Search Results for: Afghanistan

Obama Loses Left

Aquarian Weekly 6/23/10 REALITY CHECK

EXIT STAGE LEFT Obama at a Crossroads with Progressives

What the battle over national health care could only portend has now come into glaring reality in the wake of the BP Oil Gusher, which is well into month two and showing no signs of slowing. It is official; the president of the United States has lost the Left.

All the crazy talk from the extreme Right about birth certificates and irrational blabbering about a weird amalgam of fascism and communism with a dollop of radicalism mixed in has masked the growing unrest on the side that counts for Barack Obama. There is no presidency without the Left and certainly no prayer of a second term either.

Unlikely PairIt appears that by the third paragraph of his first Oval Office address things for Liberal Central have gone from sickly to flat-lined for Joe Cool. Perhaps it’s a penchant to wait an agonizingly long time to chime in on events that directly affect his presidency or his almost detached sense of intellectual miasma that has raised the ire of his most rabid supporters, but whatever lip service the Obama address paid to a need for alternative energy and environmental concerns, the broaching of which had the Right in a predicable froth, turned out to be nothing more than a fart in the wind for liberals.

No carbon tax. No Cap & Trade. No steadfast demand for a detailed Energy Bill or a harsher rebuke for Big Oil.

The Left had first whispered, then wailed about what is now pretty much universally accepted as the worst man-made environmental disaster in the history of this nation becoming another missed opportunity to jam home legislation to reshape the country. As it seems was the failure to include a Single Payer Option in the watered down Health Care Bill or a stronger demand for Immigration Reform as the ethnic, cultural, and social lines were being drawn in Arizona. Not to mention the still open-for-business Gitmo after huge revelations of illegal torture techniques sanctioned by the previous administration. Oh, and by the way, there are still two wars a-raging, one that has now become this president’s own dubious gamble in Afghanistan.

But the BP disaster is such a slam dunk for the Left and its many environmentalists vs. big business crowd, it appears almost comical that what they believed in the autumn of 2008 was their president would not exploit it more fervently, as say the glut of neo-cons who dove headlong into a complete Middle East reconstruction during the country’s lust for vengeance following 9/11.

For a short time these past weeks there was an outcry about the president’s lack of leadership during this crisis, which on the surface appears dumb, but when studied more closely, is patently asinine. Leadership? Did we need fireside chats or blustery speeches? Maybe we were looking for him to don a flak jacket and fishing togs and stroll along the surf shaking his head despondently, giving impromptu press conferences while hosing down cranes.

You guys are our sugar daddies and we’ll take our beatings and eat your dung and turn around and thank you so very much. We sleep with the great whore and we sleep well.

So of course the White House brain trust comes up with bright idea to sit Joe Cool at the Oval Office to say the same thing every president for the past half century has said about “weaning ourselves from a dependence on oil” and “developing alternative energies” and “holding Big Oil accountable” and “devising new regulations”, while calling for a series of special commissions to dig fancy trenches under the sea.

It was hardly Obama’s finest moment and registered uncharted rancor among liberals everywhere from the media to college campuses to the furthest reaches of intelligentsia. Many wept like children, others just bitched like, well, bitches.

And although the Left went ballistic on the last two Democratic presidents, it is still astounding how much this one, a different model on so many levels, resembles the last truly effective Republican chief executive.

After the first two years it was becoming glaringly evident to all in the Reagan administration that the Right had gone from intermittent gripers to an outright mutiny. Complaints of The Gipper being soft on the Russians, cow towing to the stalwarts in congress, and revealing a more reserved sense of compromise and level headedness that resembled nothing of the rousing candidate they had championed so fervently, Reagan’s once soaring approval ratings dipped severely as he faced a good old-fashioned mid-term horse-whipping.

Like Obama, a charismatic symbol of the newly charged era of progressivism, Reagan’s repackaged conservatism made him a different breed of Republican. But what Reagan learned and Obama has now come to realize is that when expectations to take down the status quo and wreck the system from the Right or the Left is met with the rigors and demands of actually running the immovable monstrosity that is the Free World, there remains for your hardcore base only disappointment.

Obama’s Health Care Crusade in the face of rising unemployment and at best a vacillating economic recovery, sent much of his Independent support running, but despite lukewarm to despondent reaction from the Left, whose majority believe its results a grotesque genuflect to insurance moguls, the BP spill has become the last straw.

Mere months after one of the most unlikely and politically savvy victories of any president, Barack Obama has reached the critical crossroads of his presidency. With far less experience than Reagan and with a much less empathetic rival party, which has treated his first two years as if he were more usurper than elected official, Obama has to use the Reagan model of small victories, appear unifying, and begin to rebuild a trust inevitably eroded by the toughest gig of them all.

One of the greatest lessons to be learned from the unerringly positive approach to politics displayed by the Gipper when times get tough is to tell your base if they don’t like it they can go back to the way things were with the other guys in charge.

Then blame everything else on the press.

Reality Check | Pop Culture | Politics | Sports | Music

 

Read More

Arizona Calling (SB1070)

Aquarian Weekly 5/12/10 REALITY CHECK

ARIZONA CALLING How Law 2010 Pushes Immigration Reform to the Brink

Though many people will disagree, I believe Senate Bill 1070 is what’s best for Arizona. – Governor Jan Brewer upon signing into law Senate Bill 1070 on 4/30

Jan Brewer's Mighty Pen Upon the launching of my web site in the early months of 2000, a 3,000-word screed from a concerned Arizona law officer was posted on its now defunct Sound-Off page. It emphatically stated that if in the following decade the United States government didn’t do something about the state’s “sieve border security”; there would be “terrible bloodshed” and “dire consequences”.

Bingo.

Fast forward those ten years, and Arizona now has a Wild West showdown of murderous proportions, whose death toll rivals the slaughterhouses in Iraq and Afghanistan.

A grievous dereliction in the federal government’s duty to provide for the common defense and preserve U.S. sovereignty, long derided in this space, has reached such a pressure point in Arizona that its local government thought it necessary to enact what amounts to an abject mockery of constitutional law.

SB1070, rubber stamped by Governor Jan Brewer, is nothing more than a hand-cupping, throat-shredding scream for help.

Mission accomplished.

For the bellow has been heard loud and clear.

Worded very much as the last vestige of survival, stemming from a Mexican drug lord war spill-over which has resulted in a plethora of random beatings, stabbings and collateral violence against Arizona’s citizens, the 1070 Law could not have hoped to survive a national outcry of racial profiling and unconstitutional tyranny, but more importantly the bevy of ensuing lawsuits and a predictable Washington intervention.

Fact is Brewer and the Arizona Senate ran out of legal and sane options. Because no one in an ostensibly free society could accept Law 1070 as a sane or legal option; in fact, the thing is so completely irresponsible, it even leaves the police at risk.

To wit:

The law lists a Context of Arrests; in other words, the fashion in which the Arizona police are to enforce it: Routine policing (bar brawl, speed trap), Routine suspicion (no hunches), and Not relying solely on race.

How then, you may rightly ask, is anyone going to effectively round up illegal aliens, of which by the way there are — according to the Office of Homeland Security (your tax dollars at waste) — 460.000 in Arizona today, without racially profiling, working on hunches, or going beyond “routine policing”?

The answer is they cannot. Thus, the 1070 Law is set up to fail, or at the very least, set up to cause illegal search and seizures, police-state abuses, and those rough-and-ready lawsuits. Truth is the damn thing is an atavistic draconian national embarrassment.

And yet this brilliantly directed showpiece by Arizona lawmakers, fronted dramatically by their governor, has now fully engaged the federal government and our president, who correctly pointed out in numerous speeches hence the law’s ridiculous constitutional liability and hardly a concrete answer to what now amounts to a new and improved concern for Immigration Reform.

Once again: Mission accomplished.

The mere fact that the president is on this subject, faced with massive oil spills, a Tennessee flood disaster, a Time Square terrorist plot, and the endless financial reform histrionics, is a bell-ringing success for crazy bill gone even crazier law.

Make no mistake about it; because of Arizona’s desperate and wholly reckless legal hissy fit, the nation’s eyes are now squarely focused on what has been an escalating problem for states bordering Mexico. It is no longer merely an argument about fining businesses who employ illegal aliens, their free health care or running under the radar of national security and other tertiary criminal activities. Now it’s lunatic drug dealers and gun runners blasting away at suburbanites; mothers and children being hacked to bits on street corners and the elderly bludgeoned by thugs who waltzed unhindered across our border.

This is why 70% of Arizonans back the law, just as you would too, if you were frightened for your life. Intellectually, there is a reason to raise eyebrows, as I surely did in the months following 9/11, as Air Force fighter planes whizzed the East River or tanks remained parked outside the Lincoln tunnel. Overkill? Police state? Or a reasonable response to a horrible breech of national security.

There is little arguing the law’s ratification as anything other than unconstitutional chicanery or the wild plea for federal assistance long overdue, but it does come with some precedence.

Since 1940, federal law has dictated that aliens must carry papers, such as U.S. citizens keeping passports at the ready in foreign countries, including all of Europe. Moreover, since 1976, the Supreme Court has recognized that states may enact laws to discourage illegal immigration without being pre-empted by federal law. As long as Congress hasn’t expressly forbidden the state law in question, the statute doesn’t conflict with federal law and Congress has not displaced all state laws from the field, it is permitted. This is why Arizona’s 2007 law making it illegal to knowingly employ unauthorized aliens was sustained by the United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit.

Basically, it seems, Arizona can do whatever the hell it wants, save Martial Law, which is pretty much next.

Ah, that is until the vagaries of carrying out the law — the whole reason we have laws is the penalty levied if said laws are broken — then a great deal of problems arise. And the backlash is going to be expensive in an economic downturn. Therefore, without further ado, I give you, with the teeth of a rabid dog, the federal government’s time to face the music. Suddenly, amidst the wrangling over Health Care Reform and Financial Reform, bailouts and stimulus packages, here comes a state begging Big Government to do its job or else.

Don’t think this will not be an issue come November when the Live Free Or Die set and their candidates of choice weight in on its aftermath, from civil libertarians to xenophobes.

Mission accomplished.

Reality Check | Pop Culture | Politics | Sports | Music

 

Read More

2010 U.S. Allies Run Amok

Aquarian Weekly 4/14/10 REALITY CHECK

WITH FRIENDS LIKE THESE…

Rumors of Afghani President Hamid Karzai’s drug use in the wake of his inflammatory anti-American comments are highly suspect. While it is true that Karzai has an insatiable appetite for chewing pure hashish bricks, it would be hard to tie this activity to the insane gibberish he decided to announce to his people after meeting with the president of the United States two weeks ago. Drugs are merely an excuse for being a self-destructive asshole. Stating that the U.S. fixed an election he won and that its armies, which now keep him from being executed, must leave or he will join those who aim to execute him is the talk of an idiot, not a hash fiend.

Hamid KarzaiKarzai suffers less from drug abuse than politics. He is a politician, and as such, must play to his base, which consists of religious lunatics with an irrational hatred of western values or some such voodoo bullshit. Moreover, many of these constituents see Karzai as an American stooge. He must turn this around quickly, faced with a looming deadline in which the crucial U.S. presence in that lunatic asylum ends.

Karzai’s loose-canon babbling matters little, since his days are numbered. Anyone with any grasp of Middle East political savvy has given him less than a week to live the minute the last marine leaves. What does matter is that Karzai is just one of several U.S. allies continuing to act smugly in the face of our generosity and military sacrifice. At least Karzai has the balls to be a two-faced conniver, unlike the last president of his former neighbor, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, who kissed America’s ass for years after 9/11 to hide the embezzling of millions of U.S. tax dollars.

Musharraf and Karzai are symptoms of this antiquated U.S. foreign policy that was rightfully born during the Second World War but continued haphazardly during the Cold War; this penchant to capture the hearts and minds of nations through force, executions, and coups to better promote democracy and freedom throughout the world to the point of military disaster and near bankruptcy.

The tribal kill-tank that is today’s Afghanistan is an unfortunate offshoot of America’s secret war to kick the Soviets out in the 1980s, which was left to disintegrate into chaos once the job was complete. Another fine example of the U.S. spending blood and treasure to correct its original foreign policy catastrophe.

For an even more pertinent model, check out Iraq. As stated ad nauseum in this space for years, despite naive drivel that Iraq had nothing to do with 9/11; if the first George Bush didn’t play war hero in Kuwait, there would have been no U.S. military presence on “holy ground” and al Qaeda would not have had a prime source for causing the kind of havoc it did in the 1990s, which lead inevitably to the horrors of 9/11.

These are tough economic times. Extravagances like being responsible for the survival of an ungrateful and obstinate pack of morons must be addressed.

The worst part of the whole Afghanistan/Iraq goofiness is the United States did not get the proposed stranglehold on oil riches after decades of playing half-baked neo-con dunderheaded international three-card monte with half the region.

Then we have the always-intriguing call for democracy in Palestine, which was made manifest in open elections wherein the people chose a world-class terrorist outfit. Not to mention it is perfectly legal for citizens of Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, two main allies we liberated and protected, to openly donate funds to al Qaeda.

But the Arabs are only half the problem here.

Nowhere in the Fourth Estate is there a more pro-Israel stance than exhibited in this space. It has raged for years about its sovereignty and applauded its military brilliance, but this latest nonsense with that strutting ass, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over treaty-busting settlements in the Gaza Strip, summarily shoved in the face of the American vice president in March, is as sad as it is suicidal. Without U.S. weapons and mounds of cash, Israel would have been a smoldering heap by 1978.

Netanyahu is the prize thoroughbred in the smirking stable of American lackeys that operate under the delusion they have control over their fate. It started in the spring of 1996, which happened to be the month I spent in Israel. I was in country when Netanyahu had three hyperbolic-laden debates with then Prime Minister Simon Perez and then on Election Day, when he acted as if he’d conquered Europe. Netanyahu’s militaristic, right wing nationalism is cute, but exists in his own fantasy. He is a puppet of the United States, as every one of his predecessors has been (of which he is one, having been ousted in ’99 before returning in late 2005) and his successors will be.

It’s just the way it is, jack:

No America, no Israel.

Netanyahu’s demand for the United States to stay out of Israel’s business is akin to crazy people waving signs at Tea Party rallies to keep the government off their Medicare.

It is time to face the hard truth: Nation building, like Liberalism and Conservatism, is a failed American philosophy, which for some strange reason seems to go on unchecked.

But the American tradition of repeating mistakes aside, there is a tried-and-true American staple that is currently misguided: anger.

As Americans go loony over a tepid National Health Care Reform Law their government spends billions a year to prop up the damaged social construct of sanctimonious blowhards and backstabbing narcissists half a planet away. Not to mention our kids losing limbs and lives over this miserable shit.

Under this kind of geo-political meandering you would think the United States would have stopped the Congo War by now, which has claimed over five and a half million lives since 2001. Maybe we’d stop doing business with China, which is an abject civil liberties joke. Perhaps we might consider storming the Vatican and eradicating the systematic raping of children?

In January of 2003, this space called it Selective Heroism; all that talk about Axis of Evil was stupid and expensive. It didn’t work in Viet Nam or any of the ensuing meddling.

These are tough economic times. Extravagances like being responsible for the survival of an ungrateful and obstinate pack of morons must be addressed.

Reality Check | Pop Culture | Politics | Sports | Music

 

Read More

Scott Brown Goes To Washington

Aquarian Weekly 1/27/10 REALITY CHECK

MR. BROWN GOES TO WASHINGTON How The Bluest State Threw Up The Red Stop Light On Health Care

Politics, like comedy, need not apologize. It just is. The victor has his story and the loser, the excuses. It is the way of The Vote. This has never been more evident than what transpired in Massachusetts over the nine days from mid-January to this past Tuesday in a Special Election to replace a senate seat someone with the name Kennedy had owned since Senator Scott Brown1952.

The general consensus among pundits and reactionaries is that The Cradle of Liberty spoke loudly against the current atmosphere in Washington DC, including whatever incoherent monstrosity now stands as a Health Care Bill in the House. The election results, as abruptly surprising as they were, while always being a referendum on national politics by rule, is never as clear a national message as advertised. But, just as what you find funny does not make it comedy, does it fail to be comedy when you do not laugh.

It just is.

Before those crucial nine days unfolded you couldn’t have picked the victor, Scott Philip Brown, a little known and relatively benign anti-tax, fairly socially liberal Republican state senator out of a line-up. By around January 13, Brown trailed his opponent, the state’s attorney general, Martha Coakley by a respectable but hardly noteworthy 15 to 18 points. In a solidly Blue State boasting its own progressive health care system, where people for decades voted overwhelmingly for a Liberal Lion of dubious moral construct that also happened to be a particularly staunch proponent of a national health care system, the idea that a populist anti-Democrat uprising was a-comin’ is a myth.

After all the Right Wing chest-pumping and end-zone dances subsided, the exit polls clearly showed an alarming exodus of Independents, 60 percent of which make up the true Massachusetts electorate, a majority of whom before some major gaffs and haughty rhetoric from Brown’s opponent were hardly galvanized by his truck-driving, regular-guy approach. The best you can say for the decisive Independent vote was much of it may have emerged from boredom after their beloved Patriots were unexpectedly booted from NFL play-off contention.

In those vital days between the Shoo-in and Toss-out, the Democratic candidate treated the campaign as everyone else beyond her opponent did, as if the election was an irritating weigh station to her seat. It apparently did not matter to Ms. Coakley or her staff that openly mocking the Red Sox, which comes in slightly ahead of Catholicism in religious fervor up there, or publicly complaining that it was too chilly to campaign was bad mojo in a hyper-provincial state loaded with insecure pride-mongers. Ted Kennedy, despite his shenanigans, knew how to make Bostonians and beyond feel like they were running the federal government. There is a reason why a drunken lout with a sense of familial entitlement won every election every time, whether drowning a woman or with a Republican in the governor’s chair.

Many exit polls revealed that it was the stagnation and incompetence of government not National Health Care that drove the Brown vote. What a truck-driving nudist and a half-baked lawyer do in Beantown should have no bearing.

In her last televised debate performance, Coakley sounded like a grim mutation of Caroline Kennedy and Sarah Palin when she seemed unsure if the United States had a continued military presence in Afghanistan. Then as the national spotlight began to shine on her shrinking lead, with millions of dollars pouring in from a suddenly giddy Republican National Committee and the president’s last-minute doomed-on-arrival rescue mission, she desperately went Dukakis in the saddest attempt to appear like she wasn’t a detached intellectual snob.

Only then did the prospect begin to take hold that National Health Care was in jeopardy. Brown and his staff, who had primarily run an Independent campaign, steering clear of the still-damaged Republican brand, smartly rammed home a populace message, taking the Ted Kennedy formula of reminding the otherwise apathetic voter that the world would be glued to and changed by the results, giving them succor for their hometown penis-envy by becoming The Story. Evidence of this is that not since 1990 had such an election drawn as many participants, and just like the record numbers that put Barack Obama in office in 2008 was later championed by Democrats, so did the Republicans rightfully paint their enthusiasm with an ideological brush.

But let’s face it, no one saw this coming, nor did anyone have any idea less than two weeks prior that it would be a national story, never mind a referendum or uprising. Anyone who said they did lies. When most of the country was caught up in the human and political implications of the Haiti earthquake or whether the House Majority leader was a racist, dummy or an old, inarticulate coot, the rumblings in what is generally considered the most liberal of states, was ignored.

The fact is the Democrats were hot and heavy on this Health Care thing from the get-go, even before Arlen Specter and Al Franken gave them a “Filibuster Proof” majority, just as the Democrats were hot and heavy on ending the Iraq occupation in ’06. That a one-state special election can crush federal legislation is media-generated, political party pabulum. If you cannot pass a bill with 59 Senators, a stranglehold on the House and a sitting president after one solid year of The Push, you either don’t want to or have no capacity to do so. Many exit polls revealed that it was the stagnation and incompetence of government not National Health Care that drove the Brown vote. What a truck-driving nudist and a half-baked lawyer do in Beantown should have no bearing.

Shame on the losers – and to the winners goes the bending of truths.

Irony of ironies, the Democrats brought this on themselves long before Teddy went belly-up. Thinking John Kerry, another gangbuster lifer senator from the state, was about to take the White House in 2004 and Republican governor Mitt Romney would appoint his replacement; they pushed hard for a “Special Election” to decide the post. And now, before his body is cold and a lifetime memory of fighting for national health care dwindles, a Republican newbie rides south to the nation’s capitol to warm the Kennedy seat.

Thus, what was at best the longest shot in federal legislation since the privatization of Social Security now appears to be what this space long predicted – dead. The Democrats Dog & Pony Show on Health Care, which as stated here and among friends and colleagues for years was always a pipe dream worthy of Lewis Carroll but made manifestly impossible in the feeble hands of self-flagellating procrastinators, is now fading fast. No one really wanted a national Health Care bill in Washington. If they did, if this president did, they would have used the most dominant congressional majority in a century to do it.

That’s either hilarious or tragic.

Or it just is.

 

Reality Check | Pop Culture | Politics | Sports | Music

 

Read More

Barack Obama’s America: Year One

Aquarian Weekly 1/20/10 REALITY CHECK

BARACK OBAMA’S AMERICA: YEAR ONE

Change.

It was all the rage in 2008 and it sure came into clear, brutal view in 2009.

Barack Obama: Year OneNo one paying attention could imagine it emerging differently, not with the new guy resembling in no way the last forty-three guys, governing in no way like anyone since FDR, and facing a two-front war beneath one of the most damaged global economic meltdowns in history. Forget race, generation and a tinderbox political environment, rousing approval numbers and a mad scramble for a healthy slice of the New Democratic Party Power Pie; the second Barack Obama raised his hand to swear his oath as leader of the free world, there was change.

Success?

Yes.

Failure.

Of course.

Much of both. This is what comes with the territory. There is very little anyone can write coherently about the office and its times without the gray areas filling the spaces; this means the bluster, inconsistencies, and burps of conscience, the screw-ups and luck-outs, the hard choices and thankless sacrifices, and most of all the inevitable charges of hypocrisy. This was all in evidence in Barack Obama’s America: Year One.

Firstly, and perhaps most importantly, it was a bloody rebirthing of Liberalism, a renewal of Diplomacy and a staunch surrender to analytical stasis. It began in an explosion of populist fuel, bucking haphazardly into a zigzag of ideology, and ending in perhaps the final trumpet call across the fields of Hope.

Right from the start, the new president was uninterested in sweeping clean all that had come before. He continued his predecessor’s policies at home and abroad, choosing to retain George W. Bush’s most influential appointees, Ben Bernanke as Federal Reserve Chairman and Secretary of Defense. Robert Gates. The former helped continue the federal government’s emergency bank bailouts towards record numbers, stopping the hemorrhaging while further bloating the federal budget. The latter shifted the vagaries in the War on Terror onto the borders of Afghanistan and Pakistan as candidate Obama had foretold.

These and other penalties against the Left and a failure to appease anti-Bush Independents like the sustained genuflecting to Wall Street, an apathetic view towards immediately closing down Gitmo, a refusal to put steadfast timelines on a withdrawal in Iraq, and most egregiously a closed-door policy in Congress’s Health Care debate – something candidate Obama repeatedly promised to keep transparent – torpedoed his once stratospheric approval ratings.

Where Obama may have lost the majority of independents and many of the moderate leftists is the inability for him to intercede where necessary with the zealots of his party, especially the House Speaker and its majority leader, both of whom conducted much of the Recovery Act as some kind of re-shifting of taxpayer charities into a spectacular sinkhole of pork.

Another tweak to Liberals was the president’s almost habitual if not half-hearted attempt at bipartisanship. Tanking on arrival, due to the almost complete dismantling of The Right following his entry into office, it never had a chance. Whoever was left to defend the fractured conservative movement would not go quietly. Its pathetic representation in government reduced the fringes of the Fourth Estate to exact vengeance, the rightful weapon of the loser. Thus the Birther-TEA Party-Town Hall masses began to take hold of the age-old debate on how much the government may be allowed to act in the reconstruction of our damaged republic, from environmental, moral to defense and wealth redistribution. Soon, as was the case in the last administration, much of the back-and-forth, which turned civil rights and proactive military action into charges of fascism and war crimes turned Keynesian economics into forced socialism and health care reform into death panels.

Lost to the general public and the consumers of the sporadic bilge, the massive takeover by the federal government of the banking system was not a choice but a reaction, much like most of what the former president was forced to face in the ensuing months after 9/11. What followed for the Bush Administration defined it for history, much like the months following the massive financial band-aid that kept the economic fabric of the planet from unraveling any further, the effects of which bloats unemployment numbers and still strikes fear in the American consumer, which is all that is left us as an economic power.

Where Obama may have lost the majority of independents and many of the moderate leftists is the inability for him to intercede where necessary with the zealots of his party, especially the House Speaker and its majority leader, both of whom conducted much of the Recovery Act as some kind of re-shifting of taxpayer charities into a spectacular sinkhole of pork. It was the same mentality that allowed the most important element of the president’s initial boatload of political capital to spring several leaks, causing the Health Care Reform Bill to inevitably become a flaccid shell of its original intent.

Then, as is the case with every president, an unforeseen moment shifts the general inclination of the man in the Big Chair. Such was what is now called the Christmas Terror Plot, which pushed to the fore a more assertive and fed-up Barack Obama, who launched an unflinching pronouncement of culpability from the CIA to the FBI to the rafters of Congress, unthinkable for a commander-in-chief in war time. The outburst caused veteran reporter David Broder to observe, “Obama’s benign leadership style had reached its limits”. And now one gets the feeling that although the White House would love for there to be a Health Care Bill by the time the president hits Capital Hill for his State of the Union Address, what may enter the hen house is a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

One can only hope, but dare we?

Although the largest building in the country’s greatest city was not taken down by lunatics nor has the president handed over major legislation to his wife, Barack Obama’s America: Year One faced the cacophony like few have ever had to endure. Maybe there were far too many television appearances and weirdly apologetic speeches abroad, his cabinet filled with questionable character, there was also not a litany of expected speeches (only one actually hit home in an emergency session of congress that was too little too late) and truth be told much of his style has been more reticent than radical.

What the new guy is not is a New Politician. He is the same one we have seen before, making the same mistakes and settling on the same hard decisions that don’t always jibe with the far-reaching, inspirational sonnet of the “outsider”. And in the end, which is only the beginning, Barack Obama’s America: Year One may have taught us a lesson we already knew deep down; twelve months does not a term make.

Reality Check | Pop Culture | Politics | Sports | Music

 

Read More

Why We Care About Tiger Woods

Aquarian Weekly 12/9/09 REALITY CHECK

WHY WE CARE ABOUT TIGER WOODS

Salad DaysI was sitting sipping Bahamian beer with my wife at Rum Runners and listening to an ominous storm front move across Pelican Bay when I first heard the news of Tiger Woods’ “car accident”. I had my back to a dusty television jammed precariously between what looked to me like a 1950s loud speaker and an over-sized pool cue rack, but the sound of my wife bellowing over the charmingly bad seventies rock and a tall ebony barkeep racing for the jukebox volume hushed the revelry for a moment. Suddenly the tinny echo of the CNN reporter’s solemn announcement filled the void. It was “serious”; he said over and over, prompting a corpulent woman from Tampa to gasp, “He’s dead!” Her companion, a gangly, mustachioed hippie with a cheap Hawaiian shirt removed the ragged straw hat from his sweaty head and sighed, “First Michael Jackson, now this.”

Indeed, my wife agreed, Jackson was dead, murdered by a quack with nerve gas and a secret celebrity code; his whereabouts unknown, because apparently no one cares anymore who or what killed the King of Pop, and soon, when they dredged Tiger’s remains from the Florida everglades, likely masticated beyond recognition from a surge of ravenous crocodiles, there will be little anyone will care about — troop levels in Afghanistan, National Health Care Reform, or the all-important Black Friday retail numbers, which would doubtless decide the immediate economic future of the Western world.

No, everyone within earshot agreed: even the slightest injury to Tiger Woods would be beyond devastating news.

Why?

For starters, Woods, as the skinny brunette twenty-something from Nashville reminded us, easily rates in the top five of planet earth’s most famous people; certainly its most recognized athlete. He is this generation’s Babe Ruth or Muhammad Ali, transcending his sport, his race, his culture, his very humanity. Hell, as the panting barkeep offered, “Anyone that has a goddamned logo with his initials on every type of clothing and has the balls to constantly wear the thing in public is like some kind of Superman.”

Yes, Tiger, the man for whom only one name may suffice, does wear a logo of his initials upon his head and emblazoned on his form-fitting golf shirts, making him without debate our latest Nietchzian Ubermensch; an almost pristine caricature of the modern American Adonis; a multi-racial, youth-driven, handsomely slender master performer of his craft, obsessed with victory and perfection and cashing in. Tiger, with his $100 million a year endorsements, his gorgeous blonde Viking wife and two adorable kids, GQ cover style and jet-setter decorum, seems so likable he can comfortably straddle the most difficult of dualities: Lovably unapproachable.

It was beginning to look like a feeding frenzy would not only be unleashed, but this time, for a change, merited.

Could a rare profitable commodity so utterly indestructible truly be dead? Could he actually be unable to continue to set impossible standards of performance in the highbrow, country-club caste-crazy game he dominates with apparent ease?

The entire episode and its barely decipherable details seemed to set a pall on the whole island for the entire next day, which would have kept any normal couple from setting aside a three-day marathon of substance abuse, but I am happy to report, hardly curtailed us. My wife despises golf, which she has more than once dubbed “an elitist self-flagellation” in sober moments and far lengthier and even less comprehensible mockery under the influence. I have little use for the sport, as I have not played since high school, but do recall more than a decade ago predicting on a local television panel of sports journalists run by my friend Michael Miner, now a major player in almost every New York area sports media outlet, along with the gentleman currently running Westchester County, that Tiger would be the most celebrated athlete of his time. My esteemed colleagues differed on their prognostications since at the time Woods had not yet hit a golf ball for a dime.

Needless to say Woods eclipsed even my loftiest expectations, as he did for everyone else paying attention, as we all were on Saturday morning; the wife and I, half-asleep and ornery from an extended stopover at Miami International Airport. Every television and newspaper was busy arousing suspicions and offering half-cocked commentary. Now it seemed the Thanksgiving 2:30 am “car accident” happened between his driveway and the adjacent curbside, with smashed windows and his wife “hovering” over his “barely conscious” body with (gulp!) a golf club.

It was beginning to look like a feeding frenzy would not only be unleashed, but this time, for a change, merited. This was no imaginary boy in a balloon or anonymous kid trapped down a well or sold into slavery by dog-fighting trainers, or rich gargoyles suckering other rich gargoyles out of their land-raping money, or the delicate nuances of drunken teenage pop stars exposing their genitalia. No. This was serious business, and it would not be ending soon.

Before long back in the States and at the control center here at The Desk, the information poured in fast and furious, some refuting and contradicting the earlier ones, others expounding on what could best be described as the most mishandled philandering and subsequent publicity fallout in recent memory.

Not one, but two major stories in the National Enquirer and Us Magazine surfaced with hardcore dates and voicemails and text messages between our beloved Tiger and some Las Vegas floozy. Then another sex kitten emerged, then retracted, then re-emerged, and all the while nothing from Tiger or his considerable “camp”. Soon the police would downplay the case as a “weird mishap” and voices from the other side of reason began defending the poor guy’s right to privacy, which by all measures of logic is usually sold down the proverbial river with the type of ridiculous celebrity attributed to the few and the brave and the stack of cash accompanying it.

My favorite comments came from athletes who claim that somehow explaining oneself to the press or to the fans is a “professional courtesy” and not an impetrative, as my long-lost sportswriter pal, Barry Stanton once mused to a coked-out Lawrence Taylor during a charity golf event, “No one pays top dollar to see you play football in the park with your pals.” Ironically, this exchange of intellectual lobbing was met with the wielding of a golf club fairly close to Stanton’s head. He escaped unharmed, but his point hit home.

Humans tend to be attracted to the subtext of almost every innocuous and banal subject, especially when it contains salacious details or dark secrets of the famous. But this is far different. And although Tiger eventually released a “statement of apology” and had come to accept his “transgressions” there is something infinitely intriguing about the indestructible reduced to indefensible. That is not just an American phenomenon, but mostly a human one.

I believe Tiger would have a better “Leave me alone, this is a private matter” defense if he didn’t revel in his Master Of The Universe persona and didn’t profit immensely from it, just as the case could not be defended seriously when the president of the United States used the people’s property and time to diddle on his spouse.

But no president, not even the current Super Cool one — also a multi-racial handsome, youth figure, who is constantly on public as well as political trial — has been as popular as Tiger Woods for the past decade-plus. Only he, perhaps the amiable Peyton Manning in football and certainly the smooth Derek Jeter in baseball approach his level of sports persona earning power. In another ironic twist the multi-racial Jeter, fresh from a renaissance season and a fifth World Series title, was named Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year this week.

Hey, if Jeter’s teammate, the enigmatic Alex Rodriguez can go from tar-and-feathered steroid cheat, choker outcast, to World Champion hero class-act teammate in six months, what can Tiger Woods do with this nugget of personal “self-flagellation”? You see, in the end, there will always be someone somewhere who will offer the argument that we just love to build ’em up and knock ’em down, but then they ignore the fundamental beauty of a free society; that it provides a platform to which those can build themselves up with the always thorny opportunity to come down easy or hard.

Reality Check | Pop Culture | Politics | Sports | Music

 

Articles | Books | Bio | Press | Sound Off | Recommended | Contact jc jamescampion.com is a proud member of the BLAZO!! network BLAZE inter.NET Designed & Hosted by BLAZE inter.NET

Read More

The Sins Of Pakistan

Aquarian Weekly 5/27/09 REALITY CHECK

THE SINS OF PAKISTAN How Sovereignty & Absinthe Will Defeat The Taliban Once & For All

A victory in the fight against terrorism is in fact a guarantee for the security and protection of our coming generations. – Pakistani Prime Minsiter Yusuf Raza Gilani

It has been a dormant fifteen days since I emerged from the dark voodoo-drenched tanks in the black heart of the French Quarter, where One For The Roadnow instead of begging the kitchen help for sweet absinthe, one can purchase a glass over the bar for eighteen American, complete with a tourist-seducing fire show. Traditionally, the French frown on such activities, but this has never stopped me from blazing my own goodly share of sugarcane, and as it turned out the lovely barkeep at the Old Absinthe House on the Rue de Bourbon hailing from the suburbs “just north of Paris” exhibited the right accent and deft of wrist to best apply the ice water where needed. These flashpoints from hazy days lost in New Orleans may appear random to the untrained eye, until one realizes from time to time you need companionship when summoning the Green Fairy, and I have been blessed over the years with many a hale and hearty volunteer, but on this night it happened to be an Italian accountant from Brooklyn, NY and a former member of the Israeli Defense Force by way of Manhattan.

The accountant had come less for the wormwood than the music, as did my dearest brother-in-arms, Buzz and his engagingly erudite woman, both of whom had stayed at the hotel after weird vibrations from deceased authors took hold. This could not be properly explained then and I shall respect this edict now. As for my new Israeli friend, he was happy to discuss his mandatory “three-year duty” but was not as forthcoming about the sordid details of the World’s Finest Fighting Force, however we both agreed on two very important points; the drink and the company were pretty fine and the Pakistan Army will crush the Taliban and speedily make nice what the U.S. military and its befuddled intelligentsia have screwed royally in the deserts of Iraq. This, we also agreed, would bring about serious and debilitating setbacks to the misguided clusterfuck that represents the radical Islamic revolution against the Saudi Empire and its benefactors, Uncle Sam.

This may be a lot to digest in two paragraphs, but there is no sane way to quickly describe being half out of one’s head on finely distilled Roquette 1797 while confronting the kind of naked truths best kept hidden from “normal” Bourbon Street revelers. Yes, my friend assured me, the Pakistani Army would not only expunge the rag-tag revolutionary horde from its Afghanistan border, but also “gut the entire operation” – again, I reminded him, a job we failed to accomplish seven long years ago.

Leave it up to the Experienced Intelligence Community in the District of Columbia to wonder how a trained fighting force, familiar with the enemy – since most of them were created by the Pakistan government to combat the ever-present threat of neighboring India – can be properly motivated.

We agreed once more that after enjoying a three-to-one ratio of men and ten-to-one in arms and cash, the highly motivated Pakistani forces will win the day, but alas fail to find Osama bin Laden among the defeated, for he has long been slain, dismembered and carefully planted along the mountainous region to keep the terrible Western Devil from apprehending him like a common criminal; de-liced on cable television and sent to the gallows like his sworn enemy, Saddam Hussein. But they will find hundreds of acres of poppy growth and chemical plants feeding the western world its taste of the Brown Master or H or as the physicists call it, diacetylmorphine. It is better known to the rest of us as Heroin.

While Pakistan hails the United States as its most cherished ally in the pursuit of “radical militants”, their enemy hails the same country as one of its best customers. It is the export of heroin that built the Taliban in the first place, not the oft-cited dedication to the Qur’an or any half-baked Jihad or parades of virgins awaiting the fallen in the afterlife. No, it’s the glorious god poppy that has put them on the map and sent them foolishly into battle with a nation heretofore obsessed with the dangers of their Hindu neighbors in India.

Not surprising, our half-assed “dismantling” of the original Taliban has reared its ugly head again, but not as surprising, even with a new commander-in-chief aboard, is the U.S.’s critique of Pakistan for “not being proactive enough in battling militants who are launching attacks from a swath of tribal areas”, despite, of course, the $10 billion handed over to former U.S. puppet, Pervez Musharraf to dick around like an Anglo-aristocrat for most of the last decade. Now he is gone, under suspicion of conspiracy to murder and other formally forgivable sins, as his successors are left to play the no-mercy IDF game. Musharraf predictably claims this will “backfire”, but anyone on the ground with any real experience with desert fighters disagree.

I learned back on ’96 to trust a member of the IDF when it came to not fucking around. This is the credo I made clear to my contacts at the Jerusalem Post in October of 2001 when I received several and varied e-mails fingering Iraq as the “bankrolling of 9/11 and the single most crucial target” in the terrorist vengeance jag we were all going to be on for the next few years. And I assured my new friend that not one of those journalists were from Texas, as he assured me that when a nation is put on alert to a gang of religious marauders breathing down its fractious democratic sovereignty, there is no use diddling around with the vagaries of an “exit strategy”. Leave it up to the Big Bad White House Chess Club to deconstruct a country defending its capitol and its nuclear arsenal.

Leave it up to the Experienced Intelligence Community in the District of Columbia to wonder how a trained fighting force, familiar with the enemy – since most of them were created by the Pakistan government to combat the ever-present threat of neighboring India – can be properly motivated.

Just the same, New Orleans is far enough away from Washington and something resembling reality to offer a more complete view of how things will go now that people who have a real stake beyond oil and strategic allies are in charge of this War On Terror. All one has to do is ask the statue of Andrew Jackson set in a vast park at the north end of The Quarter, a testament to what a motivated fighting unit can do when its cities are on the brink.

It was, however, more than an epiphany to realize all of America’s most cherished goals for most of the 21st Century’s first bloody decade has centered on crushing this so-called al Qaeda by way of the Taliban, somewhat sidetracked by the Iraq War and the gory circus hatched on the Middle East. But we were stupid and naïve then, a tough combination when dealing with Naked Truths, whether hyped up on a Euro liquid dream stomper on a balmy Friday night by the mighty Mississippi or rolling out field maps for the Pentagon Press.

Turns out Commander Bush had it right before 9/11; let the damned desert people figure this thing out for themselves.

Reality Check | Pop Culture | Politics | Sports | Music

 

Read More

Corporate Lunacy In The Wake Of Katrina

Aquarian Weekly 9/20/06 REALITY CHECK

CHING-CHING, CASH IN ON TRAGEDY! Part II Aggressive Accounting, Money-Grabs, & The Future Of New Orleans

New OrleansIn Part II of our interview with Rita J. King on her investigative report, Big, Easy Money: Disaster Profiteering On The American Gulf Coast for CorpWatch (corpwatch.org), we uncover more greed in the wake of Hurricane Katrina: Corporate feeding frenzies leading to the fleecing of the unfortunate and the jobbing of the lazy federal government, which, in turn, fleeces us in the tax game, and learn how the these crimes could eventually bury the beauty and tradition that was once New Orleans.

These “business practices”, while being sneaky and rotten, are pretty much expected as shenanigans as usual. The question must be then, is all of this unethical behavior technically illegal?

It’s not necessarily illegal, but it clearly demonstrates the degree to which laws are set up to favor corporations. At a certain point you have to say it’s not a matter of politics, or anything other than the obvious fact that the greater good is not being served. I am not prepared to completely blame corporations for that – they’re playing a game. It’s called capitalism. I understand that. But if the system isn’t working, this is how empires crumble. In the history of the world, I’m not sure there’s ever been a civilization that has recognized its own demise in time to do anything productive to avoid the calamity.

Taxpayers need to know that the Army Corps of Engineers, Bechtel and Halliburton, among others, are using the same contract vehicles in the Gulf Coast as they did in Afghanistan and Iraq. They need to know that there are indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity open-ended contingency contracts being used on the Gulf Coast to squeeze out local companies, and cost-plus contracts that allow them to collect a profit on everything they spend, which really gives them an incentive to overspend. The report lays out the astronomical charges in detail. The American people need to read it.

“It’s not just that it’s expensive to get things done, we’re throwing billions of dollars at things that are not getting done – it’s wasteful, it’s disgusting, and how can we really expect the rest of the world to believe we’re interested in preserving their respective cultures, if we’re willing to decimate our own?

After all this research and investigation, what is your final assessment of these repeated money-grabs? Will they eventually bleed taxpayers and/or the federal government dry and consequently stall the rebuilding of the Gulf Coast or New Orleans specifically?

Corporate law requires that corporations put profit above everything else. People need to keep that in mind. The law is subject to the people. If people don’t like their taxes to skyrocket and their money to be squandered they must act. It’s not just that it’s expensive to get things done, we’re throwing billions of dollars at things that are not getting done – it’s wasteful, it’s disgusting, and how can we really expect the rest of the world to believe we’re interested in preserving their respective cultures, if we’re willing to decimate our own?

I wonder, in the absence of the minority voices, whose master plan to rebuild will be followed. The Louisiana Recovery Authority is coming up with a master plan, but in whose image? What are the values being used? It’s very unclear. It is one of the most precious regions in this country for its cultural diversity. You can’t rebuild what was already there, but you can value the history. I think the single most important characteristic of the rebuilding effort needs to be a creative approach to synthesizing the past to build a viable future.

Ironically, I watched a documentary on the rich and mysterious history of New Orleans only a few weeks before the devastation, and it was one of the first things I thought of, how much of it will be washed away inevitably?

When the early French settlers came to New Orleans, they almost perished from the heat, and so they brought in slaves from Ghana, because the climates are so similar, and the slaves wove into the wrought-iron gates of the city a symbol called the Sankofa, which still stands today. It is a heart with spirals on the inside and the outside and it means – which Bob Marley immortalized in his wonderful, “No Woman/No Cry”; “In this great future, you can’t forget your past.” You can’t rebuild unless you take the past into account. I believe the image of the Sankofa should stand as the pervasive symbol of the entire rebuilding effort of New Orleans.

But will it ever be rebuilt – physically, culturally, or symbolically?

The future of the city is uncertain, but I question the wisdom of rebuilding it in an area where the levees haven’t been improved. Climatologists are predicting increased ferocity in weather patterns in the near future. So rebuilding in this climate has to be undertaken with the utmost caution.

You’re talking planning, wisdom and compassion, so my humble guess is it will never be rebuilt.

Well, will it be rebuilt to my utopian vision? No. But it will be rebuilt to someone’s vision, and as such I think people need to keep a sharp focus on this process. We’ve been given an unprecedented opportunity here to look at our values, and the manner in which this rebuilding process is accomplished says something about the lives of every American. So people can hash out their ideas of American values until they’re red, white, blue in the face, but if they do not take a step back and realize this is the defining gesture of our lifetime, how we rebuild the Gulf Coast, then there is the risk it can be inevitably turned into a Mardi Gras theme park.

Really, what it comes down to is there’s something different about that place, and if we lose it, it will be a huge victory for homogenization.

Besides the public, or those who go to the Corpwatch web site, who is going to see this report?

The 20,000-word report is available with photographs online, in PDF format, and it’s also available as a pamphlet, the size of a magazine, which has been disseminated to most major media, and I believe it will be given to all congressional representatives. We are hoping to do a book, because, to my knowledge, CorpWatch is the only not-for-profit organization that has trailed Homeland Security’s spending since its inception. CorpWatch has written reports on spending in Afghanistan, Iraq, an alternative Halliburton report, and now this. All of it can be viewed on their site.

For more on the report and Rita J. King’s continued investigative journalism, please visit: ritajking.com

Part I: Corporate Lunacy in the Wake of Hurricane Katrina

Reality Check | Pop Culture | Politics | Sports | Music

 

Read More

Mideast Crisis Dissected Soberly

Aquarian Weekly 8/2/06 REALITY CHECK

DOGPILE ON THE LOONS Al-Qaeda Gets On Board The Crazy Express

It is a jihad for the sake of God and will last until our religion prevails … from Spain to Iraq, we will attack everywhere. – Ayman al-Zawahri

Ayman al-Zawahri Yada. Yada. Yada.

The above statement was uttered from another pathetic sack of shit from another “secret remote location” somewhere in the desert. Another in a tired series of “Notice Me!” nonsensical prattle from displaced mutants streamed over Al-Jazeera television. “Coming up next after ‘Camel Races from Qatar’ another anti-Semitic rant from your friends at al-Qaeda! Take it away, Skip!” – “Tyrannical Western Civilization! Blessed Allah! Death! Vengeance! Holy this! Sacred that! Blah. Blah. Blah.” Retread. Cry wolf. Really sad.

The latest grainy and haunting video of a riled-up Ayman al-Zawahri comes complete with images of the World Trade Center burning and a portrait of Mohammed Atef hanging dramatically behind him. Trouble is Atef has been dead since November of 2001, and well, 9/11 was a few months prior to that and nearly five years ago now. I’m no trend-spotter and I rarely check the pop culture meter to see what’s hot and what’s not, but seems to me like we have ourselves a washed-up entity trying desperately to hone in on the new hot commodity: Hezbollah.

Let’s face it; al-Qaeda has a little David Lee Roth thing going on.

Much to the chagrin of the bin Laden clan, Hezbollah is front-page news right now. They have managed something the PLO, Hamas, and even their own hate-mongering coffee klatch could not accomplish – wake the sleeping lion Israel. That had to raise the collective ire over in the caves of Afghanistan: “We’re the baddest! We’re the tops on the terrorist hit list! Remember Spain? Remember London? What about 9/11? Look over here! Despise us! Shower us with fear!”

This is the fatal flaw in being a revolutionary; you have to matter. You have to be in the spotlight. It’s over for al Qaeda. They had their time. No one wants to hear from Ayman al-Zawahri anymore than they want to “Get Jiggy”. It’s over. Time to hate someone who matters.

Okay, so now, predictably, al-Qaeda has thrown its turban into the ring over this IDF kill-fest. Why not? Anytime anything happens anywhere in the terrorist realm they take credit. We even talk about this has-been clique as if it is still a threat, in and of itself. Truth is al-Qaeda is so 2001. Give it up. The whole thing reminds me of Britney Spears, who was at her nubile jail-bate best in ’01, and is now an ebony-quaffed pregnant white-trash harpy.

These guys cling to 9/11 as some kind of super-victory. C’mon already, 9/11 was a half-decade ago. Sarah Silverman is even goofing on it now: “American Airlines should advertise they were ‘first through the towers’.” If it weren’t for the Bush Administration or Ann Coulter it would be ancient history by now. This reminds me of driving down Northern Blvd. in 1993 and seeing an aging sign celebrating the 1986 Mets. Enough already. Let’s see some action and less yapping from these idiots.

What have you done to us lately?

“Stand with Muslims in confronting this unprecedented oppression and tyranny,” al-Zawahri continued. “Stand with us as we stand with you against this injustice that was forbidden by God in his book.”

Notice the desperate cry for attention to cash in, connect his merry band of yesterday’s news with the current crisis: “Stand with Muslims?” “Stand with us?”

Muslims = Us. This is akin to the Jerry Falwells of the world talking about their voodoo shit as if their myopic fantasies gel with the rest of Christendom.

This is the fatal flaw in being a revolutionary; you have to matter. You have to be in the spotlight. It’s over for al Qaeda. They had their time. No one wants to hear from Ayman al-Zawahri anymore than they want to “Get Jiggy”. It’s over. Time to hate someone who matters.

Now Al Jazeera is another kettle of trout. They are a happening media event right now. Go where the action is, that’s what I say.

To that end I recently contacted the advertising department of the station through Allied Media, which makes a pretty convincing argument about placing your ad campaign in their hands: “Al Jazeera is the largest and most controversial Arabic News Channel in the Middle East, offering news coverage 24 hours a day from around the world and focusing on the hottest regions of conflict. With programming focusing primarily on news coverage and analysis, the station has earned the loyalty of a large audience. It has also earned the enmity of various critics who argue that Al Jazeera is overly sensational, with a bent on showing bloody footage from war zones as well as giving coverage to violent groups. Criticism from varied governments has helped the channel garner credibility from an audience that is used to government-imposed censorship and biased coverage.”

Hottest regions of conflict! Excellent. The spirit of fighting censorship has always been something of a lifestyle for me. Al Jazeera turns negative publicity into gold! It’s like the new Eminem, who has also gone the way of spandex and Rubik’s Cube. Not to mention the ability to reach 40 million radicals in the Arab world and 175,000 in the U.S. alone.

So after a lengthy discussion with a Mr. M. Saout – he never did reveal what the M stands for – on my repeated failures with working within and without the vagaries of the publishing industry and the continued fuck-ups of my current distributor/publisher, Airleaf and the Phenix & Phenix Publicity troupe, I pitched the idea of plugging my next book to radical Muslims and funding a documentary on the primacy of Moses in the history of the Holy Land and why Islam is pretty much an hilariously formulated hoax.

Surprisingly, he was not receptive. Reminded me of my battles with Simon & Schuster ten years ago. He even used the same response: “This will not fly here.”

Therefore I urge all of my readers to pitch your own brand of entertainment to Al Jazeera now. You can reach Allied Media in Alexandria, VA at (703) 333 2008, or e-mail them now at aljazeera-tv@allied-media.com.

Just don’t suggest any of the following. They have all already been forcefully rejected:

The Mohammad Variety & Laff Hour

Stripping – Women out of their burkas and into your heart

The Osama Corpse Cam

Good Morning What’s Left of Beirut!

Celestial Virgins Are Overrated

Reality Check | Pop Culture | Politics | Sports | Music

 

Read More

Condoleezza Rice Spins

Aquarian Weekly 3/23/05 REALITY CHECK

CONDEE SPINS ETERNAL

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

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

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

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

To wit:

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

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

Oh what a tangled web we weave…

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

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

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

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

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

…when first we practice to deceive.

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

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

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

Reality Check | Pop Culture | Politics | Sports | Music

 

Read More
Page 5 of 7« First...«34567»