31 December 2007
Actually, not having anything to say has never been an effective impediment to opening my mouth and forcibly ejecting one collection of malformed opinions or another; small consolation lies in the fact that I'm hardly original in this regard. Whatever. In any case, here's a small dose of purposeless superfluity, or maybe gratuitous garrulousness if you will, the last such tidbit of twaddle you people will have to suffer through this calendar year ...
(Please excuse me -- the brewpub waitress just smells great ... my mind wandered for a brief moment. Sorry.)
As comprehensively awful as 2007 undoubtedly was, the unmistakable impression I have is that 2008 is going to be the make-or-break year for the senior republic on the North American continent. The conceptual idea of representative democracy will either burst out in a renaissance of revitalization, in an unlooked-for explosion of near revolutionary fervor; or it will finally see the ultimate realization of the long-range Bush-Cheney-Reid-Pelosi program of despicably self-imposed immolation, an enthusiastic and monumentally spineless self-interment akin to the French Third Republic. Those are the choices, stark as they are. The coming year will likely be the watershed moment of American democracy, possibly the final moment of individual liberty, the last feeble gasp of free thought before a monstrous deluge of darkness. Or not -- the choice, I suppose, is in our hands, the anonymous millions. Hope springs eternal, as they say, and as much as I desperately desire to swath myself with the intoxicating fog of optimism ...
Best leave that thought unfinished. In the meantime, I would remind everyone to keep your eyes and ears open -- New Year’s Eve being the ridiculous Amateur Night that it is. Watch yourselves, don't drink too much, and let's hit '08 consumed with a righteous determination to do something about the disease-riddled neo-con rodentia that would eat us alive.
Take care; I'll see you all next year.
27 December 2007
26 December 2007
Not that my opinion means anything, I just wanted it on the record, as it were.
23 December 2007
So, it's Christmas again. As would be expected, I started writing one of those patented Christmas Sucks Donkey Balls sort of posts, and I managed to come up with this gem:
... time again for the relentless, rapacious, bloody knuckle-dragging, brain-challenged monster known as Christmas to make its catastrophic appearance; smothering all with its hollow, wobbling bulk and sickeningly vapid halitosis compounded from stupidity and greed ... Crushing everything in its path, obliterating what little sense remains among the breathlessly dumb animatronic retards who comprise the moronic mass of American "citizenry," yanking the consumerist chains of blubbery halfwits and cloven-headed clodhoppers the world over. Here it comes -- over-dressed in obnoxious fakery and gulag-produced frippery, lurching and stomping and careening and caterwauling in a frenetic boogaloo of psychic and financial destruction. Gag me with a plastic Chinese Christmas tree; beat me with a rubber yule log; choke me with a half-off sale.
And so on and so forth, in a ridiculous display of prose-puke excess that was leaving even me a bit queasy and disoriented. I should remark that I've never claimed to be a poet, or a literary figure of any sort. As if that needed pointing out.
In any case, it isn't my intention really to indulge in what is likely the most shamelessly masturbatory activity to be found in all of blogdom: the self-quoting thing. How revolting. I can't imagine anything I might say actually improving with repetition (especially by me), or even being worthy of such nonsense -- and, now that I think about it, the same might be said for the pathetic debris that constitutes the vast bulk of the virtual world. Anyway, I'm only engaging in this questionable pastime to illustrate a point, of some kind or other. And that point is ... Wait a second, it'll come to me.
Well, the point would be something like this, perhaps: even I, the human heat-sink of snarky bile, a champion purveyor of vitriolic and incomprehensible frustration, one angry little pimple lost within an immense ocean of existential acne, the harsh bastard of uncivility and non-compromise ... even I am sick to death of the raging shitstorm of negativity that passes for discourse in this sad, blighted, terminally-ill epoch. Even your ill-mannered, foul-tempered, gutter-mouthed barstool jockey here has had enough of this repulsive bullshit. But then, I should say that this empty gesture (if that's the proper word), arguably reasonable and even noble in intent, applies only to Christmas -- to the memory of Christmas' past, when I was a kid and things were both simpler and made more sense. In tribute to times and places ... and people ... that are no more, I've decided to choke down my innate cynical nastiness for one day, anyway, and keep my unsolicited vomitus opinions to myself. For one day. The day after Christmas, needless to say, all bets are off.
What the hell.
20 December 2007
19 December 2007
05 December 2007
Anyhow, see how many times the dreaded "I" word pops up in this masterful political epistle:
Now, not to belabor the point too much, but it doesn't require a truckload of intelligence to figure out what the solution to this problem actually is. I know it, the two or three people who accidentally read this blog once in awhile know it, the microcephalic baboon living upstairs from me who loudly cheers on the Green Bay Packers by herself could probably get a clue about this. Why can't John Conyers? What the hell is his stake in the continuation of this gut-churning disaster?
Setting the Record Straight on FISA
In recent weeks, there has been lot of conflicting information floating around about efforts by House Democrats to protect the country by adopting rules for intelligence gathering that are both flexible and constitutional. This week, President Bush suggested that my legislative alternative to this summer's hastily-enacted Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA) reform, the "Protect America Act," would take away important tools from our intelligence community. He characterized as "obstruction" the skepticism that many of us have about granting amnesty to telecommunications carriers who may have cooperated in warrantless surveillance. I was disappointed that the President did not propose any concrete steps to improve our capabilities or protect our freedoms -- he just repeated his demand for immunity.
This comes close on the heels of a recent controversy concerning the House Democrats' FISA legislation stemming from Joe Klein's column in Time Magazine on November 21st, in which his Republican sources seem to have spun a tale that led Mr. Klein to characterize our efforts as "more than stupid."
I believe that it is time for a comprehensive and detailed response to the President's accusations of obstruction, the misinformation in the Time Magazine column, and the debate over warrantless surveillance. Below is that response. Please let me know what you think, and feel free to pass along to your friends and colleagues.
Joe Klein's recent column deriding the House-passed FISA legislation, along with his subsequent stumbling efforts to clarify its intent, and Time Magazine's failure to publish the protests my Democratic colleagues and I had regarding its many inaccuracies are only the most recent manifestation of disinformation put forth concerning the Bush Administration's warrantless surveillance program and legislative efforts to modify the law. As the lead author, along with Silvestre Reyes, of the RESTORE Act, allow me to set the record straight once and for all.
First, contrary to GOP and media spin, the RESTORE Act does not grant "terrorists the same rights as Americans." Section 105A of the RESTORE Act explicitly provides that foreign-to-foreign communications are totally exempt from FISA – clearly, this exception for foreigners such as members of Al Qaeda does not apply to Americans. In cases involving foreign agents where communications with Americans could be picked up, Section 105B of the legislation provides for liberalized "basket warrant" procedures by which entire terrorist organizations can be surveilled without the need to obtain individual warrants from the FISA court. Again, this new authority is aimed at foreign terrorists, not Americans.
Mr. Klein appears to base much of his criticism of our bill on our use of the term "person" to describe who may be surveilled, based on the suggestion of a Republican "source" that this risks an interpretation that terrorist groups would not be covered. The truth is that under FISA the term person has been clearly defined for almost thirty years to include "any group, entity, association, corporation, or foreign power." It is also notable that both the RESTORE Act, and the Administration's bill passed this summer, contain the exact same language that Mr. Klein questions, yet we've never heard an objection to the Administration's bill on this score.
Second, I must strongly disagree with Mr. Klein's assertion that the Speaker "quashed ... a bipartisan [compromise] effort." As the Chairman of the Committee with principal jurisdiction over FISA, the House Judiciary Committee, I am aware of no effort to prevent bipartisan compromise on this issue. As a matter of fact, last summer, beginning in July, Democrats tirelessly negotiated with Director of National Intelligence (DNI), Mike McConnell, to develop consensus legislation to address the Administration's stated concerns about our intelligence capability.
We addressed every one of the concerns Mr. McConnell raised. He said he needed to clarify that a court order was not required for foreign-to-foreign communications -- our bill did just that. McConnell said he needed an assurance that telecommunications companies would be compelled to assist in gathering of national security information – our bill did that. The DNI said he needed provisions to extend FISA to foreign intelligence in addition to terrorism – the bill did that. He asked us to eliminate the requirement that the FISA Court adjudicate how recurring communications to the United States from foreign targets would be handled – the bill did that. McConnell insisted that basket warrants be structured to allow additional targets to be added after the warrant was initially approved – again, the bill did that. When this legislation was described to DNI McConnell, he acknowledged that "it significantly enhances America's security.''
Yet, suddenly, on the eve of the vote, Director McConnell withdrew his support after consultation with the White House. If the media wanted to identify over-the-top partisanship, they could begin by citing the declaration of David Addington, Vice President Cheney's Chief of Staff, that "We're one bomb away from getting rid of that obnoxious FISA Court," and DNI McConnell's assertion that by merely having an open debate on surveillance, "some Americans are going to die."
Third, the RESTORE Act legislation is badly needed to provide accountability to the Bush Administration's unilateral approach to surveillance. The warrantless surveillance program has been riddled with deceptions that only began to come to light when The New York Times first disclosed the existence of the program in 2005. The program itself appears to directly violate FISA and the Fourth Amendment, as a federal court, the non-partisan Congressional Research Service, numerous Republican legislators, and independent legal scholars have found.
The Administration has also mischaracterized the existence, degree, extent and nature of the program itself as well as how much information it has shared with Congress. For instance, compare the President's speech in 2004 with his admission that there was indeed a program of warrantless surveillance. When high-ranking DOJ officials found the program lacking, the White House went to absurd, if not comical lengths, to convince a dangerously ill and hospitalized Attorney General Ashcroft to overrule them. Even today, the Administration continues to obscure its own past misconduct with extravagant claims that the "state secrets" doctrine bars any legal challenges whatsoever - a position that has been rejected by the Court of Appeals.
The Administration's hastily enacted legislation, signed this summer, is little better. Instead of being limited to the stated problem of foreign-to-foreign electronic surveillance, it could apply to domestic business records, library files, personal mail, and even searches of our homes.
Against that backdrop, it is clear we need a new law with the critical oversight provisions included in the RESTORE Act, such as requiring the Administration to turn over relevant documents to Congress, mandating periodic Inspector General reports, and acknowledging that the Administration is indeed bound by FISA.
Finally, the Administration has yet to explain why offering retroactive immunity to telephone giants who may have participated in an unlawful program is vital to our national security. Under current law, the phone companies can easily avoid liability if they can establish they received either an appropriate court order or legal certification from the Attorney General. Asking Congress to grant legal immunity at a time when the Administration has refused to provide the House of Representatives with relevant legal documents for more than eleven months is not only unreasonable, it is irresponsible.
Civil liberties and national security need not be contradictory policies, rather they are inexorably linked. Perhaps nowhere is this interrelationship more true than in intelligence gathering, where information must be reliable and untainted by abuse to be useful. So when we discuss FISA, the first thing we need to do is drop the partisan rhetoric, and stick to the actual record. Under the RESTORE Act, the intelligence community has the flexibility to intercept communications by foreign terrorists without obtaining individual warrants, and the Court and Congress are given the authority to perform their constitutional oversight roles. The only parties who lose in this process are the terrorists, and those who want the executive branch to have absolute and unreviewable power.
Rather than being, in Mr. Klein's words, "well beyond stupid," the RESTORE Act offers a smart and well balanced approach to updating FISA and reining in the excesses of an unchecked executive branch.
John Conyers, Jr.
Well, just another reason why the bloggerizing has been a little thin of late -- I'm sick to death of pointing out the obvious and asking rhetorical questions that can't be answered. I think I'll crawl back into my alcohol-soaked hidey-hole until this is all over ...
03 December 2007
26 November 2007
I haven't been myself recently, so please bear with me. I'm in the middle of starting up a business -- no lie -- and that sort of madness is more than enough to yank one's psycho-existential underpants up over one's head ... What the fuck?
Yes, well. This week's blues excursion features the incomparable Freddie King, complete with choreographed horn players and go-go dancers. Outstanding.
(Real blog posts to recommence one of these days)
19 November 2007
What does any of this have to do with, well, anything? Hmmm ... good question.
Minor note: I'm the bass player ...
I wish Albert was still with us ...
08 November 2007
CROSSFIRE (by Stevie Ray Vaughn)
Day by day night after night....blinded by the neon lights
Hurry here hustlin there....no ones got the time to spare
Moneys tight nothin free....won't somebody come and rescue me
I am stranded....caught in the crossfire
Stranded....caught in the crossfire.
Tooth for tooth eye for an eye....sell your soul just to buy buy buy
Beggin a dollar stealin a dime....come on can't you see that I
I am stranded....caught in the crossfire
I am stranded....caught in the crossfire.
I need some kind of kindness....some kind of sympathy oh no
Were stranded....caught in the crossfire
Save the strong lose the weak....never turning the other cheek
Trust nobody dont be no fool....whatever happened to the golden rule
We got stranded....caught in the crossfire
We got stranded....caught in the crossfire
We got stranded....caught in the crossfire
Stranded....caught in the crossfire
"Help me ..." No shit.
1 In 4 Homeless Americans Are Veterans
AP Via Yahoo:
Veterans make up one in four homeless people in the United States, though they are only 11 percent of the general adult population, according to a report to be released Thursday.
And homelessness is not just a problem among middle-age and elderly veterans. Younger veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan are trickling into shelters and soup kitchens seeking services, treatment or help with finding a job.
“We’re going to be having a tsunami of them eventually because the mental health toll from this war is enormous,” said Daniel Tooth, director of veterans affairs for Lancaster County, Pa. Read on…
Unspeakable fury ... Incalculable loathing ... I can't fucking stand it ...
05 November 2007
02 November 2007
Perhaps those who, several years ago, thought we should "celebrate" the apparently flabbergasting fact of California's Senators both being women, might have spared a moment to ponder what it really meant, in hard-boiled practical terms. Which was ... not much.
Now that Feinstein has established her Lieberman-in-drag credentials beyond all doubt, by conspiring with Chuck Schumer to ensure that alleged human Mukasey will have no real problem becoming the next Attorney General, I wonder if those who think her sex is an important aspect of her political career might actually re-think their position. After all, this is hardly the first time Feinstein has savagely poked us all in our collective eyeball; as a noted war profiteer, she's supported the Bush wars from the start, and has been an enthusiastic neo-con enabler of the highest order. She's the quintessential large-D Democrat, with all that entails, here at the nadir of the North American republic. The irresistible imperative of being a monumental hypocrite and cringing coward, in the best 21st-Century DLC tradition, far and away trumps all considerations of gender having any role to play in the polluted political atmosphere in DC. Corporate-inspired corruption is, sad to relate, a gender-neutral phenomenon.
Alright -- you can all untwist your knickers and ratchet down the self-righteousness. I don't bad-mouth Dianne Feinstein because of any closet misogynistic tendencies; I bad-mouth her because she's a goddamned corporate shill in a Senator suit. This is something to keep in mind, all you Hillary diehards out there, you misguided halfwits who're convinced there's really a difference between male and female politicians. They are what they are ... the precise composition of their gonads notwithstanding.
But I do remember when having two women in the Senate seemed significant. It's just another Bush-era joke anymore ...
01 November 2007
I apologize. I keep thinking that my personal melodrama would have some value to anybody besides myself. How ridiculous.
Maybe you all could give me the benefit of the doubt, since I'm trying to re-orient myself to being out of work for the first time in almost thirteen years. I'm a little rusty at the jobless slacker wastoid thing, you see. With about five weeks worth of severance pay, and a soon-to-be cashed out 401(k) to fall back on, apparently I'll have plenty of time to adjust to my new (old) status as unemployed bar souse; I can already feel the sloppy allure and magnetic attraction of lazy indolence, even as I pointlessly ogle the shapely collection of waitresses that seems to congregate around this midtown Sacramento brewpub, to no good purpose. The stationary panic that lies bubbling just below the surface is screaming, most incoherently, that I should be doing the responsible thing and get out there and find a job. Apparently, I'm not listening.
Honestly -- why should I listen to the more commonsensical centers of my battered psyche, when we're collectively teetering on the precipice of ... whatever it is we're teetering on. I seriously can't fathom why I should strive and struggle and hack and tear and toil myself into a triple-bypass frenzy, merely so's I can re-enter the insane economic struggle I was only losing anyway. Well, living in the street is a pretty good incentive, I guess; I don't really covet starving to death either. But it seems like a losing battle one way or another, employed or not. No crap job ever solved anything, much in the same way a Democratically-controlled Congress is no answer to the dire political/Constitutional crisis that is eviscerating this country: like handing the Republicans their scaly asses after the last midterm election, it just feels good to be offered a new gig. But then, the stark frigidity of reality makes its presence felt all too soon, and you understand that nothing has changed, not really. What does that remind you of?
Jesus, sounds like I'm plumbing ever new depths of negative snark, if that were possible. Actually, I'm surprisingly optimistic, under the circumstances. I'm not destitute -- yet -- and I'm fortunate to have a tightly-knit family that simply won't let anybody sink out of sight ... in the meantime, I have time to think, and to tickle the ass crack of whatever muse is fucking around with my karma, at least a little bit. Things could be much worse. Or better, but that's neither here nor there.
So then, take care my friends -- don't work too hard. I'm going to order another amber ale, and learn how to groove with all the drunks I secretly despise. It's the least I could do ...
30 October 2007
Unemployment is such a blast.
28 October 2007
Anyway, now I can participate in the general strike being planned for November 6th without suffering any financial penalty. That's something, I suppose.
20 October 2007
Well. Staking out a position over a specific candidate, pro or con, is absurd. "Debating" the qualities of Hillary Clinton or Obama, or any of the others, does nothing but create the illusion that something important is going on. Comparing them is an empty exercise; whatever real differences you might manage to glean are, at best, superficial and unimportant, and they usually revolve around minor tactical questions about how to achieve the basic goals that all members of the corporate-political class are devoted to. It's akin to trying to dig up true distinctions between the Republican and Democratic parties -- fundamentally, there aren't any, not in the areas that matter most. The same applies to individuals within the parties, particularly those running for national office.
What seems to escape most "liberals" or "progressives" is that focusing all attention on their machine-politician of choice completely -- totally, disastrously -- misses the point. Hoisting the flag for a particular Presidential candidate, hollering over each other about Hillary’s war-pimping proclivities or Obama's lack of lapel pins or Kucinich's unelectability, and all the other dreck and drivel of this sort, serves only one purpose: like most media-driven distractions in this era, it helps to obscure the fact that the United States is a democratic republic in name only.
Might as well face up to this particular truth. What do we have to lose, really, in acknowledging a little reality? Very little actually, at this late date. Most would agree that real democratic self-government has a critically important participatory component; if there is no participation, it's a fraud. Of course, this is a reference to all the anonymous chuckleheads out there, the drones and clods and gridlock jockeys -- just ordinary folk trying to live their ordinary lives in the most ordinary ways. When have they -- well, we -- ever truly participated in the ponderous process of governing ourselves? But, one might argue, this nation is organized as a republic, where we elect others to represent us within a governing body. True enough ... in theory. Problem is, we don't even have that anymore, assuming we ever really did. Unitary George and his cringing Congress of Democratic enablers pretty much proves this conclusively.
Democracy in name only. This is where the choreographed fiction of a Presidential election "campaign" rears its ugly, and very empty, head -- in fact, it's the very epitome of the "DINO" dilemma in which we"re all such unsuspecting captives. All candidates for public office, wherever it might be, say certain things during a campaign, tailored to the particular audience to which they're delivered. They pander, in other words. Meanwhile, they solicit and accumulate massive gobs of corporate cash to fund their various drives for power, in return for an encyclopedic collection of quid pro quos. It's a highly-evolved racket, predicated on age-old American traditions of greed and larceny, that has no real connection to the theories or conceptual underpinnings of true representative government, much less participatory democracy. How the hell can anybody who claims to understand the basic problems and dysfunction of US electoral politics -- self-styled "progressives" and "liberals" seem to believe they do -- have any measure of faith in any fully-owned product of such a comprehensively corrupt system, as all the major Presidential candidates clearly are? It's quite a puzzler, to say the least.
Well, long-winded screeds that go nowhere are certainly no answer to anything ... you might think, after all this time, I would've figured that out. Sigh. In any event, to all those Obama mamas and Hillary hipsters out there, as well as any other frothing partisan of some hack machine politician: Give it up already. No single individual, particularly a well-heeled shill crippled by corporate dollars and overwrought ambitions, is likely to have your interests in mind. Slavish devotion to these quasi-personality cults masquerading as Presidential campaigns -- it doesn’t really matter which one -- merely accelerates the process through which the warped neo-con vision of a privatized authoritarian state on the North American continent is being inexorably realized. It hastens the final dissolution of constitutional government, as we understand the term, and its ultimate replacement by a lawless corporate kleptocracy under the ham-fisted rule of telegenic demagogues and charismatic whack-jobs ...
... I wish I knew what the answer was, beyond just spewing such poisonously depressing bile right in the middle of a pleasant Saturday morning. Maybe there isn't an answer; maybe I should just order a beer and say, fuck it already. Maybe I should stop inflicting this incomprehensible brain-dribble on everybody ...
14 October 2007
There's no need to even attempt to answer such a stupid question.
So here we are, stumbling and staggering amid our flummoxed flounderings, hopelessly searching for even a glimpse of the wisdom post, which will probably never happen. Not in the deathly arid intellectual environment we've allowed to be imposed on ourselves, at any rate. Anyway, for what little it's worth, here's my latest foray behind the mule, a hope-deprived toss of a few pennies into the putrid wishing-well of despair we've been tap-dancing around for the past seven (very long) years. And it is this: now that Al Gore has won the Nobel Prize, he should immediately announce his candidacy for President -- as an independent. No party machine, no DLC, no corporate compromises, just Al. What a dramatic, seismic upheaval that would cause; a gonad-tightening, sphincter-clenching paradigm shift of epic proportions. It'd almost be enough for me to actually give a shit about the debased electoral system in this sad, ridiculous country of ours.
Ah, but the discomfiting panic that would overwhelm the feeble corporate hacks at the helm of the shabbily leaking garbage scow that is the Democratic Party, in the audacious face of an independent Gore run, would surely be a sight to see. The highly entertaining turmoil that would ensue among this crime gang, these closeted neo-cons desperate to inherit Bush’s "unitary executive" mantle -- what an utterly priceless spectacle that'd be. To see Hillary's towering ambition to wield the unconstitutional powers that have been so deliberately crafted for chucklehead George go up in a puff of smoke, like the existential ass gas that it is, at least would give us something to laugh about when we're finally all transported to the nearest Halliburton-approved concentration camp. Hardy har.
But, I can hear the Kosmaniac dead-enders bleat in a horrified ejaculation of dismay, an independent run by Gore would disastrously split the Democratic vote, thereby ensuring a Republican electoral victory next year! To which I answer: so the fuck what? The Democratic "leadership" in Congress has already shown, well beyond a reasonable doubt, that they're fully on-board with the wider neo-con project -- their adamant refusal, in the face of public discontent and an enormous mountain of rather obvious criminal activity, to remove the most thoroughly corrupt administration in US history, pretty much proves this to be the case. They want all this extra-constitutional power for themselves, to replace their Republican cohorts as corporate-sponsored arbiters of the privatized death-wheel profit machine, the primary motivating engine propelling this whole catastrophic neo-con experiment. Would a President Hillary, as completely and enthusiastically in the corporate bag as any American politician has ever been, seriously consider curtailing or rolling back the abusive policies and precedents set by the present administration? You don't really believe that, do you? Come on, already.
Logic would seem to indicate that Gore doesn't owe much in the way of loyalty to the Democratic Party; after all, it was the party that foisted Lieberman on him in 2000, and has been at the forefront of the Vichyite appeasement of the neo-cons ever since. He's more than proven that he hardly needs the debilitating albatross of a compromised political apparatus strung around his neck, dragging him back down into the filth and puke -- you know, the natural habitat of the political animal. Gore has achieved heaps more than he ever could have, or did, as a captive member of a completely wasted political system. That's why he would be the perfect anti-party candidate, in a manner of speaking: he's redeemed himself about as well as any major politician ever has, is involved with issues of critical importance to the very survival of the planet and its monumentally misguided human inhabitants, and has reached a plateau of personal stature that no machine politician can hope to match. He's the one person who might be able to yank this corrupted pustule of a nation back from the brink of extinction ... so long as he doesn't run as an "official" Democrat. If he runs as a Democrat, he's owned, again. It's just that simple.
Well, you can all relax, you supercilious sniffers of Hillary's bloomers, or you moronic miscreants who actually believe that Barack Obama or John Edwards or any of the other nitwits have something important to say: Gore won't run, under apparently any circumstances. More's the pity. Instead of the one individual who might possibly save this "democratic republic" from itself -- Gore would at least try to -- we’ll probably be afflicted with Unitary Hillary and her superficially modulated version of neo-con fucktardery. So will end the buffoon epoch, the Bush period of the neo-con make-over of America, to be replaced by perhaps the far more dangerous, much less intellectually-challenged Hillary edition. Al, shorn of the useless baggage of party affiliation, is -- or would be -- the only thing standing in her way ...
Oh hell -- so much for the wisdom post. Run Al, run. You're our only hope ...
09 October 2007
Yeah, I know: more rhetorical questions that serve no useful purpose. Whatever.
"Whatever" just about sums it up. Another sell-out, another nasty dry-humping by the diseased three-legged pit bull of incipient fascism ... I can already hear the wheels spinning inside the paper-thin skulls of Skinner and Kos and other Democratic Party diehards of their ilk, practicing their special brand of bandwidth-sucking monkey motion by telling us, yet again, why we MUST continue to unconditionally support the Democratic machine and elect more Democrats next year and why Hillary is better than Obama and Obama is better than Hillary and blither blather blah blah blah fucking blah ... Meanwhile, representative government in the United States continues with its spot-on and rather unearthly impersonation of the Weimar Republic, even as it ignores the brick wall that always appears at the end of such routines. The public issues a gaping yawn, the DLC laughs uproariously, and the neo-con fanatics ready the cruise missiles for launch against, oh, pick a country ...
30 September 2007
Needless to say, the more I tried to ignore everything, the more it all drove me into bouts of stationary batshit panic. This useless endeavor has been an unmitigated failure -- not to mention misguided and ludicrously hypocritical as well.
Luckily (or not -- I'm not sure which), I've been rudely jolted out of my self-generated, over-excited torpor through the highly unlikely agency of what appears to be an endless troop of homeless people, purposefully rummaging around the long row of garbage cans across the street from the grimy coffee joint I happen to be sitting in. I seem to be the only caffeine junkie here who notices this interesting activity, occurring just a few feet from the front windows of this tackily hip crap hole. From the neatly-dressed executroids in their SUV's, to plain-clothes cops with guns, to the self-conscious grunge-fucks who ride up on their carefully de-engineered bicycles while smoking "organic" cigarettes (the basic clientele of this place), they're all pretending not to see the trash can people they practically have to wade through -- or drive over -- just so's they can get their desperately needed coffee fix. I watch this low-rent spectacle, and I think: What's worse, that there are so many in the "wealthiest nation on earth" who must forage through the garbage to survive, or that the people responsible for producing the trash in the first place act as if the rubbish-harvesters don't actually exist?
The irony of deriding confirmed consumerist assholes for actively ignoring the blatantly rising tide of poverty, homelessness, and all the other fun features of predatory capitalism, while at the same time complaining about how difficult it is to ignore all the grotesque ugliness myself, is not lost, which is the point of this post. In fact, "irony" is probably not the correct term -- "hypocritical stupidity" better approximates the situation here. Whatever the case, the idea that ignoring something will make it go away, whether that something be dumpster-diving street people or the neo-con appetite for destruction, is patently ridiculous and self-defeating. Leave it to group of hard-case trash pickers to dish up an unexpected reality check, to remind me that -- all the psuedo-snark and sophisticated cynicism aside -- I'm basically no better than the disconnected money-worshipping corporate fuckwad in his Escalade, righteously plowing through the paper-thin fabric of this tattered society with nary a worry or concern, or a thought about anything really. What an eye-opener.
So, for better or worse or otherwise, I'm here for the duration -- that is, until the drab and most foul neo-con era runs its course, or we're all rounded up by Blackwater goons and locked away in some Halliburton-approved dungeon, or some such combination of the two. Or something else entirely. I know full well that this hosehead blog doesn't mean anything, but so what? Trying to ignore the world as it comes apart at the seems probably doesn't mean anything either.
Simply as an aside: "ignore" is the root of the word "ignorance," is it not? Enough said.
14 September 2007
10 September 2007
A reasonably large portion of our German friends had been born before the war, early enough, in fact, to have rather vivid recollections of the Nazi era -- a couple of them were old enough to have actually fought in the war, as teenaged conscripts. These old-timers were, in effect, biological conduits to a radically different world, living representations of a cultural/political order far beyond anything our own relatively narrow and limited experience could imagine. As such, they were boundlessly fascinating to know.
I haven't really thought about these people for years, even though it would be impossible to completely forget them: Hans Felker, missing a thumb on his left hand and who looked almost exactly like Archduke Franz Ferdinand; Heiner Ultes, the gas-passing champion of the Rhineland, if not the entire Bundesrepublik; or Kurt Kniereman, he of the Bozo the Clown hairdo and the mad, cackling lunatic laugh -- to name just a few. An unforgettable cast of wonderfully weird crazoids and reprobates, particularly from the viewpoint of a nitwit fresh from the bland suburban sterility of the Sacramento Valley, such as myself.
Herein lies some sort of point, surely. I suppose it might be this: it was exceedingly difficult, if not utterly impossible, to really imagine the Germans we worked with, or any with whom we were acquainted for that matter, as having had anything remotely to do with the thankfully extinct Nazi regime, whether as active enthusiasts or not. The great bulk of them seemed to embody the stereotypical attributes of the "good German," and we dumb chuckleheads had no basis from which to discover what was real and what wasn't. Beyond the specific peculiarities of their "German-ness," they struck us warm, good-natured people, apparently untouched and unburdened by the frightfully debilitating baggage of their nation's recent history.
Fast-forward to the present. There's an existential dilemma facing Americans these days not unlike that which (I would imagine) beset the Germans in the years leading up to the Third Reich. Both 21st-century Americans and post-Weimar Germans are, and were, witnesses to the systematic destruction of the political order in their respective countries, in both instances by relatively small groups of bloody-handed thugs, animated by avarice and the aberrant intoxications of power. Both regimes, the Nazi and the Bushist, were (and are) composed of fanatical devotees to the rule of force, the cynical manipulation of the populations under their hob-nailed heels, and the proposition that any half-truth or deception or outright falsehood or act of murderous violence is justified -- whether before, during, or after the fact -- so long as the selfish interests of the powerful are served thereby. The dilemma derives, on the part of the Germans, from genuinely enthusiastic, largely across-the-board participation in the criminality fostered by the government; for Americans, it's the mind-bending depth and breadth of indifference to, and passivity towards, the same basic types of lawless excesses committed by our own "leaders" in the present epoch. The result is pretty much the same: comprehensive public complicity, guilt by association.
You just know that, in a generation or two (or less, even), there'll be an entire industry devoted to promulgating the idea of the "good American"; that when the disastrously defiling neo-con hangover finally runs its course, leaving the American body politic desperately gasping like a landed flounder with a hook in its eyeball, there'll be legions of academics and pundits and animatronic blowholes of all persuasions voluminously explaining that it was all a ghastly mistake. We'll be informed, non-stop, that the advent of the neo-con era was, well, just an accident, that it really wasn't a reflection of the deep-seated flaws in our collective consumerist psyche and the socio-political constructions that give it outward form ... There was nobody here but us anti-Busheviks! ... Always did think those neo-con fucktards were crazy ...
For those of us who are truly and legitimately opposed to the repulsive banality of neo-con politics and policies, and have been from even before the beginning, how will we fit within the rickety framework of apologetics that, even now, is in the early phases of construction? Will we have a clear and distinctive voice, easily distinguishable from the opportunists, blood swillers, and generic goosesteppers who will only turn against the regime when ultimate disaster looms? Or will we be marginalized, co-opted, and/or drowned out completely by the veritable army of diseased rats who're already fleeing the rapidly sinking tub that they, themselves, were so instrumental in launching? Will the respectable, official, public image of the anti-Bush "good American" be cobbled together and manipulated by these same verminous scum, desperate to obfuscate their own not inconsiderable crimes while establishing their "democratic" and "anti-neo-con" credentials, the better to strategically position themselves to take advantage of whatever opportunities might appear in the as-yet amorphous backwash of a post-Bush United States?
In the end, actually, the only question that counts is: What do any of these rhetorical questions matter, so long as our sickeningly compromised, seriously bent, and heavily damaged democratic republic survives this dangerous far-right misadventure in something resembling one piece? My old German friends would likely agree -- sure, the larger portion of Nazi criminals escaped justice, at Nuremberg or elsewhere, and most successfully rehabilitated themselves enough to eventually become pillars of the post-war versions of the German state, both east and west; all Germans, high and low, young and old, have been broadly slathered with the taint of their own past, fairly or not, but it hasn't weighed on them all that much. In fact, they'd probably make a fairly convincing argument that anything would be a vast improvement over a fascist dictatorship and catastrophic defeat in war, even an imposed political order that quickly fell under the control of the same "nodes" of power that benefited handsomely from the Nazi regime. The trade off? No Feurher, no swastikas, no bombs falling on their cities, codified civil liberties, a form of representative government, and a reasonable amount of economic prosperity for the past sixty years or so. Not bad, if I may say so.
Yes, well. I'm astounded beyond belief that we, Americans one and all, are in roughly the same equivocal moral position the population of Nazi Germany found itself in, circa 1938-39. Never would I imagine that we’d have anything in common with a fascist police state that, if you recall, was only brought down after the bloodiest, most violent war in human history -- something that has permanently stuck itself on the very front edge of my consciousness. Shit, will there even be any "good Americans" when this strange neo-con dream is finally over ... ? Does it even matter?
02 September 2007
Anyhow, just wanted to share a brief Who-Gives-A-Shit moment with all my brethren and compatriots out there. I think I'm gonna have to check into AA one of these days ...
30 August 2007
Via Raw Story (what else?):
CBS: Female airman claims rape, ends up on trial herself
CBS News reported Tuesday on a current case that calls into doubt the Air Force's promise, after a scandal four years ago, of better treatment for alleged rape victims. The case is that of Airman Cassandra Hernandez, who has stated that she was raped by three fellow airmen.
Hernandez gave an exclusive interview to CBS in which she admitted having drunk "a lot" at a party before accompanying three male colleagues to a dorm room. She acknowledged that her memory of events is fuzzy, but said she definitely remembers saying "No" and trying to push the men away. The three men allege that Hernandez started taking off her clothes and that the sex which followed was consensual.
A hearing was originally set on the rape charges, but after harsh pre-trial questioning, Hernandez decided not to testify. At that point the Air Force brought lesser charges against all four airmen, citing Hernandez for underage drinking and "indecent acts." The three men accepted minor punishments, while Hernandez refused. She is now facing a court-martial and could be jailed or expelled from the Air Force. At the same time, the three men have been granted immunity in their testimony against her.
It is that outcome that has so alarmed advocates for rape victims and raised a concern that -- regardless of whether Hernandez is correct in her accusations -- the case will have a chilling effect in the future. According to the Los Angeles Times, Hernandez' attorneys have released a statement saying that "'important, relevant evidence' was denied them during discovery and that Hernandez decided not to plead to the same indecent-act charge as the three airmen because 'she was told that she was considered guilty unless she proved herself innocent.'"
"The system failed Hernandez," one of her attorneys told CBS.
28 August 2007
No. Several years now of felonious outrages, massive frauds, and official lying on a scale never before seen, have left me completely incapable of not trying to dissect the political reasoning behind the timing of Gonzo's removal. To my cynically jaundiced eye, that's far more critical than the mere fact of his dismissal, which was pretty much a not-very-important foregone conclusion in any event. To the coterie of crazed dystopiacs directing Bush and his artificial administration, Torture Turd Gonzales was just a politically embarrassing liability who had to go. But why now? What, pray tell, are we not supposed to be paying attention to? What is it, precisely, that must be ignored and obscured by a not-gay Republican Senator who loves a little hot airport bathroom lovin', beauty contest dorks with cottage cheese where their brains should be, and, of course, the trials and tribulations of the most corrupt Attorney General in the history of the United States ...?
Ah -- now here's something (via Raw Story):
Study: US preparing 'massive' military attack against Iran
The United States has the capacity for and may be prepared to launch without warning a massive assault on Iranian uranium enrichment facilities, as well as government buildings and infrastructure, using long-range bombers and missiles, according to a new analysis.
The paper, "Considering a war with Iran: A discussion paper on WMD in the Middle East" – written by well-respected British scholar and arms expert Dr. Dan Plesch, Director of the Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy of the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at the University of London, and Martin Butcher, a former Director of the British American Security Information Council (BASIC) and former adviser to the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament – was exclusively provided to RAW STORY late Friday under embargo."We wrote the report partly as we were surprised that this sort of quite elementary analysis had not been produced by the many well resourced Institutes in the United States," wrote Plesch in an email to Raw Story on Tuesday.
Plesch and Butcher examine "what the military option might involve if it were picked up off the table and put into action" and conclude that based on open source analysis and their own assessments, the US has prepared its military for a "massive" attack against Iran, requiring little contingency planning and without a ground invasion.
Be sure to click here to read the whole thing. I can see why we're supposed to close our ears and eyes to such fun-time diversions ...
27 August 2007
Before you bust a nut in a blinding explosion of schadenfreude at the seeming demise of Torquemada, take a trip over to Casey Lee Cobb's blog and check this out.
My oh my.
26 August 2007
--Barbara Tuchman, The March of Folly
I especially like the last sentence of the quote above, particularly as our corporate media stenographers -- and self-styled pundits of all kinds -- work themselves into an anticipatory cluster-fuck frenzy ahead of the already-written foregone conclusion soon to be delivered by the so-called US "commander" in Iraq. The assumed, apparently innocent, painfully earnest conviction that there must be some sort of suspense over what Petraeus will or won't say next month is almost touching in its simplemindedness; in fact, the only doubt inherent to this ridiculously absurd theater piece lies in just how closely Petraeus sticks to the script. Dutiful quasi-politician that he is, he isn't likely to stray very far.
But then -- who the hell cares?
Seriously. Why should anybody with a functional brainstem give two tiny craps about it? We already know what the "report" will say, and just how easy it is for Cheney to get others to parrot his words -- Petraeus being, in this case, the designated sock puppet. Water-carrying hacks who whore themselves out for a few measly crumbs tossed at them from evil despotic cyborgs? How unutterably boring.
It really is boring. Infuriating, disgusting, enraging, repulsive, frustrating beyond all measure ... but boring nevertheless.
And that pretty much goes for all of the toxic pollution the neocons have incontinently dumped into the turgid life-stream of this rapidly deteriorating society: it's boring because it's so patently obvious. But, the thing to remember is that the neocon crowd and its enablers -- ruthless, defiling grifters that they are -- haven't really brought anything new to the vapid socio-political maelstrom of bullshit that, like it or not, has always been the existential foundation of this rickety screw-shack of a country. Potential is one thing; the high-sounding philosophical framework of the founding documents represents an apparently noble target to which to aspire, within the realm of statecraft and government at least, but they never have completely obscured the fundamental weakness and astounding inequities that have plagued us since day one. The neocon monkeys and their slavering minions are, if anything, fanatical students of these weaknesses and inequities, dedicated to their thorough exploitation for personal gain -- no matter the cost.
But then, I was saying something about Petraeus, wasn't I ?
Actually, there's nothing I can say about this sordid circle-jerk, this fraud superimposed on a lie overlayed on a fiction ... other than to express my dismay that so many people, of nearly all political stripes and every conceivable side of the "debate" over the Iraq catastrophe, seem to take this upcoming Cheneyist vaudeville routine so seriously. Every bloated blowhole with an opinion to offer has assigned an enormous amount of significance to what Petraeus will say, even erstwhile members of the opposition "left" -- whatever officially passes for such a thing these days. What's conveniently glossed-over or ignored or spun is the rather uncontroversial fact that it's a sham, that anything that happens to pour out of Petraeus' thin-lipped gob is only designed to keep the blood and profits flowing. What's to be gained by believing otherwise? The next illegal war is already in the works, proletarian opinions don't amount to hill of donkey shit, and the neocon "revolution" is merely a logical outgrowth of structural processes and tendencies inherent to a fatally flawed political-economic system that's not long for this world. Personally, I think it's far more prudent to consider what the proper course to take might be when the paper-thin mask of "democracy" is finally torn off and flushed away, as all indications say it must be, rather than desperately clutching onto the seamy claptrap of a compromised scumbag like Petraeus. As if anything he'll likely spout might, somehow, bring an end to the neocon wars against Iraq or the American public or the world's population as a whole.
Yes, well. Tuchman writes, Is the argument believed or is it inventive rhetoric employed to enforce a desired course of action? Perhaps she was being facetiously ironic or tongue-in-cheek, but, in any case, the answer is so obvious it's ... boring as hell.
Where's my bartender?
20 August 2007
Don't give up on books. They feel so good -- their friendly heft, the sweet reluctance of their pages when you turn them with your sensitive fingertips. A large part of our brains is devoted to deciding whether what our hands are touching is good or bad for us. Any brain worth a nickel knows books are good for us.
Computers are insincere. Books are sincere.
And don't try to make yourself an extended family out of ghosts on the Internet.
-- Kurt Vonnegut, Agnes Scott College, 1999
It's way past time for an extended -- perhaps permanent -- breather from the horrors of this mechanized madness ...