Guns & The American Experiment

Aquarian Weekly 1/16/13 REALITY CHECK


We should dispense with the aspiration to ‘be liked’ or to be regarded as the repository of a high-minded international altruism. We should stop putting ourselves in the position of being our brothers’ keeper and refrain from offering moral and ideological advice. We should cease to talk about vague and unreal objectives such as human rights, the raising of the living standards, and democratization. The day is not far off when we are going to have to deal in straight power concepts. The less we are then hampered by idealistic slogans, the better. – Excerpt from Memo PPS23 “Review of Current Trends, U.S. Foreign Policy” by George Kennan, Head of the U.S. State Department Policy Planning Staff. Written February 28, 1948, Declassified June 17, 1974

George KennanEvery second the American Experiment remains in motion human nature is on trial. This is what we have unleashed upon civilization. Ours, this mostly unfettered, stumbling mish-mosh of haphazard choices, is the playground for what price there is for freedom. It entertains both its most glorious triumphs, what the sixteenth president called “our better angels”, and the despicable depths of depravity, something the same man unleashed on half the nation. It is our blessing and curse, a tightrope balance between the brass ring and bone cancer. Most of us live somewhere in its comfy middle, but we are without fail the heaving breath of its legacy. We cannot escape it anymore than we can escape our very DNA.

And make no mistake; there is no escaping the violence of human nature. It is in our blood and our Bible and our founding. At the barrel of a gun, did we break the chains of tyranny, tore through the natives and stomped the rebels, forged the West and built the shining cities. It is through massacre and destruction across the globe could we fulfill Thomas Jefferson’s promise to be the world’s beacon of light, taken to epic heights during horrific world wars and ill-fated police actions and black ops and foreign coups.

It is within human nature, as in all nature, to dominate. Manifest Destiny, American Exceptionalism, Damn the Torpedoes, From the Halls of Montezuma, Walk Softly and Carry a Big Stick, and on and on. The American Experiment is its proving ground. Through the deepest forests and the mountains majesty, over the bloody terrain where the flag, may it wave, is planted with the wind of domination. And with domination comes the fear that it will be threatened, as in the children’s game of King of the Hill; the British Empire knew it, the Church knew it, the Kaiser knew it, and we have known it for two-plus centuries.

This American Experiment is also a forward moving concept, never backwards. We may glance back with a nostalgic eyes and see a time we wish to return to, emulate, celebrate, but it is hard to deny it hasn’t been paved with gore and guts and the grand old gun.

We are ultimately the sum of our parts, this fantasy that by the barrel of the same gun we can also cease the march of the cult, the criminal, the vigilante, the government. You might ask how that worked out for David Koresh and the hundreds of religious militants armed to the teeth in a fortified compound in Waco, Texas. That is if they hadn’t been plowed under by U.S. tanks and burned alive by the government.

When the gun lobby talks about the right of ownership, it is correct. It is the ownership of dominance, the fulcrum against fear; the fear of the brown guy, the foreigner, the dark stare from the stranger, the terrible chance that somewhere in the mist lurks someone who needs to be taken down.

Koresh knew right then that the gun is our most illuminating symbol of freedom. The gun defines us. The gun provides us the free will that Cain enjoyed in order to choose to either slay his brother or walk away. The gun provides the American Experiment with its human nature hypothesis; dominate, protect, eradicate.

When the gun lobby talks about the right of ownership, it is correct. It is the ownership of dominance, the fulcrum against fear; the fear of the brown guy, the foreigner, the dark stare from the stranger, the terrible chance that somewhere in the mist lurks someone who needs to be taken down. It is the core of our myths, our American story bloated with greed and lust and the man in the white hat taking down the one in the black hat, so we can all go home fulfilled with our comforting dose of dominance. It is Jesse James. General Custer. Al Capone. Rambo.

The gun is the core of our American Experiment: To shoot or not to shoot. The right to bear arms and become the predator or the victim or live peacefully — not because it is demanded or bellowed or craved or even urgently needed, but because we choose to live free or die, or both. This is the grand bargain. It is non-negotiable. It exists without guilt, what the Buddhists understand as “just is”.

We, the Americans in this great Experiment, own this choice, that precious moment of time between whether to take a life or turn away, just like we own the burning of innocents abroad, the countless assassinations and invasions and colonizations, the secret overthrow of democratic governments for fascist regimes that afforded us the right of domination to cultivate industry, swell our economy and expand our horizons. Guns are the beat of our national anthem; of rockets’ red glare and bombs bursting in air, and our heroes of war and Remember the Alamo.

It was as if after the Newtown massacre, everyone suddenly woke up. Where have you been? What did you think this was all about? This freedom? This human nature? This America? It was as if it were 9/11 all over again, and we awoke to the realities of a world we created; and not in any calculated plot to have enemies we nurtured and provoked and partnered with come back to kill our citizens, but because it is the toll that is paid for our pursuit of dominance, to achieve the quintessence of our human nature.

And now we are going to regulate this mess, pass laws that will curtail the minutest segment of this groaning beast?


It’s the guns. It’s the games. It’s the movies. It’s the music. It’s the streets. It’s the economy. It’s the media. It’s everything but us, free, dominant and imbued with our nature.

Can you recall a single law passed since the Civil Rights Act that has actually granted anyone more freedom? How much safer are we? You might ask the kids in Columbine who were wiped out during the first Assault Weapons Ban.

Oh, but we’ll pass something, and it will assuage our guilt for being human and American and dominant and in fear and draped in the ignorance of feeling for just a fleeting moment as if we are entitled to safety from ourselves.

The sun will set and then come up again and those who need to get whatever weapon they wish to get will do so, as will those who wish to get the illegal drugs they procure with little effort every single day. And we’ll continue to be so pleased with ourselves that we are just and moral, while also being completely free.

This, of course, is the aphrodisiac of human nature; denial. It is how we humans cope with all this nature.


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Tax Hikes & No Deal 2013

Aquarian Weekly 1/9/13 REALITY CHECK


In the final hours of the first day of 2013, Speaker of the House John Boehner strode despondently through the Capitol rotunda amongst a clamoring mob of reporters, looked in the direction of Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, and spat, “Go fuck yourself!” Not far from Reid, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell looked down at the floor and smirked. Many in the crowded hall believed the Speaker’s derision was meant only for Reid, a mortal enemy of House Republicans and the poster boy for the type of bill Boehner had just watched the Republican-controlled congress pass into law. But it could not go unnoticed that it was McConnell, a supposed ally, that pushed the onus for the entire nation’s tax hike squarely on a 16-hour binge that left Boehner no choice but to deliver his moderate and lame duck votes.

Mitch McConnellThe Fiscal Cliff saga ended with an increased tax rate on the upper two percent of the populace, an extension of unemployment benefits, and a bump in estate taxes, but not so much as a fingerprint on federal spending. Suddenly Boehner was a pariah and McConnell and the Senate lauded as the body of congress that avoided catastrophe. Even Nancy Pelosi hailed McConnell as a champion.

The air, one reporter noted, hung heavy with the stench of TEA Party death. Even the trusted deficit hawk, Paul Ryan, who stood as the only true representative of fiscal conservatives on a doomed national ticket, voted Yey. The man for whom those of us paying attention during the campaign noted had already voted for George W. Bush’s insane 2003 Medicare boondoggle that added seven trillion dollars to the national debt, had now rubber stamped an additional four trillion on top of it. And Boehner, who nearly 48 hours later barely survived a vote for re-election to remain Speaker in the face of a mass exodus of GOP hardliners, had to realize that whatever the president might say about refusing to negotiate the looming Debt Ceiling Fight Part II under any circumstances, he now has no power to stop it.

Not since the disgraced Newt Gingrich, straddled with an ethics admonishment and stung by the resurrection of Bill Clinton, has a Speaker of the House received a narrower victory. Two years removed from a rousing slaughter of Democrats in the mid-terms and riding what he felt was the controllable egos of first-timers, the figure head of the 112th congress, arguably the most ineffectual in modern U.S. history, is a man with no constituency who resides over the first Republican supported tax increase since the dawn of the nineties.

Gremlins from inside showed their fangs when the Speaker then refused to bring to a vote the promised Sandy Relief funds that had gone stagnant for 60 days, 50 or so days more than any previous natural disaster on American soil. Republican congressmen went ballistic, taking to the floor to publically flog Boehner while high-profile Republican New Jersey Governor Chris Christie repeatedly called his office shouting obscenities at a flustered secretary when asking for “that dunce to come and take his medicine like a man.” Christie concluded a spirited public dressing down of his party and specifically Boehner by whispering to a colleague on his way off the podium that the man who still had not returned his calls was “a pussy”.

Republican congressmen went ballistic, taking to the floor to publically flog Boehner while high-profile Republican New Jersey Governor Chris Christie repeatedly called his office shouting obscenities at a flustered secretary when asking for “that dunce to come and take his medicine like a man.”

The White House had scored its victory, however hollow, as the president won an 18-month campaign fight against opponents who argued against raising the taxes on two to three percent at the top of the wealth chain. This did not stop the Left from eviscerating Obama for caving in on the $400,000 threshold from the long-anticipated and hoped for $250,000. Later, though, economists rightly pointed out that accounting for today’s rate of inflation, the antiquated latter number only applied to when the original Bush Tax Cuts went into effect at the turn of the century. Had the Clinton Era Tax Rates not be eliminated, the number would have ended up around $397,000.

It did not help public perception of Obama that several independent reports estimated Joe Cool’s Hawaii Christmas romp costing taxpayers upwards of four million dollars, making this Man of the People act appear as if it was not only hypocritical, but downright shameful. And there is clear evidence that what ailed the president’s first term, what Bob Woodward in his most recent work, “The Price of Politics” called “a lack of interest to work directly with congress” had not yet found a cure. Aside from brief calls between the Oval Office and the Speaker’s quarters, Obama let his vice president and the Senate carry his water once again.

But ultimately Joe Cool held the winning hand and everyone on both sides of the aisle knew it. Shit, the president was doing a victory lap before the final Senate tally and long before the rankled GOP-led congress had a crack at the thing. The Republicans, flaccid and cornered, were going to let the Fiscal Cliff deadline come and go and then claim to be saving 98 percent of the American public from significant tax hikes, while postponing the sequestration of their beloved Military Industrial Complex. This was never in question, despite the maudlin posturing.

It became apparent by New Year’s Eve that Boehner and his fractured and soon to be scuffling Republican caucus was coming apart at the seams. Cries from blowhards like California’s Darrell Issa that congress would counter with stringent entitlement cuts was buried under fears that Wall St. and then the electorate would sink them further into the political abyss. A complete capitulation to the quickly cobbled Senate bill from the dawn hours of 2013 was the only course of action. Boehner’s reluctant right-hand man, Eric Cantor, who in the capacity of House Majority Leader fully backed his Speaker’s half-bright Plan B that died before it reached the floor a week earlier, had broken ranks and began knifing Boehner behind the scenes while calling a press conference to state that in no way would he dare vote for the Senate’s “incomplete” bill.

There was a groundswell for Cantor’s revolt, which he did not abate by January 3, when the House reluctantly re-elected the Speaker. This means there is now almost a 100 percent chance that congress will shut the government down in a few weeks over the Debt Ceiling, forcing Obama’s hand in using an executive order to pay the nation’s bills and push the hardliners to begin to ask for Boehner’s head. Cantor, it seems, will not argue with this, as he is already begun to lay the groundwork for this tact.

This has been a rough few months for Republicans, but the trouble is just beginning for Obama, as there is a serious discussion internally among those in the White House that the Simpson/Bowles provisions would have been a greater salvo when it was issued over two years hence, as the murmuring on the Right has speculated that Obama’s purported four trillion dollar compromise might have looked better than what has just been passed and what awaits in budget battles to be waged over the opening months of the 113th congress.

Before he is even sworn in, the president has already cashed in quite a bit of his bargaining chips, banking on a dissolute and frightened GOP opposition still smarting from the results of November 6.

Meanwhile, Mitch McConnell’s Machiavellian shenanigans keep the heat on Boehner and the House and the collateral damage on the White House.

Go fuck yourself, indeed.


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Aquarian Weekly 1/2/13 REALITY CHECK


While it is true that Obama is in a no-lose situation now, having gained re-election by the strongest margin for a Democrat since FDR, I think it is incumbent on him to be more aggressive than you even describe in your column. (THE EMPEROR’S NEW SHOW — Issue: 11/28/12) Having voted for his “change” mantra the first time around (I abstained this time) I was disappointed in his less than enthusiastic fervor for getting into the muck with congress or being more assertive during the entire Health Care debate and vote and later failing miserably to explain it to the people.

I believe, as you do, that these second terms are rife with trouble; hubris, laziness, or an out-of-touch disease that hits all presidents in their final political run of their lives, but mostly I think it is that animal you describe as “a man who no longer has to run for anything.”

While I’m inclined to think that with a recalcitrant Republican opposition in congress and so many big hurdles to climb, the Fiscal Cliff negotiations, the new Debt Ceiling back-and-forth, Immigration Reform, Iran, the Deficit, this will likely be another underwhelming second term.

Judith O’Keefe


It will be interesting to see the amount of passion exerted on the Right now that the TEA Party has been neutered. This past election was a joke for them. I have to ask, do these people, who worked so hard, and they really did, whether you agree with all of their protests or candidates or not, they did really take things to another level of grass roots politics — do they feel cheated? Did they feel cheated by the party that claimed to embrace them? Did they feel cheated for the lack of voice they received in the primaries, as each and every candidate they tried to latch onto to was ultimately defeated by a moderate? Did they feel cheated that their arguments about the laziness of an electorate raised and brainwashed into a take-take-take culture were overwhelmed merely three years after they were offered?

I know you always say to be careful to think that once you make a mark in Washington that it will hold much past one or two election cycles, but even you have to be amazed at how little the TEA Party has mattered. The question then that I have for President Obama is will he be emboldened by this new voice he has been provided by the people and go hard Left this time; arguments to the contrary that his first term was littered by Leftist governing — I argue it was a mish-mosh of centrist nothingness. Even Obamacare reeks of middle-of-the-road junk legislation, something I fear we will pay for forever.

Hell, I know Romney was a crappy candidate. I am glad he was sent packing. But I wonder what we are getting in Obama II.



The president should be strengthened by his re-election. For nearly three years the cry from his opposition was that not only would he be a one-term president, but leave in disgrace, ala Truman or G.W. Bush. But the very opposite has occurred. He gained momentum, because the opposition had no viable answers. They made shit up and for awhile people were angered by the slow return of the economy or maybe Obamacare or maybe by the nods to Cap & Trade and broken promises to end wars quicker and close Gitmo, so they were inclined to buy it. But in the end, when these same people began to pay attention to the record, it was not a disaster. Fair to middling perhaps, but no disaster.

Now this president that set history on its ear, that did in fact change the political winds in Washington and took as many slings and arrows as any president in recent memory for his personal past; whether being a citizen or whatever nonsense the radicals made up, can lead for real.

No more excuses about how awful the last lousy president left this country’s fiscal solvency in, and how Bush destroyed our foreign relations and sunk us into unwinnable, ill-conceived wars. Time to lead or be judged solely on that.

This is where history is made, not in elections.

I pray he answers the call.



Mr. President, I didn’t vote for you because I didn’t feel that you earned my vote in the first time. That being said, I don’t want you to fail. You were chosen represent my country, so I want you to make it a better place. Mr. President, please prove me wrong.



Your nod to the politics of this Benghazi tragedy is right on the money. It is an obvious attempt by the defeated Republicans to take the sheen off the apple of this decisive victory for Obama. The only scandal here is that a disgraced John McCain, once a beaming American hero, so clear-headed and independent in his thinking, yes, even a maverick, as he claimed in his ill-fated 2008 election, the same man who unleashed the horrible Sarah Dumb-Ass upon an unsuspecting world, would engage in such chicanery.

The only fly in this ointment is that while the Democrats failed to make a case of Watergate, which was breaking during the final months of the 1972 Election, and most of the national media ignored its obvious impact on an election Nixon would win in a monumental landslide, soon the truth emerged. It would fell his second term in ways the country had not seen in over a century.

I fail to see how this is anything close to Watergate, a constitutional crisis like no other, but there is fire where there is smoke and one has to wonder how much of this dirt is tossed on a White House that while feeling its oats in a rounding re-election, would be wise to take all allegations seriously. The Republicans will not stop with a mere election to oust this president. Hope they know this.

Fielding II


Benghazi is not a scandal? Four Dead Americans, one of who was the Ambassador, on the anniversary of 9/11 all blamed on a video and a non-existent demonstration and that’s not a scandal? When the compound had been repeatedly attacked in the months before 9/11. When the Ambassador had asked for more protection and had been denied. When the Ambassador knew that he had been targeted. When the attack went on for seven hours and was being viewed in real time by our intelligence people and no attempt was made to rescue our people. When the head of the CIA said he knew almost immediately that it was a terrorist attack and the President and his administration kept telling the American people and the United Nations that it was not a planned terrorist attack. That doesn’t constitute a scandal? Are you serious? Baghdad Bob lives in America in the form of the American media.



If George Bush was not taken to task for the horrors of 9/11, I should think this tragedy in Benghazi would not merit a peep.

Ellie Tellie

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Aquarian Weekly 12/26/12 REALITY CHECK


A myth is an image in terms of which we try to make sense of the world. – Alan Watts

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life? – Matthew 6:26-27

There is a video on YOUTUBE of a Canadian golden eagle flying majestically through a cloud-streaked sky, cutting through the wind with an impressive wingspan, talons poised and beak slacked joyously. Suddenly the giant bird reverses its course and swoops violently down upon a meadow and grabs a child, about 10 to 14 months, and lifts it into the air. The voice of what the viewer could only guess is the child’s father begins to shout, “Holy shit!”, which is heard above the screams of its mother. The giant bird struggles to lift the weight and must drop the child about eight feet from the ground. It fortuitously lands unharmed, rolling over and crying hysterically. The eagle, hardly fazed by this failure, ascends again to seek out a lighter load for its prey.

NewtownA casual observer of this can be amazed, even titillated; it is nature at its most stunning, a balance of cold calculation mixed with random circumstance and vicious beauty. A more subjective view of the event engenders horror; the terrifying understanding that to live is expose that life to swift and brutal disorder. Either way, it is the way of nature, the random and sudden meeting between a hunting-killing machine and its unsuspecting victim, developed over centuries of evolution into something that cannot be stopped by merely eradicating it once, twice or a dozen times. There is always another and another and then another species that will swoop down until the realization that no plan or level of intellect or force or compassion can halt its progression. Only fortune could hope to shield life from it.

Succumbing to the reality of nature, to the vagaries of its relentless law of chaos, sparks horror and dread in the human heart. It is too much to bear, this sense that no one is either safe or in danger, it is merely life, existence, and therefore placed in the laissez-faire course of acting as predator or prey. It is the haphazard but perfectly functioning cruelty of the natural world; the world we live in, not the fantasy utopian dreams created by civilization’s laws, religion and cultural myths, which have transformed the wildly unpredictable snake in order to conjure the evil tempter of Eden.

But the snake, as the great Native American proverb warns, is a snake, nothing more; not evil or devil or monster. It is the snake, sharing existence with us, the all-important human, who cannot help looking for a way to control the snake from being the snake.

And so, on the fourteenth day of the twelfth month of the year twenty-twelve, such a predator, as random and furious and sudden as the golden eagle careening towards the defenseless child, emerged to lay waste to twenty-six lives, twenty of which had not yet reached their eighth year in this unfettered chaos of existence. One young man, whose name is not important, as if anyone had bothered to name the eagle, walked out of the myth society had created to realize his true nature, that of the predator, and began seeking the truth of his being; a truth as random and horrifying as the heart that beat within him.

The survivors and the witnesses on the ground and on television, some housewives, others businessmen the news media and the president acted as humans do when the random chaos of existence unleashes its indefinable mayhem in places not normally if ever visited upon. There are tears and cries for explanation and security against it; as if in some strange way there is security against existence, as if there is some law to pass or prayer to offer or secure place anyone can go to avoid it.

It is the snake, sharing existence with us, the all-important human, who cannot help looking for a way to control the snake from being the snake.

But it is forgivable panic, since a significant portion of existence is the desire to preserve it and to also protect those who may need protecting against the forces of nature; like levees against the rising tide or measures to keep the billowing flames from devouring us. It is forgivable that humans cannot and will not ever accept that at any moment the predator will strike in the form of a storm or a fire or the troubled mythmaker manifesting carnage to wreak its blind vengeance upon the unsuspecting purveyors of illusion.

Perhaps in a moment of madness, I too would ask for forgiveness to have written that Penn State University should have been razed in the wake of years of child rape; bankrolled and provided without a peep from faculty and coaches in employ to protect, serve and educate; a systemic rape house for a pedophile they called colleague and friend, allowed, nay, enabled to unleash his random carnage upon the innocence of youth. And well, there are far more children being raped in churches and schools and homes across this nation and every nation every hour of every day than there are myth-crushing gunmen.

Maybe some forgiveness should be provided me for repeatedly pointing out that each and every one of us who call ourselves American provide money to our government to bomb villages and cities across the Middle East; hospitals and schools and playgrounds with innocent children being massacred, burned and mutilated. Our tax money pays for it and some of us even cheer it. And this has been going on unchecked for decades; here, there and everywhere.

But you can keep your forgiveness. I don’t mind. I am just like you. I have been fed the same myths and illusions. The Bogeyman is in the closet. The Bogeyman wears special garb and speaks special languages and has agendas and ideologies. The Bogeyman can be spotted and ferreted out and made to stand down. There are cages to put him in and pills to quell his urges and science and medicine to explain him and a God to judge him.

But there is no Bogeyman and there is no closet or jail or drug or God that will keep him in check. He is next door and down the street. He sits next to you on the train and hands you your change at Starbucks. He lives in the inner city, the suburbs, the woods. He laughs at jokes and grits his teeth when he stubs his toe on the furniture .He has a blog. He has a dog. He goes to church. He owns a gun. He doesn’t own a gun. He plays video games and he watches movies, like the guy passing him on the street and the other guy reading about the guy obliterating school children or his high school bullies or the girls who ignore him or the parents who don’t love him or the guy he didn’t vote for or the music he used to like but now sounds like a hollow shrill.

He is you.

He is me.

He is the eagle, the snake, the gunman.

He is nature.

He is existence.

The rest is myth, except for the parts that are illusion.


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The (New) Never Deal

Aquarian Weekly 12/19/12 REALITY CHECK

THE (NEW) NEVER DEAL The Madness Method Explained

Now that things have gone underground in Washington, the wheels of our national fate are turning. A sign of progress is that the first body of this standoff has been tossed out. Susan Rice has fallen on the sword and will remove one jack-boot the president had to humiliate the already damaged Republicans. Accepting her de facto resignation from consideration for secretary of state due to her role as puppet mouthpiece for the Benghazi debacle in September is the olive branch or duck and cover the White House needs. Meanwhile at the Capitol, the speaker of the House has driven his blade through the carcass of Paul Ryan, the only pariah left from the failed attempt to carry out senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell’s doomed operation; “Make Barack Obama a one-term president.”

Human bids are crucial to these types of negotiations. American history is ripe with the skin trade amongst politicians. In 1832, Andrew Jackson, sick with brain warts, offered several men up to the obviously mad Henry Clay in the National Bank Affair, many of which disappeared completely from public life. Clay, well known for treating states as if poker chips, was well acquainted with Jackson’s proclivity for gunplay and offered the president six counties in Kentucky to open.

So now that the sides have mercifully stopped grandstanding to the press every five seconds and begun to hammer away in private, there is tight security on who is taking the worst beating and who can appear the least wretched to the American public when this bloated dung bag is finally sent up for a vote.

John Boehner has already tested the waters on this. The speaker is a poll freak. Many in his employ claim he hangs the results in pie charts above his desk, so that when the TEA Partiers enter his office to complain they can plainly see that now 70 percent of the voting public, 50 percent of Republicans, wish to tax the top two percent. According to the Wall St. Journal, hardly a bastion of leftist propaganda, now 80 percent of voters want a compromise, and for the first time since its inception, over half of those polled believe the election settled any discussion on the survival of Obamacare.

As explained nearly a month ago in this space, the jig is up for House Republicans. But according to reports inside the capitol, after a private briefing with its caucus, there appears to be little budging on the raising of revues on the rich. Not because it’s the national will or a normal executive mandate carried immediately after a general election, but because districts and counties historically fuel members of congress, not states like senators, or the nation as a whole like presidents. The congress has always been a tough nut, made much tougher since for some weird reason the Republican establishment thought it could ignore the influx of the TEA Party fervor in 2010 and elevate an old-line lifer to the post of speaker and then nominate a liberal to lead its national ticket.

But stranger events are to come, as the word being bandied about in the “smart” circles centers on both the White House and the congress allowing this debate to purposely spill over January 1; so all can save political face. And quite frankly, it makes perfect sense.

For Republicans, the claim can be that taxes have now hiked on everyone automatically, thus a compromise can occur without breaking the no-tax pledge and the guilty can appear to be actually lowering taxes. Of course, the hope will be that most people don’t read this column, which most do not, and will forget that it was congress that devised this insane plan in the first place, in essence defaulting on all promises.

This, of course, fills this heart with bubbles of sweet joy, if only because it proves the point of this entire Reality Check News & Information gig: All of this is utter bullshit.

For Joe Cool, the White House can continue to point to the abysmally low public rating of the current congress as do-nothing and act as a hero for five minutes. All of this is plausible, because in the original agreement, the Fiscal Cliff directive has a retroactive clause, allowing a deal to be struck on, say, January 5 or even February 5, in order for everyone to appear functional during an actual crisis, instead of merely avoiding one, which in cinematic parlance is boffo.

This, of course, fills this heart with bubbles of sweet joy, if only because it proves the point of this entire Reality Check News & Information gig: All of this is utter bullshit.

Remember when everyone told us this latest in a series of stalemate elections would decide the existence of the nation? And remember how it was the most important thing since Adam banged Eve? Yeah, well, you voted and no one in charge seems to give a flying fart. Everything, as the saying goes, is as it was before. Maybe Barack Obama is standing a little taller and the part of congress with a self-preservation streak is humbled, but for the most part it is status quo with no one standing aside to say, “I guess the people decided”, because the people, as usual, decide nothing pertinent, except whose picture gets to hang in customs when you slink back across the border with your baggage packed with Cuban cigars.

For the record, this has never happened to me. It is merely a vacant analogy.

And what then of this terrible Fiscal Cliff that will doom us all; where blood will run through the gutters of our streets while Baby Jesus weeps for our living souls?

Also bullshit.

See? Doesn’t all that hand ringing on whether Mitt Romney was an imbecile or if Obama stole Florida seem silly now? What fools we were to let these pikers rile our gills, make us feud with friends, take to the streets in gory garb, and wait on line for three hours to vote. It was a fuck around, a piss in the wind. It’s akin to surviving a roller coaster ride in which you truly believed you might die and then as you exit a ten year-old kid jumps into your seat.

This is a thrill ride worth writing about. Sometimes I feel as emboldened as that woman who spent her life with the apes. Hell, it brings back fond memories of being half out of my mind; check that, completely out of my mind on gin, sucking on a fresh stogie at Shelly’s Backroom with my pal, Georgetown a generation ago: Newt Gingrich throwing a fit for not getting the good seat on Bill Clinton’s plane and shutting down the government. How we would laugh.

For instance, I can hear us now deconstructing the fact that with Susan Rice gone, most likely to take the non-hearing national security advisor position, John Kerry, once the bane of the Right Wing smear system, will instead be named secretary of state. Meanwhile, Republican Chuck Hagel will be the new secretary of defense; a man who refused to support the anti-Rice cheerleader, John McCain for president against, you guessed it, Barack Obama in 2008. And then, in the font of poetic justice, Scott Brown, sent packing on a rail by the voters of Massachusetts will get to run again for Kerry’s vacant senate seat.

I complete this analysis at the Clemens Estate, but I’m spiritually in Shelly’s right now.

Another round, please!


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Ego Dance To Armageddon

Aquarian Weekly 12/12/12 REALITY CHECK

EGO DANCE TO ARMAGEDDON Public Flogging Off “The Cliff”

That is the thing you want to remember if you work in either journalism or politics — or both, like I do — and there is no way to duck it. You will be flogged for being right and flogged for being wrong, and it hurts both ways, but it doesn’t hurt as much when you’re right. – Hunter S. Thompson

Yes, the good Doctor wrote that back in 1988 and as usual he had his finger on the pulse. I did not fully absorb the quote until the Nineties, but by ’88 I had already dropped out of journalism and radio and decided instead to front a rock band to caterwaul seditious lyrics of my own making; horrible things that caused many people to wretch, but others to sing along, and that is when I became aware of what dissatisfaction sounds like en masse. I didn’t need television or newspapers; the medium and message reverberated back at me ten-fold.

John BoehnerIt is the kind of memory; a complete vision of unfiltered defiance, which provides me the fuel to thrash out these words each week. It’s not likely something I will ever be able to strip from my mind. For my money, it’s the closest thing to absolute truth I’ve experienced to date; and it’s not like I’ve stopped looking.

A motivated gathering of restless youth, jacked on several and varied substances in smoky rooms with spastic lighting will provide even the most cynical shitheel a reasonable facsimile of how the delicate balance of emotional impulses could precisely communicate the intellectual conclusion that what’s happening outside the place is nothing you want any part of. That’s when I learned that whatever twit coined the phrase “youth is wasted on the young” had never actually been young, because we knew, or at least those kids knew — I only knew that pretty soon I would be trading in those lyrics for a typewriter and run as far as I could from the truth binge — that the days of railing like a banshee against being sucked into the system would soon end. There was a desperate sense of tranquil recognition that comes from failing to fiercely defy the inevitable. We’d soon be joining the Grand Fuck and there was nothing any of us could do about it.

However, giving in does not mean staying silent for some of us. That generation and the two after it, something called X and this Millennium crew have carved out a throng of bloggers and tweeters and podcasters and anonymous bitchers. The Internet, social media and the like have put the journalism tag on us all, and for good or ill it is here to stay, at least until the government finds some half-assed way to regulate the life from it. For now, everybody’s a television; something I wrote as one of those miserably prescient lyrics that found themselves bouncing over distorted guitar lines that spoke more about the chaos of the human experiment than anything I’ve penned in this space for 15 years.

Public displays of ego warfare are what separate two generations from 1988. Everything that came before; whether politics, journalism or music for that matter, is rendered null and void. Airing our laundry to the masses is rote, not exception. Expressing ideas, but mostly complaints, through the bullhorn of social media, the Internet or calling into the radio rant is the way of discourse. Woody Allen once mused that dissent and commentary would merge to form dysentery, which for my money rivals anything Thompson said about being right or wrong and being flogged for it.

Maybe it should all have been aired out like congress and the White House now openly fight for our fiscal solvency. The whole mess is bad mojo for things like progress and compromise, but it’s gangbusters for truth.

Which brings me to my point, such as it is: this incessant need for the members of congress and the White House to continue to negotiate, debate and grandstand as a matter of public display rather than the preferred cloak of secrecy, wherein the asinine pitches from both sides can be mocked and argued without the need to defend personal honor or political cloud. Once a stance is made public, it is ever more difficult for the chest-thumping, base-bating nonsense that passes for opening gestures to be compromised.

Suddenly, this has become — as did the completely nonsensical debt ceiling rumble of 2011 — an ego trip of sound bites and grandstanding; a repeat of campaigns past. Going to the press and or the public to blurt out defiance is no way to successfully to come to this fairly important decision in keeping the nation from the kind of austere measures that might stall whatever plodding recovery this is and plunge us into another crippling recession.

But it is truth; the truth of what humans are capable of when frightened of being perceived The Loser. It lifts the veil on the process, like the 2000 presidential election did; cracks appearing at the foundation of this American experiment.

Of course, it makes no sense to use the press or the cable news networks to hash out a deal in which both sides will have to eat some measure of shit. But it gives the voting public a chance to see what Otto von Bismarck’s “sausage making” is all about. And believe me; even people who love sausage want nothing to do with knowing what’s in there or how they’re prepared.

But what if they did?

What if, for instance, the majority of the voting public came to grips with the fact that this nation has been at war for over ten years without so much as paying a dime more in taxes or lifting a finger to assist in the effort, beyond those families who have given of their young for a concept none of us are really sure of. What if we really knew what was in the Patriot Act or the Affordable Health Care Act or where most of our tax dollars end up?

Maybe it should all have been aired out like congress and the White House now openly fight for our fiscal solvency. The whole mess is bad mojo for things like progress and compromise, but it’s gangbusters for truth.

It leaves one wondering if we can handle it?

My guess is no. We don’t “handle” — we whine like bitches and take to the streets dressed as comic book characters or minutemen.

But hell, I know what’s it’s like to cringe from truth. I bagged my waltz with that kind of painful crap years ago, and since this is likely to end up as all these things end up, with someone being flogged, right or wrong, I say a few weeks of truth may be ugly and scare the hell out of everyone, but it’s sure as shit is fun.


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Second-Term Obama Comes Out Swinging

Aquarian Weekly 11/28/12 REALITY CHECK

THE EMPEROR’S NEW SHOW Second-Term Obama Comes Out Swinging

It’s balls-out time for Joe Cool. Elections, as they say, have consequences. The last president to win a second term did so by a paltry sixty thousand votes in Ohio and began talking like Kubla Khan about “spending political capital”. None of this is lost on Barack Obama, who swept through 11 of the purported 12 battleground states; a performance, when compared to George W. Bush, looks like a windfall. It appears to have turned the first-term demure, pragmatic no-drama Obama into Daddy Warbucks.

Barack ObamaIf the president’s first post-election press conference is any indication, there’s a new sheriff in town: “If there was one thing that everybody understood was a big difference between myself and Mr. Romney, it was, when it comes to how we reduce our deficit, I argued for a balanced, responsible approach, and part of that included making sure that the wealthiest Americans pay a little bit more. I think every voter out there understood that that was an important debate, and the majority of voters agreed with me, not — by the way, more voters agreed with me on this issue than voted for me.”

Those are the sounds a man makes when he no longer has to run for office. It is powerful, even majestic, if not terrifying. Makes the most fearless among us truly understand the lofty position of the end game. It rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it? End game. No more matches, debating or begging for money or trolling votes. Nothing left to do but talk tough and crack skulls.

Those on Capitol Hill are well acquainted with those sounds, specifically House Speaker John Boehner, who did his best to appear conciliatory in their wake. As if still in control of something pertinent, Boehner had to pay lip service to raising revenues with meager caveats. It was a stellar performance by a man whose job now is to hand out the shit cakes and shout, “Bottoms up!” It comes with the territory, and will be done, no doubt, with far less bravado and joyful tears than two years ago when he had the defiant look of a winner.

It is Boehner that must bring down the bummer on the Republican caucus. The people have spoken and none of it is what they want to hear. Hard rain, chief. This explains his sending whatever’s left of Paul Ryan in to rally the troops, which in Washington-speak means coming to grips with defeat and what it means to know when the jig is up.

Both Boehner and Obama are poised to tackle the Fiscal Cliff. And why not? They both know what it’s like to be sandbagged for a sniff of power. It’s a wash; 2008 turned into 2010 and that turned quickly to 2012. It is Obama’s serve and he is not lobbing a fucking thing anymore. This has got ace written all over it.

Sure elections have consequences, but sometimes more so for the guy sticking around to do the job.

House Republicans are screwed and they know it. Slowly, the elder statesmen, the lifers — those who could no longer give a flying fart for the fumes of the TEA Party when faced with re-election — are getting in line.

Perhaps it’s the reason Republicans have unleashed Senators John McCain, Lindsey Graham and Kelly Ayotte to run with this murky Benghazi scandal, which appears to only be a scandal for those who wish the election results had gone the other way. It’s a welcomed distraction to dogpile on U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice and just the kind of red meat you feed the base and the donors before you lick boots.

Whether the shaky intelligence, dismal security measures and incredibly crappy communication after the U.S. Embassy in Libya went up in flames in early September was a campaign conspiracy or an embarrassing lack of control by the White House is hardly the point. Of course there were problems, and a strategic “handling” of said problems. This is standard procedure and has been long before any of us were born.

And for those of us who don’t have a grasp of how George Washington may or may not have handled the Whiskey Rebellion, the public only has to go back to 2001, when the federal government was well aware of the imminent attack on New York and chose to ignore it, and how, ironically, the woman most responsible for this horrendous disaster was the president’s National Security Advisor and later Secretary of State. This other woman named Rice also went on a bevy of Sunday morning news shows in 2002 and lied about solid evidence of enriched uranium being shipped into Iraq; a lie boldly echoed by Senators McCain and Graham on the floor of the Senate.

This, of course, makes this fabricated pogrom on Susan Rice, a mere errant girl for the big boys, anything but political theater and will fail to reach the new year with any legs. The only question will be whether Joe Cool takes this dead-end ploy to derail his decision on whether to name Rice as Hillary Clinton’s successor as a dare; something Republicans would love, since they have a better chance of pissing up that rope than the one they face on the budget crisis. After the first few post-election weeks of the newly emboldened Obama, the smart money is flooding in that direction. But can the Republican Party afford a bunch of old white guys pitching a fit at an African American woman trying to replace another very popular woman?

How’s that for politics, jack?

Nah, not even the wild and wooly Congress has the stones to pull that off. In fact, the only person going down around there is Grover Norquist, whose masterful lobbying reached epic proportions when he demanded dozens of Republican candidates sign a “no tax” pledge. That idea, while queerly noble, went bye-bye on November 6. A fact not lost on a slow march of Republican senators who’ve already jumped ship in order to better read the tea leaves of 2014, when their asses will be on the line. Each and every one is fully aware of how 65 percent of the citizenry either being against something (Obamacare and the 2010 Democratic fall-out) or for it (2012 election and taxing the rich) brings its own hammer.

The Republicans will give ’til it hurts, but should not forget that they still control the purse strings, ultimately. And the election, while binding, did not have the overwhelming tide the Democrats are selling. While the president is right, he has a solid majority of Americans demanding their tax cuts remain at the expense of the top two percent after January 1, no one with half a brain thinks this is some kind of Liberal mandate.

While significant, Obama’s victory was mostly culture-based, specifically with Hispanics and women, and less economical. Many voters (48 percent of which did not vote for him) still felt his opponent possessed the better grip on fixing the nation’s fiscal issues. His campaign, outreach, and ground game was vastly superior and Mitt Romney, as pointed out with sickening regularity for over a year now, mostly sucked.

The president should take heed that his predecessor, while walking around like the new emperor in 2004, eventually realized his fancy clothes were just a figment of his imagination, and before long his ill-conceived attempt to privatize Social Security did little but signal his second term woes.

Sure elections have consequences, but sometimes more so for the guy sticking around to do the job.


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Aquarian Weekly 11/28/12 REALITY CHECK


Love your assessment of the numbers reflecting the reality for months on the projected Obama victory, refuted, as many realities are often refuted by the Right, to their ultimate detriment. (THE JOE COOL STOMP II — Issue: 11/14/11) Look, these people have been running against a straw man for years. The president they wanted to run against, Muslim appeaser, socialist, weak on foreign policy, clueless, doesn’t exist. They had the chance to make an alternative argument against the guy that actually held the position, but thought it better to echo nonsense by Newt Gingrich, Rush Limbaugh, Donald Trump and Sarah Palin; lunatics all. Not only lunatics, but living in a fantasy world perpetuated by the FOX machine and accepted as fact by ill-informed voters, who were actually shocked when the cold, hard facts they had laughed at came home as actually votes.

V. Elias


Man, Mitt Romney had to work hard to blow this. More power to him. He is a champion loser.



This is now five out of the last six election cycles where the Republicans have lost the popular vote. Their message is stale, antiquated, and soon to go the way of the Whigs. The hijacking of the party during the eighties of the Religious Right and the corporate culture, much of which dumped millions upon millions of dollars to elect Mitt Romney their puppet, have been bested more times than not. This is not likely to change anytime soon. Immigration, contraception, evolution, climate change, tax cuts for the rich, anti-women, anti-homosexual, anti-intellectualism has doomed it.

The brand, as you say, is damaged. The question is who has the balls to change it?

Freddie Regaldo


See, you lose me when you let a little soft-on-Obama ankle show. There was nothing impressive about Obama winning. I actually had it backwards when I said nobody cared about Romney – they actually did, but in a negative way to the tune of 2+ million LESS Repub votes than McCain got in ’08. I thought for sure the anti-Obama sentiment would override the obvious Romney stank, but hey I wouldn’t be the first to be wrong in the history of the world. Add to that the fact that Obama himself didn’t draw as many votes as he did in ’08 and there goes your “impressive” analysis.

The bottom line is the Rhinos control the Repub party, they put a Rhino up for Pres who claimed to be conservative when true conservatives knew that was BS, and you have the same result as in most elections whenever Rhinos go up against Dems – utter failure. As long as they control the party and continue to out-Lib the Dems they’re going to be losers, despite the Media Intelligencia’s blaming the Tea Party for everything cause they’re scared shitless of them. One could say the 2 mill who stayed home might have gotten off the couch had Romney picked a real Tea Party conservative, not to take anything away from Paul Ryan, but it’s all pissing in the wind at this point.

I will now sit back and enjoy the spin of the coming and inevitable government failures as the fault of the party who controls only 1/2 of 1/3 of government…

Ken Eustace


You make a fair point; what data was Dick Morris, whose job, actually job — not hobby — is to dissect this data, using? It’s not just that the Republican side of things is out of touch with an evolving nation, but they don’t even have serviceable people to understand the process. It’s sad. I used to be a Republican. Now I cringe when any of these people speak. It’s like the party of idiots now.



Mr. Campion – this article is . . . brilliant. (THANKS FOR NEXT TO NOTHING — Issue: 11/21/12) Couldn’t have said it better. My hats off to you.

Blows Against The Empire


Yes, it is true. Only two States legalized cannabis. Only a few voted for gay rights. It is true that these things should already be legal in this country. I get it. But the facts are that things are not that way. People in 48 states are still being arrested for pot. This is a relatively small first step, but it is most importantly, a first step. After generations of inequality, and the severing of some of our personal liberties, we are finally making progress. I am excited to see something being done about cannabis prohibition, even though the present situation is not perfect, it began the first serious realization that it can be done. The conversation is upon the world stage now. The genie is out. I am not going backward.



On one part of this piece is correct — fundamental rights should never be subject to popular vote. We allowed it to happen without challenge, and paid the price. So where were you in 2004? Why weren’t you filing lawsuits to stop them?

And now that things are turning in our favor, now that we have a much broader base of support among the public, you’re having a fit.

Real constructive, that.



Giordono Bruno was burned alive for beliefs that were largely fact. He audaciously claimed the Sun was just another star, that other stars had planets orbiting them and likely had life. While that latter is yet unobserved, we retain two absurd words bereft of factual basis. We still reference our daily revolution from a biased, geocentric viewpoint; we call it a sunrise or a sunset. The sun does neither.

Unless we are grossly incorrect, our species lived over 160,000 years in nearly the same level of relative ignorance as the wilds around us. We struggled for 1,000 of our more recent years to comprehend what is now regarded as basic math. The newer language of science existed for 200 years before the revelations of Einstein were realized. We struggle to understand how much of Einstein was correct, and how much deserves correction.

It is no less a wonder how it could be that our interpretation and expression of enlightened ideals remains imperfect, errant and incomplete. Within a short few years the wisdom of recognizing the equality of all people was tarnished by the specification that whole categories were exempt as only 3/5ths of a human being.

We must continue the struggle to understand and implement our own convictions, and to eliminate the contradictions and injustices we invoke upon ourselves. The paradox will continue. We made huge progress over the epochs, and quickly compared to the Eons before us, yet it moves glacially compared to the span of our lives.



This article reads like a scream for attention. Things are getting better and you’re pissed about it. It’s precisely this kind of sensationalism that makes it hard to get the progress both you and I want. Also, I disagree about the religion part of this argument. If they want to be non-taxed, they ought to be playing by the same rules required of every other citizen association that collects and spends money and wants to do so in a tax free way. The religion part of the first amendment is no more inalienable than the right to assemble part.


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9/11 Remembered? – No, Thanks

Aquarian Weekly 9/7/11 REALITY CHECK


“If rape is imminent…relax and enjoy it.”

Napoleon said that. The former Emperor of France was a brute and a tyrant, but a cockeyed optimist at heart. It was by far the smartest thing he ever uttered in his highly significant 52 years on this planet, far more prescient than “If you don’t like it, then send me to Saint Helena” or “Let’s try Russia”.

I have found this disturbing axiom on the indifference of suffering useful in many stages of my life, through personal torment and professional upheaval. In many ways, in a decidedly lesser damaging quotient, there is generally a lot of “grin and bear it” to the march of time and the events that define it.

What may be far more insidious is the marking of life’s horrors as if it is of the utmost importance to recall over and over; perhaps to avoid repeating or to honor those felled by it or to merely see it as momentous in a morbid way.

It is the way I have always seen the concept of funerals, and no amount of stockpiled guilt or psychological babble will convince me otherwise. They are barbaric and needlessly painful and often in the case of dignitaries, heads’ of state or celebrities maudlin beyond stomaching.

This is in fact how this space chooses to “remember” or as it is put in certain quarters “commemorate” the ten-year anniversary of 9/11/01 — as those with the pen wax poetic and those with the pulpit speechify and those who were there recall with reverence the retelling of what is a prime example of the worst humanity has wrought.

This is a sickness only people who suspend reason for emotion would find comforting. I find it appalling and degrading.

Count me out. I lived through it and wrote endlessly about it in this space lo these ten years and will not pay its anniversary mind, save ironically for these words of protest.

I only thought about broaching the subject the other day when I saw a photographer displaying his celebrated “falling man” photo. One of the quotes went something like “It is peaceful and almost hypnotic, as if there was no violence or tragedy attached to moment”. Whatever the exact words, the sentiment was in the ballpark of “beauty from disaster”. Yes, a man plummeting to his death, a death he chose because it was either that or be charred alive inside a burning building which only moments before was his bustling downtown office was a Keatsesque experience.

Truth is only beauty when you haven’t had to witness that miserable shit.

Truth is only beauty when you haven’t had to witness that miserable shit.

This is the sort of middling crap I am going to find hard to endure and harder I fear to ignore this week. You know, the slow motion shots of carnage, ensuing rescue, eyewitness accounts of heroism and a town and nation’s rebirth, the viscous fallout of terrorism meets monetary international concerns all wrapped up nicely in a triumphant “they couldn’t stamp us out” flag-folding, marching band tribute to Mother Country.

Fuck that.

Remember the Alamo, Pearl Harbor Day, The Great Chicago Fire, whatever. It is the height of grieving bullshit that strives to numb the pain and wipe away the abhorrence. Not me, chum. I embrace those things like a beloved child’s toy. I say hang onto it. Keep it close. Nurture it as your own. Remember, “Love your enemy”?

That reminds me of how I feel about Easter. What the hell are these people celebrating? Your savior being mutilated by the state and due to some existential falderal lifted to religious significance by a supposed preordained act inflicted upon the “son” of an omnipotent ruler of the universe? I choose to be pissed about the murder of a revolutionary spirit. I ask the Jehovah Witness contingent every time it descends upon the Clemens Estate. “Aren’t you pissed they killed Jesus?” They have no serviceable answer. Of course not, they are stuck in perpetual grieving commemoration.

Don’t even bring up the abject horrors of Passover.

Perhaps after extrapolating these putrid nuggets from yearly spring rituals, once every ten years reliving mass murder as some kind of patriotic duty seems a trifle, but I’m not buying in.

Hey, half of the county in which I currently reside is under water. The devastation around here is epic. Never has anyone I spoke to from my or any generation breathing seen this kind of disaster in New Jersey. None of us are in the mood to recall any part of a decade-old crushing blow.

So have your commemoration without me. Consider this my spat of defiance, America. Keep your 9/11/01 breast-clutching slobber-fest. I don’t want to heal. I like to rub the scar and all the scars that followed that terrible morning and think about how we’ve learned nothing.


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Boycott Beijing Olympics 2008

Aquarian Weekly 8/20/08 REALITY CHECK


All who live in tyranny and hopelessness can know: the United States will not ignore your oppression, or excuse your oppressors. When you stand for your liberty, we will stand with you. – George W. Bush Inaugural Speech 1/20/05

‘All who live in tyranny’ would start with China, which this country openly trades with and the UN recognizes despite its historic and continued crimes against civil and human rights, forced abortions, execution and mass imprisoning of dissenting citizens, religious leaders, writers, artists etc. Oh, and that nastiness with Tibet. Oooh, that’s bad, man. I can’t wait for King George to spit in their face and demand to let their people go. My testicles tingle at the thought of it. – jc IN BUSH WE TRUST 2/25/05

Beijing OlympicsThe above is a running joke the president and I have going. He spews what I’ve playfully called in print his “ragingly sanctimonious myopia” and I call him on it. It’s fun. It’s what presidents do, and how journalists are supposed to react. Who knows what the fuck passes for journalism or dissent anymore. Perhaps if you can find one mainstream media outlet not owned by a multi-billion dollar corporation, then maybe someone would notice the spectacularly potent illustration of abject hypocrisy currently on display at the Beijing Olympics.

The United States of America, its government, its media, and by extension, its people, its spirit and what remains of its moral conscience is in the midst of celebrating a fascist state, which for more than half a century has been the home office for human misery, civil rights abuses, and less-than-discreet forms of genocide to rival that of any country on the planet. The very notion that our nation wages war around the globe to ostensibly spread democracy and herald the tenets of freedom and then vigorously trades with and borrows billions of dollars from a republic it openly embraces in an international sporting event is nothing short of a colossal travesty.

Forget the Olympics “not being about politics” – despite the fact that it absolutely has been in recent history, as evidenced in our boycott of the Moscow games in 1980 and the Russians subsequent nose-thumbing four years later in Los Angeles – lauding the self-righteous deceit of an oppressive regime on the world stage is at best pathetic and at worst evil.

This is what comes from being in debt to monsters. For the best manifestation of this please refer to either video of the president dancing like an imbecile at the Olympic opening ceremonies or the later chapters of Brett Easton Ellis’ sophomoric novel, Less Than Zero, wherein the protagonist, an incorrigible dope fiend, is reduced to blowing closet queers to support his smack habit.

So how does it feel to see our Cowboy President sucking up to his nefarious benefactors this way? Makes your chest swell with pride to be the moral compass and beacon of liberty to the world. Proud to blather on about the wonders of democracy while the Chinese people have no right to freedom of religion, artistic or literary expression, speech, press, property, or even basic human rights demanded by the United Nations, of which China is a member.

But that shouldn’t really shock those of us even remotely paying attention or on the network payroll over at the National Broadcasting Company, since this government under every president for decades has also willingly protected the interests of Saudi Arabia, which ranks in the top five with China for the systematic execution of its citizens. By conservative estimates, since obviously China does not share state secrets, its government annually puts to death 10,000 of its people for “crimes against the government”, which include dissent in any form and the always-popular tax fraud.

The other fun fact about the daily human rights abuses in China is the forced-labor of minors making all the crap we buy from Walmart to Target to every supermarket across the fruited plains, not to mention ridiculously expensive shit like Nike sneakers and the such, which are being “manufactured” right now in sweat shops by children who were either abandoned or enslaved. Don’t worry; it’s only predominantly female children, because with the One-Child Policy instituted by the government in 1979, the atavistic patriarchy of China’s culture has bred forced abortions of females and/or their sale into slavery or outright abandonment to allow for male heirs.

The United States of America, its government, its media, and by extension, its people, its spirit and what remains of its moral conscience is in the midst of celebrating a fascist state, which for more than half a century has been the home office for human misery, civil rights abuses, and less-than-discreet forms of genocide to rival that of any country on the planet.

My favorite “controversy” to emerge from the Games’ opening ceremonies surrounded a cute little girl’s lip-synching of a less attractive girl’s recording. Oh, the terrible injustice! The embarrassment of such a cold and calculating public-relations maneuver! This is tantamount to complaining that the 1936 Olympics in Hitler’s Germany had garish overtones of nationalism.

Then there is the minor annoyance of organ harvesting of live victims imprisoned for their belief in a spiritual practice called Falun Gong. Earlier this decade there were reports from several sources describing conditions at the Sujiatun Concetration Camp, one of 36 operating in country today, which describe hospitalized Falun Gong practitioners being kept alive in the basement where their organs are to be carved out for transplants of “normal” citizens. An alleged eyewitness detailed botched or “unworthy” victims of the practice being “thrown directly into the crematorium to be burnt”.

Detractors from inside China’s spectacualrly corrupt governement, and specfically government-contriolled newspapers, have refuted these “camps and practices”, but what would you expect? Assuming these are fabrications of Amnesty International or merely disgruntled revolutionaries, they still bare investigation, especially since the United States went to war on the flimsy evidence of WMD inside a foreign nation.

But that was all a load of bullshit anyway, like the freeing of the Iraqi people, which would have engendered less than mild enthusiasm had they not been sitting on billions of crude oil and threatening the sovereignty of our Saudi and Isreali allies. Selective global morality has been a favorite of this country for centuries.

Take another of King George’s proclamations in May of 2005 (apparently a whiz-bang year for “tough-guy rhetoric”) to the people of Georgia, who are right now being invaded by Russia: “The path of freedom you have chosen is not easy, but you will not travel it alone. Americans respect your courageous choice for liberty. And as you build a free and democratic Georgia, the American people will stand with you.”


How come Georgia’s president makes appeals to John McCain to save his hide as Russia demands he abdicate his position or face total war, instead of engaging the sitting president? Could it be the Republican presidential candidate’s lobbying to bring Georgia into NATO, which would have placed us in an unwanted and unwinnable war with its enemies?

I’m not begrudging a single athlete here nor NBC their ratings (or lack thereof) or do I wish to skunk your enjoyment in viewing this Olympics. But please don’t wake up on the Monday after and scream about human rights abuses and terrible regimes abroad and expect to be considered anything but a jabbering dolt.

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