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GOP R.I.P.

Aquarian Weekly 10/29/08 REALITY CHECK

GOP R.I.P. Exploring The Death Rattle Of Modern Conservatism

The Gipper's Last StandJohn McCain is correct about one thing; he is not George W. Bush. Bush won. Twice. McCain is not going to win. Not unless he begins to stand for one particular platform for more than three consecutive hours or starts throwing ugly and doing it soon.

These robo-calls about domestic terrorism and repeating Joe the Plummer over and over like a mental patient is not going to cut it. The ACORN thing is a nice touch; sets up an Al Gore kind of whining after the ignominious pummeling he is about to receive, but shan’t do the trick either. Socialism is always gangbusters with the base but didn’t work for the Goldwater crowd versus the Kennedy Machine in ’60 and is less likely to fool anyone now, especially since the Republican candidate voted for a massive socialism bill a few weeks back and his running mate takes oil company profits and distributes them among the citizens of Alaska.

No, the hole the Arizona Senator has dug for himself is too deep for cheap tricks and old routines. With two weeks to go he is staring down the barrel of the worst defeat a Republican candidate for president has endured in over eighty years. It is largly the fault of one lousy campain from the ground up, but it is also a serious defect within his party.

Unless the Obama campaign allows Nostradamus Biden to offer further dire prognostications or the candidate is found with a dead girl or a live boy, the state numbers, which have been steadily rising for five solid weeks in the direction of the Democratic candidate, looks to bury the Republican on 11/4.

Granted, national polls have taken more than their fair share of beatings in this space. Most of them, especially Zogby, have been proven less than useless. But the almost scientific breakdown of these averaged state polls on Rear Clear Politics or the Politico web sites are hard to ignore. From every corner of the contiguous United States, the trend toward the Democratic ticket is beyond anything most of us living have ever seen.

Virginia? A ten-point lead for the African-American Liberal in a state not won by a Democrat in 48 years is almost unfathomable. Indiana? The stronghold of Republicans for a century still in play boggles the senses. Florida? Teetering. Missouri? Slipping away. Gone is New Hampshire, Colorado, Michigan, New Mexico, Wisconsin, Iowa. The South invaded; the Midwest swept away, the western rim a distant memory, the entire east coast under siege.

It will have to be a new day in true Conservativism — fiscal and anti-government Conservatism, with a healthy respect for environmental issues and staying out of the affairs of half the planet’s battles and its citizens’ bedrooms, churches and freedom of expression and dissent — or it will continue to rot away at its foundation…

Only the Reagan explosion in the final weeks of 1980 begins to approach this sudden tidal wave of upheaval. It is, like Reagan, the result of an independent electorate — and many refugees from across the aisle — witnessing the victorious candidate in a debate forum and surprised at not being confronted with a radical extremist nutcase, but someone quite astute, noble, and, well…presidential. It is as if all of the ridiculous fiction bouncing around Internet innuendo backfires all at once: Where is the man with the horns breathing fire? Why am I supposed to be afraid of this man?

The Democrats tried to demonize Ronald Reagan twenty-eight years ago, but went too far. Perhaps if they had reigned in their abhorrence of the California governor, Jimmy Carter would have survived those final brutal days of October. But they decided instead to go ballistic, painting Reagan as something right of Rudolf Hess, and it cost them. Reagan may have been a yawping mannequin or fabricated prop, but he was not Grendel. And that revelation, as the final undecided voters of this election have finally realized, can now be applied to Barack Obama, which may well end in the most unlikely landslide in the history of this nation.

The McCain camp, led by Rick Davis, has its collective finger in the damn. No money. No message. No momentum. No nothing. It’s just as well. Staying on the defenseive means not digging the hole deeper. The whole mess never did get off the ground, and then, for some mad reason, it took the safer candidate and unleashed him in several directions at once, throwing Hail Mary bombs when a fullback dive would have done the trick. The only two explanations involved either being intimidated by the Obama aura or frightened to death of simply being a Republican.

I’ll take the latter.

It’s not a good time to play for the Grand Old Party. In fact, you’d have to reach back past even the dark days of Nixon and all the way to Herbert Hoover to find a lower standing for Republicans. The Bush Legacy will ultimately be its near total destruction of the modern Republican Party. In its wake free trade is in ruins, foreign policy a circus fire, and almost the entirety of the legislative branch turned over to the opposition; political suicide in its purist form. Spread across the headlines like faded words on an ideological tombstone: Here Lies The Last Vestige Of Modern Conservatism — 1964 to 2008.

After McCain’s sorry carcass is dragged from the public eye, and Sarah Palin gears up for her weekday talk show opposite “Ellen”, the Party of Lincoln and T Rex and The Gipper is going to have some serious soul searching to do. Unless Obama is a total disaster — a tough act to eclipse considering the last six years of The Captain’s Shoo-In Follies — this will be a nation represented by an astounding shift: Astute reasoning, overt intellectualism, universal diversity, and an odd infusion of youth. It will hopefully be far more secular and less pandering to extreme social tyranny, less inclined toward international hubris, and exceedingly more articulate in the ways of governance.

The “Conservative Elite”, which the McCain campaign has been bashing along with the evil media and certain parts of the country that is cronies deem “un-American”, will have to begin erecting a different type of opposition. It will have to be a new day in true Conservativism — fiscal and anti-government Conservatism, with a healthy respect for environmental issues and staying out of the affairs of half the planet’s battles and its citizens’ bedrooms, churches and freedom of expression and dissent — or it will continue to rot away at its foundation as it has over these past years as the Tom Delays of the world began to tell people how to live and die and the Bill Bennetts began to tell people what is “acceptable humor, music, and modes of dress and decorum”, and the Fallwells of the world began to hijack faith, and the Rush Limbaughs of the world became performing donkeys and the Dick Cheneys of the world treated the American people as lab rats.

If Obama indeed builds a even bigger government on the backs of the American taxpayer — an unlikely scenario with the current and growing economic and military crisis long from ending and the government he inherits already bloated to distraction — then this new breed of Conservative will need to roll up its collective sleeve, dig in the heels and rail against it. And they will have my support; but only if and when they stop acting like populists with a theocratic social chaser and running inarticulate goobers as candidates.

But there’s always a third party.

Anyone?

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McCain Seals Deal – (2008)

Aquarian Weekly 2/13/08 REALITY CHECK

GOODBYE SUPER TUESDAY Romney Bails/Madam Shoo-In & Master Barack Draw

Super Delegate CasualityAfter nearly half the country’s states have weighed in on the Republican and Democratic presidential candidates, only one party has managed to rubber-stamp a presumptive nominee, John McCain, whose right-wing obstinacy and an abject rejection from the south has all-but gained him a seat on the big ride. Next door, McCain’s purported Secret Weapon, Mike Huckabee, swept through the Bible Belt and mercifully put the booby-prize, lesser-of-three-evils, flip-flop mess of a Romney campaign out of its misery. Meanwhile, the Democrats gear up for delegate deadlock and an ugly late-August convention battle in Denver.

With 2025 delegates needed for nomination, and the current trend of virtual splits in state wins and proportional delegate counts spread evenly, there are simply not enough primaries or caucuses left to allow Democratic voters to decide a candidate. According to party rules, this means Super Delegates or VIP’s — DNC officials, congressional Democrats, party fossils, and a confusing host of grass roots activists — will rumble inside something called the Pepsi Center to anoint what could be the next president of the United States.

Under this unconscionably stupid system, forty percent of the delegate force rests in the beer-spit vagaries of 769 shady, back-scratching fat cats, which could, once and for all, sufficiently expose the corruption, cruelty, and down-right scamming of a two-party system that should have been abolished a century ago.

Time to add a new contestant to the time-honored axiom about things best not seen made: sausages, laws, and now, national party nominees.

The ultimate fates of Barack Obama and Hillary Rodham Clinton will inevitably reside in this suspect exercise, much to the soon-to-be chagrin of a record number of voters, both new and old, who have stormed the polls for their candidates.

Most have stormed for Barack Obama, the first legitimate insurgent national party candidate since George McGovern. Backed by gusts of weirdly skewered polls (Zogby not only had him leading in every primary, but also “American Idol” and a perplexing Best Picture pool for the Oscars), showered with plaudits from slobbering press lackey’s (most of these cable news’ guys practically weep whenever a state is called for Hillary Clinton), an African American backlash (to the tune of a whopping 80 percent), and millions of motivated young voters (shattering turn-out records everywhere), Obama rolls on unhampered by party arrogance.

The reasons vary: Obama is new, damned good, but mostly, he ain’t a Clinton; otherwise there was more than a fair chance he’d have been tossed into the scrapheap long before New Hampshire ala Gary Hart or Howard Dean.

You want to make a difference this November on the Democratic side? You best find out the identities of these power-broking fuckers and come with serious cash donations, promises of eased government regulations, or six-figure job offers.

Most important of all, Master Barack currently has more money than any presidential candidate in history, earning $32 million in January alone, most of it coming from the Internet in a staggering grass-roots windfall; a pipeline of funds tripling the dwindling Clinton campaign coffers, which needed a $5 mil loan from its candidate just to make it through Super Tuesday. It was a difficult spin for campaign head, Mark Penn, who told the Washington Post that the once-lauded money maverick, Terry McAuliffe had been dismissed on assignment to Hollywood Boulevard with tambourine and tattered hat in hand.

In the face of all of it, the Clinton Camp claimed victory on Super Tuesday based on lowered expectations and this increasingly redolent idea that she is suddenly the underdog, an act of deceit only exceeded by their candidate’s goofy claim she won a Florida primary that was not contested by any candidate, including her, and didn’t even count.

In quick response, The Obamians pointed to the new infusion of John Edwards’ white-male votes in Georgia, stealing Connecticut, and a sweep of mid-west caucuses, all of it hollow victories in the shadow of the big-state stomping by Clinton in California, New York, New Jersey, and Massachusetts, despite Kennedy/Oprah muscle.

The final question for Democrats may be what all this “Change Agent”, New era”, “Yes, we can”, spiritually-uplifting Obama miasma will mean in August when the insiders begin to buckle under the pressure of the Clinton Machine. Over a decade of favors rendered, deals struck, and cushy insider jobs will be on the line in Colorado. How do you think these Super Delegates get so fucking super; Excalibur emerging from a mystic lake?

However, there is always the anti-Clinton wing of this sleaze-bazaar raising up to slap a seal of approval on the new kid just to take down Madam Shoo-In and her nauseating Billary dynasty.

No matter how it’s sliced, a sweeter summer treat for political junkies does not exist. When the bottom feeding is finished, it will make what happened in 2000 at the tip of the Florida peninsula look like your eighth grade civics class.

You want to make a difference this November on the Democratic side? You best find out the identities of these power-broking fuckers and come with serious cash donations, promises of eased government regulations, or six-figure job offers.

Don’t forget to identify your candidate: Senator Rodham’s all-woman, Latino-supported, lower-income, entrenched entitlement lifers, or Master Barack’s youth-movement, black-centric, upper-middle class, highly-educated liberals.

On the other side of the fence, many Republicans, as divided and confused as their opponents, prepare to hold their noses and become belated McCainiacs. Humiliated and drained of millions of his own fortune, Mitt Romney, everyone’s favorite counterfeit conservative, used his long-awaited C-PAC speech to declare himself a suspended dead man in the grand tradition of the 1960 Goldwater or 1976 Reagan bow-outs.

Romney’s hackneyed “You’ll be sorry” campaign eulogy in the holy name of ideological purity was so patently disingenuous it had the editorial department of the Wall Street Journal comparing it to the defiant Nuremburg babbling of Hermann Goering.

It was a bitter end to a solid five months of uninterrupted conservatism for Romney, who would just as soon become a Scientologist/PETA/NRA/Butthole Surfer next time around if it can gain him the White House. But you could hardly blame him. Finding a conservative who can get votes these days is like picking out a heterosexual designer in “Project Runway”.

Fred Thompson and Ron Paul hardly set the political world aflame, Rudy Giuliani’s tough-guy routine garnered only one more delegate than either of my cats, and now Romney, with an arms-length liberal record of pro-gay rights, pro-choice, et al, takes his steel testicles and slumps off into the sunset praying the Democrats obliterate the GOP this fall so he can be its savior four years hence.

Draping himself in rhetorical patriotic compost, the Billion Dollar Loser did his best to play martyr for a war-torn country in need of unity. Apparently not since Franklin Pierce’s doomed Kansas-Nebraska Act hastened the confederacy, has quitting politics been such a noble act of national security.

The only remaining question for McCain and the party is what to do with Huckabee, who has whipped the religious fanatic base into what Doctor Hunter S. Thompson once described as “a Jesus-based rage” and can now hold up the south as a socio-fascist firewall for anyone harboring hopes of winning the White House from the Right.

McCain predominantly carried Democratic states (New York, New Jersey, California, Massachusetts) on Super Tuesday, and will have some work to do to secure the party’s base, which he is sure to confront in the coming weeks — the prospect of which has his staffers in mid-cringe. The last time McCain sucked up to the Right he was seen wearing a tunic at Bob Jones University baptizing the whores of Babylon with a used Strom Thurman staff.

Of course the old man could always tell these righteous has-beens to take a hike and continue to seduce the center/independent vote and pray to his chosen deity the Clintons are left standing come fall.

 

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McCain Seals Deal – (2008)

Aquarian Weekly 2/6/08 REALITY CHECK

AND THEN THERE WERE THREE McCain Seals Deal/ Dynamic Duo Cage Match

Future McCainiacSomewhere in the late hours of 1/29, as the GOP’s most feared and disdained candidate was wrapping up the Florida Primary, and ostensibly his party’s nomination for president, George Will, Bill Bennett, Rush Limbaugh and the rest of the faux conservative Republican voices in and out of the party came to fully understand, once for all, the jig was up. Nearly eight long years of silently allowing the Bush Cabal to dismantle the myth of the Reagan Revolution in a deluge of nation-building, entitlement-funneling, corporate-toting, religion-pandering, fear-mongering, and spend-thrifting, has left the driver’s seat warm for John McCain.

Limbaugh was a little late last week when he said the Republican Party would be left in ruins if either McCain (maverick moderate) or Mike Huckabee (religious nut) emerged as its nominee. Its ruin had long been painstakingly deconstructed, and in a tragedy worthy of Greek drama, expedited beneath a torrent of his own joyfully vociferous compliance.

Limbaugh, along with every other alleged conservative, as clearly defined by the post-war libertarian Barry Goldwater movement — reduced government by being fiscally responsible, staunchly secular, ardently conservational, and unwaveringly isolationist — had long ago sold principle and ideology down the river to defeat the Evil Big Bill Clinton and seize power.

The same “electable” cow-towing that phonies like Limbaugh and his cronies now decry (“Never mind the bullocks, here’s the best chance to win!”) worked against them in 1992, when Democrats sold their ideological soul to defeat the Reagan 12-year monopoly, motivating Republicans in 2000 to ignore principle and nominate a candidate which eventually prompted conservative poster-boy Pat Buchanan to bolt the party and run against him. Buchanan told me that winter that his beloved party “walked away from their own grass roots, their own people, and their own best ideas and platform.”

Turns out George W. Bush is the same predictable Oil Baron silver-spoon special-interest tote his father was, a man most authentic conservatives painted as a festering wimp and a tax fiend. Yet he had the “best chance to win”, and win he did; twice!

Winning is a powerful amnesia-inducing agent for blustery ideologs.

Take William Jefferson Clinton, who was never about Hope or Change or “Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow”. He was a winner. And winners are forgiven every questionable legal tactic, ubiquitous peccadillo, and nasty back-door political muscling, just as Captain Shoo-In was given a pass time and again, as he happily approved every pork-barreled, ear-marked bill, while razing and rebuilding the Middle East for billions of American tax dollars a day.

Now John McCain is a pariah?

Please.

Seven letters making up one little word will have these cattle in tow: CLINTON.

However defined, the two-decade Arizona Senator has engineered one of the great political comebacks of this era, worthy of Truman’s eleventh-hour victory over Dewey in ’48 or Nixon rising from the ashes to not only grab the Republican nomination 20 years later, but two consecutive terms as president of the United States.

Less than 30 days ago McCain was a walking punch line roaming the perimeters of the party trumpeting the escalation of an unpopular war and pushing for illegal immigration amnesty. He was too moderate, even too liberal, having twice voted against the Bush tax cuts, pushed for campaign reform, and teamed with prominent Democrats on a variety of causes including (gulp!) copping to Global Warming. He’s spent years dressing down Donald Rumsfeld as a blithering idiot and failed miserably to kiss up to the Religious Right. Most crippling of all, he had no money.

Now he is not only going to represent the Grand Old Party in the fall, but he will win the presidency hands-down.

If…

Hillary Clinton is the Democratic nominee.

As these words hit the streets, Madam Shoo-In’s big Super Tuesday score is on the ropes. Barack Obama’s momentum, fueled by a saccharine Kennedy smooch-fest and more Bill Clinton messiness, could push this thing into the convention. But will it be enough to hold off the parade of hip-pocket Democrats the Clintons have coming to them from years of Oval Office favors?

Even the most casual political observer knows a McCain vs. Clinton national election campaign effectively hands the White House back to the Republicans, as a fractured, rankled and otherwise sleepy electorate, thus far limping to polls and squabbling internally, will be sufficiently geared up by a north-eastern liberal woman senator who happens to go by the name of Clinton.

Another phony Right Wing mouthpiece, Sean Hannity said the other day that he cannot abandon 20 years of defending conservative values just to back the best candidate to win, which is laughable hyperbole, even for him. He, like Limbaugh and rest, already did so in 2000, and he will do it again; as will Novak and Coulter and Will and so on.

Seven letters making up one little word will have these cattle in tow: CLINTON.

Republican voters have backed McCain because they remember the Reagan Myth as just that. Reagan significantly raised taxes every year of his two-terms, including in 1983 to save the evil Social Security, teaming with ultra-liberal Tip O’Neal, a mortal enemy, who had called him “the most ignorant man to ever occupy the White House”. He appointed at best a moderate judge to the Supreme Court, Sandra Day O’Connor, a move vilified by conservatives everywhere. He also played the world map like a chess game, bankrolling secret, not-so-secret, and flat-out illegal wars everywhere.

The vast majority of Republican voters also know that McCain is their only candidate with a puncher’s chance with independents, cross-over moderates, Latinos, and the high-ceiling anti-Hillary voter block. A McCain national candidacy would complete what many prominent Democrats predicted in the fall of 1992, that the Clintons would sink the party for decades.

Of course, this could be avoided.

If…

John Edwards walks in step with Rudy Giuliani, who endorsed McCain the day of this writing, and send his delegates and union support Obama’s way; creating a political vacuum the Democrats could have owned nearly a month ago leaving Iowa, but inexplicably deflated in New Hampshire.

An Obama national candidacy will never engender the kind of motivational abhorrence a Clinton one will. Many Republicans, fed up with the party, have already shown a willingness to vote for the guy, never mind independents.

Edwards has made no secret that his plan after a crushing Iowa defeat he toiled to avoid for nearly four years was to stay in the race long enough to collect key delegates all the way to the convention, where he would play king maker. As it is, Edwards owns a sizable chunk of the party voice, and his timing to bow out seven days removed from 22 primaries speaks two ways: He will hand his constituency over to Obama, all-but burying a woman he has beat upon for weeks, or silently bow out and let the working class Democratic establishment of the past half century move en masse into the Clinton Camp.

Either way, Edwards is angling for a spot on the national ticket or a place in the winner’s cabinet. The question remains: Who can promise him the most prominent position for his anti-poverty/anti-corporate agenda?

Across the aisle, the only also-ran one-trick pony standing, Mike Huckabee has managed to split the Evangelical vote for a staggering Mitt Romney, ultimately costing the former Massachusetts governor Florida. Huckabee is also angling for a seat on the national ticket; sealing for McCain the religious-fanatic vote and sending Limbaugh’s group into spasms of feral madness.

With Huckabee, a likable, funny, and quality stumper, McCain is a formidable figure; moderate, centered, fatherly, with a consistent message of strength and experience.

Of course, the conservative wing could vote their conscience and back the only true one of their brethren left standing; Ron Paul.

If…

 

 

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The Heart & Soul Of Democrats (2008)

Aquarian Weekly 1/30/08 REALITY CHECK

THE HEART & SOUL OF PARTY POLITICS Part II Democrats At The Crossroads In 2008

There are still high-ranking Democrats, otherwise smart people with yardstick resumes, who manage to remain straight-faced when decrying the 2000 presidential election as some kind of de facto rip-off, whining about capturing the popular vote and Ralph Nader and the always-popular Vast Right Wing Conspiracy, sounding eerily similar to the drunk I encountered in Key West two Thanksgivings ago who repeatedly claimed the 1960 Yankees champions for out-hitting and out-scoring the Pittsburg Pirates over the length of a seven-game World Series they eventually tanked. It was a queerly enticing re-examining of our pastime for the hazy three-am ambiance of depraved hedonism, but hardly a sound template for substantive historical perspective.

L'Nuff Saidosers, like drunks, find comfort in reminiscing. As a species, humans tend to lean on random explanations for consolation, like when you trip on the sidewalk and then inexplicably look back to locate the culprit. But after a while reappraisals end up a cheap substitute for the hard truth, and this is where the Democratic Party finds itself in the winter of 2008, somewhere between the comforts of a tired excuse for “the near-miss” and the cold realities of a failed generation.

Standing at the crossroads of revisionist hard-sell, old-fashioned populism, and disenfranchised symbolism are three wild-card presidential candidates. Less ideologically split than the Republican scrum, New York Senator Hillary Clinton, former North Carolina Senator John Edwards, and Illinois Senator Barak Obama still represent a vexing dilemma to party power brokers and, most importantly, voters, as Democrats attempt to devise a single game plan to cash in on what looks to be this year’s war-addled, recession-stalled, and rancorous American political landscape.

Although displaying a minor separation in distinct number-crunching, impassioned methods, and degrees of wild rhetoric, the three Democratic choices more or less share significant party agendas; social liberalism, mildly anti-war, rabidly anti-Bush, push for equality in tax burdens, empty Health Care reform promises, etc.

What creates the obvious schism between these candidates and ultimately the Democratic Party for the 21st Century is the thorny decision to either look forward or reach backward; The Roosevelt muscle-government redistribution of wealth (Edwards), the post-sixties Baby Boomer faux defiance (Clinton) or a long-shot open-tent movement attempting to blur political lines across the divide (Obama).

Edwards’ once Cassandra-fueled “Two Americas” mantra has gained a creepy resonance now that stock market machinations, a collapsed housing market, and Federal Reserve resuscitations have tumbled us into an economic bloodbath. If money worries had come this past June instead of culminating these past weeks, Edwards might appear less footnote than legitimate contender. But alas, it has not, and in the wake of the Barack/Hillary celebrity tournament, he remains the atavistic symbol of old world test pattern blabber; white, southern, lawyer. Yawn.

Edwards is also the victim of having been on a ticket dumped in 2004, something his primary opponent, Ms. Hillary, does not carry. Although she is the living embodiment of the bloated-government, mid-20th-century, been-there-done-that candidate, Senator Rodham can, and has, taken partial credit for sleeping with the man who was at the helm during the most prosperous peacetime economy in the history of the nation. Of course, the same can be said of Monika Lewinsky, who, according to court records, can also claim foreign policy experience having discussed the late-nineties Serbian conflict with the president between Oval Office fellacio sessions.

That was then; a ghostly dream of post-war nuclear children, hell-bent to dance free and live to consume, and this is now; an emerging generation of info-savvy punks needing to break free of exploited victimhood and self-congratulatory romanticism to reclaim the Democratic Party from the stale molds of antiquity.

Additionally, possessing the last name of Clinton does not hurt those Democrats reminded that it was attached to victory more than once, which is why Madam Shoo-In’s camp has continuously sent a rambling Big Bill onto the campaign trail as the company dog and pony act, using his spastic raping of decorum to drag the once impenetrable façade of Master Barack into a quagmire of schoolyard dozens. Never has an ex-president looked more pathetic as an opponent battering ram, appearing more like one of those vapid celebrity casualties from the Cable TV trash heap than anything approaching credible.

It was Big Bill’s haphazard defense of his wife’s shaky Martin Luther King analogy to curtail the inspired nature of Barack Obama with her wonky “get-things-done” message which sent the party down a road of racist goofiness that will only help to put whatever chum the Republicans cough out into the White House quicker than expected.

Speaking of the GOP, it is more than ironic that in the past week Obama resurrected the name of Ronald Reagan, which is known to cause violent paroxysms in the heart of the old Democratic Party as it explodes teenage-girl glee in what is presently a splintered conservative movement. Obama is both Reaganesque in his innate ability to inspire over instigate, but he also represents the New Left, just as Reagan was the figurehead of the New Right, emerging from his party a steadfast elder statesman, as Obama represents the youth/change and raging minority underscore of a Democratic Party in dire need of a jumpstart.

It is important to remember that Reagan effectively obliterated the Democratic Party while stomping the heart of the counter-culture in a gold-plated Hollywood victory march envied by anyone claiming American politics home. Stealing Southern and Mid-Western Democrats, weakening unions, and putting the Left on notice, the Gipper was a galvanizing Pollyanna engine, taking on the nightmares of Watergate, the subsequent Carter malaise, and a Cold War-Middle East monster under the bed. Reagan provided the damaged American Dream with a grandfatherly face while simultaneously co-opting the initially sincere but ultimately fabricated feel-good Woodstockian hippy glow into his own flag-tripping Kumbaya rally cry.

It turns out of course that Reagan was completely insane, already deranged by creeping brain-disease and surrounded by an angrily-motivated cadre of hardened white-collar thieves looking to fatten the corporate coffers and play petty parlor games with the world map. But Ronnie was already a grizzled veteran of years on the stump, as Big Bill appears now, and by proxy, so does his spouse, screeching like a banshee about “wanting to take the country in my direction”, which looks like the direction we’d headed before for good or ill.

Obama, while being an admitted weak administrator with little to no experience in anything but sporting a bright, fresh-kid countenance, is no weathered-storm. Put-on or not, there is something independent about Obama that could gather the flock at some point, a discovered shiny penny in a pile of soiled loose change. But, then again, so was the man for whom the young senator is unfairly compared to, John Fitzgerald Kennedy; the symbol of a new dawn, but also a terrible reminder of festering political wounds.

But that was then; a ghostly dream of post-war nuclear children, hell-bent to dance free and live to consume, and this is now; an emerging generation of info-savvy punks needing to break free of exploited victimhood and self-congratulatory romanticism to reclaim the Democratic Party from the stale molds of antiquity.

Whether any of this nonsense translates into November victory on a national stage remains unknown, but chances are excuses and whining will soon follow.

 

LAST WEEK: THE HEART & SOUL OF REPUBLICANS

 

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2008 Iowa Caucuses: What Happened?

Aquarian Weekly 1/9/08 REALITY CHECK

IOWA: WHAT HAPPENED?
Obama Rises, Hillary Skids/GOP Field Swings Wide On A Holy Huckabee Blip

Huckabee Illustrates ChancesIn this most historic of election years, with no incumbent and a primary season beginning as early as any before, and its candidates for both major parties ranging from an African-American, an Hispanic, a Mormon, an Italian Catholic, a Fundamentalist to a woman, the first salvo was fired across the frozen cornfields of Iowa on the first Thursday of the new year. And although it is a minor shift in the system – these oddly constructed caucuses so early in the process – the results may have vaulted one winner into the kind of momentum that cannot be slowed and another sending his party into an all-out gang fight or at least a fairly entertaining skirmish between an insurgent eccentric and the fat-cat establishment.

A half-year ago the victories of Barack Obama and Mike Huckabee, even considering the queer vagaries of the Iowa Caucuses, would have seemed daft. Huckabee was an ill-coached religious nut and Obama was a flavor-of-the-month young black man who’d been senator for five minutes. They were both way behind in the polls and their campaigns seemed lost. Both are now something extremely binding in this business of politics; they are winners.

What this means for either of these men, their party’s final choice for a national candidate or ultimately the presidency, or even what the people of New Hampshire might do five days out or South Carolina soon after is anyone’s guess.

For now, they are winners. Moreover, they are underdog winners, a perilous position to be in at kick-off. This is especially true when considering both of their prime opponents’ money, organization power, and insatiable madness not to lose.

Make no mistake; Mike Huckabee is not going to be the Republican nominee for president of the United States, any more than Pat Buchanan was going to be in 1992 or John McCain in 2000, or George H. W. Bush way back in 1980. Huckabee’s Iowa stand will be his Alamo, a mere blip on the rest of this exercise. But what Iowa managed to do for the Republican Party was provide suitable tread for the drag-ass McCain, Fred Thompson, and Rudy Giuliani campaigns, ostensibly opening wide the door of opportunity for the entire field.

Particularly, it is McCain who remains a dangerous counter-offensive for a party that has never embraced him, in fact, mostly despises him, but may have to decide he is the only Republican candidate who could stave off an unavoidable Democratic take-over on the national stage.

Had Mitt Romney, the party darling and fabricated money pit, won, there would have been an inevitability to the coming weeks which would have made campaigning something of a pathetic dirge. Instead, the insanity of the Huckabee victory is like some kind of free pass for every GOP candidate, including the mercurial Ron Paul run. It literally put the fear of God into the party powerbrokers, who watched their golden shyster piss away nearly eight million dollars for the right to be flogged like a musk ox by a Bible fanatic.

Unlike Huckabee, Barrack Obama is no joke, no mere blip or strange eruption of angered extremists sending a message to the party platform. He is a rock star.

RNC Chairman, Mike Duncan, looking more like someone who wandered into a dangerous neighborhood with a fat wallet than the party’s staunch figurehead, clearly had a hard time coming to grips with it, and probably should not have been coerced to appear boondoggled on national television. Before long, wide-eyed and sweating profusely, he was making weirdly formed cases for Duncan Hunter and the ghost of Strom Thurmond.

“Anything, Jesus, anything but this!” he screamed into the camera.

But it was a joyous yawp compared to the fallout at Clinton Central, where phone calls from New Hampshire did not bring good news. These are the tough inquiries when the wheels begin to come loose. The ones from under-whelmed fundraisers in Manhattan and Southern California who need to know what the fuck happened to promises that “the worst that will transpire in Iowa is a cheap Edwards victory, which we’ll wipe clean in five days.”

Unlike Huckabee, Barack Obama is no joke, no mere blip or strange eruption of angered extremists sending a message to the party platform. He is a rock star. He is a revivalist voice from some remote outpost; a phenomenon of youth, race, and indescribable energy. He looks like he was created for the stump, a modern-day Moses in a power tie; something the Democrats have been begging for since Robert Kennedy was murdered, his younger brother left a woman to drown in his car, and Gary Hart danced away on a yacht.

Obama’s speech election night was pure inspiration. Coming as it did on the heels of Senator Rodham’s robotic concession drone, it was political theater. Worse still for Clinton, Obama obliterated the once impenetrable suit of Hillary armor, the fallacy of the Electable Inevitable, the all-important national poll numbers which had her guffawing at the silly notion of these annoying little primaries. Madam Shoo-In’s defeat is compounded by a count of 41 to 17 percent of independents and the ridiculous amount of women, particularly young women, who voted overwhelmingly for her surging opponent.

Traditional wisdom by early morning after the Iowa Caucuses had the rural, predominantly middle-class, white, working class Midwesterners leveling a stark repudiation on the status quo; a weakened president, a flaccid congress, and a heap of economic and foreign policy woe to come: A barely one-term senator with no experience (little blood on his hands and less skeletons in the closets) and a down-home Baptist preacher, a true GOP outsider/underdog (not a corporate puppet) crushing the two more entrenched national frontrunners.

It is a theory certainly co-opted by a shaken John Edwards, who had more or less spent the past four years banking on Iowa to jettison his last hurrah. He stood before his stunned constituents and shouted, “Tonight there is a vote for change!”

But it was certainly not a vote for Edwards, who, unlike the Republican clan, can only endure one more defeat before surrendering. Then, what does he do with his formidable support? Hand it to the woman he has been thrashing relentlessly for months or to the rocket ride from Illinois?

It is true that the Iowa turnout broke records in all demographics, including youth, women, and independents. Sixty percent of the participants were first-timers. Lines formed early. People were turned away. Well over two-hundred thousand participated, an eighty-nine percent growth from 2004 in a swing-state that split between Al Gore in 2000 and George W. Bush four years later.

It was arguably the most powerfully resonant Iowa Caucus in history, but all of it means little without New Hampshire’s outcome in less than a week. It sits there like a firewall, a Waterloo, or a launching pad of historical proportions.

Obama wins there, then he will surely take South Carolina and begin to put the squeeze on things. Huckabee shows up and he will make life hard for the GOP big boys, and if McCain makes his stand, there will be hard decisions coming.

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GERALD FORD?

Aquarian Weekly 1/10/07
REALITY CHECK

GERALD FORD?

History is a myth that men agree to believe. – Napoleon

For some sad reason only known to the gods of misfortune, I found myself listening to the “Imus In The Morning” radio broadcast sometime during the surreally long week of funeral events surrounding the passing of our 38th Gerry Footballpresident. Our pal, Mike Barnicle, of Fabricated Story fame, was unabashedly stating that all this talk 33 years ago about “a deal” regarding Gerald Ford’s pardoning of Richard Nixon was patently false and in fact “may have been one of the most heroic deeds in modern presidential history”. The colossal absurdity of this nonsense sent a stinging stream of coffee to the back of my throat. I was flummoxed, or as flummoxed as a hard-ass cynic could be. It was a stunning observation even for Barnicle, world-famous for stupidity. It was then, as I struggled to get my vehicle under control, that I planned on writing this rebuttal.

Believe me when I tell you I had no intention of wasting two paragraphs on the human doorstop that was Gerald Rudolf Ford or his misnomer presidency. The whole terrible fiasco had safely slumbered in my memory banks like a hazy college speed binge. The images were vague if not frightening. I recollect something about a puppet man holding the fort after the 37th president torched the U. S. Constitution, but it was fuzzy and disquieting, and I chose to let it go, make my peace with the whole debacle. Heal.

Yes, and then the old fart had to up and croak and I couldn’t turn on a network or cable news show for 150 hours without some dink waxing poetic about Ford’s dubious legacy. But I even ignored that, understanding that there’s nothing us humans love more than belaboring burials, honoring our country, and/or reconfiguring unpleasant history by constructing beloved myths. Why I even heard one of Saddam Hussein’s kids talking about how much he loved the family pooch. Sure, and Hitler loved his dog too. Loved it so much he fed it cyanide so it wouldn’t have to watch daddy shoot himself.

Look, respecting the dead and supporting the grieving is one thing, but a complete revision of history is the worst kind of sin. This hooey about Gerald Ford doing anything approaching “heroic” or the blind patronization of his freeing a criminal as “healing the country” or the meaningless celebration of he being “a regular guy” is as maudlin and saccharine and silly as it gets. How anyone chooses to sooth the pain of loss is none of my business, to each, his own. Here’s where I get involved: When grieving and flowery speeches replace hard news and cold fact.

Reality Check, baby.

Gerald Ford? His wife did more for this country by guzzling turpentine.

Here’s all you have to know about Gerald Ford: He was the ultimate team player, a Football Guy. He took one for the team soon after the Kennedy Assassination and once again after Richard Nixon made a mockery of governance. Gerry was our sacrificial lamb, saluting bravely and keeping his mouth shut like a good capo. He was a cover all his life, a beard for the awful things that needed to be done to stay the American course. He may just as well have worked for Tony Soprano.

How anyone chooses to sooth the pain of loss is none of my business, to each, his own. Here’s where I get involved: When grieving and flowery speeches replace hard news and cold fact.

And I would have gladly returned the favor. Kept it under raps. Let the boy off the hook: Poor bastard, what could he do? They offered him the vice presidency to keep the Republican Party from closing shop for good. Protect the country from the Big Bad Commies. This was his sworn duty.

Ford and his Democrat buddy, power-broker Tip O’Neill, along with Al (“I’m in charge now!”) Haig laid the groundwork to get Nixon the hell out of a mutilated White House and set him free to wander the beaches of Sacramento like some kind of doddering madman who’d been haunted by gremlins and beaten by ego. O’Neill and his cronies would never have allowed a beast like Spiro Agnew anywhere near the title of chief executive. He was a hateful creature and did everyone a favor by defrauding the government and evading taxes. Haig? Well, old Al made a deal with the devil; let’s leave it there. And good ol’ Gerry, the Team Player, played ball.

Nothing wrong with any of it, mind you. It’s politics as usual. Covered weekly in this space. Well documented in the annals of time. I’m sure Gerry Ford was a nice guy, good father, and an upstanding citizen with many fine qualities. He worked hard as a congressman, served the Navy well in the Big War, did the Shriners proud. But it pales in comparison to his decision to push the whole Watergate disaster under the rug, make like it never happened. Smile and go on.

Very nice. Very brave. Very weak. Very gutless.

You decide. Just don’t make shit up.

Republicans, however, should erect shrines to Gerald Ford. He did stem the tide of total extinction. People forget the utter black hole that was the final months of the Nixon Administration, or whatever was left of it. The entire episode teetered on constitutional crisis. I laugh every time I hear a badly conceived comparison to it, as if Clinton getting hummers and lying under oath or Baby Bush trumping up faulty intelligence to avenge daddy’s enemy could ever approach the atrocity of Richard M. Nixon. By all rights the entire Grand Old Party should have gone the way of the Whigs in his wake. But to his credit, Ford stopped the bleeding.

Not so sure his tourniquet was so good for the rest of us, but it did spare Nixon from justice and help elect Ronald Reagan and two Bushes.

But then Gerry was always adept at keeping his finger in the damn. He did it quite well as one of the chosen few to sit on the Warren Commission; a quickly cobbled smokescreen to fill whatever unsightly holes pocked the JFK assassination. Many would argue the group still stands as the focal point in one of the grandest of cover-ups, others may bandy about its rush to judgment to keep the wolves at bay, or at least Fidel Castro at bay. Either way you look at it, the Warren Commission, of which Gerald R. Ford was the last surviving member, took one for the team. Swept out the nastiness, shooed away the curious, and glossed over the glaring incongruities of shady doings, helping the nation “heal” from the shock of a fallen leader.

So Ford was, in the end, the perfect caretaker of a wounded federal government and the savior of saviors for the Republican Party. But this does not make him a national hero. It doesn’t make him a villain either. He just was. A cog in the great machinery of government. Another in the long line of parts grinding along.

Final word on Gerald Ford: He just was.

Sorry Barnicle. Sorry network geeks. Sorry revisionists.

And that’s the unremarkable truth.

Go ahead and twenty-one-gun salute that, I’ll finish my coffee.

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Scooter Libby Will Sing

Aquarian Weekly 4/19/06 REALITY CHECK

SCOOTER’S SONG Who Will Lewis Libby Bury To Stay Out Of The Stockade?

Rove Damage ControlIt’s looking more and more as if Lewis “Scooter” Libby is going to sing. He is no Ollie North. He’s more like John Dean. And just as both of those gentlemen were caught in the whirlwind of Washington power plays, he will have a choice to make: Take one for the team or twitter like a canary. Of course Libby’s front may be the most egregious of all, because it is the kind of muss and fuss which normally accompanies a furious ramp-up for war. Ah, but when the music stopped, and all the chairs had been taken, the man his buddies once affectionately called Scooter was the sucker left to take the fall. But, the thing is, on the way down Libby decided he would not go alone.

This latest furor over the president’s leaking of “classified” information that wasn’t necessarily “classified” because the president can declassify anything he wants is only the beginning. There will be more. I am told by very reliable sources, much more. It will doom the Republicans on Capital Hill come fall and put the final nail in this lame duck second term, which has all but flat-lined anyway.

Writing in this space eight years ago, it was at this crucial point in the Monica Lewinsky mess that I knew Bill Clinton was more or less finished. The wild flim-flammery of the definition of certain verbs and skewed timelines had the distinct odor of guilt. I did not require any taped mia culpas or stained dresses. The jig was up for the Minister of Fun right then. He was on the trail of no return. And that is where we find Captain Shoo-In, the Boy President. He is done for, in more ways than one.

The deeper ramifications of this “he said/he said/they said” nonsense reside in what Libby is willing to do to stay out of prison. Does it mean he goes after the CIA, George Tenet, blast open the case for war, the strangely vacillating intelligence reports, read and then misread and finally compiled for the UN under the masquerade of back-room dealings? Does he take the case inside the White House; break out the details of weird meetings with Saudi kings and EXXON bagmen burning up the direct line to the oval office? Does Libby take down his boss, the unflappable Dick Cheney, who has managed to shake up the power structure in this administration time and again on every foreign policy decision since the towers came down in lower Manhattan?

A figure this powerful with serious connections in Washington cannot be trusted to handle the pressure of being locked up. The man has already claimed fractional dementia with clinical memory lapses. He’s fainted more than once during inquisitions and there is mounting evidence he has harmed himself in several ways to elicit pity. He is a loose cannon by any stretch of law-speak.

Where does Mr. Libby’s story end?

Not even Libby’s lawyers know. A figure this powerful with serious connections in Washington cannot be trusted to handle the pressure of being locked up. The man has already claimed fractional dementia with clinical memory lapses. He’s fainted more than once during inquisitions and there is mounting evidence he has harmed himself in several ways to elicit pity. He is a loose cannon by any stretch of law-speak. He can say anything, and anyone you talk to surrounding this case tells you he will say anything.

The best the administration can do now is paint Libby as insane, jabbering with fear and unable to handle the notion of going to prison, stammering on about smear campaigns, faulty premises for war, and hazy memories of the vice president stumbling around the halls of the White House in the middle of the night drooling like an animal, brandishing a shot gun, and calling Junior out for a showdown. “Jesus, just to think of a proud man like I. Lewis Libby struggling to free himself from a straight jacket fills us with a sadness we cannot bear. We pray for he and his family and wish him a speedy recovery from his delusions.”

Believe me when I tell you Karl Rove is not going let a message boy like Scooter Libby bring down his president. Pretty soon you’ll hear some pretty graphic stories about Libby’s secret stash of amphetamines and his preternatural proclivity for young boys. Oh yes, it will be disturbing, and make you wince to think of a deviant like Scooter Libby working side by side with a great American like Dick Cheney. The pure sensationalism alone will make you forget about any real crimes

And you can be sure the disseminator of this information will not be dumb enough to allow anyone to reveal his identity. And to think all of this to intimidate and discredit Joe Wilson’s criticism of the Iraq War; terribly cheap tactics like the Daniel Ellsberg/Pentagon Papers leak that drove Richard Nixon into the kind of despicable acts that dwarf all others. The Bush people, most notably Rove, believed Wilson was a threat to national security. Robert Novak was on the payroll. There isn’t a journalist in Washington who would refuse to go on record to confirm that. Novak would take cash from the Flat Earth Society to pen a scathing expose on Galileo’s cross-dressing obsession. Hell, I would do it for half price.

Threatening Wilson through his wife’s connection to the CIA was two-fold: Send shockwaves through the place the way Kennedy did after the Bay of Pigs disaster or Nixon did when Howard Hunt, a former CIA man, lead a trail of deceit right to Pennsylvania Avenue, and then put the fear into Wilson.

This is an age-old routine, using the press to smear opponents. Thomas Jefferson did it every chance he could. It’s inexpensive and effective and the citizenry tends to buy it. However, as history has proven in many ways, Jefferson was no dummy. He employed one of the most powerful and brightest political minds of the era to bludgeon his enemies, leaking half-truths, weird innuendos, and downright lies to the press for a laugh. James Madison, author of the Federalist Papers and a future president, was Jefferson’s mad dog, not some insipid crony named Scooter. This is just another glaring example of how the political gene pool has gone in the shit can these past 200 years.

The good news is no one on George Bush’ payroll is as conniving as Madison, not even Rove, who has become as overrated as James Carville. The bad news is these idiots are as bungling as advertised. The rest of this story rests in what the vice president’s assistant is willing to divulge and its eventual collateral damage. But the mere notion this is not a house of cards is way off the mark. It’s just a matter of time now.

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Judging Alito

Aquarian Weekly 1/25/06 REALITY CHECK

JUDGING ALITO The Harsh Truth About The Soon-To-Be New Supreme Court Judge

Sam AlitoA man should not strive to eliminate his complexes, but to get into accord with them; they are legitimately what directs his conduct in the world. – Sigmund Freud

Here’s all you need to know about Supreme Court nominee, Sam Alito: He worked for Ed Meese. Probe and poke this guy all you want, present self-serving congressional speechifying masqueraded as inquiry and even rummage through his garbage while you’re at it. But you certainly don’t need any Senate hearings, least of all this badly formed farce the Democrats staged last week. I have always felt you learn more about a man by examining his friends and associates. I prefer to run with the outlaw mind myself, that and the artist mentality. I don’t like anyone to appear normal or functioning around me for more than an afternoon, except in the case of my publisher, for whom I have volumes of hate mail and a pending law, but that is a tale for another day.

For the most part, I support the socially deranged. This says all you need to know about how things run around here. Alito supports the criminal element; specifically constitutional marauders like Ed Meese, one of the most corrupt and damaged creatures ever to serve as Attorney General, and believe me, when considering the long and painful rogue’s gallery therein, it is an achievement like no other. Make your call about Alito from his long law record; I shall take this one to the bank.

It doesn’t matter how conservative Alito is, he’s damn conservative, a guaranteed stone-cold Barry Goldwater conservative; women in the kitchen, God in the living room, and all free thought channeled through a red, white and blue fairy land, but not too fairy land – people will talk. Turns out this court needs a conservative voice to balance the debate anyway. It stands now at four (liberals: Stevens, Souter, Breyer, Ginsburg) against four (conservatives: Scalia, Thomas, Roberts) with one moderate, Anthony Kennedy.

I have always felt you learn more about a man by examining his friends and associates.

Kennedy will be the all-important pivot on key hot-button issues, a position currently held by Sandra Day O’Connor. The pivot will swing left and then right. No telling where he will end up. Kennedy swings left: Prayer at high school graduations? No. Roe v. Wade? Yes. Flag-burning? Cool. Sodomy ban? Nah. Then he swings right: 2000 Florida vote, Bush v. Gore? Stop the recount! Partial-birth abortion ban? Good. Affirmative-action quotas? No. Boy Scouts banning of gays? Why not?

Kennedy is the wild card here, not Alito. He is conservative, yes, but this doesn’t bother me. People have to believe what they believe and will interpret everything through that prism. You can’t alter nature. However, it does bother me that the man spent quality time around a monster like Ed Meese, much less work for him.

And not only did Alito work for Meese, he lied to get the gig, said he chaired some atavistic Princeton club that tried to ban women and keep privileged white boys in charge of the weekend keggers. At least he said he lied, or beefed up the resume for the old man. He could never abide such extremist lunacy. Not him. Either way, Alito knew Meese would eat up that kind of anti-subversive stuff. It made the cranky bastard horny to think of women as cattle and free expression as a virus that needed to be eradicated. Alito took orders from this goon, and that should be a problem for anyone judging his character.

I heard Pat Buchanan joke the other day that Alito was being treated as though he were in the dock at the Nuremberg trials. Truth is this is no joke, but that’s cool, because anyone who took orders from a fascist lunatic like Ed Meese needs to be grilled like a Nazi sympathizer. Let’s put it this way, I heard a lot of nonsense during the 2004 presidential campaign about the Bush people being Nazis and Bush some kind of defacto Hitler. This was wrong. Not so with Meese, whose mutated freak genes make assholes like John Ashcroft and Dick Cheney look like cheap hoods.

But I didn’t hear much about this somber fact while Democrats conducted these latest Senate hearings, always chock full of political spite and vigor. You wonder sometimes if the Democrats even remember what it was like to wield real power. Listening to Joe Biden grill Alito is akin to watching in sad horror as some ex-jock waxes poetic about his glory days half drunk and weeping uncontrollably into his worn-out varsity jacket. That’s why these guys give 40-minmute soliloquies when they’re supposed to be reviewing a candidate’s law record – no one pays attention anymore.

It’s over. So over. And pretty soon when these hearings are a quaint memory and Alito takes his chair in the highest court in the land, they’ll all go back to their cushy offices and pray to whatever god they buy into that mid-America looses its collective minds and votes for a woman in three years, because no matter how damaged this Bush Administration abortion is or how corruptible this current Congress is, things will not shift in 2006.

Alito? He can endure being the Democrats punching bag for a while. The gig is worth it. But soon he will have to face down the demons that have followed him since his days on the wall with Master Meese. Or not. Most likely it will be not.

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Castro, Please Die

Aquarian Weekly 7/27/05 REALITY CHECK

OPEN LETTER TO FIDEL CASTRO

Fidel CastroIl Presidente,

Please die.

Seriously. Just die.

We need your country. Well, I need your country, really. You see I have plans. Big plans. These include your demise. Anything will do. Shotgun wound to the cranium, bathtub accident, arsenic, 15 minutes in a room with Geraldo Rivera. Pretty much any mode of suicide is acceptable, as long as it results in you ceasing to exist asap. Believe me, it would be much appreciated.

I recently met with a team of accountants in North Carolina, and it was decided that much of your land is being, and has been, wasted on needless poverty and disease, when rapacious clods such as myself can acquire it at desperate discounts and turn it around for mucho dinero.

You see, cheap land in one of the world’s finest hot spots, once the playground of the mafia and American hotel chains, is now littered with crack ghettos. You can help by dropping dead. We don’t have to kill you per se. This kind of thing is messy and costs money, and, as we all know, hasn’t worked out to our advantage. Anyway, the Hussein fiasco has really strapped us over here; big time debt and all. We need a more cost effective way out. So fall down the stairs or suck on a tail pipe. Please.

Think of all the affordable real estate that is just rotting down there. Batista’s original infrastructure has got to be still around. Well, Batista. Shit. Who are we kidding? The United States’ original infrastructure is still there. We’ve sent out feelers, who have assured me reconstruction would be well worth the investment. Sugar, cigars, casinos, prostitution, gambling; oh there is much to exploit. We miss it. Florida is too crowded and far too sticky. We need some offshore breezes and fine pina coladas. Enough is enough. Die.

The ghost of Hemmingway implores you. He loved your country. He loved guns. And he killed himself. Are you getting the picture?

And really, how long can you expect to live? Honestly. You’ve been around long enough. You’ve had a good run, but let’s face it; you fucked up with this communism thing. There’s no money in it. And that short-sited Urban Reform Law? Who did that aid? Your pockets? Maybe, for a while, but you were never a long-term thinker. It’s always been about you – you, you, you. Don’t get me wrong. You’ve been a fine ruthless thug, but it’s time to give back.

Hey, I’ve seen some of the places you live now. This is not living. It ain’t like the old days, when you had Russian bank loans and underground American aid. But even that came at a cost. I guess you’ve never stopped laughing when we came for you. Man, we should have noticed the decline of the CIA then, huh? But the Kennedy’s were too busy riding Marilyn Monroe to pay attention to detail. But they’re all dead now. And so are communism and the Soviet Union. The jig is up. So why not give it a shot. I’ve heard a poison enema can be quite refreshing.

Here’s the deal: Prices of real estate have gone mad here in Jersey. New York is nuts, and only dead-eyed Caucasians live in Connecticut. It’s not for us. We like the adventure of diversity. Listen, truth is we love it here, but we no longer want to work like dogs just to hang our hats. It’s time we expand. I am not interested in Canada or Puerto Rico. I see a great opportunity in Cuba.

And, admittedly, I love cigars, really good cigars – the kind of cigars that taste like chocolate cake. Mmmm. I know you can appreciate a good stogie, Fidel. So, spark one up, smoke it down, and slit your wrists. Do it vertically. It’s more effective. A survey of teenage girls proves it out. We’re looking for expediency here. Once you’re cold, we’ll take it from there. Bribes are in place. You won’t have to worry about a thing.

And since you’re such a man of the people (are we still selling that nonsense?) then you’ll be happy to know we’ll take care of yours. Wal Mart and Target and Nike and General Motors will be down there before you take your last breath. Jobs a-plenty. Red Roof Inn is on board. It will be great. As long as we can get in cheap, and, of course, you die right away.

Try to understand, this country of ours is in a tailspin of economic madness. Our president is a dumbstruck hick, and we’re nearly broke. We’ve got wars and enemies all over the place. The time to cash in the chips and buy up acres of prime Cuban real estate is now. But we know you have to save face and despise capitalism and American ingenuity, so it’s best if you shuffle off this mortal coil and let us bring home the proverbial bacon.

Thomas Jefferson, one of our nation’s greatest minds, and a guy who could knew well how to make an honest buck on the backs of free labor, once lovingly referred to your fair country as “a fruit that will soon fall into our hands.” It gets me misty to read it. How about you? I’m warm and fuzzy all over when I think of you now in your run-down study, chomping down on a Cohiba contemplating your principled exit. The joy wells in my soul.

You see yourself as a great man. Therefore, you deserve to go out on your own terms like my hero, Doctor Thompson. Take a tip from him and swallow a pistol. It is the honorable way out. Hear the Cuban band playing your song. “Good-bye cruel world, let someone without shit for brains run things for awhile.”

The ghost of Hemmingway implores you. He loved your country. He loved guns. And he killed himself. Are you getting the picture? In closing, I would like you to recall the ancient Zen saying: “There is no point to life if one cannot profit from a land grab.”

Thanks for your time and consideration,

jc ”

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Explaining Media Liberal Bias

Aquarian Weekly 3/16/05 REALITY CHECK

LIBERAL BIAS IN THE MEDIA Explaining The Obvious To The Uninitiated

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

That kind of armor is reserved for the presidency.

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