Funny that the Bush people would want to bring up Adolf Hitler...

As far as I know, neither John Kerry nor his forebears have any link (collaborative or otherwise) to Adolf Hitler and/or the Third Reich, despite the fact that pro-Bush/anti-Kerry ads feature Der Fuehrer's face in their montage-errific "Coalition of the Wild-Eyed"

Curious because the first big pile of loot that ultimately got the soul-deficient Monkey Boy into the White House was stacked up by George Herbert Walker and Prescott Bush jointly selling bonds for Uncle Adolf (as he's called in the privacy of the Crawford Ranch). Ok, I just made that last parenthetical part up. I don't know if they refer to him at all and if so, what they might call him. The rest, however, is factually and publicly verifiable.

The grandperes not only funnelled huge amounts of American dollars into Hitler's sticky fingers, they continued to do so for about 10 months after we were at war with Germany, sending money to the Wehrmacht to buy bullets to shoot our soldiers. It took denunciation and action by congress to stop them from their game. (And their people point to those who disagree with them and denounce us as traitors! Boy! Talk about the reformed whore who accuses everyone else of lasciviousness!)

Even more exceptional is the fact that it was young Dubya himself who ran the 11 former SS men hired as "ethnic consultants" for Poppy's presidential re-election bid. And wait! Karl Roverer's grandfather was the engineer who designed and built the Birkenau portion of the three-part concentration camp at Auschwitz. (That was the section with the gas chambers.) So maybe people who lived in the glass houses of our enemies shouldn't be throwing accusatory stones at other people's patriotism.

There's a term Ibsen used in the play Ghosts -- the word is vermoulu -- worm-eaten from birth. It is applied to the young protagonist, Osvald Alving, whose father, the Captain, apparently had syphilis.

The interesting similarity, even beyond the obvious, is how young Osvald sits at the end of the play, unable to do anything but stare blankly into the sun, much like Dubya did in those seven minutes after being told the second plane had crashed into the World Trade Center. With Osvald, it is supposed to mean that the worms have gone too far, eaten too much of the brain for him to ever function.

(Hey -- I don't pretend to be objective. You want an apologist for everyone on the right? There are blog-writers out there with their noses pushed so far up the asses of the Republican Right, those GOP farts obviously smell like the morning breeze to them. And just to be at least minimally objective, to show I'm not just singling out the current boil on the ass of America, I am more than willing to point of that JFK's dad, Joe Kennedy, in addition to the hard work of murder and bootlegging, also stacked up the family fortune with Hitler-financing. Henry Ford, on the other hand, made it here in the US of A -- he just gave it to the Nazi's. Lucky Lindy, too.

Some old country homily comes to mind that when you point at someone else, there are three fingers pointing back at you. Achtung, Herr Monkey Boy.



Nothing refutes the connection ... and that means what?

That's what the diehards are saying, throwing bombs at the 9-11 commission for not finding any actual functioning connection between Al Qaeda and Saddam Hussein, insisting about the report that

There is nothing in it that categorically 'refutes' a connection between Iraq and Al Qaeda.

That's it? Nearly 20,00 people from the Coalition of the Coerced have been wounded and/or killed, while more than 20,000 Iraqi civilians have been killed outright with no one even counting the wounded on that side -- and our moral high ground (even forgetting that reasonable doubt is -- or at least used to be -- the foundation of our presumed moral imperative), it comes down to this -- our justification for wreaking all this death and destruction is that no one can actually refute the connection with Al Qaeda, that connection that no one can prove.

Well, that's really cute. Let me put it this way:

There is no conclusive proof that George W Bush loves being the recipient of hot, wet, violent anal sex he gets from Cheney, Rumpsfeld, and Condy Rice on a regular rotation basis (Ms Rice using a gigantic strap-on) -- but the possibility can't be refuted either.

Ohhh, how vile, how profane, how foul-mouthed!.

Yeah, tell it to someone who just left his leg in Falujah.

Tell it to the Iraqi accountant who came home to find his wife and children turned into crispy critters -- "oops, sorry, collateral damage, just an accident, no harm no foul."

Tell it to the mothers and fathers and sisters and brothers and children of the dead. To the family and friends of the maimed whose medical benefits the prick in the oval Office eliminated so he could better pay off his pals.

What a monumental waste of protoplasm, and I do not mean the loss of combatants in Iraq.

Refute this, you signifying, rationalizing, cold-blood, soulless sonsofbitches.

"Where in the waste is the wisdom?" James Joyce


Installing "democracy" in Iraq IS colonialism, dummy

What else can you call it? Not spinningly, but accurately.

Paul Bremer (Philips, Yale, Harvard, Kissinger, Ed Meese -- a list of bonafides of privilege and collaborative underlinging that would -- and will, someday -- gag any historian) backing out of Iraq as fast as he can like a cat doing the moonwalk away from certain savaging by the claws of the real fighters, throwing the keys to the hand-picked kids smiling, "Here y'go, boys, and I'm outta here."

(Translation, in the words of William Burroughs -- "So pack yer ermines, Mary, because the whole shithouse is going up in chunks.")

The Coup d'fou -- those unelected creatures who seem to think America is their personal toy -- decided that Iraq needs to have a democratic government, just like ours. Of course that means the Made Men of Our Thing will decide who gets to vote and for whom.

It's called colonialism -- the Coalition of the Substandard goes overseas to tell our little brown brothers how to live, regardless of their beliefs, traditions, social structure, and aspirations, and pretends to leave them in charge of their own lives. Just as they do to us, here, at home.



The new fabrication: "We didn't know -- no one knew."

Like a bunch of robots with new chips inserted, all the little apologists for the Monkey Boy Mob are running around with their Talking Points, all mouthing the same words, coming up with yet another tissue of lies. The new myth being peddled is this:

"Everyone in the world believed Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction."

In other words, the incompetence of this Coup d'fou, the ignorant fantasy that has led so far to the deaths of thousands and the maiming of ten times that many should be excused because all the other kids in the 7th grade said so too.

Not only craven, but craven crap, not true, not true at all. And not one of those "I'm so tough" guys has the balls to stand up and admit it.

Hans Blix didn't believe it and he had actually been there and looked around and he said it over and over again.

Scott Ritter didn't believe it and he said so over and over again on talk shows remaining calm while smartass pissants like Dennis Miller mocked him, until they stopped allowing Ritter on talk shows because he didn't talk the talk they wanted.

Not just the 'fair and balanced' drones, but all of them, right, middle, and what passes for left.

Both Blix and Ritter and quite a few others knew that even if there were any actual pieces of stuff left, which Hans Blix thought was not likely, most of the WMD's would be useless because of component deterioration over time.

And the Bushleague knew it.

The repetitive pattern of thoroughly craven behavior before and since from all those experts hiding behind the Public Moron tells us they knew there weren't any WMD's. And we all know it too, if we think about it, that there was not a chance in hell this passle of Rec Room Patriots would have made a move if they thought there was even a whisper of a smidgen of a scintilla of a chance that Saddam Hussein had much more than rocks to throw at us.

They planned and expected a cakewalk. Used that very word. Cakewalk. And anthrax and smallpox and nukes are not among the ingredients used in baking a cakewalk. Not only didn't everyone in the world believe the WMD's existed, it seems obvious everyone in the Bushleague administration knew damn well they didn't.

Oh, perhaps the Creature in the Cave, the one with the Elvis sneer, the duck shooter -- he wouldn't have cared one way or the other about how many lived or died, so long as he was safe in his undisclosed location. But the rest of them, nahh. Too many dead wouldn't have allowed Monkey Boy to dress up in military drag and prance the deck in front of real soldiers and sailors and marines.

Think back to the last war we fought based on what hindsight has shown us to be totally transparent bullshit. After it was all over, when Robert MacNamara's book of lies came out -- the one in which he said repeatedly how he never knew the real story at the time -- it was reviewed by many people, not the least of which was one colonel who was teaching at West Point.

The thrust of his review? That MacNamara was lying. How did he know?

"Because," he said, (The quote may not be exact, but is definitely faithful to the gist of it.) "Because I was there, in those meetings, and anyone who offered information that disagreed with his premises was either ignored or sent from the room."

Are we talking MacNamara sticking his fingers in his ears and going "la-la-la-la-la" Pee-Wee Herman style? Or perhaps smacking the hand of the NSA advisor with a yardstick and making him stand in the corner? Well, probably not, but what nifty images.

They lie and lie and lie, and as Daniel Ellsberg said about the Nixon-Johnson-MacNamara et al liars, "It's a tribute to the morality of the American Public, because they knew we'd never stand for it if we knew the truth."

That was then and this is now, and as the Late Great Communicator used to say when anyone pointed out that he was still telling us non-facts already disproved: "Well... there they go again."



A thought on media-reality

Long, long time ago, Tom Veitch said that if you blew up the Empire State Building, it would not be the bricks falling down on 5th Avenue that were significant, but the images of bricks falling through the media that counted.

Still true, some 30 years later, even though, as the Bush-league should have learned by now with their endless loops of WTC atrocity meltdown images, most have a limited shelf-life until spoilage sets in. Their "Be afraid, keep being afraid" isn't working anymore, or, as the late great Lord Buckley said in the classic Jonah and the Whale, "Boy, you keep ringin' that bell, you gonna bend that bell."

There are exceptions. Some images can blow right past the jaded eyes of the media-eating public and burn themselves directly into the cortex, indelible, permanent. So it is with the public execution of the late co-founder/leader of Hamas, Sheikh Ahmed Ismail Yassin -- even months after the fact, it's still right there, as bright as if it happened this morning.

He may have been a bad man. He may have ordered a lot of people killed. It doesn’t matter. It wouldn’t matter if he had been Adolf Hitler’s spiritual advisor or if he ran the gas chambers and ovens at Auschwitz-Birkenau that Karl Rove’s grandfather designed and built.

There's the image of an Apache attack helicopter firing a tank-killer Hellfire missile and blowing up a sweet-faced sixty-seven year old partially blind quadriplegic in a wheelchair. No one is ever going to feel good about being on the side of anyone who would do that.


What's the difference?

The rationale -- getting rid of Saddam Hussein was a good thing.

Well, not really, after all, 41's old pal and playmate was old and past it and pretty much heraus gespielt, erschöpft, beendet.

But what about his psychotic asshole sons, Ubu and Frodo?

Hmm, what about 41's psychotic asshole sons, Dubya and Neil? As far as I can see, those two have cost Americans more lives, more security, more quality of life than those two yahoos, Bobo and Dumbo ever could.


There'll always be an entrepreneur: The Bill of Rights Security Edition

What is the "Security Edition" ?

The First Ten Amendments to the constitution of the United States printed on sturdy, pocket-sized, pieces of metal.

The next time you travel by air, take the Security Edition of the Bill of Rights along with you. When asked to empty your pockets, proudly toss the Bill of Rights in the plastic bin.

You need to get used to offering up the bill of rights for inspection and government workers need to get used to deciding if you'll be allowed to keep the Bill of Rights with you when you travel.


Deja vu and Tyler Too

WASHINGTON, June 22 — In a February 2002 directive that set new rules for handling prisoners captured in Afghanistan, President Bush broadly cited the need for "new thinking in the law of war." He ordered that all people detained as part of the fight against terrorism should be treated humanely even if the United States considered them not to be protected by the Geneva Conventions , the White House said Tuesday.

Something rings like a broken bell in the back of the mind -- another president, Dick Cheney, Don Rumsfeld, et al, -- something like:

Sure we could herd the prisoners into the big room naked, make them watch as we pick one at random, pull his fingernails out with pliers, tie barbed wire around his balls, pour molten lead up his ass, then ask the others who wants to go next. They're not protected by the Geneva Convention and it would get information that could save American lives... but that would be wrong.



If you're white, you're alright...

...but if you're brown, get out of town, and if you're black ... well, who cares?

("Sudan? People dying? People dying to sue Dan Rather? Is that what you said? Great idea. Tell Ashcroft to get on it.")

From the New York Times, June 22, 2004, Paul Krugman's column:

In April 2003, John Ashcroft's Justice Department disrupted what appears to have been a horrifying terrorist plot. In the small town of Noonday, Tex., F.B.I. agents discovered a weapons cache containing fully automatic machine guns, remote-controlled explosive devices disguised as briefcases, 60 pipe bombs and a chemical weapon — a cyanide bomb — big enough to kill everyone in a 30,000-square-foot building...

... it sounds over the top to accuse Mr. Ashcroft of trying to bury news about terrorists who don't fit his preferred story line. Yet it's hard to believe that William Krar wouldn't have become a household name if he had been a Muslim, or even a leftist. Was Mr. Ashcroft, who once gave an interview with Southern Partisan magazine in which he praised "Southern patriots" like Jefferson Davis, reluctant to publicize the case of a terrorist who happened to be a white supremacist?

More important, is Mr. Ashcroft neglecting real threats to the public because of his ideological biases?

But hey, those Good Ole Boys who rule through the Coup d'Fou of November 2000 aren't racists at all ... just conservative.

The one thing that makes me smile in the face of this sort of insanity is to remember that John Ashcroft will know, to his dying day, that the people of his home state chose to elect a dead man rather than him.


Waddya mean "ours," white man?

In the Rose Garden, April 30th, with the Prime Minister of the Great White North:

Canada is doing a lot ...

There's a lot of people in the world who don't believe that people whose skin color may not be the same as ours can be free and self-govern. I reject that. I reject that strongly. I believe that people who practice the Muslim faith can self-govern. I believe that people whose skins aren't necessarily -- are a different color than white can self-govern.

So North America is white, right?
And all Muslims aren't. Tell that to Malcolm X.

And, ohh, you're granting that -- to use the term I heard repeatedly at the Oilmen's Club in Houston -- that the Sand Niggers might actually be able to govern themselves?

How amazingly tolerant of you to allow that those people who go back 1300 years in maintaining communities where the wealthy make sure the poor are not abandoned, who led the world in developing mathematics, might actually be able to stand on an equal level with the third generation pissant son of money made financing the Third Reich.

I'm certain the late Reverend Dr. King would have been so proud to know his message had gotten through, even if he wasn't white. And even if...

Oh, never mind. There was another part to that thing about not being judged by the color of one's skin. It had to do with "the content of his character." So I guess the message is still wandering in the wasteland.

Might I suggest you substitute golf swing and nap time for one or two days with a class in Diversity Awareness?



Valery, you bitch -- back me up

"I looked into his eyes, and I saw he was a good man." That's what prancing Georgie said after meeting Valery Putin back then. So now, Valery grudgingly repaid the favor yesterday (Friday, June 18):

"Russian special services several times received information that the official services of the Saddam regime were preparing terrorist acts on the United States..."

The credibility of this statement is roughly akin to those of the people who said they'd predicted the assassination of JFK and the attempt on Ronald Reagan's life months before the actual event, but never announced it because they didn't want to create fear in the public.

Kevin Drum of Political Animal raises the question of why Putin would want Bush to win re-election.

I always wondered who was the top and who was the bottom in the Putin-Bush eye-gazing relationship. How far does it go? (I've heard the stories about the antics at Bohemian Grove, so I can only wonder.)

And what does Laura think about it?



Michael Mooooore-eee-oooo

Thinking about Michael Moore with the imminent release of Fahrenheit 9/11

I am delighted that he has as thick a skin as he does, because the ooo-eee-ooo terror his targets have for him prompts them to slander, defame, and otherwise verbally attack him until he's coming up to a close second behind Bill Clinton as the object of Republicans playing out their Oedipal fear-fantasies ("Bad daddy! Bad daddy! Making mommy moan and cry out.") There's even a website set up solely to attack and diminish any and everything the man says. They even call him fat. And white.

He terrifies his targets.

He stepped fully into media history at the 75th Academy Awards ceremony. Same as every other person who walks up to receive the award, he was trying to say (or do) something memorable, but when it was Michael Moore's turn, he created one of the most memorable moments of Oscar Night ever.

Even those who know how the movie game is played (Make waves, get publicity.) were screaming at his comments. (Don't, for the love of God, make REAL waves! You're trying to change things. What are you, crazy? You'll get us all blacklisted again!) Hell, the day after the show, other than Adrien Brody's near-rape of Halle Berry, no one remembered anything that happened other than Michael Moore's comments.

And today, still, no one remembers anything that was said other than "Shame on you, Mr. Bush, shame on you." Very few even remember the entirety of that brief speech, which began with an extraordinarily gracious gesture.**

That was then and this is now.

Among other intents and effects, this new film will underscore a major difference between Richard Nixon and George W Bush. This documentary (which will come to be abbreviated as simply "9/11," the film becoming the historical memory instead of the event and/or the self-serving crap about it spewed out in massive amounts by political poseurs of all parties), will cause George W Bush to cower, hiding behind his closed curtains even as Richard Nixon did in the face of opposition to his war in Vietnam.

The difference? It took 500,000 angry people yelling at him to make Nixon cringe in fear. This time, just one fat white guy wielding a camera and a mike and doing his best to speak truth to power will do the job for Dubya. Because, as Roger Ebert explained, he argues the case eloquently and powerfully -- as a documentarian should -- supporting his point of view that America should send Dubya packing in this next election, back to the ranch in Crawford he bought and on which he built a brand new house just before the presidential race, in order to support his pretense of being an outdoorsie fellow chopping wood, thereby emulating either Ronald Reagan or Kaiser Wilhelm II after WWI. Fahrenheit 9/11 may well decide where Dubya lives next year.

Those people are right to be scared of him. Michael Moore smiles a lot but is probably not what most people would call a nice guy. Then again, neither was Tom Paine.

** Those comments he made at the 75th Awards ceremony?
Whoa. On behalf of our producers Kathleen Glynn and Michael Donovan from Canada, I'd like to thank the Academy for this. I have invited my fellow documentary nominees on the stage with us, and we would like to — they're here in solidarity with me because we like nonfiction. We like nonfiction and we live in fictitious times. We live in the time where we have fictitious election results that elects a fictitious president. We live in a time where we have a man sending us to war for fictitious reasons. Whether it's the fictition of duct tape or fictition of orange alerts we are against this war, Mr. Bush. Shame on you, Mr. Bush, shame on you. And any time you got the Pope and the Dixie Chicks against you, your time is up. Thank you very much.


Brad DeLong's Dream

This dream may be titillating the nights of many many Americans -- that Wanker and Cheney are forced to resign, that Dennis Hastert and Stevens say "pass" on being president, and Colin Powell takes the job. Oh wouldn't it be loverly for those Republicans who still hold on to the idea of having principles.

And following that post from yesterday is a lively interchange of comments.

But for all that I admire and respect Mr. DeLong's insight and intelligence, I find it a bit difficult to accept that he still believes Colin Powell has any personal credibility left at all after 3+ years playing "Yassuh Boss, I'se comin' just as fast as I can" House Darkie to this band of subhuman white boys who, in a just world, would have had to ask permission to kiss the hem of his blood-stained robe.



Hey, what was that?

I fell asleep last night watching TV and woke up a few hours later to see an overhead shot of a flag-draped coffin.

What? Were the Bush-leaguers finally acknowledging and giving actual respect to the warriors they sent to Iraq? The ones who died as they played out Catch-22 Redux, i.e., "You can go home when you finish your missions, but, oh, by the way, we just raised the number of missions you need to finish before you go home."

And there it was, the coffin all by itself itself without even one administration hypocrite smiling and trying to express something resembling compassion through a face corroded and scarred by the anal acids encountered from years of kissing oil and construction company derrieres ?

Someone said "Ronald Reagan," but that couldn't be right. Surely they're not still finding the bodies of those unarmed Marines from the bombing in Beirut all those years ago?

And then someone said "Ray Charles," and I thought, "Oh, well that makes sense. There's a man who deserves national homage.

And then I fell asleep again.

Or maybe it was all a dream because I remember someone talking about how well the environment was protected during the Reagan years, and then someone said,

"He wasn't racist. He was just conservative. He was always telling people how proud he was of having helped Jackie Robinson get into Big League Baseball."


Was someone playing a Lenny Bruce record, the one from 1958 with How to Relax Your Colored Friends at Parties routine?

"Hey, that Joe Louis, hell of a fighter. We'd like to have you come over to dinner, but, ahh, I have a sister, and, uhh, I hear you people have a thing for guys' sisters... "

Sure sounded like it, just not as funny.

None of it made sense and then, then I remembered -- long day, late dinner -- chicharrones and rice and cheese and chipotle sauce.

No wonder it was all so surreal and wrong.



Politicians come and go, but Ray Charles...

Ray Charles died today at age 73.

Put simply, this man had more positive and long-lasting effect on our lives than ANY politician, living or dead.

Future generations will say of him, what none will say of any president from Washington on --- "Gee I wish I could have seen him when he was alive. That would have been something."

A San Francisco hooker, interviewed many years ago, said, "I'm not selling anything that doesn't belong to me. And there isn't a politician or a businessman who can make that same statement."

But Ray Charles could. It was his and he gave it all to us. Didn't hold anything back.

Now, for the first time in my life, despite still not believing in Heaven or Hell, I think I can actually imagine a heavenly choir.


And now for something completely different: literacy

Bloomsday is upon us, this year being the 100th anniversary of the day James Joyce chose to present in Ulysses -- June 16th, 1904.

A page a day keeps Republicans and Democrats away.

Check it out.

You can find the RSS readers that suit you best at this site also.


Another Roadside Attraction

US Highway 10, straight shot from Houston to LA, and on the way, roadside signs:

“SEE IT NOW! 25 Miles ahead!”

“THE AMAZING DISPLAY! 10 miles ahead!”



He was who and what he was. A man -- charming, gracious, likeable, acting out a role.

I never liked him and it often galled me that he could be so damned charming and gracious and likeable. But that’s irrelevant -- whether I liked him or not is a comment on me, not on him.

Certainly -– ahh, these times are such that we actually have to say it -– disliking someone is not the same thing as saying he’s bad, or evil, or there’s something wrong with him.

That said, the dismembering of Ronald Reagan’s still slightly warm body for personal and political fodder is tacky, reprehensible, and totally sleaze-o-rific.

Those who build castles on the right tell us how he persuaded youth to go to a conservative philosophy, to believe in and support –- oh my, what a coincidence! –- the very same agenda in all details that THEY espouse. What crap.

Those who live on the left offer praise to his trans-partisan congeniality in a don't-hit-me gesture to encourage a ceasefire from the feces-flinging that is so integral to Republican administrations since and their Nixon-Bush-Bush players.

People liked him. And he liked people.

People vote for presidents for reasons that have almost nothing to do with policy. They vote for the candidate with these qualities:

1. The one they perceive to be stronger.
2. The one they perceive to be enjoying the campaigning more.
3. The one they like better.
4. Sometimes, also, the one with whom they feel safer, not always the same as stronger.

Nothing about policy, nothing about actual human value or worth – those three factors, with possible variation for an incumbent, but that would fall under #4. Check it out:

1964: LBJ over Barry Goldwater –- any questions? The American public was encouraged by the LBJ forces to perceive Goldwater as too dangerous. Remember the threat? If Goldwater wins, the USA would (1) send the Marines into Vietnam, (2) bomb Hanoi, and (3) mine Haiphong Harbor.

1968: Nixon over Humphrey –- the dark one not remembered by the young; the flaky one, his liberal record of standing for the poor and working not known, had been totally compromised by the years of kissing LBJ’s ass in public.

1976: Carter over Ford –- Come on -– Ford was the President of Grand Rapids, Michigan. Couldn’t even win statewide to become a senator. Installed by the criminal to play rear guard and pass out pardons. Carter was clean.

1980Reagan over Carter -– Carter was clean but not having fun (“a great malaise”). Reagan was a happy guy, made his Republican Convention acceptance speech by doing a series of “If he (the Red Rooshian) says this, I’ll do this,” and he struck a tough pose. “And if he does that, I’ll do that…” and then a different “I am the eagle-eyed cowboy riding the range” pose.

1984: Reagan over Mondale -- Same same same, but even more so. (And Mondale's mother’s name was Claribel -– there went the potential votes of a generation. ”Hey kids, what time isn’t it?”)

1988: Bush over Dukakis -- Polls at the end of the Reagan Second term said that by a margin of something like 60-40, Americans, including Republicans, wanted a Democrat to become president. The Democrats managed to find the one candidate who looked like he’d NEVER enjoyed himself and came on weaker than even GHW, who was wearing the wimp label with something like pride. And of course, that high-minded Bush campaign of “Tell ‘em he’s a nigger-lover -– do the thing with Willie Horton,” worked wonders with the Klansmen. (And you wonder why they say the Bush family is the most vicious, vindictive bunch of thugs Washington can remember ever having seen.)

1992: Clinton over Bush -- Billy was having a GOOD time, and stood in there, smiling, while Bush was spotlighted as perhaps the most clueless public figure in America.

1996: Clinton over Dole -- Get real: dour Dole versus Slick Willy? Interesting how the Right Wing adored the fact the Reagan was ‘The Teflon President,” loved enough for people to overlook minor indiscretions and major screw-ups” but hated it when Clinton proved equally loved enough for people to overlook his.

2000: Bush Lite over Gore -- Once again, the Democrats found a man so unlikable, so wooden and so unable to speak his mind, he only beat Bush by half a million votes and then got too cute with the Florida recount, thereby allowing the Lollipop League of Five to further denigrate the Constitution.

Ronnie got elected, re-elected, and held in reverence through his decline because people liked him, loved him, appreciated him and enjoyed him. Not because he cut subsidies for poor people (I always thought Crack Cocaine was part of his plan for economic “Enterprise Zones” in the inner cities.), not because he beat the Red Threat on Grenada, and certainly not because he appointed James Watt to supervise the destruction of the environment ("Jesus is coming back and we need to use it all up."), but because he was loved and enjoyed and smiled through the pain and accepted blame for screwups and said he was sorry, he wasn’t perfect, but was really trying to do the best he could. Maybe that was so,that he was doing the best he could.

So when a hypocritical shit like Richard Perle, who publicly tore him a new asshole for envisioning an end to the cold war with Premier Gorbachev, raises him up to kiss the very scars he inflicted, and uses his new-found humility to insist that Ronnie would back his current disastrous play 100%, even though he would not have -- and didn't --while alive. I guess what he means is, now that he's dead, Dutch won't oppose it. I can only imagine the Late Mr. Reagan looking at him and saying, “Well… there you go again.”

And all the rest of them, hanging on to their theocratic careers and failed neocon fantasies, tossing the dead man’s bones like dice, swearing that if Reagan were alive, he'd stay the course of this modern geopolitical Titanic they're steering, the conveniently-timed passing allowing the present incumbents to point, “Look at him. Don’t look at me –- Don't look at us -- that would be disrespectful to HIM. Pay no attention to what we’re doing behind the curtain.”

I used to imagine Ronnie and Nancy sitting around at night, and Ronnie saying, “Mommy, why is it I have to associate with such lowlife monsters in order to try to do some good? Am I a monster? Am I hurting people?” An important set of questions for anyone to ask from time to time.

I never thought many of the things he was doing were good, and yes they were hurting a lot of people, but dislike him or not, perhaps he actually thought they were good things to do at the time.

He seemed to be a nice man, even if his role was to smile congenially while his hired guns took care of the back-alley murders.



Garfield,the movie -- another sign of the End Times?

My wife was right. She said the face on the billboard (and now the full page ad) for the Garfield movie looks like William H. Macy dressed for the Marquis De Sade version of Cats.

So I wonder: if the ads for the movie can't even come up with a drawing that looks like the comic strip (we're not talking about a drawing needing to resemble an actual face), then how optimistic should we be about a movie merchandising a cartoon character that was never even funny to begin with.

437 years of doing the same jokes about a cat that overeats and crushes spiders is excessive.

On the other hand, if it were William H. Macy actually doing the role (as distinct from voice-over), I'd head out to see the movie in a flash, even if I'd be disappointed that he had been willing (or felt a need) to lend himself to such a project at all.


Bush says Reagan "helped save the world."

Zen philosophers have questioned this concept of "saving the world," whether referring to Jesus or Ronald Reagan. They ask: "From what? And to what?



Whatever Happened to Harry Potter? Harry Potter at 52


I called home to let Jane know I was on the way, but she said,
"Not yet. It came through."

I knew what she meant -- I'd been trying to get an interview with the elusive Harry Potter for seven months.

"They say tonight or never."

Sightings of Potter in the 10 years since he'd been released from prison were more numerous and less verifiable than sightings of Elvis.

Potter had served 25 years in Wormwood Scrubs on charges stemming from carnage done during the final battle with Voldemort. He'd won, but in the process, eleven muggles had been killed by random hop-skip ricochets of force beams, some of them sitting at home in their comfy chairs several kilometers away.

The jury had seemed skeptical as Harry stood in the dock and told his tale of this dark evil creature that had hounded him since birth -- a dire dread thing that had killed his parents, scarred him, and over the years made repeated attempts on his life. He explained that he had acted in pure self-defense.

The judge, Lord Justice Melford Buttonhole, had instructed the jury to determine the applicability of the charges based on whether Potter's battle with Voldemort was a criminal endeavor.

"If the prisoner was acting in self defense," he said, leaning over the bench and rolling his eyes, knowing that all appeals would be made from written transcripts which do not indicate facial grimaces or sarcastic tones of voice, "if it was self-defense, the deaths constitute a lesser offense than if the battle itself was a crime."

The jury had come back with a verdict of guilty on eleven counts of what we, in this country, call "involuntary manslaughter" and one count of "cruelty to something" which was not actually a law.

Potter's cellmate for most of those 25 years was a rather notorious felon known to the London Press as "BSE Brian the Meat Monster." His crime? Selling Mad Cow-infected beef.

Brian would bid low for contracts to haul slaughtered diseased cattle to designated disposal sites - whether incinerators or landfill. Then he would sidetrack considerable amounts of meat, smuggle it into the EU and sell it to the French. Even after his crimes were known, there were many in England who argued that no charges were justified since it was only the French who were eating the contaminated beef.

But the Director of Food Service at the British Embassy in Paris had been embezzling funds and buying cheap meat on the black market, in this case, the tainted beef being purveyed by none other than BSE Brian himself. When several embassy officers fell ill with the hideous Creutzfeld-Jakob disease from the BSE prion in the meat, a snowstorm of indictments were issued.

Once Englishmen were being affected, Brian found himself in the dock in a flash.
He was, of course, convicted.

Some of the papers tried to rhyme him as “Prion Brian” but when telly news readers made the point that it would have to be “Prion Breeyon” they settled for “The Meat Monster.”

Of course once Harry Potter was convicted and became his cellmate, the London press changed Brian’s nickname, using the new word they'd learned during the Potter trial -- calling him "the Muggles Monster."

Years later, on release, Potter had emigrated to the USA.
No one knew where he'd been staying since.

He was sitting in a booth at the far wall in a bar named Marfreles.
He motioned for me to sit down and began talking.

It was that damned child star business, but worse.
Oh I wasn't the first -- there are plenty of examples: Brandon de Wilde, everyone on the street pulling a face as he passed, mimicking him, 'Come back, Shane, come back.'

Or Bobby Driscoll after Treasure Island getting that Robert Newton 'Arrrgh' everywhere he went.

No wonder they went out on drugs.

From that first damned day at Hogwarts, every one of them: 'We expect great things of you,' they would tell me, even that bloody Sorting Hat -- 'You could be great, you know.' The fame was odious. Why couldn't I have been written like Bentley Ellicott?"

"Who?" (*)

Exactly. His author let him finish the battle with Prince Ombra and walk away from it, forget the heroism and let the world leave him be. But - that damned Rowling woman just had to do all the sequels, didn't she?

And the pressure wasn't the worst of it. If that was all ... well ... I wish that had been all, but the worst was the isolation. There I was, irrevocably marked from day one as the most super special wonderful amazing boy in the world. Every other boy or girl my age knew they could never even hope to be nearly as supercool hot stuff. Of course they hated me for it. Talk about Ecce Homo. I didn’t even know what they were talking about.

Who would want to hang out with a boy like that? Oh, that snide little dominatrix, Hermione, of course. And Ron Weasely, a boy born to be the consummate Igor to Dr. Frankenstein, scuttering around on his master's business.

Here's a scoop for you -- not many people know that Hermione and I were married for a while. A short while. Ill-fated.

When we were kids fooling about, we used to do things to each other late at night at Hogwarts, you know, oral things and finger things and, you know, but then one night we did a spell, each of us becoming the other for a session to learn how it felt, the difference between innies and outies. It got all mixed up. Next thing I knew, we were secretly married.

How could I have known about fucked-up Scorpio girls? We didn't study astrology at school. It was considered a muggles thing.

It was rocky from day one, but then…

I came home late one evening and there she was -- there THEY were -- En flagrante! And believe me, there was nothing delecto about it.

She was in bed with Ron Weasely.
And Doby.

Sounds like a joke, doesn't it? 'My wife! My best friend! My house elf!'
A bad joke, and the pain was overwhelming.

I was not yet 21. I had already defeated the dark power of the age, and of course, after the victory, I foundered. My raison d'être was gone and I hadn't yet regained my balance, not yet found a subsequent path. That damned shadow had been in every aspect of my life, so -- ahh, what's the old Yank saying? 'Show me a hero and I'll write you a tragedy.'

And there she was, the only thread still connecting me to my life -- Magical Mistress Hermione with her discipline suits and silk whips and ropes and handcuffs and gags and leather masks -- all the items of her love --- and she was using them on Ron Weasely.

Even our special Bifurcated Butt Plug!

We used to joke that if love didn't keep us together, that double-ended device would.

He paused and we sat in silence for a while.

We used to really like the Captain and Tennille.

It broke my heart. It just destroyed my will. It was like being spun into the outer darkness.

I started drinking potions, conjuring up succubae, creating apertures and protuberances and having the kind of sex that makes what most people call sex about as interesting as lunch meat. To no avail - I found no joy in it, no happiness.

And it cost me my powers as I fell farther and farther away from my source.

Am I bitter? Yes, of course. Sometimes bitterness is all one has left.

And then those years in a cage with Brian."

There was another long silence here.

Very well. Yes, I was his bitch. Remember -- I was a slender young lad. Even as dissipated as I'd become, I still was considered attractive. And he was the most powerful and feared inmate in the place. I sought his protection.

He wasn't all that bad, rather gentle for a man his size. He had a joke - he'd bend me over and tell me 'Well, laddie, of course I'm only a Muggle, but I have it on good authority that this is the way Aleister Crowley taught magick to his lot.'

Of course by the time I was released, I had regained enough of my powers that I had become the most powerful and feared one there. Not soon enough to prevent this, though."

He pushed back his hair to show me the famous lightning bolt scar on his forehead, but now there were two, side by side.

Damned skinheads. Damned Oswald Mosley Neo-Nazi youth thugs. He'd been dead for 40 years and they still ran around with their psychotic dreams of race perfection.

I was still weakened by my debauchery. They cornered me one day in the shower -- Brian was nowhere to be found -- and they held me down. I thought it going to be -- you know -- the typical business, but no. They decided my childhood scar would look better as an SS sigil. There was nothing I could do. Not then. But later, when I was stronger..."

Another silence as he mused about it.
The look on his face was chilling.
I didn't want to know what he'd done later, when he was stronger.

What else do you want to know? I don't have much in the way of powers any more, pissed them away. Oh I still have a few. Oh, you might enjoy this. I find I'm extremely adept at the same trick Saint Hieronymous used when he sat at the Council of Nicea -- making someone defecate on the spot. Good for a few laughs. Would make a good party trick if I ever went to a party.

As for Hermione and Ron -- oh, I should have known better. She and I should have never done more than the 'boys and girls together' fooling about. He was always the right one for her, the little sniveling crawl-around. They were a perfect match. That was what she needed, someone to lord it all over. And she was what he always needed - someone to tell him what to do and whom to be.

They fit.

I just want people to understand. So let this interview be a cautionary tale.
All that power, all that gold. It can be a curse.

All that celebrity. All those fans.

We think we're so damned clever. But we learn the hard way that what we need is some wisdom. It still all comes back to Voltaire -- sit down, be without expectations and make your garden grow. Well, Voltaire and the Dalai Lama.

So go now, tell them. They won't believe it. They think magic and power is a blessing.
I may have decayed, but I'm still not cruel enough to laugh at what happens to the people who believe that.


This is for Jack Rems of Dark Carnival who suggested it.
Great idea but I'm not taking the blame alone.

Portions of this parody appeared in Crapshoot in a somewhat different form.

(*) Bentley Ellicott is the main character in Roderick McLeish's wonderful (and now back in print) novel Prince Ombra;



Nasty French Anti-American Slander Disproven

Ahhh, those Frenchies -- they say that the American GI's came in waving chocolate bars after the Liberation in 1945, using those dark brown nutritious taste delights for purposes of coercing down and dirty diddling and canoodling from the local dollies. And that much of the the Gallic antipathy towards us dates to that time.

("We fucked their mothers for chocolate bars," said Lenny Bruce,
"and that's why they hate us.")

A canard! And at last it can be erased from the pages of history.
(Or, in the words of Antonin Scalia, "Quack, quack.")

As Scientific American tells us (and hey, that's Scientific AMERICAN, not Scientific Euro-Trash) the ladies were merely showing their appreciation for the soldiers' desire to help improve their cardiovascular health.

Read on for proof:

Chocolate Compounds Boost Blood Vessel Function
Scientific American, June 1, 2004

...According to a report published in the June issue of the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, small daily doses of dark chocolate are associated with improved blood vessel function in healthy people.

...University of California at San Francisco ... randomized study in which some subjects received dark chocolate rich in compounds known as flavonoids while others ate placebo chocolate with a low flavonoid content...
After two weeks, the arteries of the flavonoid-rich chocolate eaters dilated by about 13 percent more than they had at the beginning of the study period.

... "Better blood flow is good for your heart."
Because standard processing methods can destroy flavonoids, not all chocolate is created equal when it comes to potentially beneficial effects.

None of that Euro-weird Swiss chocolate. Nossir. We brought heart-healthy American chocolate to a nation of cheese and cream sauce-eating people threatened by the dangers of high-cholesterol. And the thanks we got often took place in doorways in alleys. Can't help it if some French people appreciate us, can we?



Our old definitions fail us

How much longer?

There is no Left or Right.

Does being against the wasting of American lives in order to get the President a trophy mean you're LIBERAL? A LEFTY!?! (Saddam Hussein's pistol is now in HIS pocket)

Does wondering about 15,000 + Iraqi civilians killed make you a Lefty?

Does screaming "Disagree and you're traitors!" make you Conservative?

Does being against blow jobs for presidents make you Conservative?

Does passing intrusive laws governing personal behavior make you a Liberal?

Does arresting people who smoke marijuana either for their phsyical or mental health make you a "Big government liberal?"

If you point out that we killed more civilians in the first month in Iraq
than went down on 9/11 here, they say you're liberal... what does that mean?

"I don't like random and massive killings."
"Well then you're liberal and that means you're a traitor."

(So then why does the "liberal" John Kerry advocate killing them mo' bettah than Bush has done? Are there any statistics available on the political affiliations of mass murderers and serial killers? Was John Wayne Gacy a Republican or Democrat? How about Jeffrey Dahmer?)

Around 30 years ago I heard R. A. Wilson lecture that the right-left definition was long gone and recommended that people read Upwingers by Esfandiary, who explained it quite simply and clearly. So how long does it take for that idea to get through?

As far as I can see, the shift was already taking place when Jerry Brown was governor of California, and advocated non-intrusion into personal lives, (Liberal, supposedly, or is that conservative?) but balancing the budget and not spending more than we have, without cutting needed social programs. (Conservative? Or would that be Liberal?)

And the press, those intellectual giants, kept asking:
"Then what is he? Is he liberal? Is he conservative?"

The only difference I see is this:

The So-called Liberals work their wiles with "Tax and Spend."

The So-called Conservatives eschew that vile intrusion into present-day lives, and instead practice "Borrow and Spend."


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