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The Summer of Obama

Aquarian Weekly 6/20/12 REALITY CHECK

THE SUMMER OF OBAMA

A national political campaign is better than the best circus, with a mass baptism and couple of hangings thrown in. – H.L. Mencken

The stomp outweighs the gavel where persecution reigns. – Marquis De Sade’s aid-de-campe

With the notable exception of 2008, when there was no one left to defend or explain the abysmal eight years of George W. Bush, all election seasons are about the incumbent — his economy, his international standing, his policies, his leadership, his likeability and the confidence in the citizenry to either award him another four years or be so completely frightened or apathetic about his opponent, the choice is down to the lesser of two evils. Outside influences like hostages or a complete unforeseen economic meltdown and/or the random “October Surprise” not withstanding, that’s pretty much it. And in the cycles of an election season, none is crueler than summer. The best and the brightest, strong incumbents like Roosevelt or Reagan or even Nixon, have felt the sting of summer polls, dips in voter confidence, et al. But for the shaky ones, like the one we have now, the summer can be the death knell.

Barack ObamaIt’s time for those in the White House to get real about how they plan on defending this presidency. The hackneyed early pounding of challenger Mitt Romney by what appears to be a close-your-eyes-and-aim-a-dart strategy at the Barack Obama re-election committee has been weak and mostly ineffectual — and not because Romney isn’t one of the worst candidates in recent memory. Hell, a good deal of the underground element of his party never wanted him. I have yet to hear a single Republican or conservative friend or colleague — as long as they are not in the employ of the GOP — say anything positive about their candidate, except that he isn’t Barack Obama. Also, these same types who keep writing me missives that begin with “Beware the TEA Party” have yet to explain how the hell this fat-cat establishment stooge is their representative after six months of a long Republican primary.

No, Romney stinks, just like John Kerry stunk the last time we had a weak incumbent ready to be had. Kerry’s stench didn’t fully reveal itself until September. That’s about when the “I’m not Obama” thing will wear thing for Romney. He had better be about something and have a semblance of an alternative vision, because if he has to survive on cult of personality or tangible elements, he is toast. But in the summer of an election year when the warts of a presidency are out in full force, it’s all about The Man. And for Joe Cool, there are warts.

This economy, although rightly argued by the White House as markedly better than it was when Obama took office (Dow at 7,500 and the private sector losing 800,000 jobs monthly), it is hardly a scintilla of what was projected or even promised by his crack economic team of Wall St. punks and Clinton-era has-beens. The massive stimulus was hijacked by liberal lions in the congress — a congress that was controlled for four years, two under the president, before being ousted in 2010 in the wake of a slipshod and soon-to-be decided by the Supreme Court “unconstitutional” boondoggle of a Health Care Law.

And while this president has been more effective at this illicit and wholly vague “war on terror” than the cowboy president who preceded him, his ramping up the heat in Afghanistan and the blithe dismissal of most of its dead-end policies has been egregious. Remember, this is our anti-war candidate, who has assassinated more disparate terrorists than any president in history, included in the carnage are an America citizen and the man responsible for 9/11. The chances now or anytime that this guy, or anyone, least of all another Ivy League wimp trying to appear tough, is going to end this perpetual state of war is nil. It has been and will be the bankruptcy of this nation, because even purportedly fiscal conservative voices are in favor of never-ending aggression. Obama has done nothing to curtail it, if anything he has to done the opposite.

Shit, can Joe Cool run on this at best shaky and at worst horrid record of economic solvency, as instituted nearly a century ago, or will this be about how shitty Romney is or how shitty the Republicans were in the first place?

Apparently, even in the bitter heat and unforgiving light for summer, six out of ten voters still dig Joe Cool. And why not? He’s still the young candidate (Romney being another tired Baby Boomer nudge), articulate (except when explaining the actual gig he’s been given) and he’s overseen, Afghanistan aside, an overall responsible and effective foreign policy (the Libyan move — which I mocked ceaselessly — was a win-win).

But these same voters do not want more spending or more pathetic excuses about The Right blocking all these infusive economic salves. There is only a Right because in the dust of a Republican spending surge for the better part of a decade, leftist banshees like Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid ram-rodded the usual parade of government overreach and caused a backlash. Being shocked that the opposition party, roundly mandated by the electorate in 2010, is blocking your agenda is like being surprised when a TV ad is biased towards the product it’s hawking.

Of course all this pales to the woeful economic numbers that for good or ill (and it has mostly been ill for presidents since FDR made it the business of the executive branch to be responsible for American fiscal solvency) are crushing Joe Cool weekly. Thanks for the most part to Republicans like Coolidge first and Hoover last, both of whom chose to ignore one out of every four Americans being out of work for three solid years prior to Roosevelt’s madness, the country as a whole has henceforth accepted the assistance and regulatory powers of the federal government over the monolithic banking system.

Trouble for this president is his desire to play the middle. Thus, he’s painted as a big-government liberal (in some goofy places as a socialist) as he cow-tows to the interests of speculators, banks, unions, and manufacturers, while also managing to pay lip service to the Dodd-Frank bill, which was passed under a Democratic congress and never certified. The Left claim it doesn’t exist, and what happened last month to J.P. Morgan Chase makes it clear that Joe Cool has no clear footing on either side of the aisle.

And thus here we are, as we were in the summer of 2004 when I sent to press the summation of what this fall’s election should be about: “George W. Bush was ready to be had by anyone aggressive and smart enough to build a viable alternative argument to massive job losses, a throbbing recession, the most spendthrift administration since FDR, and the worst post-war effort ever bungled by a sovereign nation. This election is supposed to be a referendum on the incumbent’s standing. It was ripe for a legitimate challenger to seize the opportunity to engage a debate on its merits.”

Karl Rove brilliantly framed it about gay marriage and soccer mom fear mongering and re-elected a dunce, who continued to care take the greatest economic collapse in eight decades, as will be the case this time around for Barack Obama. Second terms in my lifetime have been doom chambers. No one can survive it, least of all a polarized nation of overfed and over-stimulated mutants ramped with fear over some bullshit they read in a random screed like this nonsense.

But at least I am willing to go on record calling it nonsense, rather than commentary or analysis, even though it is as salient as any crap I’ve read from anyone for months. Shit, can Joe Cool run on this at best shaky and at worst horrid record of economic solvency, as instituted nearly a century ago, or will this be about how shitty Romney is or how shitty the Republicans were in the first place?

Hell if I know, but I do know it’s time for this president to get himself a helmet.

As Voodoo Princess Madam Sissy Meechum says, “It’s a long summer.”

 

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Health Care on Trial

Aquarian Weekly 4/4/12 REALITY CHECK

HEALTH CARE ON TRIAL

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 is unconstitutional. I have written this repeatedly over the past year; originally in HEALTHCARE U.S.A. 3/24/10 and later that year, CITIZEN HEALTHCARE 12/29/10. It was true then and it is true now.

No politically charged Supreme Court decision in this politically charged election year is going to change that. It is not within the boundaries of the Congress of these United States to make such laws as to force its citizens to purchase insurance. This should have been the case for the 1935 Social Security Act that forced Americans to purchase retirement insurance or the Enrollment Act of 1863 that forced American men to fight for the Union and every subsequent Selective Service or Draft laws that wiped out thousands upon thousands of American citizens, many of them in unconstitutional “wars” like Korean, Viet Nam, Afghanistan, Iraq I, Iraq II or even before all that the Militia Acts of 1892 that forced every American to buy muskets and gunpowder.

U.S. Supreme CourtThis shit has been going on for a long time, folks.

Hell, the damn U.S. Constitution was only four years old when the second official congress and George Washington, the first president, pissed on it. The next guy in charge, John Adams, by far the most influential revolutionaries of the 1770s, but a lunatic chief executive, signed the Alien and Sedition Acts, which granted the president the power to deport citizens of questionable allegiance to the United States and jail or deport journalists for writing “slanderous” or “malicious” (determined by the White House) anti-government sentiments. Andrew Jackson became the godfather of Jim Crow by wielding an iron fist across the fruited plain with the 21st congress’s unconstitutional 1830 Indian Removal Act. Oh, boy did the South hammer that baby home over one hundred years of racketeering, voter intimidation and government-sanctioned murder.

Need we go on?

Yes?

Okay, how about this nation’s most revered and influential chief executive, Abraham Lincoln, who forced an entire region to restructure its moral and economic foundations through military invasion, which brought with it an unconstitutional drafting of the poor, the eradication of due process and habeas corpus, the jailing of dissidents against the federal government and of course the radically unconstitutional Marshall Law. Woodrow Wilson subsequently abused these “safety during war time” tactics during WWI and FDR during WWII when both presidents interred thousands of innocent German and Japanese civilians respectively. The world champion of unconstitutional nonsense, Richard Nixon used the same scheme to bug, slander and intimidate anti-war protestors, wielding the CIA, IRS, FBI and the Immigration and Naturalization Service in a clumsy attempt to destroy political opponents until he was asked to leave the premises.

Some of these cases were never challenged, some challenged and overturned or embarrassingly watered down or left to expire ungracefully. Some were regionally challenged for decades like the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which was a needed intervention of the federal government to impede Bill of Rights abuses. In the recent case of the Patriot Act, a whopper of unconstitutional chicanery, every case that was brought against it was successful, rendering most of it flaccid and ineffectual.

Not so with what the political culture pejoratively refers to as Obamacare, which has been challenged in lower courts across the land in several states and exonerated each time. Every liberal and conservative judge has seen fit to uphold the law as constitutional, despite its controversial Individual Mandate, an invention of the ultra-conservative Heritage Foundation in the 1990s and vocally supported by the Speaker of the House and leading Republican voice at the time, Newt Gingrich. It was a collective Right Wing knee-jerk response to the massive socialized medicine overhaul presented by then first lady, Hillary Clinton.

The federal government is not without precedent for this maneuver, of course.

This same blue print was formed and enacted by another current Republican challenger to the president, Mitt Romney, when his derisively coined Romneycare became the law of Massachusetts in 2006. And the man he now challenges? Barack Obama spent thousands of campaign dollars horse-whipping the aforementioned Ms. Clinton for “mandating Americans to buy health insurance or pay a penalty” in the spring of ’08, something he signed into law 24 months later.

The Individual Mandate, reeking with congressional history through Conscription and Social Security is the constitutional sticking point of Obamacare and not the Single-Payer socialist model utilized in every industrialized nation in the free world and what the liberal/progressive lobby has bellowed about for 60 years. This is a halfway house for insurance companies, one of the leading lobbies in the final days of this law’s formation, to gain millions of new clients.

Perhaps only the Individual Mandate will be struck down by a predictable 5-4 margin or maybe, in an uncommon move by the highest court in the land, a reasonable hedge decision of cutting off the Individual Mandate clause and leaving intact the most controversial law since the Patriot Act and certainly as economically driven a law since the Civil Rights Act. But as a fulcrum to the process, the Individual Mandate may take with it the entirety of the law and consequently the thousands of participants either benefiting or being hounded by its slow infusion into the national marketplace.

The federal government is not without precedent for this maneuver, of course. The vagaries of the Constitution’s Commerce Clause, although in spirit was originally included by the framers as a legal means to prevent a federalist construct in interstate trade and currency, certainly left a gaping legal hole in its letter. It is not unlike the currently eviscerated Stand Your Ground law that proponents claim was not implemented to include blue-line wannabes chasing down and murdering black teens. Sorry, no rule is singular, and neither is the Commerce Clause.

Thus the Commerce Clause has been used for a myriad of insanities over the two-century plus existence of this republic and it has its place here. If the Supreme Court rules against it, then it will be doing so in abject rejection to former rulings on Wickard v Filburn, which allowed congress to limit the amount of wheat grown by an Ohio farmer in 1942 or the 2005 criminalization of homegrown marijuana case of Gonzalez v Raich.

When the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is eventually ruled unconstitutional in June of this year, it will certainly reveal an incredible opportunity for those motivated enough to abolish Social Security or Medicaid or Medicare or Federal Income Tax or any of the dozens of federal laws that are and have always been unconstitutional.

Don’t tread on me?

Indeed.

 

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12

Aquarian Weekly 12/28/11 REALITY CHECK

12

This will be the last column I pen this year, in the final days of this twelfth month of 2011, and I choose to write about the number 12.

In a few days we embark on 2012, and each year I try and end the previous one with a tag line or a semantic touchstone for where things may go over the following calendar run. It’s a way of cleansing by throwing something out there for kicks. We hardly ever — and by hardly ever, we mean mostly — predict how things will pan out. Never did go much for the “past is prologue” stuff. Don’t look back. Rearview mirrors are for suckers. This is more our speed.

jcNone of this is true, of course. The entire purpose of this space is to point out that nothing is new and that somewhere along the line of civilization, and most assuredly in the history of these United States of America, there has been a dead-ringer or worse catastrophe than the one currently being endured. This calms the natives from believing the End is Nigh, an age old defection in the human condition that bridges raging ego with a preternatural fear of the unknown to justify the eradication of existence, when all it really means is that things are subject to a natural shift and we’re just pissed about it.

However, the end of the year is hardly for reflection but dissection, and in that spirit we offered up 2011 as the year of “challenge”, as the political and social landscape of our nation would be motivated to defend, refute or understand the largest legislative maneuver in nearly half a century; the National Health Care Law. Before that in 2010, we predicted a re-birth of fiscal conservatism by examining a growing worship of Ayn Rand by the wounded Right Wing. Back in 2009, which we labeled the Year of the Guilty, we took a turn for the weird. Not sure where that was going.

Now 2012 is upon us and it is long in coming for me.

The number 12 is my number.

Well, I was initially partial to the number 2 in the grand scheme of the primary numbers, but my grandmother and mother were both born on a twelve, and later I was married on a 12. My first hero, Joe Namath wore number 12 and his team won its only title on a 12. When I was 12 my head exploded when I heard The Who’s Tommy for the first time, which completely altered my being, and then shortly after or during this experience, my body exploded into another completely different being.

Yet, somewhere along the line I learned from the Oxford Dictionary that a study of the number (or word) twelve’s etymology suggests that “twelve” arises from the Germanic compound “twalif” “two-leftover”, so a literal translation would yield “two remaining-after having ten taken”. Therefore, the remaining “tw”- hints that twelve and two are related.

Nice.

Also, in any monotheistic measure, 12 rules; as in 12 tribes of Israel for Judaism, 12 apostles and a bunch of crazy 12 stuff in Revelation for Christianity, which brings us to the Mayan calendar, end of the world thing, and well — I get that. Also, there are 12 Imams, whom are considered the legitimate successors of Muhammad in Islam. But my favorite is the Hindu 12, which indicates the number names for Surya, the Sun God.

Really nice.

Of course, my awareness of the number 12 is not without its constant reminder: The Roman calendar has 12 months, broken up by 24-hour days split into 12-hour periods, which begin at the stroke of midnight (12:00 am). In fact, the very basic units of time (60 seconds, 60 minutes, 24 hours) can all perfectly divide by 12. And for what’s it’s worth, the Western and Chinese zodiacs have 12 signs.

This year of ’12 could be the year we get out of the war business for a while. That would be nice.

Maybe my absolute favorite (and let the music geeks have at it on this one) 12 is the number of pitch classes in an octave, not counting the duplicated (octave) pitch. Also, 12 is the total number of major keys, (not counting enharmonic equivalents) and the total number of minor keys (also not counting equivalents). This applies only to twelve-tone equal temperament, the most common tuning used today in western influenced music.

Beyond nice.

Crucial, really.

There are 12 steps in AA.

There are 12 face cards in a deck.

There are 12 Federal Reserve Districts in the U.S.

Human visitors to the moon; 12.

You may have heard something about the number 12 deriving from Egeria, the Roman water goddess, often pictured carrying 12 jugs of water, which she summarily spills to create the earth’s lakes, oceans and rivers.

Here’s a final tidbit about my 12; the word “twelve” (the largest number with one syllable) is also the largest number with a single-morpheme in English. In linguistics a “morpheme” is the smallest semantically meaningful unit in a language.

Chew on that for a while.

So, while we’re enjoying our 12 days of Christmas, I wish to ponder on all-things 2012, a presidential election year. The hope here, and a mild prediction, is that a true third party candidate will emerge to finally challenge the status quo.

Why not?

Has that not been my mantra for eternity? Why not in ’12? If not now, when? If the Payroll Tax debate, as innocuous and petty a tit-for-tat political piss battle as can be imagined, ends in a virtual stalemate, what is the point of a Two-Party system? (and let’s not deal with the ironies of my conveniently decrying the number 2 appearing here, shall we?)

Not sure who or what a third-party candidate would look like, and the foolish dream is it won’t be a nut like Ross Perot or Donald Trump, but we’re feeling positive for a few fleeting seconds, so go rain on someone else’s parade.

This year of ’12 could be the year we get out of the war business for a while. That would be nice. When Iraq goes to the dogs after trillions spent and thousands dead and maimed we’ll turn our attention to letting Afghanistan tumble, ignore the Middle East and continue this interesting infatuation with Asia, the New Europe for the New Century.

The desert is out in 2012.

Sadly, what is also out in 2012 is Hackwriters.com, which has been printing this column across the U.K. and the rest of planet earth for the past 12 years. Along with the brave souls at this paper, and several others who have come and gone over the nearly 15 years we’ve been at this, Hackwriters and its staff have been right on the front lines with the Reality Check News & Information Desk.

We wish their next endeavor in 2012 to be better.

Why not?

Embrace the 12.

It’s good for you.

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Debt Ceiling Stare Down

Aquarian Weekly 7/13/11 REALITY CHECK

DEBT CEILING STARE DOWN

By August 2 we will learn the final and binding results of the 2010 mid-term elections. This is when the nation’s debt ceiling needs to be raised, as it’s been some 70 times over the past half century, including ten times during the eight years of the George W. Bush Administration, six under a Republican-controlled congress. This latest suddenly austere version of Republicanism, forced upon an American electorate that had little choice if it wished to go against the latest version of spend-thrift Democratism, is now asked to stand for massive spending cuts and no tax hikes or allow the nation to go into default.

Period.

Debt Ceiling ChartAnything less than these two outcomes will be another campaign promise dumped and another in a spectacular series of lies perpetuated on the American electorate in our sad and pathetic political history.

We were promised no compromise, no tax increases and a dramatic slashing in federal spending, including a raid on entitlements.

Are we going to get them?

Of course not.

Where do we go then?

Again, this is akin to the 2006 version of Democratism, which was chosen by a majority of voters to defund the ridiculously botched Iraq War and failed to do so. In fact, those election results eventually bore a troop surge in Iraq, which for all intents and purposes elongated our nation building, further bloating the aforementioned national debt. Then, after taking the White House, the continued rise in Democratism ignored the anti-war rhetoric and used their newfound powers to explode national spending with stimulus, bank bailouts and the propping up of the auto industry. Then there was Health Care.

None of the above had a damn thing to do with ending the Iraq mess, which still rolls along with a face-saving reduction in troops and the building of the largest U.S. embassy on planet earth bankrolled by a continued influx of American tax dollars. Then, laughably, the same people who ran and won as anti-war candidates, went along with their president by supporting and funding increased troop levels in Afghanistan – now the longest running military operation in our illustrious two-century plus glut of military operations.

Thus, the 2010 results, which roundly rejected Democratism – merely a continuation of Republicanism spending spree/tax cut/multiple war/massive entitlement expansion that forced the national debt to be a political issue in the first place – is at issue.

To put it bluntly, the ball is now in Republicanism’s court, where it will take the miracles of miracles to see binding results on the country’s $14.4 trillion hole.

Unless you’re asleep, apathetic or stupid, you’re likely not to be fooled by the results of the latest debate to appear concerned about a mounting national debt that no one in the federal government, regardless of ideology, actually cares a wit about.

Unless you’re asleep, apathetic or stupid, you’re likely not to be fooled by the results of the latest debate to appear concerned about a mounting national debt that no one in the federal government, regardless of ideology, actually cares a wit about.

This is good, because no one in this government has the stones to turn the nation into a deadbeat. The buck will be passed, the can kicked down the road. There will be some give and some take and next year when the parade of challengers to Barack Obama emerges in a din of complaints, they will tell us all how they will change Washington and fix it and not one of them will. Ever.

Let’s try and remember eight long months ago, as ancient a history as one can muster in several and varied news cycles, that many of the freshmen of our 112th congress crowed about never allowing the debt ceiling to be raised, damn the consequences. It was scorched earth time last November. Yes, our children’s very existence was at stake. We were headed towards doom.

So why are we discussing this now? Is this another case of the government telling us that the very survival of civilization depends on war success in the Middle East but yet no offers no reinstatement of the draft or there is a curious absence of World War II-era attrition at home?

Ask yourself why the Speaker of the House has to have secret meetings with his base to make nice with his subordinates every time he meets with the White House about a deal. Is he on board with the 2010 plan or is he worried about the 2012 fallout that will usher in a second term for Obama?

It is far from cynical to point out that 2012 politics are being played here. If Republicanism folds on tax increases and gets its massive federal cuts, while inching into the entitlements arena, as purposed in what is now being cited in the Beltway as The Grand White House Proposal of $4 trillion in cuts over ten years, then how do they hammer at the president all summer for being too weak to act? And if Democratism allows Social Security and Medicaid to be tinkered with while slashing several popular government programs, how does Obama sell his candidacy as a protection against the opposition’s draconian measures?

And then ask yourself if the Democratism that now cries blood-for-blood with austerity measures metered out to big oil concerns, closing corporate tax loops and billionaire tax code changes, how come when it boasted a “super majority” for two years it did nothing about them?

As these words go to press meetings within the Two Party System and their purportedly immovable ideologies continue behind the scenes. This aids in dealing with the inevitable fallout after they both cave and the plan goes into the tank. Everyone can then conveniently blame the other guy for not adhering to real solutions.

So then where do we go?

 

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Osama & Out

Aquarian Weekly 5/11/11 REALITY CHECK

OSAMA & OUT

Osama bin Laden, the seminal figure of the new century; who’s incredibly complex and improbably successful mission to destroy the World Trade Center (a symbol of American financial might) and hit the Pentagon (the symbol of America’s military might) while murdering as many civilians as possible on 9/11/01, who forever changed the culture, economies and domestic and foreign policies of the entire Western world, is dead. Taken out as coldly and efficiently as his devastating strike a decade earlier, closing a bloody, irrational, and in many ways, embarrassing chapter in American history.

And so the evil villain of 9/11 is killed, finally, after nearly ten long years by the new guy — the next generation leader, my generation, the stoically calculating Barack Hussein Obama, hardly the sloppy, overly emotional mess the Baby Boomers sent to the White House from 1993 to 2009, the years bin Laden made his bones as the FBI’s Most Wanted Criminal.

Osama bin LadenEliminating bin Laden from among the living turned out to be no small feat. In fact, it’s a monumental, almost Biblical vengeance kick that may speak more about the soul of this nation than anything one man could inflict from outside it.

Although in recent years the specter of bin Laden had faded, his master plan assured there would be no going back after 9/11 in any aspect of social, political, or cultural existence. Not since the Civil War has this nation been turned into a completely different thing altogether — and that was an inevitable internal struggle, not the result of an abstract foreign interloper. It is fair to say that no enemy of the United States, including the Nazis, the Empire of Japan, or the Soviet Union, has shifted every single one of our lives the way Osama bin Laden has.

Since 1996, Osama bin Laden had been the most prevalent symbol of anti-American rhetoric and its resultant overt violence; boldly hitting American embassies and ships, targeting hotels and tourist spots across the globe. It was in that same year he officially declared war on the United States. Yet, not only did bin Laden escape retribution for the aforementioned deeds, he thrived. In the presidential campaign of 2000, neither his name nor the name of his terrorist network, al Qaeda was ever broached. Hundreds of hours of campaign stumping, thousands of stories in thousands of newspapers and of course debates galore; and not once by any candidate was Osama bin Laden’s growing mayhem ever cited. Worst of all, in the winter of 2001 our federal government ignored a serious memo regarding intelligence that bin Laden was a “direct threat”, and then again weeks before the attacks when the CIA warned of an imminent airplane hijacking, which ultimately led to the tragedies of 9/11 and victory for the invisible man.

Truth be told, bin Laden’s invisible man act had become so darkly pathetic this space had maintained since late September of 2001 that he was already dead. This became a more distinct possibility once the richest, most powerful nation in the world, with operatives all over the planet and at least half of the countries in the Middle East on the payroll, failed to locate him, much less capture or kill him. For close to a decade, bin Laden’s fugitive hide-and-seek routine was the country’s greatest failure, and because of it, plunged this nation into several war fronts and deeper into debt. All the while we traded in more and more of our civil rights in an avalanche of paranoid incompetence. After threats and bombings, invasions and terrorist plot thwarting, along with several key arrests of his cronies, Gitmo and Homeland Security, torture, fiery speeches and tough talk, still no bin Laden.

In fact, by 2005, the Bush Administration, with its dumbfounded war hawks Cheney, Rumsfeld and that poor sucker, Condoleezza Rice, et al, closed down the special unit to bring the greatest single American villain of the past half century to justice. The president declared to the Washington press he had no idea where bin Laden was and could not care less. Bush, the rough and ready faux cowboy, smugly declared, “I don’t even think about him.”

And of course this seemed like a good idea. The whole al Qaeda thing was belly up by 2005; there was a second term to deal with and the Iraq distraction, already a severe blight on the Bush presidency, was escalating out of control. Afghanistan, another bust, had been left to the dogs. Meanwhile Pakistan, the best anti-terror partner in the region, was annually gathering up three and a half billion of American dollars to weed out terrorists. Curiously, in a suburb ten miles from its capital city and a stone’s throw from its military academy, a town teeming with retired generals and lounging military types, Osama bin Laden built and occupied a suburban fortress.

Five years later, in August of 2010, with zero Pakistani assistance, bin Laden’s whereabouts was discovered. And in the face of a social networked, Internet connected and 24/7 televised news world the most miraculous exhibition of secrecy in the highest levels of the government resulted in what has to be considered the cleanest most devastating U.S. military mission in memory. The heavy lifting carried out with rare but ruthless precision by a Navy Seals Special Unit, ending with a gaping hole in the head of the man who put one in lower Manhattan.

No war. No grandstanding. No orange alerts.

Bing. Bam. Boom.

Bad guy erased.

 

No war. No grandstanding. No orange alerts.

Bing. Bam. Boom.

Bad guy erased.

Let’s be brutally honest; this is one motherfucking grand slam for this president, who has heretofore been generally considered ill-prepared for tough national security decisions and accused of being an ineffectual appeaser of rogue nations. He was also mocked as a candidate in 2008 for stating that the real War on Terror began and ended on the border of Pakistan and Afghanistan and that given half the chance would take out bin Laden even in a sovereign country. No Shock & Awe, Mission Accomplished, Big Invasion, Nation Building, Chest-Thumping nonsense. Go in, kick ass, and get out, with the target in a body bag — mob style.

Before the raid, Obama was asked point blank by officials if the bin Laden compound should be obliterated in a bombing campaign. Nope. He decided a body was needed, the result of an official a face-to-face snuffing out. He was then asked if the mission might consider taking bin Laden alive? The president’s response was unequivocally no. No trial. No second act. No screwing around.

There is little arguing, if this thing went sideways, there was no coming back from it. Ask Jimmy Carter, after his doomed decision to rescue the Iranian hostages in a last ditch attempt to save face. Maybe ask Ronald Reagan, whose ham-fisted attempt to arm the Nicaraguan Contras nearly got him impeached.

This is why the timeline from August, 2010 to Sunday, May 1, 2011 makes some sense out of a few of Obama’s curious actions; not the least of which is what is at best a dubious decision to get involved in Libya this past March, the toe-to-toe battles to avoid what would have been a politically advantageous government shutdown last month, and finally, the strange timing of releasing an official birth certificate last week.

It also explains the Secretary of State’s bizarrely worded press briefings on Pakistan/U.S relations that went from “assisting” to “avoiding” to “obstructing” in the past months. Then within hours of the raid, a veiled compliment to their “support”, even though anyone within earshot of events went public that Pakistan knew nothing of the mission, and no one, certainly not the president, considered cluing them in.

There is no political or historical downside to this puppy. It is, to use a now overused CIA joke, a “slam dunk”. However, a tough sell-job for this administration will be to convince the American people to continue to fund Pakistan’s alliance in the shadow of its openly harboring a mastermind of mass murder for six years; this coming on the heels of a decade of nearly every high-level al Qaeda operative’s arrest taking place in a Pakistani city. But sell he must. Without Pakistan, there are issues, not the least of which a teetering police state with nuclear weapons bordering the tribal madness of Afghanistan.

The other tough sell will be coming to grips with how the information on the leads to bin Laden had originated. Especially since the type of torture incompetent fossils like Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld and other neo-con dinosaurs keep touting in a sad attempt to appear relevant to the vengeance they so abysmally botched for eight years is not only illegal but was roundly criticized by candidate Obama in 2008. Conflicting reports could lead to the type of leaks that might launch a re-trial on the effectiveness of “advanced interrogation”, even as it has been, according to preponderance of experts, mostly useless up until now.

Of course this entire episode is “too little, too late”. The fact that it took three wars, billions upon billions of dollars, much of it borrowed from China, thousands of American lives and tens of thousands of lives across the Middle East, and over ten years to track down what is arguably the most significant villain in America’s recent history, is so fantastically absurd it bares the most serious scrutiny of our nation’s true worth in the realm of justice and stability.

But for now one very important corpse is added to the roll call of maggots that have infected the planet since humans crawled from the slime. And that is always a reason to salute.

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The Ides Of Libya

Aquarian Weekly 3/30/11 REALITY CHECK

THE IDES OF LIBYA How To Take An Arab Sucker Punch

Think not I am what I appear. – Lord Byron

This thing in Libya, the “humanitarian effort” — or whatever the strategic bombing of a sovereign nation embroiled in civil war is now called — is wrong. It is wrong for this country. It is wrong for this president. It is wrong for this economy. It is certainly wrong in the wake of the ongoing United States riotous 21st century foreign policy. Thus, it is wrong for these times. It does nothing but prove that no matter what manner of man occupies the position of commander-in-chief it comes complete with a fatuous level of committal to our oil masters, putting to rest any notion that what is left of this bankrupt nation’s illusionary pride is, as it has been during the whole of my lifetime, nothing but a feint echo.

Moammar GadhafiTurns out this fiasco was a no-go during the long weekend of March 18-20, until the Secretary of State, whose husband, as president, stood idly by when receiving reams of reports from Rwanda that there were scores of Tutsis being massacred in a systemic genocide mission, received word that the Arab League was all in favor of ousting the Libyan president but wanted the world to think it a mercy mission. This is how the West would rid the Saudis of Moammar Gadhafi and his secular abomination, sending a pack of radicals into a power vacuum. Keeps the rest of the planet from seeing the strong-arm tactics being deployed in Bahrain to prove whose boss.

Libya was nothing but a sideline venture for Barack Obama until the League of Arab States put its imprimatur on things. Then it went from stoic aphorisms on the concern for world peace to guns a-blazin’; a nifty shift in foreign policy dictated once again by our masters.

Why Gadhafi? Why now? This civil war, this insurrection by the latest in a long-running rabble that is “fed up” with his four decades of abject madness, is a distraction. Gadhafi is useless and stupid and fearing his threats to weed out the scum in their closets and slaughter their children is equally as useless and stupid. Have we learned nothing from grandstanding millionaire oil tyrants who wave machetes for CNN? Has the State Department and the CIA finally given up, and if so, how can we sic the Republican sweep of federal budget cuts on them?

No one believes Gadhafi a threat to anyone outside of his people, a people this country or the whole of Europe know less about than they knew what the Iraqis would do when we were through pillaging their country. It is the immutable right of a people to rise up against its oppressor as it is in the oppressor’s right to crush them. For instance: Let’s see how far things get around here if we run a mass assault on Pennsylvania Avenue, jack.

Propping up an indistinct revolt in a tiny, insignificant stretch of arid desert in North Africa makes as much sense as the fancy euphemisms this country has offered for war tactics under every president for the past one hundred-plus years.

Propping up an indistinct revolt in a tiny, insignificant stretch of arid desert in North Africa makes as much sense as the fancy euphemisms this country has offered for war tactics under every president for the past one hundred-plus years; from the annexing of Mexico and Hawaii and the Philippines and Cuba to the butting in on Korea and Viet Nam and Nicaragua and Afghanistan and Iraq. Call it a “humanitarian effort” if it pleases you, or call it a “police action”, “surge” “raid” or “project freedom”, but without the semantic gymnastics, it is an act of war. It is pushing another weak hand to the center of the table with very little in the way of chips to back it up.

And what is the end game; ousting a lunatic to usher in the mob?

Reports from all sides indicate that there is no central theme to the Libyan uprising, as was the sad case with the stalled Egyptian coup or Tunisia’s mutiny, where a random pack of citizenry cobble discarded WWII-era weapons and instigate land skirmishes against hired soldiers of fortune armed with Soviet-era weaponry in an all-out five-sided melee. This a revolution does not make.

So, then, whom is Europe going to eventually deal with for its oil supply? And why then are we assisting this half-baked desperate attempt at securing several nations’ supplies when many of them kept their arms folded when we attempted the same thing in Iraq eight years ago to the very day?

And dare we mention again that the United States military, its command and the entirety of the Pentagon, is broken and has been for decades; the gory results of its failures on display for the past ten years as third-world nations take forever to be secured and although it is gangbusters getting in, not so much getting out. And you would think that a man who stated years before he thought of running for president that using military force with no direct threat to the nation is an abuse of executive power would heed his own warnings, or the warnings of history, both recent and ancient.

But here we go again; more half-truths and ambiguous mission statements, half-assed allies — including the fancy Arab League which now hedges bets and plays against rote, much like the last two decades of Pakistan’s sinkhole alliance — and a well-meaning but toothless U.N. suckering the United States into another military folly.

And who is paying for this? I thought we were busted and our children doomed and our system hanging by a thread and everyone must tighten belts and sacrifice, sacrifice, sacrifice. Is this the military industrial complex making waves to remain relevant, keep the TEA Party marauders from lumping them in with Public Broadcasting and the Department of Education?

Hell, a lot of entities benefit from this turn of events, but the least them is the American people, who once again bankroll a president caught in the crosshairs of international intrigue with his red, white & blue hanging out. But know this, if anyone thinks Gadhafi will get the message and back down or come to his senses or some other dime-store postulating from the same snake-oil peddlers who brought us “the Iraqis will greet us as liberators”, then prepare to be duped.

It may not be a disaster, it could even end is some sort of international public relations coup, but it is wrong. And I’m fairly sure we’ve had enough of wrong around here.

 

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Rand Paul: The Tea Party Man

Aquarian Weekly 2/16/11 REALITY CHECK

THE TEA PARTY MAN Rand Paul’s Maverick Battle For The New Right

Rand Paul is a dangerous man. The thing is it’s difficult to tell whether the Freshman Senator from Kentucky is more dangerous to the Left or the Right. Inarguably, he is dangerous to The System, for if nothing else he isn’t screwing around. He means to slash and dash the federal government by tying its purse strings and thus shrink it way past anything Ronald Reagan ever dreamed. The Gipper, like all poser fiscal conservatives, especially the newly minted Republican legislators, had not seen anything like Rand Paul. Certainly those who disingenuously rode the wave of the Tea Party angst won’t be able to stand idly by and allow this man to begin chipping away at policy with a zealot vehemence that would make Newt Gingrich look like a welfare freak. And although Democrats may casually dismiss him as a libertarian nut, they will also have public relations issues with a coyote sniffing around their usually manageable hen house.

Rand PaulApparently Rand Paul wasn’t merely piggybacking the anti-government groundswell of 2010. He was damned serious. And now that 2011 begins with him on the inside, he’s going to stand on principle, at least for the time being. This is nothing Republicans want to hear, fearing another 1995 disaster when a landslide of GOP support went sideways fast. Soon Big Bill Clinton was being sworn in again. Running through the halls of congress with an economic battle axe runs counterpoint to what the Republicans have in mind; take a lot of useless congressional votes, blame the Democratic-controlled Senate for their failures, and subsequently get rid of Barack Obama so they can go back to running up the debt on some other asinine war or massive Medicare handout.

On the heels of his newly formed $500 billion budget-gutting bill proposal that the Wall Street Journal calls “modest” and the New York Times deemed “ludicrous”, Paul has gone through the cable news circuit heralding his unflinching agenda. Apparently willing to put his immutable principles to the test with a vote, Paul has wasted no time carving out his own spot on Capitol Hill

And if he has to, Paul will go it alone.

For instance, on February 3, Paul was the lone dissenter against a bill that would outlaw citizens from aiming laser pointers at aircrafts. This is akin to an innocuous “no torturing puppies” piece of legislation. But Paul was opposed, agreeing it a sound safety issue but also pointing out that many states already have such laws on the books and should decide for themselves on the length and breadth of the “regulation”. This of course parallels Paul’s intellectual argument against certain aspects of the 1964 Civil Rights bill that became something of a public embarrassment for him during his campaign. After the obligatory backlash, Paul eased up on his original disagreement that any private enterprise be forced to comply with federal laws to serve patrons it felt unfit for service, namely African Americans.

Although months ago we dissected the issue as a goofy professorial discussion on States vs. Federal rights and not blatant racism, there seemed to be a disconnect with Paul’s ability to distinguish between core philosophy and plain governance.

To Paul, people seem to muck up the works with their silly needs and messy gray area interpretations. This kind of character tends to scare the hell out of professional politicians, happy to skip around the edges and pay lip service to facts.

You see, Paul is a wonk, a geek, a stat nerd with nary the bombastic personality of a Gingrich or the plastic charm of a Reagan. He comes on as a robot, unwilling to deal in emotional or endearing aspects of issues. It is numbers; deficits, surpluses and how to best control them that moves Rand Paul. To Paul, people seem to muck up the works with their silly needs and messy gray area interpretations. This kind of character tends to scare the hell out of professional politicians, happy to skip around the edges and pay lip service to facts. It is never about where your tax dollars are spent for Rand Paul, only the reasons to spend it. And he sees very little reason to spend it anywhere.

It is this no-nonsense dedication to reducing the power and expanse of the federal government that Paul brings his $500 billion plan to congress. With proposed cuts to the Departments of Agriculture and Transportation removing $42 billion and further reductions to the Departments of Energy and Housing and Urban Development of approximately $50 billion each, the bill also includes removing education from the federal government’s jurisdiction, allegedly creating an almost $80 billion in cuts.

As predictable as it is that a fiscal conservative would choose to beat on Agriculture, Energy, Transportation and Housing and Urban Development, Paul doesn’t stop there, proving his libertarian mettle and that he’ll not renege on reducing government ala Regan and the last Republican president or even the Gingrich Republicans of a generation ago. Paul’s bill takes aim at the usual Republican spend-thrift strongholds like international aid, Homeland Security and the Defense Department.

In an op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal this week, Paul emphatically stated his desire to cut “wasteful spending” at the Pentagon. “Since 2001, our annual defense budget has increased nearly 120%” writes Paul. “Even subtracting the costs of the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, spending is up 67%. These levels of spending are unjustifiable and unsustainable.”

Balls. That’s what it takes to go where Paul is going, where no one elected to congress as a member of either party has gone in our lifetimes.

But even Rand Paul’s balls have their limits. His proposed $500 billion in cuts, which he stoically calls “just getting started”, would keep 85 percent of the federal government churning out the entitlements; namely Social Security or Medicare.

Not even a true maverick like Paul would dare touch the untouchable, but Rome was not taken down in a day.

It is unlikely Rand Paul will get any of this past the committee stage; much less a vote in the House or the Senate, but it will be worth watching. His stand will be also worth discussing in the coming year as the initial grass roots tremors against government spending and tax issues fade into what is sure to be the expected “Patience is a Virtue” pitch the Republican-controlled House will hide behind. It appears as if Paul will stand virtually alone against the raising of the debt ceiling, which is approaching rapidly.

That’s when we’ll find out where Paul’s enemies reside; Left or Right.

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Egyptian Experiment In Anarchy

Aquarian Weekly 2/9/11 REALITY CHECK

CAIRO: EGYPTIAN EXPERIMENT IN ANARCHY Human Rights, Crude Oil & The Jeffersonian Con

When I first began penning this column in the late-1990s’ there seemed to be a spate American anarchist movements. A few whose thoughts were given voice and then viciously impugned in this space are the American Revolutionary Vanguard (last heard from in 2005), North American Anarchist Movement (last seen in 2002), and the Independent Institute (petered out in 2000). And those were just three that had an Internet presence. Oh, there were more, trust me. And I heard from many. Then the Patriot Act kicked in and the fun was over. Anarchy was out. Or at least stamped out by Big Brother. Just as well, it was an insipidly impractical solution for whatever ails, coming from the far Left or the far Right. No one likes to keep 24-hour vigil at the homestead to keep it from being looted or burned to the ground. Oh, and running water and ample electricity are commodities too precious to dump on account of political fervor.

Egyptian ProtestorsLast summer when the Tea Party enthusiasts started to contact us, we made our way to several events; even spoke at one, with much of the same detached irony that borders on contempt displayed here weekly. Not sure what they expected, but it’s what they got. In spades. Hey, you ask a wise ass to your silly gathering, you get one — a beggar’s version of Ricky Gervais at the Golden Globes with less moaning and more booing.

But belly-up anarchist movements and our exploits in addressing pseudo revolutionaries are a mere detour to a more sober discussion on what is going on in Cairo, Egypt right now, which is a bonafide uprising and mere hours (at the time of this writing) from hard core anarchy. As American-made tear gas reigns down on what is coming up on two weeks of street mayhem, there is a certain by-the-hour sense of news shifting like desert sand in a storm. No one has a fucking scintilla of an idea where it will blow next and everyone’s fortunes are at stake. This makes for news. And in a world filled with crap that passes for fact and dung filling in the commentary spaces, this is the real deal.

It is a far more serious, less intellectual and even less-so emotional glimpse into pure desperation going on in Egypt right now. It is dissimilar to what went down in Iran two years ago, mainly because it is wholly economic and not in the least anti-theocratic. That botched mutiny was mostly youth-related. Like many of the failed communal counter-culture blips of the 1960s, it tanked. This will happen when enthusiasm over tyrannical religious rule is your only fuel. Money is a different animal. State-strangling corruption leads to economic strife, which then leads to a failure to feed the kids and keep the heat on. This is what we have unfolding on our television sets.

Egypt’s “democratic” state, supported with a stream of U.S. funds only out-matched by Israel, has hit the wall. It is democratic in name only and fails to even resemble our half-baked republic. Truth be told, and now it is being told, Egypt is more or less a crude-oil based dictatorship masquerading as a democracy to bolster the West’s energy’s concerns and act as a buttress against another 1967 all-out war with Israel. This charade has gone on for thirty years under the rule of a reality-compromised “president”, who has enjoyed American funds, weapons and protection for keeping the oilrigs flowing after Anwar Sadat was gunned down in 1981. This gained him unwavering support over the course of now five American presidents and was especially significant in the wake of the Iranian Hostage Crisis, when another U.S. pawn dictator was sent packing.

One of our few staunchly Arab-run allies is on the brink of total ruin. And go figure; after we’ve spent a decade jamming our big nose into Middle East business with goofy eighth-grade level pipe dreams of democracy and McDonalds for all.

In the course of this all-out revolt, our man has morphed seamlessly from stern leader to soothing orator to conciliatory speechmaker to placating sad sack. This was all starkly illustrated as he casually announced he wouldn’t run for re-election as the capitol of his country was being burned to the ground. A more delusional response is hard to conjure.

But the hallucinations of Hosni Mubarak are hardly at issue here. The main crux of the matter in Cairo is how the United States, Saudi Arabia, OPEC and Israel will deal with the fallout. And there will soon be fallout, because as the country stands on the brink of military lockdown, there will only be anarchy left. And within it, there comes a vacuum. And that vacuum breeds uncertainty. And if there is one place uncertainty cannot be allowed to endure for the oil industry or its bitch, America, it is Egypt. Of course the Saudis have been whistling past the graveyard for some time, but let’s face it, kids; if Saudi Arabia goes its electric cars and solar panels for everyone.

Seeing Egypt in flames has taken the heart out of our secretary of state. Hillary Clinton has changed her stance on this nightmare so many times there isn’t any point to it anymore. The United States, if the White House is any indication, has only one play here — appear as if we’re for freedom and the people and then get some new puppet asshole in there to patch up the works. We’re too close to closing shop in Iraq and winding down festivities in Afghanistan. The northeast is under mountains of snow and the airline and auto industries are on life support. This is no time for Egypt to descend into craziness.

One of our few staunchly Arab-run allies is on the brink of total ruin. And go figure; after we’ve spent a decade jamming our big nose into Middle East business with goofy eighth-grade level pipe dreams of democracy and McDonalds for all.

This is why as we go to press it is becoming obvious that whatever lip service Mubarak paid to his citizens, the hammer of violence would soon be succeeding it. Suddenly, after over a week of riots, looting and unlawful lunacy, with parked tanks as spectators, the pro-Mubarak vigilantes begin flailing machetes and heaving Malakoff cocktails into crowds of protestors. Of course, this makes things tough on his sponsor, the U.S. of A. We like our bankrolling of the rough stuff a little less public. First journalists get the beat down and then the cameras are turned off.

Call it revolution if you must, although a true revolution comes with some kind of leadership direction or manifesto or declaration of rights and basic post-fighting structural overview. Call it a conspiracy of the Muslim Brotherhood, although it is less likely than the laughable “9/11 was an inside job” paranoia. Or call it what it really is; anarchy.

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Democrats Circle The Wagons

Aquarian Weekly 10/13/10 REALITY CHECK

DEMOCRATS CIRCLE THE WAGONS
Last Ditch Effort To Fire-Up, Insult & Beg Progressives to Stem GOP Tide

There were no U.S. military survivors at the Battle of the Little Bighorn, but later reports from Native Americans, most notably the widely interviewed Joseph White Cow Bull, who’d taken part in slaughtering every last member of George Armstrong Custer’s charge, believed they could hear the doomed general hollering at his troops. Witnesses to the enemy swore each desperate salvo from the man who’d dedicated the last years of his professional life to wiping out the “red hordes”, changed course, almost manically, as if predicting the very modes of grief made famous in modern psychology; denial — rallying his outnumbered and ambushed troops, anger — questioning their manhood, allegiance and alleged superior genetic make-up to that of the savages, and finally a sad measure of bartering, to save a lost cause in its most dire moments.

David AxelrodCuster may have been eventually and ignominiously bludgeoned to death by a Northern Cheyenne woman named Buffalo Calf Road Woman, but his lessons survived a century and a half of political strategies — some with far better conclusions. The best and most recent example of this was just six short years ago when a weakened president with two fast-failing wars, a bloated deficit and plummeting approval numbers, rallied in a whiz-bang circle-the-wagons last-ditch attempt to rile up his party’s base and take the attack to the enemy, which at the time seemed as pathetic as Custer in his last throes but returned the highest office in the land to George W. Bush.

Recently, Karl Rove, the architect of Bush’s comeback of 2004, has been quite vocal about some of the wildly half-mad candidates mucking up this year’s version of Republican insurgence. He knows better than most when you have the enemy on the run you do not play the long odds. In ’04, when tapping into the increasingly dormant Religious Right vote with promises that if the president’s opponent, the out-maneuvered and oddly silent John Kerry would take power then abortions would flow freely, gays would rule and the glorious war effort against the godless Muslims would be lost.

Rove’s 2004 political mastery was a classic example of badgering, rallying and laying down the choice for the most fanatical among the GOP base; those who’d vote for a weakened Republican rather than face the consequences. The strategy to promise an anti-gay amendment and everlasting military protection neutered the questions about his candidate’s immobilized state and made certain those who had the most to lose would not sit idly by.

This is what the White House has now unabashedly offered as a final stratagem for the battered and bloodied Democrats in congress, who not only face a demoralizing defeat next month, but in avoiding the onslaught have run scared from the president. Even the vice president, known far and wide for an uproariously inarticulate blabbermouth technique, has gone on network television to castigate progressives and liberals to “buck up” and “quit whining”, despite the broken promises to closing Gitmo, a single-payer National Health Care option, a failure at Cap & Trade or Illegal Immigrant Emancipation orthodoxy, and most agonizingly, a sucking up to the “guilty” Wall St. set. This doesn’t even factor in the ultra-left’s hope that Obama was above politics and had more than a minor interest in ending nation building, adjusting existing marijuana laws, and maybe go to battle for gay rights in the military and on the stump.

Even taking the most fundamental approach to party politics, the base is the thing. In cases of an avalanche of mid-term angst and general inner-party malaise, it is the only thing.

Biden is insane, and soon will be replaced by Hillary Clinton to save Obama in 2012, but there may be nothing left to run on if 2010 is completely lost. Progressives, liberals, and even those in the center expecting some sort of epiphany, have gone ballistic, and in so doing, have caused a serious shift in Democratic politics. Thus, as time runs out, and the numbers and impassioned anti-incumbent rage surges against them, the Democrats’ only hope is to temper the blow, stop the political hemorrhaging and hang onto the House or at the very least the Senate.

Even taking the most fundamental approach to party politics, the base is the thing. In cases of an avalanche of mid-term angst and general inner-party malaise, it is the only thing.

Take for instance the president’s recent appearance at the University of Wisconsin at Madison, streamed online to several campuses nationwide, using the social networking and youth movement his staff brilliantly tapped for his improbable 2008 rise and victory. The September 28 speech, symbolically recalling his most stirring oratory after the 2008 Wisconsin primary victory, began earnestly with a Ronald Reagan type “stay the course” routine, with promises of unfinished business, then a dollop of Jimmy Carter “want to go back to the last nightmare?” concluding with a firebrand call to arms for those who he most relied upon to stake his claim; first inside the party against the mighty Clinton Machine and then nationally across center-right tides, where the now all-but lost Independents reside.

It was a rallying cry echoed plenty since, which was piggybacked by left-shilling MSNBC — much as FOXNEWS has shamelessly trumpeted the fractious TEA Party movement — when the week after Obama’s Wisconsin plea, the network hosted a Education Nation week, wherein the focus was on teacher unions and the growing dumbing-down of Americans over the past decades. The hint there is the elitist, and in many cases honest, approach that the radical Right voices count on the electorate’s ignorance with emotional alternatives to critically tangible solutions.

Although the battles are disparate and motivated by local concerns, they have lasting national consequences to the future of Nation Health Care, the Bush Tax Cuts, continued troop surges in Afghanistan, and the effectiveness of President Barack Obama’s last two years in office.

Whether Republican or Democrat, the strategy in such a “crisis” has always been and is now exceedingly employed; rally the troops and circle the wagons with hefty Custer-like denials, harangues and a healthy does of old-world beseeching.

Either way it’s cut, the Buffalo Calf Road Woman is raising her club.

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McChrystal Sacked, So?

Aquarian Weekly 6/30/10 REALITY CHECK

G.I. JOKE U.S. Military’s Revolving Generals & Endless Campaigns of Chaos

New commander-in-chief, same old crap; the United States Armed Forces is in chaos. Already recovering from decades of abysmal derailments and disasters in Korea and Viet Nam to ill-fated underground black-ops from Cuba to Nicaragua to Beirut, and the latest nonsense begun by the dumbly-fabricated braggadocio of Desert Storm and its baby brother in the half-assed colonizing of Iraq to the longest running campaign in American history in Afghanistan, the once proudly invincible U.S. military has now become our longest running pun.

Stanely McChrystalLess than two days after a freelance journalist coerced the commander of international forces in Afghanistan to commit professional suicide in the pages of whatever cheap imitation of pop culture schlock is now Rolling Stone magazine, President Barack Obama was forced to relieve General Stanley McChrystal of his duties. At least the disgraced and quite obviously half-mad general will no longer have to face the embarrassing possibility of retiring during what started out nine years ago as a vengeance jag for 9/11 and to bag its architect, the long-dead Osama bin Laden, but after the loss of 1,000 American lives and a projected cost of $1 trillion has become something of its own tragic comedy.

For the president, embroiled in a half dozen looming and already raging domestic disasters, it is bad timing to say the least. This is Obama’s war, and McChrystal is his man, or was his man, as the swift half-hour White House meeting of 6/23 would attest, the substance of which had the insubordinate general out and the hero of overdue mop-ups, General David Petraeus in. Later that afternoon, a visibly angered president took to the Rose Garden and tried his best to gloss over what has been an overlooked sinkhole of his administration — long debated and dissented by close advisers.

It was the very same advisers, along with the vice president and the president himself, who McChrystal and his aides casually mocked from the fringes of the battlefield, on the record and during operations, to a left-leaning rock periodical. A more damaging sabotage of morale and decorum is difficult to contrive beyond a blatantly defiant Douglas McCarthur-like implosion. It was as if the rot of what has become the ceaseless fighting in a desert wasteland pocked with hidden caves and unforgiving mountain ridges had frayed the edges of the U.S. Army’s top brass. The focus of the RS piece, “The Runaway General,” is not merely the bent rant of an over-worked and rancorously loose-lipped army lifer, but a manifestation of the abject lunacy which permeates an uncertain end game to a War on Terror mismanaged for so long by so many voices and fought by so many brave and run-ragged forces it emerges as a dizzying inertia of bedlam.

It stretches even the most elastic credibility to believe in this day of media by the second and by everyone coming from everywhere that even a man resembling a less provocative but no less puzzling Colonel Kurtz from Coppola’s Apocalypse Now could be so irresponsible or haphazardly calculating to publicly call the National Security Adviser “a clown” or paint his commander-in-chief as “uncomfortable with military leaders and initially unengaged on defense policy”. Then, after being presented the finished article prior to its publication, approved its content without so much as an obligatory retraction. The whole shebang reeks of a symptom of a disease beyond this president and his war or his commanders and their last vestiges of a “strategy”.

Things have not gone well for Obama and McChrystal in Afghanistan, as they had not for George W. Bush for the last seven years of his presidency, or the Soviets in the 1980s, the British Empire in the late 1800s, Genghis Kahn in the early part of the 13th Century, or Alexander the Great way back in 338 BC.

The latest being the very same McChrystal’s oft-delayed siege of Kandahar, which after months of planning was scheduled for “soon”, but by the timeline of how the “war” has gone for most of its duration, will likely launch sometime around Christmas 2012. Touted as the pivotal battle to what candidate and now President Obama has called the critical frontline of the aforementioned War on Terror, its snags simmer below the surface of the general’s queer and very public commentary.

Things have not gone well for Obama and McChrystal in Afghanistan, as they had not for George W. Bush for the last seven years of his presidency, or the Soviets in the 1980s, the British Empire in the late 1800s, Genghis Kahn in the early part of the 13th Century, or Alexander the Great way back in 338 BC. The enthusiasm of a new and improved “counterinsurgency” plan to take out Taliban 2.0, which stressed the always-popular road show of “overwhelming on-the-ground force coupled with an amped-up effort to win hearts and minds”, has soured into a tail-chasing bloodbath slowly losing traction with a majority of the voting public.

For many mind-bending reasons, over 60 percent of Americans polled in the winter of 2008 favored a ramped-up Afghan policy. Despite years of dismantling the original Taliban, backed up by the occasional failures to secure the country, and then what amounted to a dormant exit strategy in order to better run roughshod over Iraq; which if you haven’t checked lately is still rolling along, there were still some people willing to believe. Of course that willing constituency, after a year and a half of a doom-struck re-packaged plan, has sunk to around 40 percent or so. But plummeting support from the citizenry meant nothing for the better part of the last decade and looks to have crapped out now.

Into the breach strolled the high command to jam his standard-issued boot into his flapping maw, a grand mistake that has now likely set things back even further. Something that not only infuriated the president, since he had bought into the entire McChrystal war plan, but has rankled high-level Republicans in congress, who all stand firm with the president — no small feat considering that no matter the issue almost none of whom have so much as budged in Obama’s direction. It is especially odd when considering the current anti-incumbent landscape and the fast-approaching mid-term elections.

The only explanation for such a maneuver is that with no end in sight, and most of the legislature unable to wash nine years of blood from its hands, they’re all-in. But politics, lunatics and Jann Wenner’s flaccid rag aside, the most pressing issue is the sad state of the United States military; spread frighteningly thin and literally holding a shifting line in the sand. How mush shit are these poor people expected to eat before someone with half a brain ends the insanity?

The answer the president gave to this question would come as he concluded his post-McChrystal Rose Garden address by stating that the change in leadership is not a change in policy. And thus, the Pentagon, in a banner year boasting at least a $700 billion budget, more than 10 times that of the State Department, will continue to toil in the world’s deadest of ends; making the Obama pledge to begin the withdrawal of the 94,000 American troops in Afghanistan by July 2011 the biggest joke of all.

 

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