The Doomed Economy

Aquarian Weekly 8/7/02 REALITY CHECK

ALL TOGETHER NOW…RECESSION!!

Freshly returned from our nation’s capitol where it was far easier to locate a urine-free bus than it was to get someone to say the word recession out loud. Sure, they’ll mumble it in the pubs or back-office restrooms or cheap apartment elevators. Cabbies will mention it, or maybe someone on the radio might use it in an ad campaign, but no one culling a check in the political realm dare utter the word, least of all Republicans, who are so frightened about losing the House right now it is unnervingly palpable.

Reportedly, House leader, Dick Armey spent nearly 72 hours locked in his office with several key members of the Security and Exchange Commission struggling to produce contrary evidence to growing rumors that every major accounting firm bankrolling current Republican campaigns has a 50% crook rate. The three-day summit allegedly produced over 300 names of corporate attorneys currently under indictment for some kind of fraud.

Surprisingly, Democrat trepidations far outweigh GOP concerns. Scheduled speeches by Al Gore has rendered the party dumbfounded on how to stop this maniac from creeping from the 2000 wreckage to somehow claim defacto victory again and begin to surge the electorate back into the notion that somehow a reversal of fate means a reversal of fortune. No Dem annalist worth a damn wants Gore screwing up this free ride to election bliss when the bottom has fallen out of the Bush honeymoon.

No one wants to admit that there is a massive pink elephant sitting on the White House lawn. Yet there it is. And it is a veracious beast willing to stomp and pillage for any kind of recognition. We shall call the elephant Recession.

Actually “fear” may not be the right word to describe the atmosphere in Washington D.C. these days. The overall mood is best described with the phrase “grave doom”. And it is an Edgar Allen Poe type of doom, with ravens and corpses and women in black veils, a cocaine nightmare worthy of 19th century gothic horror. Painful whispers abound that the evil black cat is out of the bag and the big business lawyers hold all the cards and the president is some kind of cheap, knock-off of dear old dad and the crippled American dollar will be the death knell for this one-term hell.

Grave doom.

Believe me when I report that there is not a person within a ten mile radius of Capitol Hill with an ounce of responsibility willing to face anything involving the corporate lunacy that comes pouring in daily. It is a city in suspended animation. Not even the papers report anything worthy any longer. The Washington Post has been neutered by international wireless dealerships and Sam Donaldson is whipping up support for a major lawsuit against ABC News.

The emergence of something called the Corporate Fraud Task Force raised some eyebrows, but they mostly belonged to the Homeland Security dissenters who choose to view this latest government spend spree as tantamount to placing the odd band-aid on a gaping wound. Two days before the announcement a crazed executive at AOL/ Time Warner began leaking news that the partnership was bankrupt.

Meanwhile the unemployment rate is soaring, the stock market is farcical at best and the national debt continues to escalate by the millisecond. No one wants to admit that there is a massive pink elephant sitting on the White House lawn. Yet there it is. And it is a veracious beast willing to stomp and pillage for any kind of recognition.

We shall call the elephant Recession, because that is what you call it when the above-mentioned areas of economic pertinence begin to waver like a weakly constructed shack in the wind. And the elephant is a fitting metaphor for what the present Republican government has wrought on this economy.

Strike that. The federal government has very little to do with a weak and insecure economy. But that’s not what voters think, and in Washington, that is all that matters now. It is too close to Labor Day to believe that anything will change drastically enough to convince the populace that this present government has not crippled this country, nor will they have a clue how to fix it.

Forget comparing this abortion to the Clinton years when phony tech stocks and blathering foreign business men with a cadre of hookers and pound of grade A smack could earn an evening in the Lincoln bedroom with Bobby De Niro and Babs Streisand to help toast the best economy in the history of this republic. Yeah, that doesn’t count, because it was Newt Gingrich and the Republican congress of ’94 that saved the decade. Although that bullshit doesn’t hold water anymore, because we still have a Republican congress and another fucking Bush dingus on Pennsylvania Avenue and, guess what, junior? We have another recession.

Not to worry, because no one is calling it that. Not Allen Greenspan or Paul O’Neill. No way. Not them. The Secretary of Treasury makes an appearance on national television to report that all is well, while his colleagues in the administration call him names in an Alexandria weekly.

Last week, Bush’s economic advisor, Lawrence Lindsey was seen twice trashing O’Neill on the campus of GW University. The hilarious series of outbursts bore the oft-quoted phrases “Lost in a sea of Pollyanna” and “Hasn’t been to Wall Street since 1989”. This prompted Glenn Hubbard, Bush’s big gun on the Council of Economic Advisers to call Newsweek with a statement on Lindsey they still refuse to run because “It borders on slander.”

The minute Congress passed the Corporate Responsibility bill, following a barrage of calls to the White House derisively commenting on Bush’s veiled attempt at a speech to bolster confidence in the trade market, Hubbard was seen stumbling out of a private men’s club in Logan Circle stammering something about having been cursed by a jade monkey.

To ward off the evil spirit of Herbert Hoover, the administration announced an economic forum to be hosted by the president in mid-August. Unfortunately the location will be Waco, Texas, a place that has enough unstable spirits to fill a Dickens novel twice over.

History is important to the large players inside the Beltway. This is why the panic strikes deep across party lines.

Aside from his rousing series of “evil doers” speeches in the wake of 9/11, Bush has had about as inauspicious first two years as his predecessor, who managed to swing wide the doors of the Republican Revolution. And no one in the party wants to even broach the way George Bush sr. ignored the signs of a sagging economy basking in the glory of his gaudy Desert Storm popularity numbers.

Just because the guys in the expensive suits refuse to address this wounded economy with the word recession, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. One thing that does exist is the very real possibility that whatever it’s called could effectively murder two Bush presidencies.

 

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Inside the Bush Administration

Aquarian Weekly 7/24/02 REALITY CHECK

BARE KNUCKLE JUNGLE

Hazy and buzzed, a pertinent GOP insider we like to call Georgetown continues to unload his guts about a variant of subjects to an equally soused columnist.

jc: So, correct me if I’m drifting here, but what you are saying is the Bush Administration, while not directly linked to any current corporate malfeasance, is suffering the political consequences purely by association.

GT: That would be correct.

jc: Constituency meltdown.

GT: Something like that.

jc: Who’s worried and how much?

GT: There have been discussions, certainly for Bush to get out there and say something. He’s treated this thing like the Middle East crisis, but this one hits too close to home. (NOTE: A few days later the president in fact did make a speech deriding the current climate of bad business, prompting critics and supporters to wonder how much of it was politically motivated and the approaching mid-term elections)

jc: What about Chaney and these crazy rumors about Arthur Anderson and the oil stuff?

GT: Listen, Chaney is untouchable right now. There are a lot of us who would go to bat for him over Bush. I think many conservatives in this town are having the same problems with Junior as they had with Senior. There is a survival chip in the Bush genes that rub the hardliners the wrong way.

The money flooded into defense since 9/11 is staggering. I cannot recall being here during a time, and this does not include Reagan mind you, but I cannot recall the type of major league funds for a war effort being juggled around the federal government like these.

jc: What about you? Where do you stand on Bush’s conservative record?

GT: I think I’ve mentioned the inordinate amount of funds wasted on this ambiguous Homeland Security thing. And I’m not sure the money spent on the military right now is founded. I believe…and again, you’re just asking me, right?

jc: Right.

GT: Well, the vouchers thing was a mess. And there seems to be cracks in the tax cut support on Capitol Hill right now. The money flooded into defense since 9/11 is staggering. I cannot recall being here during a time, and this does not include Reagan mind you, but I cannot recall the type of major league funds for a war effort being juggled around the federal government like these. And this incessant wrangling over disclosure. I have yet to see one of these cable news networks get a fucking story right when it goes down. And they want Rumsfeld to brief them on where operations in Afghanistan are? Sure, right.

jc: Is Rumsfeld still running this thing?

GT: Another dumb ass reporter heard from. I read that garbage you wrote about Rumsfeld being clinically insane and my somehow lauding it. That was bullshit journalism.

jc: You didn’t leave me that message about his wild-eyed performance on Meet The Press last spring?

GT: Out of context. I was referring to his grit in the face of ridiculous assertions that we are mired in Afghanistan. That couldn’t be further from the truth. This man has his finger in the dam. You think this thing is being orchestrated from Pennsylvania Avenue?

jc: It’s the CIA’s puppy now?

GT: Afghanistan or the whole thing?

jc: Afghanistan.

GT: Yes.

jc: And the whole thing?

GT: They’re too busy negotiating with the anti-Hussein factions in Irag.

jc: The White House is preoccupied with Iraq completely?

GT: The roll call is as follows. Write this down, because I’m not repeating it. One: the mid-term campaigns. They’re definitely worried about the Senate. Two: This bullshit with Worldcom finishing up quickly, and with very little discernable press. And by that I mean understandable by the American people. Remember, the frustration of selling Whitewater is that no one could figure out what the fuck it was all about. That’s why Starr went full force on Lewinsky, and…fuck it. I’m off the path. Finally, three is the goddamn stock market and four is Iraq.

jc: What about Israel?

GT: I can tell you that this government, as presently constituted, will not support a unilateral negotiation with the Palestinians while Arafat is in charge.

c: Word I get is he’s not in charge now.

GT: You answered your own question. The same people who managed 9/11 bankroll Hammas. They run the deal over there. We’ve known that for some time.

jc: What about all this money we have wrapped up in the Israeli Defense Force?

GT: Those people have to defend their nation.

jc: How much can you tell me about support for ousting Hussein.

GT: It’s big on our end. The Pentagon already had ten or twelve plans nixed and reworked. That’s not the issue.

jc: The surrounding Arab states have always been the issue. That’s why he’s still there in the first place. God, I am so tired of talking about this.

GT: Why did you bring it up?

jc: I need to know about the real deal. Do they plan on going through with a full-scale attack with troops and the whole bit or keep driving at a coup based on unrest.

GT: The latter. Half, no, more than half of the Iraqi populace is truly afraid of Hussein now. The intelligence we get daily is this maniac is willing to fry the whole desert for a whiz bang finish. I think I’ve told you before, the CIA has always been certain that if Hussein thought he was fucked, he would detonate everything he’s got.

jc: Which is…?

GT: The mother load, if our reports are somewhat in the ballpark. I don’t know anything for sure, and I know you’re taping this, so let’s just say it is not good.

jc: How much does Daschle want the presidency?

GT: Jesus, what a fucking suck-ass, dried out old liberal hump this guy is. He does not give a flying fuck about national security, the stock market plummeting, corporate distrust or anything but jacking up these talk shows to bash the cause. It’s fucking criminal. I’ll not answer another question about Tom Daschle. He’s a political dead man. I think you know I believe they’ll run Kerry up the flagpole and lose.

jc: What do you hear about Gore?

GT: Your boy’s going to petition.

jc: Petition?

GT: Al Gore, the sitting vice president for the administration that lorded over the best non-war economy in the history of this republic, who couldn’t even win his own state and went out in a whining blaze of shame by crying foul, is begging for a sniff. They call it taking the temperature of the party.

jc: He’s auditioning for the party?

GT: Just like Nixon in ’68.

jc: The parallels continue to be uncanny. So, he’s a dead man too?

GT: If I’m not mistaken, it was an open casket funeral two autumns ago.

jc: Are you guys retaining congressional power this November?

GT: Unless something dramatic happens with this economy by mid-September, then no. Of course Bush could pull out the violins and get everyone teary for a 9/11-anniversary tribute to America’s resolve. We can ride that into the sunset.

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Inside Georgetown

Aquarian Weekly 7/17/02 REALITY CHECK

A MID-SUMMER NIGHT’S STANDOFF

For the past six months I had not heard a peep from my infamous GOP insider, Georgetown, at least not in the usual sense; the occasional caustic message on my cell phone or a chance meeting at some function or other. This is odd, considering his repeated appearances in this column for nearly five years. Odder still, when considering that Washington has ostensibly turned into a Republican headquarters for the past two of them.

However his absence becomes clearer when viewed through a political lens. Georgetown is nothing if not a political monster, and since I’d left the New York headquarters of The Desk, my appearances at political or sporting events have waned considerably. And so my running into him or someone with access to him has lessened greatly. Georgetown had not heard of a fundraiser or a press conference he didn’t like, which is why he enjoyed a continued anonymity in this space, and a direct voice for his madness. I, in turn, have come to enjoy his wickedly honest and accurate assessment of national politics.

I’ve spent my free time mostly away from frontline politics lately, paining to finish a well-overdue manuscript for my next book. So I’d more or less assumed that Georgetown had little to no use for me or this column. Moreover, it has been tentative times in our nation’s capitol, what with the infinite “War Against Terrorism” and the crippling of Wall Street with these repeated corporate cover-ups. Especially damaging to a president who was bankrolled into office by big business interests and grotesque oil funding.

However, about three weeks ago I began receiving cryptic E-mails from someone with the title of GT through an anonymous Hot Mail account. The notes had Georgetown’s recognizably vitriolic tone, but with very little of the usual wit, one-line commentaries on past columns, much like the ones I receive from any rankled reader.

Chaney is in deep with Arthur Anderson. Bush has the stench of these oil bastards all over him. Christ, he has to start talking about this shit. It will cost us seats in the Senate and then you’ll see where his “compassionate conservatism” gets us.

Examples:

“You twisted hack, what is the point of dissecting the (Bush) administration’s Middle East policies when they do not exist?”

“You have little to know idea what kind of godless twits roam in the offices of Bob Kerry these days.”

“Time to come to grips with the fact that Worldcom is run by wild, fuck-crazy Arabs who wish to sink the U.S. economy from within.”

“You’ve got a better chance of making deadline under 600 words, than anyone has of hearing the identity of Deep Throat, least of all from that puny douchebag stoolie, John Dean.”

“This bullshit about the “Pledge” (of Allegiance) is beneath you, so why don’t you stick to speculating about gay rights in Bergen County.”

Cute, pointless, and highly provocative, I decided these almost daily barbs were Georgetown’s attempt at riling my attention, without fully coming out of hiding. I balked at mentioning this in my column until I had a beat on his methods, which unpredictably alter with the political wind these days. And I surely did not want this space to turn into some kind of running libel machine for the upcoming mid-term panics that rumble down the streets Washington around this time every four years.

And so it seemed right to track down the old boy in D.C. during our nation’s celebration of Independence. It had been a few years for me actually “working” inside the Beltway. That takes a different kind of breed, younger, hungrier, willing to be lied to incessantly, until all manner of faith is rendered impotent in its wake. It takes the guile and fortitude of a reporter with at least a modicum of optimism, of which I have traded for using the “F” word liberally.

But that is why this trek was so necessary, so vital to the continued vitality of this column. Truth has always been the mantra of Georgetown, and although he has incurred the wrath of many who already know he is selling them out, he blabs and barks and carves with the best of them.

Unable to reveal the methods in which I weed out sources, to protect their cover and keep the gravy train greased and fired up, suffice to say the double-vodka martini is a good place to start. So the following is the first of a two-part discussion that took place in a darkened booth in the back of Chadwick’s Pub somewhere along K Street in the part of our nation’s capitol that bares our friend’s name. It is a fine bar for a summit on mid-term madness and all things politico.

jc: I want you to know I missed deadline tracking you down.

GT: That’s the least of your problems. This is a bad time to be here. Didn’t you hear; the Arabs are going to fire missiles at the Capitol building from Arlington Cemetery during the fireworks?

jc: Is this directly from Tom Ridge?

GT: Yes, the Grand Poobah of Homeland Defense. We call him Chicken Little Junior down here. He’s sucking millions of taxpayer dollars foraging out angry love letters from Muslim law students and leaking germ warfare memos to the State Department on the hour.

jc: Enough fucking around, where have you been?

GT: Fucking around? You need a beating after that “Pledge of Allegiance” mess I see is running this week. Was that bit of insurrection planned for the holiday?

jc: Please. You’re and atheist.

GT: Yeah, I loved that crap about taking God off of money. You miss the point entirely. God is money.

jc: Let’s get back to your absence from my answering machine. Is it the doomed economy under this Republican “big business” government we’ve got going on down here?

GT: You see this is why the press has no fucking idea what is going on. Perception is king, and I know that, but the question will be over the next two months does this administration know how cozy it is with these companies that keep cooking the figures and floating belly up on the shores of the Potomac. Chaney is in deep with Arthur Anderson. Bush has the stench of these oil bastards all over him. Christ, he has to start talking about this shit. It will cost us seats in the Senate and then you’ll see where his “compassionate conservatism” gets us.

jc: How deep in is this Worldcom fiasco? Has it reached Enron proportions politically?

GT: It doesn’t matter. The more these trials drag on, and new miscreants are dragged out to testify, the more the public has the perception that everyone, not just the politicians; everyone is bought and sold by these massive corporations.

jc: Guilt by association?

GT: The fattest hens always come home to roost.

Next Week: Bare Knuckle Jungle

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God & The Pledge of Allegiance

Aquarian Weekly 7/3/02 REALITY CHECK

COURTS A-GO-GO

This was banner week for controversial court decisions. So let’s cut through the piles of crap and get to the brutal truth. The mandatory reading of the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools is unconstitutional.

This is the ruling of U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, and with respect to those who disagree, I must concur.

The main crux of the decision focused on the monotheistic phrase “one nation under God”. For a myriad of reasons, many will find the rejection of God in anything outrageous, yet, once again, I must agree with the ruling.

This has nothing to do with political correctness. Anyone familiar with my work would never mistake it for anything approaching polite. It has everything to do with the reference to God.

God should not be mentioned in anything to do with the politics of humanity, its governments, its currency, its anthems, or especially the aggressive, violent behavior resulting from their existence. God is causing enough troubles among the radical loons, who are busy ramming airliners into office buildings.

A fairer argument against this ruling might cite the “one lone nut” theory, which I have espoused when soccer moms try and shut down the film or music industry because they’re too lazy to pay attention to the information seeping into their kid’s brain.

God should not be mentioned in anything to do with the politics of humanity, its governments, its currency, its anthems, or especially the aggressive, violent behavior resulting from their existence.

Ironically, much like the PMRC furor of the mid-80s’, one voice began this “pledge” hubbub. Michael Newdow, a Sacramento physician, used his daughter as a political football to promote atheism. In other words, he, and his layers, manipulated the court system to attack religious bullies, while he himself was, you guessed it, an anti-religious bully.

Newdow was “offended” by his nation being under any deity. His argument is specious. It is not his nation. It is not God’s nation. A nation, by definition, is “a large body of people possessing its own territory ruled under a unified government.” There is nothing in there about an omnipotent patriarch or any whining dipshits from Cali.

And, by the way, I’m not certain this is a unified government, or that there is “liberty and justice for all”. But let’s not quibble at this juncture. There’s a great deal to cover this week, so I shan’t wander.

The fact is a fellow by the name of Francis Bellamy plagiarized the Pledge of Allegiance. It was ripped off word for word from a socialist mantra. He put it together to reflect his cousin, Edward Bellamy’s political views. Bellamy, author of “Looking Backward” and other wildly silly utopian novels, introduced his cousin to the mindless oath to state above and beyond individual freedoms and personal choices of import, like, say, religion.

This is why congress decided to jam God in there during the height of the Cold War and the rabid idiocy of the Red Scare. It was far too close to the Russian creed, and certainly no God fearing nation could have a similar chant to that of a Godless horde.

Stay with me kids; the parade of morons along this long line of brainwashing garbage never seems to end.

Meanwhile, over at the Supreme Court, a ruling came down approving random drug tests for any public high school students seeking extracurricular activities. The defense of the ruling states that a schools’ interest in ridding their campuses of drugs outweighs an individual’s right to privacy.

This is beyond insane.

Now, not familiar with the modes of mental illness nor the state one has to be in usurp even insanity, there really isn’t a level of absurd reasoning that combines any part of the Constitution’s 4th Amendment with the idea that any institution, state run or private, can arbitrarily force anyone to be tested for anything just so they can play the Tuba or audition for the “H.M.S. Pinafore”.

And, once again, I implore those who pain over this high-level malarkey; any kid on drugs isn’t interested in hanging around for five seconds of extra anything near the school. It’s tough enough getting these youngsters to attend the appointed time. They would be better served testing those not interested in extracurricular activities.

Here’s the deal with this sack of nonsense. Because everyone went crazy-go-nuts over steroid use in high school football a few years back, the Supreme Court attempted to “save the children’ by instituting “random drug testing” for sports. Now, it seems, junior won’t be making the Chess Club without supplying a viable urine sample.

Perhaps now someone might understand why I froth at the mouth every time these legal jerk-offs try and censor anything to “save the children’. One minute they’re putting stickers on albums and leaning on Hollywood, the next they’re burning books at the 4th of July cookout.

This latest mess began when a court ruled against a former Oklahoma high school honor student, Lindsay Earls, who innocently competed on an academic quiz team and sang in the choir.

I propose we randomly test these mutants who continue to misrepresent American history as some kind of destined glory for rich white folk and pass it off as curriculum.

And I propose that calculus is better digested on heavy hallucinogenics.

And finally, this whole School Voucher thing in Cleveland cannot be anymore aggravating. I don’t want to fund anyone anywhere receiving a “finer” education, unless I am asked to approve the curriculum and set the standards for attendance and grading.

I also would like special parking privileges as a member of a school board. These people obviously do nothing, and I can get into that.

I have a voucher that says that the Catholic and public school systems failed me in ways that are best understood only when drawn out in several volumes with detailed graphics and charts.

And if televised evidence of a Cleveland Browns football game is any indication of the city’s level of intellect, they shouldn’t waste a dime on hall monitors.

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What Did Bush Know Before 9/11?

Aquarian Weekly 6/5/02 REALITY CHECK

THE BLAME GAME

Those who wish to blame the current administration for the abysmally horrid defense of this country’s borders on 9/11 are free to do so.

Go ahead. It’s fun.

You have permission from all of us here at The Desk.

Blame away.

It will not be taken as unpatriotic, nor will it be putting anyone or anything at risk during times and war and blah, blah blah, mucho bullshito! On the contrary, it’s the essence of patriotism. The federal government failed us on 9/11. Its primary purpose is to protect our borders. The leader of this government happens to be the president. The president happens to be George W. Bush. The Electoral College decided that two Novembers ago. The Supreme Court upheld it. I defended its decision. Therefore I defend the right of the people of this republic to blame its penultimate leader for the death of its citizens and destruction of its property during a full-scale terrorist attack.

The buck stops here.”

Harry Truman said that. It was not too long after he agreed to have this country take responsibility for massacring hundreds of thousands of innocent Japanese to save hundreds of thousands of Japanese lives. Sound confusing? It is. This president thing is not an easy gig. In one of his final public appearances Herbert Hoover was asked about the Stock Market Crash of 1929 and blurted, “Why me?” He died with the stigma of failure and Hoover was in office for eight months when the crud hit the fan. By 9/11, Bush was in charge for nine months.

You see where I’m going here?

All you need to know about Bush’s conscience is that he refuses to allow an investigation on what went down on 9/11. And if he keeps up this firewall, he will be the first president to do so.

Captain Shoe-In wanted to be president. He sure as hell paid for it. So he must take the shit storm like a man and quit hiding behind Papa Chaney, flag-waving, 21-gun salutes and the quote of the week regarding “The Evildoers”.

All you need to know about Bush’s conscience is that he refuses to allow an investigation on what went down on 9/11. And if he keeps up this firewall, he will be the first president to do so.

In the wake of Pearl Harbor, it took all of nine or so days to get an investigation up and running. It was corrupt, misguided and discovered nothing, but FDR stamped it and we went about our business whupping Nazi’s and the doomed Empire of Japan.

Less than a week after the JFK assassination, there needed to be an investigation. You know, with all the silly commie rumors and Castro backlash. So LBJ gave it the go ahead and now we have volumes of the wonderfully crafted slice of fiction called the Warren Commission.

Even Richard Milhouse Nixon, having already turned his administration into a mockery of governance gone terribly awry, agreed to an investigation.

Oh, now I see, the buck stopped THERE.

So, let’s review:

A. Federal Government fucked up real bad. B. People minding the store have to answer for it. C. What took so long?

Yes, the President of the United States knew all about the attack. Members of congress knew all about the attack. And although it is getting painfully obvious that Tom Daschle is already running for president by making this belated mania a political demon hunt, the same way republicans grabbed the opportunity to chase Bill Clinton all over the place to advance their agenda and careers, he knew all about it too.

They all knew. Who are they kidding? The FBI knew, the CIA, the Pentagon, and those dark sorts on the payroll who are paid good money to funnel information on the “undesirables” and “suspicious”. These are multi-billion dollar a year organizations whose only purpose for existing is paranoia.

Thousands of terrorist and lone wolf plots were thwarted in the final weeks of the last century; the whole Y2K end-of-the-world, wrath-of-God crap. Remember that? Yes, our boys were all over those people, because the enemies’ list has grown leaps and bounds since the end of the Cold War.

And just as I wrote the day after the towers fell in this very space, there was ample warning in Africa and the on the high seas and through E-mail and wire tapping and late night cocktails with King Abdullah What’s-his-Name. For over a decade of Desert Storm fallout, those paid to know were all-but sure that some major target on the East coast was going to be hit.

But professional paranoia was apparently not enough.

Two weeks prior to the attacks I watched about three-quarters of a documentary on PBS trashing American airport and airline security systems. How people with no tickets or ID were prancing around waving pistols and passing high-grade heroin through customs. It was laughable.

Hey, I laughed.

And now that someone, whether it’s a hungry journalist or a politician trying to make the grade, we have a right to know who dropped the ball.

Big money people with big gripes had it in for the United States for some time. Bush Sr’s ridiculously irresponsible war on Iraq 12 years ago, and the resulting botched foreign policy mess conducted by the Minister of Fun during the roaring 90s’ escalated it all.

So the real blame is our collective ignorance and ego as a nation, citizens and public officials. We’ve been in the line of fire for years, whistling past the graveyard.

One more thing to chew:

I defy anyone to recall Al Gore and George Bush mentioning a possible terrorist hit on this country during over a year of campaigning for the job.

Asleep at the wheel, chief.

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The Ani DiFranco Discussion

Aquarian Weekly 5/22/02 REALITY CHECK

THREE DIMENSIONAL GIRL A Discussion with Ani DiFranco Part II (Part I)

i remember the first time i saw someone lying on the cold street i thought: i can’t just walk past here this can’t just be true but i learned by example to just keep moving my feet it’s amazing the things that we all learn to do -subdivision

jc: I’d like to discuss the song, “Subdivision” which begins with the line: “White people are so scared of black people.” That speaks to me as a writer. Hit them with something strong in the lead, and once you get their attention, then you can start spinning your philosophy. Is that where you were going there?

ad: Well, yeah, but that’s not usually my thing. I don’t usually lead that way. That was different for me as a writer, but I wanted to get people’s attention because I feel the great liberation from segregation is a lie. We’re still living in a segregated society. It’s not on the books, but defacto economic segregation is as affective, or more so, than any signs that you could put up over a restroom. And therein lies the very complex, radical systematic criticism. To look at a lie like “separate but equal” and say, well, okay, we attacked the “separate” part, but that wasn’t the problem. Thurgood Marshall and the Civil Rights leaders were unable to really approach the “equal” thing. There’s no fucking way with the amount of power involved.

jc: So just let us have the legal thing.

ad: Yeah, so attacking it on the separate side was about all they could swing at the time, and bless their hearts for giving us that much, but now we need to keep the pressure on, and keep looking at things like our evacuated cities, and applying words like “racism” to it. You know, “Where did all the white people go?” And how can you, in good conscience, set up a tax structure where the suburban tax bases are not one with the city. So the suburban schools are rich and full of computers and the city schools don’t have pencils.

jc: It’s a class system. Human beings sectionalize themselves economically. Well, human beings? I’ve written it time and again; women are not really responsible for these atrocities. Although I’ve found that as a writer you’re empowered not in the sense of “Take a look at me I’m a woman”, but “Take a look at me I’m a human.”

ad: It’s interesting, because since I started writing little poems my identity as a woman has informed my writing. Everything from how I perceive the world to the experiences I have, to the way I play the guitar; somewhat less linear. I hear music in circles and I feel power dynamics amongst people only as a woman can, and yet, like you say, I am writing about being a human and trying to re-connect us across gender lines, as we have been socialized to not do. But speaking to those gender dynamics has brought me so much defensive reaction over the years, so many of the “She’s an angry, militant, man-hater.”

jc: Well, of course. That’s how you deal with the suppressed, by defining those who speak their mind as pissed and subversive.

ad: Yeah, it’s interesting to me, that sort of knee-jerk reaction. I have seen over the years the media dictate to my audience: “This is chick music for the sea of screaming Grrrls.” And then I get up on stage and say, “No. They were wrong about us.” First of all, please stop screaming, because it will be much better for our dialogue. Second of all, just because I’m a girl doesn’t mean I’m not a human and this is not about us and them. This is not a special interest group that I am speaking to or from. It’s the idea of women as being some kind of special interest group, that kind of pre-supposition that writers write from that they don’t even recognize. Where men’s experience is universal a women’s experience is…threatening. (laughs)

jc: (laughs) But you’re still speaking as a woman. You can’t separate it completely. ad: Absolutely. And consciously doing so. Admittedly doing so. I’m not going to pretend for you that my life is like that of a man’s, not even for the purposes of making nice-nice music.

jc: What are your overall thoughts about what happened on 9/11?

ad: Well, I was mid-town, so for me it was all the smoke at the end of the avenues and the exodus uptown and the ash-covered people. But one of the exquisite effects of that day for me was the immediate recognition; first in the city and then in the whole country, of us as one people. When that first building fell there was color blindness in that blinding flash of light that I found so beautiful. There were beautiful things that came of the ugliness, and that I think can still come; the more that we keep the pressure on, and keep talking about it and keep counter-acting the propaganda, the fear.

It’s the idea of women as being some kind of special interest group, that kind of pre-supposition that writers write from that they don’t even recognize. Where men’s experience is universal a women’s experience is…threatening.

jc: I still call it the “Gaping Wound on Wall Street”, because there’s a reason why those buildings were hit.

ad: It’s poetry in motion. And the genius to make that happen and the incredible arrogance and incompetence it reveals. It was obvious what the plot was a few years earlier. In that sense it should have been no surprise to any of us that they finally pulled it off. And now its time to turn our eyes towards our own government and not outward, because it’s the only way we can save ourselves, because it was obvious from that example that there is no amount “human intelligence” that could save us from such acts. It’s only true justice and global justice that are going to prevent that kind of rage and violence from activating populations of people. Of course, we’re talking about some crazy violent motherfuckers.

jc: But they don’t just become crazy out of nowhere.

ad: Yeah, and it takes a lot of people who are very pissed off and very poor and have been living among violence and oppression at the hands of this country for way to long to back those guys up. I was supposed to be flying in that morning actually, but I drove in the night before for whatever reason.

jc: Karmic.

ad: You know, there’s incredible possibility in those events that make us look at the brevity of our lives, at the mortality of ourselves, of the consecutiveness between us. And if we can take the energy that exploded in the city that day of oneness, and we apply it globally, the realization of it…

So, that’s what I’ve been trying to do; to let the smoke of that awareness billow forth, not the fear, not the us and them that George W. is trying promote.

jc: Or any president in his situation would probably have to promote, because he’s representing this huge conglomerate of countless years of failed expectations abroad to try to defend a country that should have been defended properly in the first place.

ad: Well, I guess, I don’t know if Gore was sitting in the office he was voted into I don’t know how different it would be.

jc: No different. I’m anti-Gore myself, not that I’m pro-Bush, but I never got over the PMRC thing.

ad: (laughs) Again, without systematic change we have no third party, without a third party we have one party. Not two, but one, somehow.

jc: (clapping) Bravo.

For a complete unedited transcript of the conversartion: Ani Dialogue

Reality Check | Pop Culture | Politics | Sports | Music

 

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Ani DiFranco Speaks With James Campion

Aquarian Weekly 5/15/02 REALITY CHECK

TALKIN’ REVOLUTION BLUES
A Discussion with Ani DiFranco Part I

I consider Ani Difranco a fellow soldier in these ridiculous, sometimes humored, but always-rewarding sieges on the elusively hidden truths of our silly human collective. Since the night this magazine sent me to an old theater in Portchester, NY to watch her perform nearly seven years ago, I’ve been a fan. That night she spoke to me like few other artists have. I’ve seen her play a half-dozen times since, and each one brings a new experience, always effusive and brutally honest.

Over 12 years and 15 records, her biting lyrics usually reflected my own well-crafted cynicism of a politically ambiguous world bloated with lethal doses of sweet propaganda primed to reduce us to merrily marching mindless hordes. But along with being a kindred spirit, DiFranco’s independence in the manipulative landscape of creative distribution has been a great inspiration for a young author butting heads with publishing icons. More than once I’d used her name as less noun than verb, as in: “These fuckers keep this shit up and I’m going to Ani this book”; to which I did, happily.

So when we met on a chilly, overcast spring day in the industrial pall of Poughkeepsie, NY, in the bowels of the Mid-Hudson Civic Center, set on the shores of New York’s famous river of simpler times when the folk singer might earn a cup of java from a passing stranger for spinning yarns of heartbreak, Ms. DiFranco and myself had ourselves a chat. Two admitted lunatics dissecting the greater good.

on a morning beatific in its indian summer breeze on the day that america fell to its knees after strutting around for a century without saying thank you or please – 9/11 poem

james campion: This stanza of the poem you performed so movingly at Carnegie Hall a few weeks ago hits home for me, because it succinctly projects what I’ve been writing about for years concerning the U.S. presence in the Middle East and our inability to fully understand the cultural, racial and religious issues that are prevalent there.

ani difranco: Except to exacerbate them. (laughs) Well…yeah. I really don’t have a mind for the hyper details of foreign policy, or of what the stupid white men are doing, but I feel compelled to express things like the United States exploitation of not just the Middle East, but also the “Third World”. Our capitalist selfishness in terms of using the world’s resources and labor and just manipulating weaker countries for strategic and economic reasons. That’s a very obvious and basic thing to say, but somehow I feel the need to keep saying it.

jc: You refer to yourself as a folksinger, which I find enlightening, because throughout the centuries folksingers or minstrels used music to comment on social mores or social wrongs of the time. So, as a folksinger, do you feel you can tap into those same things and not be sitting on CNN pointing the literal finger?

ad: (chuckles) Well, CNN would probably be an impossible place to tap into anything real since all of the information is completely co-opted and controlled by corporate forces. So, yeah, it is a much better venue to pick up a guitar and walk into a bar and talk to people one on one. I love my job; traveling and making art in very common, open spaces and feeling totally free to talk about political or social issues. Music is a very effective way to communicate and inspire.

I think that every room is a perfect venue for political change, whether it’s a theater with a stage in it or a whether it’s a classroom or whether its the halls of justice. I’ve been engaged in conversations recently where people ask me, “What do you think is more important? What’s more effective? What’s more legitimate statement: To make radical art or to try and get in the system?” And for me it’s Yes! Yes! All of it. Whatever you’re fucking good at.

I used to dance; I went to art school for years. I love to paint. But there was something about music and the inclusion of words, the literal communication through words that I really felt was my most effective way to make change, to inspire people, to become myself. But for somebody else it might be raising your kid to be a respectful, loving, thoughtful questioning person. There’s infinite numbers of ways we can change the world.

jc: Yes, but do you believe there is still a chance for grass roots movements?

ad: Ah! It’s happening as we speak. You know it. It’s all around us. I feel a new sense of optimism out there. We may even be surfacing from the 80s’, (chuckles) culturally speaking. Of course I have a bit of a slanted perspective from standing at my microphone, in terms of what cross section of young folks I encounter, but I am impressed and hopeful with the political will of the young people now. They recognize that they were born into…

jc: A fixed game.

ad: Yeah, an homogenized culture, and wanting to dissect that. We were probably born just early enough to know a time when you could actually buy a record at the local record store.

jc: You’re taking me back.

ad: Yeah, (laughing) I think that young people are beginning to question that sort of corporate super structure. You know, all of the protests in New York and Seattle and Prague. I find those all very inspiring.

jc: So, you’re optimistic.

ad: I am…optimistic.

jc: You’ve mentioned Ralph Nader at several of your shows these past couple of years. I voted for Ralph the first time around. I vote for people with no chance. I voted for John Anderson in 1980 and I’ve had high hopes for a third party candidate to arise for a long time. Do you have any confidence that politics is really any way to get to the crux of any issue?

ad: Absolutely, now more than ever. I think that is of primary importance. I was ten years old in 1980, so by the time I was coming to any kind of adult consciousness the political system was a corrupt, capitalist club of elite corporate CEO’s. The whole Reaganomics, and the whole Reagan/Bush regime we are still living under, and I think young people completely divested themselves from their government. There was such a disconnection.

jc: There’s a deep seated cynicism. I know. I’m there.

ad: Well, the cynicism is well founded. We’ve had our citizenship stolen and consumerism foisted upon us, and at this point, ironically enough, there is a reinvestment in the belief in government, a reinvestment of energy and involvement, and that is the only thing that can recreate or salvage our “democracy”. I just don’t see a lot of young people getting involved in party politics, trying to infuse themselves into the system if there is nobody to vote for. So, not only do we have to get out and vote; we have to get out and run.

I’ve been engaged in conversations recently where people ask me, “What do you think is more important? What’s more effective? What’s more legitimate statement: To make radical art or to try and get in the system?” And for me it’s Yes! Yes! All of it. Whatever you’re fucking good at.

I have a friend I was just talking to last night who spent the last week in D.C. meeting with all these representatives and senators about this Yukka Mountain in Nevada. They’ve already spent four billion dollars on nuclear waste all over the country, and they have this plan where they want to ship it all to Nevada and dump it in an Indian Reservation.

jc: (sarcastically) That’ll work.

ad: Yeah, and it’ll never leak and it’ll be fine. No problems. So, here is my friend Susan attending meeting after meeting after meeting with all these senators, and she’s trying so hard to get these people to vote “no”. And when I spoke to her last week she was saying, (dreary tone) “Okay, I’m going to D.C. and I’m fixin’ to get really disillusioned and I’ll probably come back as a car bomber…”

jc: (laughs) Into the mouth of the beast.

ad: (excited) But after days and days of meetings, she called last night and it was so great to talk to her because she was re-inspired at the possibility of one person to make a difference. These senators just vote on what their aids say they should vote on. You know how it is. But she felt that her presence really had effectiveness that week.

If people had any idea how much power they have, shit could really change. If we just started exercising it. There’s some kind of African proverb that says; “If you don’t think one person can make a difference, spend a night in a room with a mosquito.” So, yeah, I am longing for an inspiration of progressive young people to change the system, and really get inside the system, not just working from without.

jc: When you write in your songs and speak at some of your shows; it is from a humanist standpoint, politically. You have this artistic individualism about you. So how did you react to the whole patriotic fervency that we just passed through? Not to demean why people lean on the group dynamic, but sometimes individual thought can be sucked out by this conglomerate – “Unless you’re with us you’re against us” mentality that happens when a nation is wounded. Did you feel at all ostracized from the vox populi?

ad: Well, that’s nothing new. The day I stop feeling that way I’ll have to start questioning myself. (laughs) But yeah, it’s just so sickeningly sad the way calculated propaganda and these huge media outlets could twist the idea of patriotism. They’ve done it forever. Completely inverting it. Go back to McCarthyism and the House Committee on Un-American Activities? When it is the most American activity of all to express yourself, to fight the government when it’s wrong. Democracy is about, “If you don’t like your government, change it. If you can’t change it have a fucking revolution.” They wrote it right in the constitution.

jc: Ready your muskets I always say.

ad: (laughs) Yeah! There’s some quote, I wish I could remember which Founding Father said it.

jc: Jefferson’s “Let’s have a revolution every ten years.”

ad: Oh, I don’t know, that’s a good one.

jc: I’m paraphrasing, but he did say it.

ad: You see? There is always this, “hear what you want to hear – see what you want to see”. They can twist things like the constitution or the Bible into any kind of oppressive tool.

jc: But isn’t the Bible an oppressive tool?

ad: It depends on how you read it; same as any document. They are just tools to be used, they can be used against us as well as for us, but there are certainly many positive messages in the Bible. I think Jesus…

jc: Ah, love and forgiveness.

ad: Sure, I think reading any document literally, especially something like the Bible, which is all metaphor, is so misguided. I’m not really interested in Jesus as a “walking on water” kind of guy, but as a revolutionary, as a guy who was trying to free the slaves, fuckin’ A. There it is right in the Bible: “Slaves bad.” (laughs) “Love your brother!”

jc: They took care of that guy.

ad: But there was some quote I read somewhere recently, it might have been from Jefferson, that “to not criticize your government, especially in times of war, when your government is perpetrating violence on another people, to not be critical is an act of treason.”

jc: I think it might have been John Adams. Those guys were all maniacs. If you read about the Founding Fathers, and get outside of the textbooks, they were downright radical. When you discuss McCarthyism it was in the 1950’s, not the 1850’s. And that gets back to the original question about your art, because I believe the only true voice left is through free expression. Art may be the only thing not annexed in a fluent dialogue between people and ideas, but every once and awhile when someone gets close to the bone, so to speak, they try to manipulate their words or tear pieces of them away like a Jesus or a Gandhi.

ad: Right on.

Next Week: Part II

For a complete unedited transcript of the conversartion: Ani Dialogue

Reality Check | Pop Culture | Politics | Sports | Music

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Parenting 101

Aquarian Weekly 5/8/02 REALITY CHECK

INTRODUCTION TO PARENTING IN A PREDATORY ENVIRONMENT

Due to the rash of recent revelations regarding the systematic abuse, both physically and mentally heaped on children of several generations, we present the following public service announcement from the hard-working, well-meaning staff of the Reality Check News & Information Desk.

Its aim is to identify evil in several forms, and not the more obvious of the species like Nazis, pimps, thugs, terrorists, grotesquely obese rednecks, hockey goons, loquacious crack heads, a third of congress, televangelists, talk show hosts, people who thought it was a good idea to marry on network television, dope fiends on welfare, the commissioner of Major League Baseball, the Gore family, the greedy fuckers who kidnapped my cat, Bill Gates, Chuck Heston, Al Sharpton, the little known, but all-too frighteningly real Nixon clones, NIKE, the entire editing department at Maxim – especially that little chunky fellow who repeats “ya know” like a mental patient, telemarketers who do not understand the brutally frank language of a quintessential “death threat”, anyone who refers to anyone else as “dude”, the Academy of Arts and Sciences, OPEC, NRA, NOW, PMRC and those always peppy cretins who use the following for general murder and mayhem: God, Jesus, Muhammad, the Bible, a flag, a clever chant, a rousing anthem, creed or atavistic speech.

Due to space constraints and the odd bathroom break, the list has been truncated, but suffice to say, contains witless examples of humanity’s mistakes. But it is not the obvious that we look to expose here.

No, chances are quite good that anyone seen ranting on about “green men from Hector stealing his soul at 4:30 on Easter Sunday morning, 1978”, while wringing his hands around a four-day old pigeon corpse is likely to send you scampering to the other side of the street. Unless you cull paychecks for freelance journalism, and then you are obliged to stop and pretend to care about the gentleman’s plight long enough to bag a viable lead.

If you have a child, whether male or female, PLEASE do not leave in the care of anyone EVER. Perhaps only your own parents or possibly siblings may suffice, but only following painful scientific scrutiny, a full cavity search of their persons and several psychological exams. Any other option is simply egregious neglect on your part.

And this is why we strongly believe our extensive experience in the realm of the odd, degenerate, deviant, mischievous and downright rotten, allows us the exclusive privilege to speak freely about the following subjects. As a veteran of over twenty years of running wildly around the darkest corners of sub culture, and chairman of The Desk for the past five, I accept the duty of dissemination with a destined ferocity rarely equaled in the annals of the written word.

Those who have known me lo these many years will concur that I have had the unique pleasure to have seen things that no one should have to endure without the proper medication, weaponry or shock treatment. Some of the things I have written about in this space and beyond should, by all sober reasoning, have rendered me a jabbering loon long ago. Some may astutely cite it most certainly has done so. It is a wonder I ever leave my room willingly.

But alas, we digress, for the matter at hand is advice and wisdom and salient pointers about the evils of this world which fail to tote their own handy sirens. Certain clever aphorisms point to the fact that the least of the suspected evil ones are in the greatest need of our attention. So read carefully on if you are currently a parent, or believe that you shall one day procreate. But, fear not fellow myopists, just about anyone sucking air in the 21st century will benefit from our humble foray into “personal safety for loved ones”. It is all part of a series we hope to continue to investigate in future columns under the heading:

LIFE IS BEST WHEN EXPERIENCED THROUGH THE EYES OF PARANOIA.

Point One: If you have a child, whether male or female, PLEASE do not leave in the care of anyone EVER. Perhaps only your own parents or possibly siblings may suffice, but only following painful scientific scrutiny, a full cavity search of their persons and several psychological exams. Any other option is simply egregious neglect on your part.

Point Two: All members of an organized religion, teachers union or the ubiquitous weekend volunteer coaching sect are prohibited. If you absolutely MUST give your kid a modicum of spiritual guidance, a half-assed education or a slice competitive nature, PLEASE make sure that the moment they can reason you fill their tiny heads with mind-bending scenarios of potential mental anguish, rape and humiliation.

Point Three: Do not teach your children that people are bad because of their race, gender, culture, faith or political affiliation. People are bad merely by being people. You know damn well that you couldn’t begin to calculate the moments in your childhood when you should have been crushed, maimed, scarred or mangled in some horrid way if you hadn’t been one lucky bastard. And maybe you weren’t so lucky, or know someone who didn’t make it through puberty for one stupidly heinous reason or another. So…

Point Four: The television, radio, cd player, video game players and most filmmakers or sports celebrities are not equipped to provide your offspring with the proper foundation for reality in the areas of sexual conduct, personal hygiene, proper vocabulary, polite etiquette or anything resembling sane behavior. These are forms of entertainment and corporate cash cows, and exist solely to distract us from understanding what the fuck is really going on in the way of annexing our souls for a buck and a hearty guffaw.

Point Five: (and perhaps the most important of all) Ignore convention, obliterate traditions, abuse parameters and be very aware of those who use phrases like “That’s not how it’s done” or “You better let us decide for you”.

Our next few installments will include:

How to Arm Your Children Against Priests, Camp Councilors, Babysitters and Gym Teachers.

Try and Avoid Marrying Crazy Women Who Are Liable to Drown Your Kids in a Car or Murder Them En Masse After A Particularly Difficult Lunch Break.

Men Who Lose Their Keys Every Thirty Seconds Make Bad Role Models.

Do Not Take Advice From Pathetically Wordy Columnists Who Crank Out Meaningless Crap to Make Short-Notice Deadlines.

Reality Check | Pop Culture | Politics | Sports | Music

 

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james campion.com

Aquarian Weekly 4/24/02 REALITY CHECK

CURBING THE INSANE & OTHER SOBER JUDGEMENTS

Hoorah for the Supreme Court!

Its final judgment on repealing the ambiguous Child Pornography Prevention Act of 1996 is a victory for not only free speech, but also the precious freedom of expression promised to the citizenry of this wounded, often misguided, but always resilient country of ours. As stated ad nauseum in this space since its inception in late 1997, this “law”, along with so many others which slip into the national debate each year, is a dangerous seduction in governmental regulations of art. This cannot stand; no matter how neatly rapped it is in scare tactics, pugnacious rhetoric and volatile “save the universe from ourselves” puritan horseshit.

This was not a “law” based on banning child pornography. If that is all these freaks want from “laws”, then why do they muck them up with vague semantics and strangely worded phrases like ” a range of techniques” and “youthful looking adults” and the always fan favorite, “designed to convey the impression of minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct.”

Here’s a law we can jam through congress and send in front of the Supreme Court just to dare them to boot it: “Any use of actual humans under the age of consent as established by the state in which the alleged crime is being committed, in any form of art, film or dance routine, results in castration, general eye-gouging and public stoning. A raffle or a big lottery drawing will be arranged for the top ten people chosen to cast that first stone!”

This is just another example of how the concept of congressional politics, sequestered in its sliver-spoon, five martini lunch, kickback mania, can manipulate the loathsome language of our presently raging sexual deviances.

I apologize for the smoothed tone; it was the dreaded third draft. The first was closer to the bone and more direct, but even the enlightened sometimes bow to law speak.

But until which time we can get down to the crux of our “laws” we must be ultra-careful to watchdog what the hell the government decides is “youthful looking” and what “range” the techniques will achieve, and what exactly “conveys” anything. And let us not deem to understand the “impression” offered by anyone, least of all a designated area of “explicit conduct.”

Read that wording again. Now read Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” without blushing or running for your annotated Bible, with the bolded Leviticus chapters for extra “Wrath of God” goodness. “Oh, Jesus! Not Sir William! My Lord, where do we spark up the bonfire to burn that horrid ode to teenage lust?”

This is just another example of how the concept of congressional politics, sequestered in its sliver-spoon, five martini lunch, kickback mania, can manipulate the loathsome language of our presently raging sexual deviances. In other words, if someone hoists “ban child pornography” on any debate they are sure to get a rousing “YEAH!” from the clamoring constituency. This is tantamount to yelling, “Free Beer!” at a Hell’s Angel’s picnic or starting the obligatory “Boston Sucks!” chant in the bleachers at Yankee Stadium. You are assured of instant support and popularity, and that is so needed these days when most Americans view our politicians as the legion of Satan with a collective bad hair day.

Back in ’96, this was incredibly important to the Clinton administration, which was trying to draw attention away from the Willie Follies going on nightly in the Oval Office. Not to mention the FBI’s rabid cover-up of then attorney general, Janet Reno’s systematic murder of armed religious fanatics in Waco. Let’s face it, when your hosting “Friday Night Ass Slapping” in the West Wing, it’s hard to not at least claim you despise some form of pornography.

Remember, when this whole mess became concrete there was the silly idea that some right wing radical revolution actually meant something. We were all proud of our “Contract with America” and the sweeping changes in freedom it would provide to Johnny Six-Pack and his 3.2 tax relief. But that was before Captain Newt went to Princeton and tried to explain why God cheated women in the “strength of mind” sweepstakes and the freshmen congress fucked with the elderly. Yeah, it was fun while it lasted, and this annoying bit of legislation is its sad residue.

Now we have that lazy crackpot, John Ashcroft cramming CNN with cries that this ruling will prevent the FBI from rounding up the child pornographers and pedophiles running amok on the Internet. I think Johnny better stop looking at the Internet and begin trolling our churches and YMCA’s and Boy Scouts and all those sickening cretins who parade four year-old girls in juvenile beauty pageants dressed like Jodi Foster in “Taxi Driver”.

“Taxi Driver”? That was also in trouble under that atavistic act of 1996. But Jodi was only acting. You want to practice world class projectile vomiting, go to one of these beauty pageants. Yes, that is quite normal.

I have written volumes about this duplicitous type of government wrangling meant to satiate the weepy with mounds of paper trails, and I’m running out of space this week, so I think it is important to once again point out that thirteen year-old girls in jeans ads does not constitute child pornography. Neither does these silly machinations Britney Spears calls dancing. That may constitute subtler forms of child abuse, but let’s not go into that thorny category without mentioning the state of this country’s school systems, religious institutions or the pathetically poor state of parenting in the opening few years of this fancy 21st century.

Everyone knows what is child pornography. Let’s get down to combating that heinous problem, instead of creating new ones.

Meanwhile, without the complete and unadulterated freedom of expression and speech we are a doomed society. It is all we have left to us that isn’t cajoled, manufactured, bribed or compromised.

As always:

Fuck Law.

Use your brain.

Reality Check | Pop Culture | Politics | Sports | Music

 

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Dick Cheney World Tour

Aquarian Weekly 3/20/02 REALITY CHECK

THE DICK CHENEY WORLD TOUR

We can all rest easy now that Egyptian President, Hosni Mubarak is on board for the long overdue house cleaning that will be stomping through an Iraqi outpost very soon. Seeing how Egypt is mostly a satellite of Israel and its plummeting tourist numbers, Mubarak’s approbation is not nearly as newsworthy as the fact that the vice president has decided to come out of his hermetically sealed hibernation tank to grace the Middle East with his notorious presence.

It’s all part of the 2002 Dick Cheney World Tour, or more to the point, Arabian tour, where he will entertain the insane jabbering of atavistic patriarchs waxing poetic on anti-Semitism and crude oil prices, which have been steadily rising over the past weeks since our president started upping the ante on these haughty catch phrases of his.

Not that anyone at the time it was uttered seemed to mind the tasty allegory found in Junior’s pithy, “axis of evil” comment. In fact, if you can find a congressman or news commentator with a modicum of pride left in Washington these days, one might even say the crazy bastard nailed it on the head.

Fuck Iraq, and any dumbasses that still find themselves trapped inside of it. How many years of this pathetic bullshit are we supposed to stomach before someone with a pair of steel rocks puts the fear of Allah in Saddam Hussein?

Fuck Iraq, and any dumbasses that still find themselves trapped inside of it. How many years of this pathetic bullshit are we supposed to stomach before someone with a pair of steel rocks puts the fear of Allah in Saddam Hussein?

Captain Shoe-in is just the man for the job. His father failed. His predecessor, the Minister of Fun obviously couldn’t hack it. He has the blessing of these outrageous approval numbers and no one appears to care about Enron ending civilization anymore.

But I am way off the path here.

There is no truth to the reports that on Dick Cheney’s last visit to these shores he begged the president’s daddy to ramrod the scud express into Baghdad as acting chairman of Desert Storm. Cheney is a man of varied foreign policy skills, and one of the reasons why the Bush people pushed the Texas governor to add the old man to the ticket two summers ago.

But some people claim Cheney never advised the first Bush to “cut the head off the wounded reptile.” That was the boastful talk of patriotic crazies who once found it necessary to report that General Patton begged Harry Truman to use the U.S. Army to plow through Poland and up into Stalin’s living room to “personally kick that son of a bitch in the ass.”

Cheney never had it in him, but that’s what Jordan’s King Abdullah would have the traveling UPI geeks believing. Except for the glaring fact that Jordan was so overwhelmed eleven years ago, they had Syria and Iran thinking they would apply for a Euro-NFL franchise.

It was nice of the king to offer his meaningless opinion on the matters of American war policy though.

Here’s what he doesn’t get: The vice president’s eleven-state Terrorpaloooza road show has two faces.

There is the diplomatic “smooth the locals and keep the fracturing coalition intact for the impending big hit”, traveling photo op. Followed closely by the more intriguing, “let’s cut the crapolla chief and get down to the Nitty Gritty” stop off.

The Nitty would be the current “second phase” of this infinite War on Terror, not including the Anaconda thing that has been unfortunately running the bills up way past the spec limit in what’s left of Afghanistan. The pussy footing with the Philippines and the impossible mess going on in Korea not withstanding, the real crux of what is left of that gaping hole in lower Manhattan and that chunk of the Pentagon missing over by the Potomac has bore a great big, juicy target on Iran and Iraq.

The Gritty would be a not-so-subtle propaganda mission to pit certain Arab nations against each other based on economic concerns and desperate security measures in the region, especially the security of the Palestinian state that is about three more car bombs from extinction if the gloves are truly off for the Israeli Defense Force.

In times of foreign military action, it is important for a nation to not spread itself too thin. I think this is best understood not by history scholars, but by those ruthless bastards from my high school days who used to sit next to me around a large kitchen table and play RISK until the last bloodied man was standing.

God, I miss that.

But once again, I cannot stay on track.

And that’s probably a good thing, considering that this column has become a bit of a dangerous mark on my permanent record in these times high paranoia. It’s important to make my comments seem random and half-baked, loaded with carefully placed expletives and wry references to board games.

Divide and conquer.

The oldest one in the book.

But make no mistake here. Dick Cheney is the perfect angel of mercy to prelude the harbinger of doom. Who that will be, is anyone’s guess. Not even my stoolie, Georgetown is coming clean on that one, and I wouldn’t be bold enough to venture a guess.

Some of the right people will tell you these latest skewed ravings coming from the woefully out of touch U.N. Security Council about a resolution that “affirms a vision” of an official Palestinian state in the borders of Israel, where the Jews and Palestinians will live in beatific harmony, is a sign that something concrete in the way of missile tonnage is coming soon.

Now even Cheney himself is forced to consider this lunacy out on the front lines, while his boss riles up the American citizenry with talk of nuclear bombardment and Wrath of God 101.

 

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