31 March 2007


What an exquisite metaphorical image: sitting like a rotting tree stump, desperately sucking down black coffee in the usual semi-unsuccessful attempt to approximate the behavior inherent to overt consciousness, I have a perfectly unrestricted view of one of those generic exercise emporiums across the street -- conveniently located next to a Jack In The Box. Anyway, you all know these sorts of enterprises, these hell-holes of chrome and vinyl to which over-energetic members of the leisure class navigate their SUV’s for the pleasure of tying themselves up in knots within assorted torture machines. Well, there they are, in all their sweaty and self-styled glory, bouncing up and down like life-sized marionettes and apparently motivated to believe that they will live forever, so long as they periodically heave their wobbling disease-riddled bulk over some moronic device that offers a poor simulation of some prosaic human activity. Like walking on the ground, for instance.

Again, the perfect metaphor -- burning war-inducing, earth-destroying fossil fuels for the privilege of patronizing an alleged “business” that allows you the startlingly unique experience of walking or running or pedaling in one spot, going nowhere in a spastic and rather ungracious hurry. Well, perhaps “metaphor” is the incorrect descriptive term, under the circumstances. Whatever.


U.S. War Games Off Iran” the headline reads on the front page of The Sacramento Bee, our local rag of a travesty of a newspaper. War “games,” indeed. Presumably the chuckleheads across the street, diligently working themselves literally into a self-righteous lather while they thoroughly delude themselves into believing in their ultimate indestructibility, can actually read; it’s even likely that they tossed a brief glance at the paper this morning, probably while sitting in their Excursions or 4-Runners or Hummers and bolting down a latte and pumping out massive clouds of pollution, on their way to the nearest “fitness center” to legitimize their status as somehow immortal ... I wonder what goes through their vapid, plasticized consumerist minds when they glimpse something that reads “U.S. War Games Off Iran” or “122 Die In Iraq Blasts,” even. If anything. I can’t tell from where I’m sitting -- within the noxious funk-cloud of quasi-hopelessness that seems to follow me everywhere -- but it would be highly unsurprising if it turned out that our poor confused brethren over there were being “entertained,” or at least distracted enough from realizing how ridiculous they look, by Fox “News” or some such brain rot. It would explain a few things, at any rate.

I realize that this apparently endless quacking and spitting is becoming rather tiresome, even to myself. The daily assault of disconnection, purposeful distraction, subtle (and not quite so subtle) misdirection, the eradication of inquisitiveness, the overwhelming avalanche of “malinformation” (if there even is such a word) -- all of which I tend to liken to an existential sweat sock, crammed full of yeasty pig shit, being pounded over my head twenty four freakin’ hours a day -- has become so ubiquitous, so inexplicably entwined in the frayed and seedy societal fabric of this sad and tired country, most people don’t see it or even know it’s there. On the other hand, it’s all I do see. I wonder why that is.

Well, either I’m a visionary thinker with loads of insight to spare, or a whiny little bastard with fallen arches and a drinking problem (the reader is invited to supply his or her own answer to this otherwise rhetorical question). In any case, there’s something particularly lurid and weird, and not a little ominous in its implications, about this manifestation of a society losing control of itself: the Stairmasters are humming while the earth burns ... If the Emperor Nero was alive today, he’d probably fit right in as an aerobics instructor.

25 March 2007


Once again, and to the complete and utter shame of sedentary mouth-breathers like myself, Cindy cuts to the chase. Via Information Clearinghouse:


How the Democratic Congress betrayed American voters, the troops in Iraq and extended the occupation for at least another 18 months

By Cindy Sheehan
Gold Star Families for Peace

03/24/07 "ICH" -- -- THE DEMOCRATS ARE FUNDING IRAQ ESCALATION: The Democratic leadership has proposed $100 billion of supplemental funding for an increased troop presence in Iraq. The leadership opted for the "slow bleed" policy over a month ago. This extends the occupation for at least another 18 months, and allows permanent placement of troops thereafter for “training” or “combating terrorism”. It also will permit the Bush Administration to initiate a war with Iran without Congressional oversight. The surge of 20,000 troops recently increased to 30,000 and will likely increase to 100,000 by year-end. Will the hapless Democrats then claim, “If only I knew then what I know now” as they have for the past year?

The “slow bleed” policy has some toothless requirements for presidential assertions of progress like those we’ve heard for the past four years from the Administration; these reporting requirements allow “slow bleed” proponents to make the preposterous claim they are “ending the war” by funding it. Amendments that would require withdrawal of US forces this year, the policy overwhelming favored by Americans, and the troops themselves, are not even being allowed for a vote by the leadership! The shameless short-term purpose of the Democratic policy is to embarrass Republicans with a Senate filibuster of the supplemental, or a presidential veto, and the longer-term aim is to help Democrats in the 2008 election by saddling the Republicans with intervention in an untenable civil war.

In 2002 the Democrats authorized Bush to invade Iraq (or any other country he deemed to support terrorism, for example Iran) in hope he would become involved in an unpopular war which would produce a Democratic White House. The Democrats 2007 policy is equally political, and may have the paradoxical effect of producing Republican victories in 2008. The prolongation of the occupation is now opposed by two-thirds of all Americans; we want our troops safely home by this Christmas, not political chicanery. As a consequence Americans now think even more poorly of Congress than ever; the failure to withdraw from Iraq dropped Democratic support of Congress from 44% to 33% according to the latest Gallup poll. The Democrats failure to stem what has become a Democrats war will be a factor in the 2008 elections.
A year ago 72% of the troops in Iraq said all troops should come home in 2006 but politicians did not heed their message. How much better we would be if our support included listening to them. Not another drop of blood should be spilled to protect cowardice by both political parties.

AMERICANS WANT TROOP WITHDRAWAL: The Democratic leadership has disregarded national polls showing that 60% of all Americans and 80% of Democratic voters oppose the increase troop levels in Iraq. Grassroots progressive organizations overwhelmingly oppose the occupation of Iraq and the recent escalation. One group closely allied to the Democratic leadership, MoveOn, has used antiwar sentiment to triple both its membership and fundraising, but has been AWOL from antiwar activity; its members are prohibited from demonstrations, and only vigils for the war dead are posted as events on their website. A month ago I wrote that MoveOn began efforts to support "slow bleed" while antiwar forces actively opposed it. Recently MoveOn fabricated a biased push-poll in which “85%” of respondents supported “slow bleed”; however, the 96% of the MoveOn members who favor withdrawal, and who were not offered a vote on that option, refused to participate in a sham. Congressional sources report that the spurious MoveOn poll, together with intensive bullying and bribing, was used to erode the principled opposition of congressional progressives.

A reliable poll conducted by True Majority, another group with progressive membership, found that only 24% favored the “slow bleed” policy while 76% favored immediate or near-term withdrawal. A Zogby poll sponsored by CODEPINK found that 90% of progressives/liberals favored near-term withdrawal. 96% of progressives question the push-poll used by MoveOn that gave such contrary results. Antiwar groups that fought for withdrawal (United for Peace and Justice, Progressive Democrats of America, US Labor Against the War, After Downing Street, Democrats.com, Peace Action, Code Pink, Democracy Rising, True Majority, Gold Star Families for Peace, Military Families Speak Out, Backbone Campaign, Iraq Veterans Against the War, Voters for Peace, Veterans for Peace, the Green Party) are irate at the MoveOn duplicity.

MoveOn is now raising funds from antiwar supporters to attack Senate opposition to the supplemental., but the activist community is now aware that MoveOn is not the cathartic needed to address Democratic Party constipation. There is at least one Democratic senator, Russ Feingold, who could oppose the funding farce. MoveOn is an autocratic organization run by a small group of elitist wannabe power-brokers; it cannot be reformed, but you can let their politburo know your feelings eli@moveon.org, Namrita.Chaudhary@gmail.com , tom@moveon.org, and you can unsubscribe! You also can refuse to lend them your name (their petitions are mainly for fund-raising), your efforts, and your money, and instead join with one of the many active progressive and antiwar organizations (check out United for Peace and Justice- UFPJ for a detailed listing of local and national groups, which incidentally does not include MoveOn). None of the MoveOn leadership has served their country in the armed forces; like Dick Cheney and 95% of Congress they had more important things to do, which did not and do not include supporting the troops that are in harms way.

The “slow bleed” strategy favored by the Democratic leadership and MoveOn is an immoral political calculation that will cause more heartache and disaster in Iraq. That leadership should understand that being perceived as “weak on principle” is much worse politically than being “weak on defense”. Democratic politicians need to vote their conscience on the supplemental. On November 7th we voted for an antiwar, anti-Bush policy; make that vote count for peace.

Please tell the Democratic leadership: Bring Our Troops Home Now!

23 March 2007


Modern society seems to me a celebration of all the things that lead away from the truth, make truth hard to live for, and discourage people from even believing that it exists. And to think that all this springs from a civilization that claims to adore life, but actually starves it of any real meaning; that endlessly speaks of making people “happy,” but in fact blocks their way to the source of real joy.

-- Sogyal Rinpoche,
The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying

Sounds reasonable enough to me, given how heavily pickled and warped my cognitive abilities are these days. So -- modern consumerist culture is a shabby, bald-faced lie? We live in the middle of a cockeyed circus, a gonad-rumpling farce, a spleen-rupturing fraud, an infuriating travesty of a society flying off its rails and heading straight down the karmic shitter? What a jaw-dropper.

Please excuse me, my friends. It’s back to expending what little life-force is left, for the ultimate (and largely chimerical) benefit of my evil scum corporate employer. I always seem to sink to new existential lows after again wasting gobs of precious time in commuter traffic, just so’s I can toil away for subhuman tyrants and sycophants who despise me. What a puke-fest.

As a matter of fact, caught within the malignant buzz produced by the unhealthy commingling of black coffee, 12-hour allergy pills, and endless miles of automobiles filled with the stupidest people on the face of the earth, I’ve actually lost track of what I was going to groan about this time around. A common problem, that, especially when you stop to consider -- in general terms -- the overflowing sump of diversion, depravity, and despair that provides so much raw material for one’s ire, complaints, and cantankerous prescriptions. There’s simply too damn much to focus on, too many rat-like scandals and assorted verminous outrages scuttling about in the foreground of things, far too much monkey-motion and empty gestures and contrived posturing and gadget-driven lunacy that doesn’t mean anything ... Which is all by design, I suppose.


The distinctly human principle of
schadenfreude pretty much requires one to feel a sense of gleeful anticipation at the apparently imminent demise of Torquemada Gonzales, and it would be pleasing to imagine that this business of politicized terminations of US Attorneys is, perhaps, the long-awaited catalyst that finally launches the ponderous but desperately overdue removal of the Bush Crime Family. The extremist unraveling of the Republican apparatus -- sunk to its earlobes in the corrosive, corrupting goo of fanatical religiosity, unfettered and unapologetic corporatism, and the ambitious fantasy of global empire -- conclusively demonstrates its inherent, and highly dangerous, unsuitability in any sort of “leadership” role ... but the evil imp who dwells somewhere near the base of my skull says, So what? Is cashiering Gonzales really so important, when there are equally-qualified thugs clamoring to take his place? Seeing that treacherous asshole thrown off the public payroll would be all fine and dandy, and if he can be used as some sort of leverage against the regime as a whole, that’s even better; but with so many Vichy Democrats expelling so much hot air, tacitly committed to enabling the Neo-Con program, do you seriously believe they’ll actually toss Bush and his lickspittle administration out of office?

Again, apologies all around. This is what I get when the Alavert combines with the caffeine, which usually occurs when the gridlock is at its worst, thereby setting the stage for a uselessly miserable day. Perhaps another quote from a
real writer is in order:

And always, if he had a little money, a man could get drunk. The hard edges gone, and the warmth. Then there was no loneliness, for a man could people his brain with friends, and he could find his enemies and destroy them. Sitting in a ditch, the earth grew soft under him. Failures dulled and the future was no threat. And hunger did not skulk about, but the world was soft and easy, and a man could reach the place he started for. The stars came down wonderfully close and the sky was soft. Death was a friend, and sleep was death’s brother. And the stars down so close, and sadness and pleasure so close together, really the same thing. Like to stay drunk all the time. Who says it’s bad? Who dares to say it’s bad? Preachers -- but they got their own kinda drunkenness. Thin, barren women, but they’re too miserable to know. No -- the stars are close and dear and I have joined the brotherhood of the worlds. And everything’s holy -- everything, even me.

-- John Steinbeck,
The Grapes of Wrath

18 March 2007


Has it really been four years since Our Fearless Leader, the Deserter-In-Chief, the Chickenhawk in a Chimp Suit, launched his foul act of aggression against the hapless people of Iraq? At times it feels more like four hundred years, and this illegal outlaw regime has been on its relentless and wide-ranging rampage of death for at least six thousand ... At any rate, it’s becoming more and more difficult to even remember what the general shape of things was like before the diseased worm of “Neo-Conservatism” unceremoniously hatched itself out of the cavernous recesses of Beelzebub’s back passage, and ascended to the position of dominance it enjoys today.

Four years?

It’s enough to induce otherwise reasonable people to fruitlessly, and idiotically, yearn for the dubious ambiguities of the Clinton era. Or, more accurately, what we think we remember of that particular period, which isn’t very much. But then, not being able to recall clearly almost anything that came before the present Baboon epoch is, obviously, a signature plank in the Neo-Con’s rickety platform. So, whatever.

Yep. Four years of the revolting, rapidly decomposing albatross known as Iraq being hung around our necks, and six-plus years of a Monkey-Man government that was so generous in bestowing it on us. I know that I, and all my brothers and sisters on this particular end of the blogging spectrum -- not to mention the more intelligent, thinking version of humanity generally -- have wondered, have gnawed and gnashed and gummed and basically chewed to pieces the critical but, ultimately, pointless question: How did this happen? Not just the obvious, the violently illegal and immoral manifestations of Neo-Con insanity in Iraq and Afghanistan (and elsewhere), but the tawdry far-right laundry list of murder, destruction, and avarice without boundaries as a whole. What a despair-riddled query to nowhere, as resistant to answers as it is useless.

Four years ... my oh my.

We all know, from unending repetitions of Lord Acton’s dictum, that power corrupts. We are less aware that it breeds folly; that the power to command frequently causes failure to think; that the responsibility of power often fades as its exercise augments. The overall responsibility of power is to govern as reasonably as possible in the interest of the state and its citizens. A duty in that process is to keep well-informed, to heed information, to keep mind and judgment open and to resist the insidious spell of wooden-headedness. If the mind is open enough to perceive that a given policy is harming rather than serving self-interest, and self-confident enough to acknowledge it, and wise enough to reverse it, that is a summit in the art of government.

-- Barbara Tuchman, The March of Folly

(Insert huge SIGH here)

14 March 2007


Taking a vacation when you’re virtually destitute would seem, at first glance, to be stupid and pointless in the extreme. You’re far too deep in the financial crapper to actually make an “occasion” out of it; and, at least in horribly plastic wasteland towns like this one, you can’t take three steps beyond your front door without the commuting legions of SUV people zeroing-in on you, as if you were nothing but an ambulatory speed bump with a target painted on your forehead. In reality, that last bit is a problem pretty much all the time -- it’s just during these infrequent job-free periods when you involuntarily witness the true epidemic that it all is.

And, of course, the “epidemic” is not merely that suburban consumerist assholes have an insatiable desire to turn us un-homogenized, monetarily-challenged common folk into bloody smears of raw hamburger -- literally and figuratively -- it’s also, and primarily, the generalized fuck-you attitude of conspicuously self-important ignorance that spawns such deeply ingrained pathologies in the first place.

Alright, yeah, my bloodshot eyeball couldn’t tell the difference between a pathology and a pie crust. OK -- we’ll take that as read. However, I do have capacity enough to recognize carefully nurtured and, ultimately, self-destructive stupidity when I see it. Sadly, I’m given far too many opportunities to exercise said capacity, during every pathetic and useless waking moment practically. All those souls unfortunate enough to be just sufficiently awake are faced with this seemingly insurmountable dilemma of dumbness, this formidable and monolithic Great Wall of prideful ignorance and stylish imbecility -- here at the sour extremity of the scorched-earth mess that is the United States of America, circa 2007.

As I aimlessly tramp around and along and through the somewhat decayed streets of midtown Sacramento, giving dubious vent to the ridiculous pretense of an extremely low-budget vacation, I frequently play a silly little mental game with the multitudinous automobile slaves and passersby with whom I can hardly avoid coming into juxtaposition -- these being mostly the more mobile denizens of this place, the oh so stereotypical “Californians” who’re pompously self-absorbed and deign to acknowledge the existence of strangers only when they’re inconvenienced, pissed-off, or want something (usually for nothing). I try to force eye contact, or otherwise stare at these demi-people so insistently that they get squirmily uncomfortable. Meanwhile, I ask myself silent rhetorical questions about each cell-phone idiot and fashionable mouth-breather and Escalade fuckstick I encounter, pointless queries like Do you suppose this spasmo gibberish-spewer with a telephone bolted to the side of his head gives a shit, or is even the least bit aware, that he’s living in a nascent Christo-Fascist dystopia? or, more to some immediate point, I wonder if the over-priced power-bod bitch sucking down some $6 frou-frou coffee drink while nearly splattering my tired old ass with her Acura realizes that the Democrats just betrayed us to AIPAC? Does she even know what AIPAC is? As I said, it’s a silly game I play -- to say the least. I suppose it’s fortunate that none of these well-dressed arguments for retroactive abortion has yet seen fit to have me busted -- for looking at them, if nothing else.

I wish I knew what the answer was, if there even is one. Sometimes I think I’d rather be back at my sinkhole of a job, but what was that recent poll about dissatisfaction run rampant in the American workplace?

07 March 2007


"Bush is much more impeachable than Nixon was."

-- George McGovern

Read this here article: McGovern: Cheney Must Go.

Uncompromising attitude from previous post obviously still applies -- IMPEACH.


"Today's testimony signals that it is time to reign in this President and his Administration before they do any further damage to our democracy."

--John Conyers, 7 March 2007

The answer is obvious, isn't it? Impeach the bastards NOW.

05 March 2007


You just have to love Raw Story, where any day of the week you can run across well-written stories that remind you, whether you actually want to be reminded or not, that the planet -- its social, political, and economic machinery -- is in a far more desperate state than is generally known, or believed. Here's my current favorite Whe're-Really-In-The-Shit piece:

Afghan Opium Crop Set To Grow In 2007: UN

opium crop is likely rise again this year after production of the drug saw a record 50 percent jump in 2006, the United Nations warned on Monday in a new blow to eradication efforts.

A United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) report also pointed out clear links between the spiralling Taliban insurgency and the drugs trade in Afghanistan, which accounts for 90 percent of the world's heroin.

"This winter survey suggests that opium cultivation in Afghanistan in 2007 may not be lower than the record harvest of 165,000 hectares (407,550 acres) in 2006," the report said.

However "effective countrywide eradication may alter this trend," it added. The government has boosted efforts to plough up poppy fields this year, sparking a handful of often-deadly clashes between police and farmers.

Poppy cultivation would likely increase in 15 provinces and decrease in seven, according to the report based on surveys in 508 villages in December and January.

Among those expected to see an increase were southern provinces worst hit by a Taliban-led insurgency such as Helmand, the biggest opium-growing region.

"The situation is worse in Afghanistan's richly fertile yet highly unstable southern provinces. Bear in mind that this region accounted for more than 50 percent of all opium cultivated in Afghanistan last year," the report said.

There were "clear correlations between insurgency and illicit drug-related activities," it said.

"While this is not new, Afghanistan seems to be the most obvious case in the world of how drug cultivation, refining and trafficking funds political violence, and vice versa."

The UNODC also noted a "new and disturbing" increase in cannabis cultivation.

"The last thing we need is for Afghanistan to switch from one drug to another or -- worse -- to become a world leader in cannabis as well as opium production," its report said.

In 2006 an estimated 50,000 hectares of cannabis was grown compared to 30,000 in 2005, and the figure was likely to rise again this year.

Last year's increase in the cultivation of opium, the raw ingredient of heroin, was a blow to British- and US-backed efforts costing billions of dollars to stop the drugs trade through eradicating poppy crops, cracking down on those involved and offering farmers "alternative livelihoods."

The report found that the main reason that farmers were still growing the crop was that it could earn them 10 times more than a cereal per hectare.

Farmers also felt protected against the authorities by Taliban who earned revenue through cultivation, UNODC executive director Antonio Maria Costa told AFP.

Much of the problem in the south was related to corruption, including in the judiciary, and the lack of government or military authority, he said.

"Anywhere in the world, not only in Afghanistan, this sort of illicit activity is related to a lack of control of territory by authorities. It's not poverty...," he said, referring to claims by poor farmers that poppies are the most lucrative cash crop.

I sincerely hope they don't mind too terribly my re-printing the whole thing ... The only real question I have at this point is, how can I get a piece of this action? It would seem a profitable backstop to the inherent uncertainties of my 401K, not to mention the pension that I'll never live to see.

04 March 2007


Pointless meandering in the rapidly thickening gloaming has, inevitably, led me to the over-familiar corner seat at this seedy midtown Sacramento brewpub ... Amid the appalled fascination inherent in the usual who-gives-a-fuck morons who populate this sad, pestilent dung-hole of mindless alcoholism (which is also kind enough to provide free wireless Internet access), I have the drastic misfortune to come across an otherwise exceptionally well-written piece at Guerrilla News Network, entitled The Spooks of St. Petersburg -- the subtitle gives the tenor: Private intelligence companies are gathering in Florida to plan their global operations with neocon officials in close attendance, as more interventions are planned.

Ick! Puke! Purple clouds of recycled ass gas! How much more of this can normal people swallow without their gag reflex being permanently stimulated into a permanent physiological problem?

I'm just asking.


Well, of course wounded vets at Walter Reed have to live with rat shit, mold spores, and who knows how many other manifestations of privatized "care," when the Stalinist freaks they so inexplicably serve operate raj-style embassies, such as this one located in the Halliburton-approved subsidiary otherwise known as Iraq. (If you want, go ahead and read the Washington Post article).

I tell you, friends, this fucked-up catastrophe of a nation -- the United States of America, that is -- has very nearly tipped beyond the point of no return. Maybe that would actually be a good thing, all things considered ... but I doubt it.