reelection, and seal his legacy.

Right now it is in the shit can and my pal Georgetown tells me many steadfast conservative Republicans in Congress think the Bush people have gone around the bend in spending, and no one inside the Beltway has the slightest idea what kind of financial strain rebuilding Iraq and funding Tom Ridge’s folly will do to cripple the nation in the next twelve months.

And these are key months for a first term president planning on keeping the gig.

But the rat pack the Democrats are lining up for slaughter right now couldn’t best Hermann Goering in a race for dogcatcher. And that is not particularly good for the national debate or a balanced election, no matter what side of the infernal fence you reside.

But make no mistake, riling up the troops for battle with anything from questionable innuendo to bold faced lies is a president’s duty.

This is not news.

As usual, it is nothing more than a minor distraction from real problems.

Sounds of Silence, indeed.

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“Road Map To Peace” Vilified

Aquarian Weekly 6/25/03REALITY CHECK

FINAL ANSWERS FROM THE “ROADMAP TO PEACE”

Man is a Religious Animal. He is the only Religious Animal. He is the only animal that has the True Religion–several of them. He has made a graveyard of the globe in trying his honest best to smooth his brother’s path to happiness and heaven. – Mark Twain

I have been on the road for more or less this entire spring promoting and discussing my new book, “Trailing Jesus”, and because several people are terrified about speaking too deeply on the subject, and because the fanatical culture goons have escalated their daily mutilations in Israel, my publicists have decided it would be a good idea to get me on the radio and in the newspapers and in the bookstores talking about Strife in the Middle East.

Sure, why not? Campion was nuts enough to visit a war zone to chase ghosts while holed up in the desert frantically taking notes on the back of Palestinian propaganda sheets and cocktail napkins from the King David Hotel; why don’t we crank up his acid tongue and have him chime in on the matter?

That’s entertainment.

People – not ideologies or governments or religions – people, who just want to send their kids off to school without gas masks or their husbands off to the office without a flap jacket or head down to the local grocery for dinner without the very real possibility that they will die, simply want to live. Not for God or country, just live for what is: a possibly vibrant and relatively safe life with friends, family and loved ones.

Yes, this is why some weeks back a blathering simpleton from CNN radio had me follow up his ten-minute monologue on the merits of another peace process, neatly entitled “A Roadmap to Peace” or some such insipid nonsense, with a dose of the old Reality Check.

That’s when I whipped out my Twain Quotables and dove in for some fine wisecracking country wisdom. Because if there is one thing Mrs. Clemens’ baby boy knew something about, it was the madness of the human psyche and its most lethal crutch, religious fanaticism; religious fanaticism with a smattering of world-weary providence.

You want to hear the palpable results of unloading a taste of Twain on an unwitting talk show host: Welcome to the silence of the stunned.

“But Mr. Campion, there is more hope now than ever before,” the poor bastard stammered after the engineer repeatedly screamed at him to say anything to fill the dead air.

“Hope is a concept for the grotesquely rich Hollywood types and dumb struck southern senators who have the luxury of getting their morning paper without losing limbs,” I said.

More silence.

“But would you have us stand by and watch these people kill each other?”

“I didn’t realize I was speaking to an us.”

“Would you have the world sit idly by and watch the parade of death and destruction?”

“In a perfect world perhaps the forty-seventh peace process will stick when motivated by the same tired rhetoric and photo ops, but in the one we’re forced to work in, it isn’t really making the grade, is it?”

“But…”

Blah. Blah. Blah.

I will now write down for posterity what I told that lovable CNN rogue two weeks ago, and every kind and hearty soul who meandered out to hear me speak on matters of metaphysical mayhem and applesauce for the past weeks, and that is whatever politics and debate and carefully worded rhetoric has come down the pike in new and improved packaging, the fact still remains, peace in the region is futile.

UNLESS.

Unless those involved are willing to let go of their eons of religious and cultural madness about whatever God promised to what sibling of Abraham and what is the birthright of generations of dead soldiers for Allah and Yahweh.

And we all know this is not going to happen.

See? Futile.

Peace processes in the desert are as perfunctory as mirages for those not used to the heat descending from the vast unwavering landscape before them. People not used to being inside of a desert, or who have not lived with the kind of lunacy that passes for righteousness in Israel right now, cannot begin to pontificate on peace or political compromises.

This is not, nor has it EVER been about politics. It is not about sovereignty either. If so, matters should have been settled in 1967. What no one wants to admit is that the playing field is fixed for a result of total annihilation or bust. And certainly no one – and I cannot stress this enough – no one that is not part of some freedom-fighting plan on the West Bank or treaty wrangling in the Israeli government cares who is victorious.

That is something I can tell you first hand, something I have broached in this space before. People – not ideologies or governments or religions – people, who just want to send their kids off to school without gas masks or their husbands off to the office without a flap jacket or head down to the local grocery for dinner without the very real possibility that they will die, simply want to live. Not for God or country, just live for what is: a possibly vibrant and relatively safe life with friends, family and loved ones.

I know this because I spoke to these people, Jew, Christian, Arab, Armenian, Buddhist, Hindu, and Atheist. They’re out there. Many are the victims of this circle of savagery that will continue long after those who read this, and the caustic jerk who is writing it, will be dust.

And that is why promoting a book about finding the real Jesus among the reams of drivel written and perpetuated in his name for centuries, and talking about peace processes enacted by countries and armies and politicians is as insane as the person failing again and again with the same action and expecting a different result.

Insanity personified.

There will soon come a time to put down the flags and the religious garb and the Torah and the Qu’ran and begin talking to each other as people, real people, not factions of cultures that were purportedly promised land by pie-in-the-sky concepts dreamed up by patriarchal con artists. Either that, or I hope those left standing after the final carnage will have won something for the correct God.

Until then, enjoy your sideshow to reality.

I abstain.

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Bear Hunt Madness

Aquarian Weekly 6/21/03 REALITY CHECK

BEAR HUNT MADNESS

If you live in my neck of the mountainous woods, or some points beyond, like places in New Jersey where no one reads or down in NYC, where the Village Voice is now being run by despots, you will hear a great deal of nonsense about some letter that was written to PETA (Protection for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) about organizing a vigilante group to shoot bear hunters here in the greater Vernon area.

You will also hear a lot of crazy talk about hooded nefarious types involved with The Desk and other seedy individuals seen leaving Fort Vernon with fatigues and bull horns and detailed maps of black bear hunting routes.

This is wrong.

Killing hunters? The irony is admittedly sweet, but it is still a crime here in New Jersey.

Slander is the better word. And those who wish to attach me to such scurrilous rumor will pay dearly, but not with their life. We here at Fort Vernon preach pacifism and civil disobedience, and even though the odd ass stomping must be administered to the right people, a glorious acceptance of peace and love.

I say let the bear fend for themselves. It’s natural selection. I’m sure there were plenty of Native Americans perfectly happy to hang here without any of the white man’s bullshit. But they are gone now, and so soon will the bear be gone.

I didn’t invent madness. I just comment on it. And now people who contemplate the parameters of my wife’s animal rights zealousness now think it necessary to drape me with all kinds of sick innuendo about feeding puppies to traveling bear to properly arouse their taste for blood and then dangle fresh raccoon meat from car antennas during midnight runs off side roads on Route 23.

As if the odd prank could even begin to organize the bear population to break into kitchens or feed on discarded infants.

I know the images are harsh, but you have no idea what kind of bizarre shit goes on up here late night when the bear comes out. It’s like a concentrated microcosm of SARS or Anthrax scares when nothing really happens but panic.

We don’t have terror alerts in the mountains. We have black bear.

Why do you think Orson Wells picked Jersey for his little radio ruse? It works well on the panicky kind. And we have so many up here it’s hard to fathom.

The good people of Sussex county or PETA have apparently not heard of Manifest Destiny or the United States army or the NJ State Police, and they want to shoot off their mouths and get smarmy about citizens taking up arms and cutting down those involved in some Neanderthal hunting activities up here.

I must rail against such nonsensical talk. Killing hunters? The irony is admittedly sweet, but it is still a crime here in New Jersey. At the very least it coincides with the Ten Commandments, and in my continued study of the Bible and other subversive material, that is where the fun stops.

No, I must not only take my name off such irresponsibly and criminally insane rhetoric, but I must implore my fellow Vernonites to bow to clearer solutions and allow the natural order of things to take hold. That is what we were taught in Civics 101 and Sunday school and at the lap of Grandpa, who told us to “Keep our friends close and our enemies closer” and “Don’t let your right hand know what your left hand is doing” and other bits of wisdom that has outlasted dusty paperweights like the Bible.

But one thing this kind of reverse guerilla media warfare accomplishes is to alert us to this latest ham-handed attempt at silencing strange journalists with methods best left unsaid and unwritten and understood quite differently by people who don’t consider their environment and the dangers it presents.

The truth dies hard up here.

Bear are a much easier target.

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