Sunday, January 30, 2005

Caligula Dubya Bush: Observations From the Back of the Chariot

"He never missed a chance of making profits: setting aside a suite of Palace rooms, he decorated them worthily, opened a brothel, stocked it with married women and boys, and then sent his pages around the squares and public places, inviting all men, of whatever age, to come and enjoy themselves. Those who appeared were lent money at interest, and clerks wrote down their names under the heading 'Contributors to the Imperial Revnue'."
- Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus, Ancient Roman Historian and Writer

There are just very few good political movies at the video store - and not many have ever been made to begin with, for that matter - but the memorable ones provide a great evening of speculation during an otherwise long winter of blue state politics.

All the President's Men is among the best of the lot, and so is Bush's Brain. All the King's Men illustrates how the game is really played in the backrooms of power, as does JFK and Citizen Kane on different levels, or Bob Roberts as a modern day treatise on mob psychology and grass roots manipulation. But should you require a cinematic achievement that dives deep into the realm of politics, take a hard look at Caligula - no pun intended - the next time you browse the aisles of Blockbuster or the internet shopping cart at Netflix, which many people regard as the best political movie ever made.

His nickname back then was "Little Boots" - a joke derived from the troops, because he was raised up in their midst while in the dress of a common soldier, much like our current day Dubya - which may speak more to Caligula's addiction to constant vindication, whereupon he became one of the world's most reviled sadists. But Caligula was a great deal more savage than most Roman Emperors: he was also a tale of avarice, failure and decadence that makes Dick Nixon seem like a rank amateur and Uday and Qusay as street corner wiseguys. How else are we to explain the longevity of freakish political operatives like Roger Stone - a guy who looks like a Chinese food deliveryman wearing a wig - and Karl Rove and Roger Ailes. Neither Caligula nor Dubya had much use for prying questions or too many details, because the task of ruling the planet is serious business, and they share even less affection for dissent.

So much for Caligula as emperor; we must now tell of his career as a monster. After he had assumed various surnames (for he was called Pius ["Pious"], Castrorum Filius ["Child of the Camp"], Pater Exercituum ["Father of the Armies"] and Optimus Maximus Caesar ["Greatest and Best of Caesars"]), chancing to overhear some kings, who had come to Rome to pay their respects to him, disputing at dinner about the nobility of their descent, he cried: "Let there be one Lord, one King." And he came near assuming a crown at once and changing the semblance of a principate into the form of a monarchy. But on being reminded that he had risen above the elevation both of princes and kings, he began from that time on to lay claim to divine majesty; for after giving orders that such statues of the gods as were especially famous for their sanctity or their artistic merit, including that of Jupiter of Olympia, should be brought from Greece, in order to remove their heads and put his own in their place, he built out a part of the Palace as far as the Forum, and making the temple of Castor and Pollux its vestibule, he often took his place between the divine brethren, and exhibited himself there to be worshipped by those who presented themselves; and some hailed him as Jupiter Latiaris. He also set up a special temple to his own godhead, with priests and with victims of the choicest kind. In this temple was a life-sized statue of the emperor in gold, which was dressed each day in clothing such as he wore himself. The richest citizens used all their influence to secure the priesthoods of his cult and bid high for the honor. The victims were flamingoes, peacocks, black grouse, guinea-hens and pheasants, offered day by day each after its own kind. At night he used constantly to invite the full and radiant moon to his embraces and his bed, while in the daytime he would talk confidentially with Jupiter Capitolinus, now whispering and then in turn putting his ear to the mouth of the God, now in louder and even angry language; for he was heard to make the threat: "Lift me up, or I'll lift you." But finally won by entreaties, as he reported, and even invited to live with the god, he built a bridge over the temple of the Deified Augustus, and thus joined his Palace to the Capitol. To be nearer yet, he laid the foundations of a new house in the court of the Capitol.

He seldom had anyone put to death except by numerous slight wounds, his constant order, which soon became well-known, being: "Strike so that he may feel that he is dying." When a different man than he had intended had been killed, through a mistake in the names, he said that the victim too had deserved the same fate. He often uttered the familiar line of the tragic poet [Accius, Trag., 203]: --- "Let them hate me, so they but fear me." He often berated all the senators alike, as adherents of Seianus and informers against his mother and brothers, producing the documents which he pretended to have burned, and upholding the cruelty of Tiberius as forced upon him, since he could not but believe so many accusers. He constantly tongue-lashed the equestrian order as devotees of the stage and the arena. Angered at the rabble for applauding a faction which he opposed, he cried: "I wish the Roman people had but a single neck," and when the brigand Tetrinius was demanded, he said that those who asked for him were Tetriniuses also. Once a band of five retiarii in tunics (gladiators that used a net to wrap their adversary and a trident to kill him), matched against the same number of secutores (armed with oblong shields and gladius), yielded without a struggle; but when their death was ordered, one of them caught up his trident and slew all the victors. Caligula bewailed this in a public proclamation as a most cruel murder, and expressed his horror of those who had had the heart to witness it.

In the last analysis it is our conception of death which decides our answers to all the questions life puts to us. And there are lots of ways to practice the art of journalism as a form of ritualistic fratricde against the current neo-con junta stationed in the Big House, and among them is to use harsh words and creative license like a precision bomb to destroy the deserved - who are most assuredly our enemies, for one reason or another, and who more times than not earned the right to be dismembered in public because they are on the wrong side of the argument. And the same goes for the defacto Prime Minister of Iraq, Ayad Allawi, who could body double for Charles Kurault in the Green Zone and is beginning to feel more like Saddam Hussein meets Wilfred Brimley minus the Grapenuts. Spend half an afternoon untangling Allawi's bizzare dossier and you're left with a smarter, more craftier Manuel Noriega who can entertain the media better than Baghdad Bob himself - the former Iraqi Minister of Information - and who has been connected to everything from Saddam himself, to the "WMD in 45 minutes" sales job on the American people, to fraudulent reports of Iraq's purchases of uranium yellowcake from Niger, to the extended assertions by right wing whackjobs and think tanksters that September 11 mastermind Mohammed Atta was supported by Baghdad. Not even the flying chimps in The Wizard of Oz were as hideous as Ayad Allawi, but they both followed orders to the cold and mean-spirited end - and it appears that Dubya is about to crown him golden puppet for his efforts into the sublime.

Indeed this journalistic fratrcide effort is a presumptive notion, and more than a few "professional" journalists will underestimate its effect - calling the voices in the blogworld "vengeful" and "overly personal" and "highly counter-productive" regardless of how often they dip into the pit of outrage or tacit compliance themselves. "It's just a person's opinion," they will admonish, "and the reader is always jerked around if the content does not carry the label of opinion in print."

On some days you get what you rightly deserve in the game of politics - or journalism, for that matter - and in the Autumn of 2004, the blue states certainly got theirs. There are winners and there are losers, the righteous and the damned, the vindicated and the vanquished. In the case of Caligula, wishing to have one of the senators torn to pieces, he induced some of the members to assail him suddenly, on his entrance into the Senate, with the charge of being a public enemy, to stab him with their styluses, and turn him over to the rest to be mangled; and his cruelty was not sated until he saw the man's limbs, members, and bowels dragged through the streets and heaped up before him. Within the political sphere, that is known as the art of controlling the environment, and neither Caligula nor Dubya would apologize for it. In my case, using what clearly might be called "outrage blogism," I've used thinly veiled reporting techniques as a weapon that affect my situation and my little part of the planet, and no apologies will be issued from here either.

That is the enduring legacy of Dubya Incorporated - a constant misinformation and punishment culture that has seeped into the entire American infrastructure and throughout its social and intellectual institutions quicker than the plague, requiring a crisis mentality found in most trauma centers to even endure the deliberate shouting match, and bringing to life the George Orwell concept, from Animal Farm, that "all animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others." It is a very grim time to be an American, in any shape or form.

Even if Democracy survives in Iraq without supercharging Islamic Jihad or going insane or being whacked like Lee Harvey Oswald by his own people, Dubya will never be able to get past his rationale for invading in the first place - which appears rather hazy in the sunset of this election cycle, but it had nothing to do with making average Iraqis targets for insurgents by marking their fingers and thumbs purple at polling locations guarded by hoardes of Humvees and American troops barking out "move it and lose it" to anyone with car keys - so he would be better off leaving the self-applause to a minimum, at the very least; but even dumb brutes can learn from past mistakes, and I have long since quit placing any energy into wishing for a terminal disease on the Chimperor, not just because even the best form of vengeance ever paid the house note.

In the mean time, a witch's brew of extreme burden will be building up in Washington. The inexorable march to the State of the Union speech will not be a merry time in the White House, even if the Iraqi election turnout surpasses 50% when the final numbers come in. There will be nothing in the woodshed but rust, decay, filth and subpoenas - that tends to happen in a preznut's second term, no matter the political party in power. Whatever is left of the dysfunctional Dubya clan will be fortunate to make the short hop over to Andrews Air Force Base while they still have a helicopter concession.

When the Iraqi endeavor finally unravels from its corrupt and treacherous core, it will make Iran-Contra look like another child prank to fix a history grade on the high school computer system, and Oliver North will seem like another too-big-for-his-britches soldier who got wiggy on bravado and greedy connections. This egregious "Democracy Transplant" in Iraq will go down in history as the worst thing that happened to the military since the Pentagon stretched its intelligence into a tale of widescale attacks by the North Vietnamese somewhere in the Gulf of Tonkin.

Richard Perle and Douglas Feith and Paul Wolfowitz will be sharing a cell at one of the nicer Federal prisons, and Dubya will retire to the outskirts of Houston once the paint dries on the new digs with his vacant wife and his dog and probably Karen Hughes, who will soon be sucked into the abyss known as the Federal Witness Protection Program and will petition the court with a reliable christian sponsor for her new way of life as a lumberjack.

Just as Caligula learned with the Praetorian Guards and Dubya will soon learn from Iraq ... It ain't over 'til its over, as Yogi once said, and the jihadists and insurgents still know how to drive cars - one way trips across town on a full tank of gas - once the vehicle ban is lifted in Baghdad.

Friday, January 21, 2005

Revenge of the Greed Heads, Film at 11

Former Congressman Joe Scarborough (a.k.a., The Mayor of Simpleton)
30 Rockefeller Plaza
New York, N.Y. 10112

Big Joe,

Things are not going well down here in Palm Springs, dude. I limped into the hotel lobby Friday afternoon after a spine-numbing drive, and later that evening discovered to my horror that the preznut was getting stranger by the moment and all the money men were descending upon Washington with enough greenbacks in hand to bribe the creator. For this reason I am contemplating a life in the foreign service or as a gubment spook - as long as I fall into the right kind of crowd.

Aside from that dilemma, I am "beset on all sides by the inequities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men." One, I know it's a direct reference to Jules from Pulp Fiction and I sense that many of us want to "strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who would attempt to poison and destroy my brothers." And two, watching the coronation proceedings over the last couple of days could make a toughened soul sick with disgust. The next time that either Dubya or Larry Kudlow appears on the TV screen I have no responsibility for any damages, because you have been warned. And it won't be a pretty sight, so make sure you keep me away from the new flatscreen you financed for the Super Bowl. I swear it's toast.

Beyond that, you must be out of your freaking mind - on the teetering edge of rabid insanity - to believe that Dubya has a mandate to do anything beyond dry-humping his narco-enriched First Lady, because the rest of the free-thinking world saw this Inauguration as sufficient proof to a personal delusion more than it did as a "true celebration of democracy." So quit being a traitorous jabbering pimp for the administration. There is nothing to be learned or gained by hitching your wagon to the hallucinatory happy train that is Dubya Incorporated. I personally know operatives back East who would grab you by the starched shirt collar and Zenga belt and inject you with enough truth serum that you would be begging to have your nails painted pink and your piehole with fiery red lipstick, then would leave you on the steps of The New York Times with your fly wide open, your hair trimmed into a greased-up mohawk and your ankles tied together with clothesline.

There's just something about [The Chimperor] that divides America into camps of reds and blues, lovers and haters, friends and enemies ... Later in the show, Janeane Garofalo and Larry Kudlow almost came to blows over Iraq, Afghanistan, and the Bush economic plan. Garofalo, whose feelings for me range from seething contempt to outright hatred, spent her hour in Scarborough Country mad as hell ... Besides, I think Janeane's outburst last night had more to do with the fact that George Bush brings out the worst in blue state progressives than anything I said— that, or the fact that Janeane is secretly hot for me and is working through some very complicated emotions right now.

Must-See-TV, indeed. You're more treacherous than a Judas swine. Why don't you phone Mehlman and tell him you want to hang out with Dubya for a few days on the links for some mulligans - his, not yours, of course - while you exchange some bitching rock n' roll stories from your perverted youth and your affinity for wearing flight suits on national TV? But what you really want to do with the preznut is invite him back to some seedy S&M swankhouse on the outskirts of Jacksonville, where only you know the place for sure, until his people beat the skank out of you for its name. But don't worry much. Open bar, fly-over state dialects, crusty work boots and John Deere caps, and come alone ... does it ring a bell?

In some peculiar Midnight-Cowboy-on-halcion sort of way, I thought it would. So for the moment let's let by-gones be just that, because the best part about punditry is the fights - while the rest is merely so - and I think you've finally seen the light on this divisive Dubya slant in your most recent telecasts. But it goes a great deal deeper than that, too. Even your bad back tells you this. Rather than be cowed by Rove and his army of neo-religious thugs, MSNBC had decided to meet them at the clearing in the forest of the sublime, reaching out with both hands and a hearty belly laugh all at once - explaining your sudden appearance on the nightly broadcast schedule, among other things - and after the bloody dust settled on the remains of the truth, just a few weeks after the passenger jets slammed into the World Trade Center, with both the American Dream and its supreme power of possibility having resigned in disgrace, the network to whom you devote countless hours of righteous dominion had become a papier-mache Mr. Potato Head statue of FOX News ... now dangling on the edge of sanity and serving the same masters who sold us Iraq, WMD, Karzai, Chalabi, duct tape, color-coded alert warnings and democracy-laced nation-building at the barrel of a gun.

The blue states will give God the margin of eternity to justify himself - and what can be gained from these last four years of stupidity. As it turned out, however, those facist bastards had to be given so much rope that they will come close to hanging the rest of us along with themselves, before the so-called liberal media finally fills the power vacuum created by "bloggers in pajamas" while Dubya and his fixers were constructing diabolical plans like lifelong internment in Gitmo and secret CIA interrogation salons in Uzbekistan - otherwise known as the clandestine transport of enemy combatants to undisclosed foreign locations under an "unofficial" policy termed Extraordinary Rendition by internal memoranda - and the John Ashcroft "Patriot Act" which has amounted to nothing less than the birth of an Oval Office Gestapo when you get right down to it.

Maybe that explains the "infuriated 48 percent of Americans," as you put it - and why the decision to use a Reaganomics Greed Head like Larry Kudlow to justify the administration's Middle East suaree was an abject disgrace that seemed as if your network was fine with throwing gasoline on a match. It was like having Scott Peterson sit in for Dr. Phil during "Save Your Marriage" week, bracketed by an endless string of golf club commercials. The world has indeed had enough, while the child preznut - a pseudo-educated dimwit who personifies the notion that the smallest seed of faith is better than the largest fruit of happiness - will probably emerge not so much from the day-to-day events of the Iraqi Crisis, or even from its traumatic electoral conclusion, but more from what its survivors will eventually understand as how we failed to achieve a lasting peace, both in the region and here at home.

It's amazing - as a strangely reminiscent consequence - how the History Channel was showing the Fall of Saigon just as your show went of the air last night. If Dubya ever regains the popularity ratings that followed him in the days after September 11, it will not be through any "revisionist red state psychobabble" or by realigning the facts, which Condi Rice tried to do before the Democrats on the Foreign Relations Committee found their collective spine and worked her over like a pack of homicidal New York wiseguys looking for an overdue payment on sharked cash. It will probably be that coming events will force an exhaustive re-evaluation of his deception upon the nation and it will crystallize a heavy awareness of the misfortune cast upon those willing to buy into the delusion in these critical times. And thanks to the propaganda ushered by rethug and AEI refugees on pundit TV, such as yourself, many asleep-at-the-wheel Americans will come to feel like the consumer who had no sooner been swindled into buying a used Ford Pinto that they discovered the entire family had been burned beyond recognition a week later, because nobody warned any of them that a rear-end impact would turn the chassis into molten lava.

Sampai nanti - See you later.

Sunday, January 16, 2005

Never Get Off The Boat or Hit the Brakes in the Carpool Lane

"I don't know if any of you are aware of this, but it's a federal offense to make lascivious remarks on a television network broadcast. The penalty for this disgusting, un-American behavior is one year in prison, or a ten thousand dollar fine. Or both! Anyone making a sick or subversive remark tonight will be arrested immediately. I then will personally escort the offender to federal prison for booking under edict number 364 of the Broadcasting Act of 1963. And it's a long drive to that prison, baby, just you and me. No witnesses."
- Peter Jenks from Confessions of a Dangerous Mind

As January blew into view I went into an involuntary seclusion with my computers and progressive trance CDs, and started to make plans to move to Spain if Dubya reached Inauguration Day. Friends called me paranoid and deranged, but their names do not appear on the U.S. Secret Service blotter of headcases, anarchists, addicts, dope fiends, freaks, terrorists or dedicated political enemies with enough resources to purchase firearms and bizarre personal histories, which often includes more than one documented case of uttering public dissent against a sitting - albeit embattled - President of the United States.

But that was my plan, and it made perfect sense, at the time. It was the last defiant act of an otherwise meaningless election cycle, and in the end that, too, seemed to be an aimless exercise with no sense of possibility or passion. The world has been divided up into easy-to-digest pieces, Sparky. Just like the GOP relief map says.

You don't have to be a serious political junkie to feel a thick and foreboding sense of doom at the prospect of another four years of the Dubya Comes Back from the Dead victory lap in 2005. It feels like a rerun of 1972: Just another vindicated, self-righteous, greed-energized, petty crook, dimwit, radical Rethug president just inches from criminal prosecution, once the people finally sit up and take notice.

Goddamn, I thought. Can't wait to see what happens next. Alas, a sick and twisted Dickie, he fell like a diseased Redwood in the forest, engulfed by his own personality disorder and how he would be remembered ...

Indeed. Easy come, doesn't necessarily mean easy go. And many important operatives still believe that the Rethug braintrust didn't really mind losing to Jimmy Carter anyways. It was good for the soul. The GOP, it was said then, was better off digging new trenches with a new set of strategists while the Watergate furor subsided, and by the time that enough people had their fill of the misery index - initiated by Chicago Economist Robert Barro in the 1970's in response to a phenomenon called stagflation, which implies a deterioration in economic performance by adding the inflation rate to the unemployment rate to the interest rate - even hardcore Teamsters and teachers' unions jumped on the vagarious movement known as the Reagan Revolution. And while it made the GOP the majority party for a generation, it also sparked an outbreak of mass political hysteria from which we have never returned.

That is precisely what Carl Jung, one of the great psychologists of the 20th Century, left as his warning, when he said, "The gigantic catastrophes that threaten us today are not elemental happenings of a physical or biological order, but psychic events. To a quite terrifying degree we are threatened by wars and revolutions which are nothing other than psychic epidemics. At any moment several millions of human beings may be smitten with a new madness, and then we shall have another world war or devastating revolution. Instead of being at the mercy of wild beasts, earthquakes, landslides, and inundations, modern man is battered by the elemental forces of his own psyche."

Termed malignant egophrenic disease, or ME disorder, by Paul Levy in his article, The Madness of George W. Bush: A Reflection of Our Collective Psychosis:
[Dubya] supporters are not merely disinterested in seeing that they are in denial of reality; on the contrary, they actively don’t want to look at this, which is to say they resist self-reflection at all costs. [The Preznut] and his supporters perversely interpret any feedback from the real world which reflects back their unconsciousness as itself evidence that proves the rightness of their viewpoint. All of [his] supporters mutually reinforce each other’s unconscious resistance to such a degree that a collective, interdependent field of impenetrability gets collectively conjured up by them that literally resists consciousness.

There really is no such thing, however, as paranoia in presidential politics. Anything that the administration fears or suspects will often turn out to be true - feeding the disease and the expanse of the enemies' list - and the hardline fix is always at work in the shadows, someplace, and the enemy of shared enemies doesn't always equate to friends of convenience. And for that one reason - the bright, shining truth of it all - the serious political fiend, such as I, will always find the raunchy pursuit of wielding power fun ... only because the fine endeavor of ruling the planet is not for the faint of heart or simple in intellect. One mistake, and it's like stomping on the brakes in the carpool lane. Just close your eyes and wait for the grim reaper. The devil is not always in the details, and the reaction never speaks for itself, especially when your preznut is sick and in dire need of psychiatric review.
Hysterical self-deceivers, and ordinary ones too, have at all times understood the art of misusing everything so as to avoid the demands and duties of life, and above all to shirk the duty of confronting themselves. They pretend to be seekers after God in order not to have to face the truth that they are ordinary egoists.
- Carl Jung

So there has been nothing weird or strange in the feeling - which came to mind once the final November tally came in - that whatever would become the GOP brain trust after Karl Rove in 2004 might indeed go into the tank by 2005, once the reality of Iraq and the collapse of the country's institutions finally kicked into high gear. After all, it looks like a pretty good year for retribution now that the Democrats are picking sides and taking names - and if Dubya has a problem with going down in U.S. history as its most colossal failure, who really cares? He certainly doesn't. Because in his own little delusion he imagines that he is divinely guided; and therefore, his miserable constituency is co-dependently feeding an unconscious narcissistic need by fostering a truly pathological and - ultimately - self-destructive relationship. It has also been an open invitation to participate in what has been the most gigantic political scam since Boss Tweed - a high-stakes, low-rent orgy of greed, organized demogoguery, voter fraud, treachery and double-dealing that would cancel the need for elections in most countries on Planet Earth and leave the military free to choose their own preznut at the barrel of a gun. In places like Argentina, Romania and Mozambique the chance to seize power would have been so completely irresistible had they had a Dubya to call their own.

In any event, the logic is compelling and in the shadows of the military-industrial complex there has to be a small gathering of warlike minds digging deep into that warrior spirit. The last thing any administration needs to consider is that the Army, Navy, Air Force or Marines are plotting your demise before the real war has ended. That really takes the fun out of conducting a rebuilding operation.

It is also what makes 2005 so interesting, at least for steady observers like me. With Dubya stumbling into everything he now touches and the GOP congressional leadership constantly tripping over their bloated tongues, a small and disciplined nonconformist effort could whip up enough outrage and "anti-Dubya-bloodlust" frenzy, preventing anything from getting past the Senate screen doors. And when that begins to happen, the administration will start to unravel at light speed. Not unless Dubya finds some humility - quick - and sprinkles his morning Wheaties with a little less ignorance.

Almost any fool can lead his country to war when his supporters are committed to the same mindless bloodletting, but slowing the bastard down to a diminishing cycle of violence and eventual withdrawal is an entirely different gig. Especially when you've just spent four years banging the drums for revenge - by constantly embedding yourself with the military with Goebbels-like festivities and making endless references to God when you refer to America's "victory" in Iraq, as if God has personally endorsed this wretched murder spree. And the blood lust doesn't stop at the Iraqi border. He has given the CIA authority to assassinate those deemed a threat to U.S. national interests - however vague they might be - treating the world's diplomatic institutions like he was still Governor of Texas, where he mocked the condemned and presided over a record-setting 152 executions, including the 1998 execution of fellow born-again Christian Karla Faye Tucker, a convicted murderer who later led a prison ministry. He has virtually suspended Executive Orders 11905 (Gerald Ford), 12306 (Jimmy Carter), and 12333 (Ronald Reagan) which prohibit the assassination of foreign leaders.

To quote Carl Jung, once again, a limited human being in a position of power who has become as far dissociated from his actions as Dubya “even runs the grave risk of believing he has a Messianic mission, and forces tyrannous doctrines upon his fellow-beings.” He believes that any action he takes is justified in the name of God, as he can rationalize it as being God's will. Unable to reflect beyond the carvernous shadow of narcissism surrounding him, he is convinced of the righteousness of his mission, which he considers a non-negotiable event, like death and taxes and ultimate salvation. In fact, this inability to see anything beyond this pursuit is the best means of making him an instrument of evil.

Welcome to Apocalypse Dubya Redux, Sparky. Any way you slice it - quite literally - Ted Bundy has taken over the White House.

Sunday, January 09, 2005

When All Else Fails ... Try the Final Solution, Iraqi Style

"Beware the leader who bangs the drums of war in order to whip the citizenry into a patriotic fervor, for patriotism is indeed a double-edged sword. It both emboldens the blood, just as it narrows the mind. And when the drums of war have reached a fever pitch and the blood boils with hate and the mind has closed, the leader will have no need in seizing the rights of the citizenry. Rather, the citizenry, infused with fear and blinded by patriotism, will offer up all of their rights unto the leader and gladly so.  How do I know? For this is what I have done. And I am Caesar."
- Julius Caesar

"If the public knew the truth, the war would end tomorrow. But they don't know and they can't know."
- Former British Prime Minister David Lloyd George, to Manchester Guardian editor C.P. Scott, 1914

Not one person from the White House was arrested or even indicted during the Season of Joy that is the American holiday experience, but it had the feel of an uneasy stand-off and no one commenting on the national political scene thinks it will last very much longer.

The new Congress will be in session soon, and the tide of accusations and outrage is bound to pick up strength. Perhaps a few heads will roll by President's Day. With any luck there will be a few video clips on cable televsion of beaten down senior administration officials being led into courtrooms by panic-striken attorneys carrying boxes of affidavits and projection devices for the pie charts and intelligence photos. The billable hours will reach staggering heights in the Beltway, not likely seen since the days of Ronald Reagan, and the failed despots of our time will be shuffled along the streets of Capitol Hill like heretics being dragged to the the village square during the Spanish Inquisition. Odds in Vegas say it will feel like one of those Serpico police scandals that creep up in places like New York City. Some will flee for places like Nassau and live out their lives as foreigners where the bank secrecy laws only rival the beachfront view, while others commit suicide before surrendering to suddenly dismayed authorities. The reality of the situation is that we do not wash our laundry when the cat is let out of the bag - it just gets dirtier on slow ride down to the abyss.

The new political year is going to be a bumpy ride, so fasten your seatbelts. Even Newt Gingrich - Radical Racist Cleric Jerry Fallwell's Mini Me - has begun to wiggle his jowls again and he is now hinting at a presidential run in 2008. His intentions were picked up by the Associated Press over the weekend, and Newt the Impaler is taking steps with a new version of Mein Kampf - a revisionist attempt at dusting off The Contract with America - known in semi-nonfiction circles as Winning the Future: A 21st Century Contract with America, in which Newt criticizes the preznut's policies on Iraq with a tour of early campaign states, underscoring how the Rethug party is already showing fractures from the Neo-con crusade, specifically amongst its moderate and secular conservative constituencies.

"It never hurts to maximize opportunities. That's the American tradition," Gingrich said. "If I can influence the reporters and political activists in Iowa and New Hampshire, they will influence the candidates."

I wasn't exactly surprised ... or moved. The extended empire is certainly standing on shifting ground at the moment, but not everybody is worried: Allawi's circle of doom and the crowd from Halliburton, among other companies, that keeps shuffling in and out of the Big House at skyrocketing salaries are not very concerned about this shift in tone ... just not yet, anyways.

But the eerie silence surrounding Dubya these days is mostly due to history - three times in the last 36 years the Grand Old Party has served up a preznut who was so dangerously criminal and so publicly despised that each had to be removed from the office for extremely dark reasons. And two of these creeps were elected to second terms by wide majorities, showing just how fragile the power politics business can be in Amerikkka. Nixon rolled up a landslide 1972, and Reagan took 49 states in 1984. The average voter adored them, but they were as twisted as a corkscrew, and even their closest allies jumped ship and finally condemned them as ruined and gutless wonders. Daddy Bush, the only one of the three to miss the mark on Election Day, was an even sadder case entirely. He scratched and clawed his way into the Oval Office by race baiting a largely vague electorate - winning more by default, it seemed, then, over a freakish cartoon named Michael Dukakis who was hated more in his own home state than he was in Alabama and Mississippi combined. Bush 41 was hated too, and he took a merciless beating from William Jefferson Clinton in 1992, rejected by the voters as out of touch and viewed as a wimpish prank who picked a hammer fight with an ant known as Saddam Hussein.

I could be convinced to include Gerald Ford in the mix as number four, but he was really dragged into office - as a last resort - by a criminal preznut with the sole intention of covering up the tracks and keeping Richard Nixon out of the federal prison system. One of Ford's first official acts was to issue the pardon for Tricky Dick, and soon enough karma paid a visit in the names of Squeaky Fromme and then Sarah Jane Moore - both of whom couldn't shoot straight - right about the time that Saigon fell to the North Vietnamese, Patty Hearst was finally captured and Jimmy Hoffa was last seen at the Machus Red Fox restaurant in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan.

There are times in life when you wish your suspicions were incorrect: 1.> that your Mob associates would want to kill you for knowing all the secret arrangements with the union pension fund, 2.> that your significant other was really cheating on you for a very long time, 3.> that your best friend was the deranged serial killer that the cops were searching for all along, 4.> that your business partner didn't really empty your bank account and leave you with the sole option of claiming bankruptcy, and 5.> that your government is being run by a tyrannical circle of Nazis hellbent on destroying your country and unleashing SS-style execution squads.

Number five visited us today in the form of "The Salvador Option," a counter-insurgency method that revisits a still-secret strategy from the Reagan administration’s covert war against the leftist guerrilla insurgency in Central America during the 1980s. Faced with losing the "hearts and minds" of the Savadoran people, the U.S. government both funded and supported "nationalist" forces which ultimately involved the use of "death squads" trained to assassinate rebel leaders and sympathizers in the Central American country. Quite obviously, the insurgency was eventually pacified, and the policy is still considered a wide-scale success in conservative think tanks, even though there was a number of innocent civilians killed and it ultimately led to a crippling investigation into the now infamous Iran-Contra arms-for-hostages rumble that made Oliver North a folk hero in the red states and a fashionable target to conspiracy theorists. Lesser known at the time - and among the current administration officials who dealt with Central America back then - is John Negroponte, who is today the U.S. ambassador to Iraq.

The fact that it is being discussed at all is a measure of just how worried Donald Rumsfeld really is. "What everyone agrees is that we can’t just go on as we are," one senior military officer told Newsweek. "We have to find a way to take the offensive against the insurgents. Right now, we are playing defense. And we are losing." Last November’s operation in Fallujah, most analysts agree, succeeded less in breaking "the back" of the insurgency—as Marine Gen. John Sattler optimistically declared at the time—than in spreading it out.

Also being debated is which agency within the U.S. government—the Defense department or CIA—would take responsibility for such an operation. Rumsfeld’s Pentagon has aggressively sought to build up its own intelligence-gathering and clandestine capability with an operation run by Defense Undersecretary Stephen Cambone. But since the Abu Ghraib interrogations scandal, some military officials are ultra-wary of any operations that could run afoul of the ethics codified in the Uniform Code of Military Justice. That, they argue, is the reason why such covert operations have always been run by the CIA and authorized by a special presidential finding.

Ah, yes, more death squads when you run out of ideas. Until outlawed in mid 1970's, the Central Intelligence Agency was directly involved in assassination attempts against Castro of Cuba and Congolese leader Patrice Lumumba. The CIA had also encouraged plots resulting in the assassination of Dominican Republic President Trujillo, South Vietnamese president Ngo Dinh Diem in 1963 and Chilean Rene Schneider in 1973. The most elaborate clandestine operation was Operation Phoenix - a counter-terror program - conducted during latter part of Vietnam War.

From 1965 to 1968 alone, U.S. and South Vietnamese intelligence services maintained an active list of VietCong cadre marked for assassination and the Phoenix Program for 1969 called for "neutralizing" upwards of 1,800 suspected insurgents a month, with about one third targeted for arrest having been summarily killed. Security committees were established in each of South Vietnam's provincial interrogation centers to determine fate of these Viet Cong suspects, where they were held outside of normal judicial controls. Green Berets and Navy SEALs were among the most common recruits for the Phoenix Program, and Green Beret detachment B-57 provided administrative cover for other intelligence units on the ground. One was Project Cherry, tasked to assassinate Cambodian officials suspected of collaborating with the North Vietnamese and the KGB; another was Project Oak, which was targeted against South Vietnamese suspected collaborators. They were controlled by the Special Assistant for Counterinsurgency and Special Activities, which worked with the CIA outside of General Abrams control in South Vietnam. By 1975, Counterspy Magazine - having published 32 issues from 1973 to 1984 - describes the Phoenix Program as "the most indiscriminate and massive program of political murder since the Nazi death camps of World War Two."

The time has finally arrived, now, to see just how smart - or stupid - Dubya really is, and the colorful palette of directions he could take from here on out are many and suprisingly wide.

If he returns from Crawford after his latest and lengthy stay in his mocked-up dude ranch before Inauguration Day, he would be dumber than a rat on whiskey. If he brings himself to White House and attempts to hide in the Oval Office without firing Donald "Redrum" Rumsfeld before he takes the Oath of Office and claims he has no knowledge of The Salvador Option, he would be stupid. And if he returns with arms flailing and his facial ticks resplendent for a Press Conference with the same kind of madness that he used on the Press after his latest victory in Ohio - declaring that he still has political capital and he intends to use it - he would erode all public support and would be considered insane.

That's about all he has left, and the gameplan is grim. The preznut is staring down at rock and a hard place, and so are the rest of his death-squad aficionados in the Pentagon ... Redrum included. But Dubya is the only one who could leave the circus tent without getting crap on his shoes.

Dick Cheney can't avoid the inevitable, much less run or hide. He will be fortunate to get away with anything, but the future looks like a bit of time in federal prison with an orange jumpsuit doing pushups on some grimy blacktop jailyard every morning with freaks like Douglas Feith, Wolfowitz, Stephen Cambone and the clearly batshit Redrum. They will all be in 22-hour-a-day lockdown together, and they will take down many others before all is said and done. Attorney General-in-waiting Alberto Gonzales and the brain-damaged Condi Rice are already the prime scapegoats, and at least two dozen more people within the administration will be brought down with puzzling convictions ranging from obstruction of justice to outright wire fraud to performing sodomy on plastic G.I. Joe figurines, and will be left to beg for a faith-based charity from which they can do their hours of community service. Even Pat Robertson will take a dunk in the prison lunchroom, despite his desperate pleads to the contrary. They are all greed-sucking beasts, guilty as sin itself.

The "Bush Dynasty" will be seen in the historical record only by a curious footnote - like The Great Society and The War to End All Wars, and the disgusting highway collision with a WalMart tractor trailer awaiting Alberto Gonzales once he is finally released from the pen.

The meat is trimmed and the fat is in the fire, Sparky. One wrong move and the whole thing comes tumbling down.

Saturday, January 08, 2005

There is No Such Thing as an Ex-Bimbocon ...

michelle mengele
"I can remember when I was a little boy. My grandmother and I could hold conversations entirely without ever opening our mouths. She called it 'Shining.' And for a long time, I thought it was just the two of us that had the shine to us. Just like you probably thought you was the only one. But there are other folks, though mostly they don't know it, or don't believe it. How long have you been able to do it?... Why don't you want to talk about it?"
- Dick Hallorann, from The Shining

Dearest Michelle,
Aloha ... from the western rim of the blue states. It is pouring cats and dogs, the waves are approaching ten feet ... and the wind delivers huge raindrops down on Ocean Boulevard like a nuclear form of hail, clearing the streets and giving all of the surfers an excuse to hit the local bars and drink away the choicest surf. I normally stay away from the bottle; nevertheless, this age of Dubya is making me reconsider this temporary abstinence. My days are consumed with plotting your righteous escape from the lowlands of Maryland, saving you from the God-forsaken ranks of eternal Bimbocon doom, and our eventual rendezvous with a political destiny rivaling that of Mary Matalin and James Carville - or even Evans and Novak with a little sex appeal.

I can hear the gasps of anticipation as you read this; the sheer fascination of it all as the creative juices start flowing in and out of your journalistic awareness, but settling for that hesitation instinct to remain where you are with a frustrated tilt of your head. And I guess you are trying to understand why I am writing you again after all of these weeks, alternating between responding to your incessant emails and sometimes proof-reading them for proper grammar and your present emotional state, and I can imagine you scanning your inbox feverishly with that delicate recklessness that only the promise of a grand awakening can inject into an otherwise vain imagination.

What in God's name made you say "your connections would get us both outed for being on the take"? Judging by the recent scandal circling around Armstrong Williams and the sudden disappearing act performed on CNN's Crossfire and The Capital Gang, I could probably force the issue by leaning on my numerous connections within American Journalism, Inc., without a hint of trouble or payola from administration boosters. And as for the other bimbocons haunting me for attention, I feel quite sure that I could take an entire harem of pundits safely across the Iraqi countryside, because I am that kind of guy. As a matter of fact, I'd be pretty reliable in taking anyone or anything into the jaws of the beast except a pack of giggling vestial virgins.

Your emails, though - however innocent and full of giggling emoticons - never fail to cheer me up a bit. And, strangely enough, even now when things are going this well, I still find the need for outside approval and affection of some form. It seems the reason for this is tied to the idea that I will remain on the West Coast for a very long time as precursor to reaching my journalistic destiny. It's not that I have specific ideas in mind about how long this stay will last, but I do see the pressing need to stay here until I have reached that perfect moment. The Southern California waterfront is at once a spiritual thing, an initiation to the power of nature, and just a constant stimulant. It offers me a perspective, I sense, that is almost impossible to find anyplace else in the country. I only mention these feelings because you are beginning to sound so discouraged and so alone with that tax problem in Maryland that I simply could not reduce the dormant "protector-advisor-svengali" relationship lying at peace within the breast of my intentions.

And, yes, every once in a while I do smile for a picture. Take a look at the attachment. It was taken for a passport. And that will still give me about three more cycles before I finally catch up to Hemingway.

So now we must visit the most pressing question of yours: what part of you attracts me? Well, Michelle, I don't think that you phrased this query too nicely at all, so I'll attempt to respond in the manner by which I think you meant it. Had I answered this question in the way you wrote it, I think that this relationship would go up in smoke and that would not have been ideal for anyone involved.

Jeez ... not exactly an easy thing to respond to. It would be far easier to answer it the way it came across in your email. But I am a gentleman, and I can overlook your nervousness about changing your lifestyle in such a dramatic way.

I would be less than honest if I did not acknowledge the self-fulfilling need to corral your political passions and the physical attraction we share. And I think this is reason enough; neither you or I would have it any other way. There's a lot more to it, of course, but I've really never thought about it deeply. I only know that you are the only woman I've run across who I could turn into a cultural phenomenon. It's been about six months, by now, and I still haven't been able to get past the earning potential we could have. And I have tried to erase this thought many times. God! Six months already! Does it seem that long to you?

Do you recall, by the way, that at the beginning of November, I was opening my emails with the word "Mishi" and calling you "emotionally stubborn" and "ideologically incompatible"? And by November 3rd, you were giving me that very familiar line that ran something like "About our get together next month. I've got quite a lot of columns to write about this glorious GOP victory and I'm going to be rather busy churning out the words ... It's not you, it's about me." An extremely cliche response. You went on to mention, nonetheless, that you "could definitely be persuaded for a couple of getaway weeks in Cabo or another Baja destination," but that "perhaps January would be a better time to escape from the reality of East Coast life."

I don't exactly remember what was supposed to happen next, or where we left the exchange, but I'm sure it's frustrating to be pulled into one direction only to find a fork in the road.

Are you still as desirable as you once were, by the way? Why don't you send me another picture for comparison? Just remain desirable. It's extremely important that you are desirable when you finally touch down on the West Coast. I'm serious about this requirement.

All this writing has left me in such a fine mood, and if I close my eyes I can almost see us taking over CNN's 4:00 PM timeslot where Crossfire once stood for 22 years. If you were here I'd take you immediately to the bungalow for physical priming. It's a depraved situation, but true, I must admit. I guess I'm going to frustrate myself again with these idle thoughts; Dangit, I just can't get past it.

Grin and bear it, I guess.

And this is not just about you sliding into the definition of a bimbocon. I'd actually break down and have some meaningful conversation with you. But don't take any of that GOP payola - just like Armstrong Williams did. Do it and your fate would be sealed forever, and we could not ascend to the journalistic summit I have planned for us. By the way, are you any good in the kitchen? I am getting a terrible appetite right about now, and I must go make myself another rigatoni quattro formaggi for the afternoon NFL action. I live only on finely prepared Italian food and most of the women I meet can only order from a menu.

This is becoming a very strange response, I agree. I haven't really answered many of your questions, but I've had a great time imagining your reactions. I must say that I am enjoying them. Perhaps you didn't know this, but I have one one smiling picture of you and another where you seem stoic and aloof. I switch them back and forth in hand, depending on what kind of reaction I expect to receive.

As a sidebar to my curiosity - suppossing that you finally make it here before Tax Day - I do intend to make a climb from my current living arrangement and closer towards Pacific Pallisades where the european-style villas are a more fitting destination for my soul. Then, most certainly, I will need a courtesan to address my guilty pleasures. And even in your long-repressed state, there is always the possibility that you could be of service - as long as you bring the iPod with the 40GB memory and plenty of clean sheets. In the end, that is all that I will let my mind consider - and a rather nebulous consideration it has become.

Still, I promise to respond more frequently in the future: our destiny will be anything but routine.

Until that wondrous day, I persist, joyously and libidinously in wait.

Team Gonzography

Thursday, January 06, 2005

A Culture of Make-Believe; Time-Warps for the Damned

"America's one of the finest countries anyone ever stole."
- Bobcat Goldthwaite

Due to events beyond my immediate control, I would have normally refused to discuss the ongoing ratcheting-up of the "Carpet-Bombing Social Security" debate-slash-crisis until another time, but it's all part of the same twisted script - invent a problem and make it catastrophic, then blow it up into pieces in the name of security. On Monday, January 3rd, I got out bed and avoided talk radio and talking heads television shows and conspiracy central blogsites to get down to work on some new ventures and clear the head of all the white noise. Afterwards, I drove for hours in the parking lot that is the Los Angeles freeway system with a handful of clean CDs, locked the doors, turned off the wireless handset, and really got into the groove for the first time in months. It took about two days to detoxify from the filth, but The Angst never lifted - but whenever I recognized the pangs of regret, for having not spent at least thirty straight minutes on something intellectual, I would find my mind retreating back into the need to write the mean, cold-blooded diatribes that I was quite not ready for - until today. At many times, during the battle with traffic and torrential rain, I would think of Karl Rove and his pathetic gnome, known as the preznut by the major news outlets, playing Liar's Poker with our tax dollars and how it was becoming easier to deceive now that the malignant election was out of the way. In any other year, and with any other administration, I could be tempted to embellish my happiness with the Death Mask that has become our government. But not in 2005. Or 2006, 2007 or 2008 for that matter.

At least not until the sullen bewilderment of those final hours before Dubya goes down after the harsh provocations of a special prosecutor with some real teeth - because words are no longer important at this point in the American experiment; all the best speeches and vision things were said a very long time ago, and all the right ideas used to bounce around in public and we discussed them like civil beings trying to define a new common destiny, and we used to actually give a shit about something bigger than Jerry Springer or who was boinking who on Desperate Housewives - something beyond the nightmare of dark-skinned people burying their dead in the sands of South Asia and its unfortunate survivors receiving care packages from U.S. troops.

Even Herr Doktor Bill Frist, Senate Majority Leader and defacto GOP front runner for 2008, has jumped into the act of making the photo-op seem drenched with Dr. Phil-like fake sincerity, which is nothing more than a self-serving videodrome for the stylish commerical that will preceed his intention to run for preznut from an oak podium in Tennessee. Frist is one of those creepy and disturbing prototypes - a quasi-metrosexual with perfect hair and sharp features and a personal biography so squeaky clean that it forces you to imagine all kinds of filth when the cameras are put down. Not because he can't be without vices or rumors or skeletons, but because Frist recites his personal biography with an almost pathological precision - as a world-renowned heart lung surgeon, a multi-engine instrument rated pilot, the author of several books, an avid runner, and the father of perfect children - rather than explain it in the flow of real human conversation. He is like Buckaroo Banzai without the Institute and a great interdimensional breakthrough.

Just before his helicopter lifted off from the Sri Lankan city of Galle, the senator and his aides took snapshots of each other near a pile of tsunami debris, once the refugees were cleared out of the way. "Get some devastation in the back," Frist told a photographer.

Another compassionate conservative putting your tax dollars to work, Sparky. We all know it was worth it now, don't we?

* * *

The one grim truth learned in the aftermath of this election cycle has been the absence of any political discourse: If it was a work of fiction, it would land in the basement of Random House with the rest of the professional skimmers one bad recommendation from a return to the mailroom; and hence, the idea is tossed aside like a Neo-Nazi comic book for being much too stupid and hateful to wade through.

Indeed, we are in serious trouble now. The bad novelists are creeping around Washington, devising grand tales through the maze of suspension-of-disbelief columns by right-wing Op-Ed writers with a palm that needs green, many of them in the form of actual journalists like Armstrong Williams, a petty thief on the take at the tune of $240,000.00 (US), looking to make enough loot to cover the house note in Georgetown. But the rest of us are enjoying this wonderful economic rebound, just like Armstrong the Payee, with 157,000 new jobs in December - until you read the fine print: At the end of December 2000, the number of U.S. jobs was 132,441,000; it now stands at 132,266,000 (via Atrios) - so Dubya is still in the hole about 175,000, which really isn't much, unless you're one of them. Meanwhile, every legislative effort has been exaggerated into a life and death struggle, just for the dramatic effect it has on a barely interested public. It's easy to have faith as long as it goes along with what you already know, the old Tom Wolfe saying goes, but this is getting down to the Culture of Make-Believe - whose entire objective is to keep us all up in arms and highly agitated so that we can be led onward to safety by fraternity pranks, by beating up every living truth with an endless series of exaggerated threats, with words like "Defense" and "Homeland" and "Security" all thrown in for good measure, all of it imaginary.

There are a lot of great minds in this country - editors, writers, congressmen and theorists, among others - who will become vindicated once this grand blackness leaves our temporary and collective being, by simply remaining on the buzzing third rail, also known as speaking truth to the gutter ball provocateurs of this counterfeit age.

There will also be a lot of people who will get sucked down by the vengeful whirlpool of Dubyaville forever - which is easily the better alternative for the rest of us - because many of these zombies will get exposed as either walking hazards, cut-throat freaks or heinous monsters. But there will still be others - most of them are fringe players involved in one aspect of the deception or another, but fortunate or crafty enough to avoid the blade - who will be haunted by a nervous tick for a few hard months, but in a short while will reappear unharmed once the shadows become shadows again. This group, in most every way, is the most dangerous batch of all, even more dangerous than the ones who will spend some time in Club Fed for fraud and conspiracy because these are the good fascists - the good germans among us - the ones who opened the gates to the ideological stormtroopers and let it happen.

The other night I pulled down my copy of The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich from the bookshelf and lasted until The Advent of Adoph Hitler when the rage crept in; "When an opponent declares, 'I will not come over to your side,' I calmly say, 'Your child belongs to us already...What are you? You will pass on. Your descendants, however, now stand in the new camp. In a short time they will know nothing else but this new community.'"

But the world today moves even faster and it's even more giddy on hate, and Adolph Hitler is not something to review late at night when you have a terrible conference call in the morning - not even in the land of milk and honey that is Los Angeles, wading knee-deep through streets that are more like gushers where you better have a rope tied about your waist before strutting off to the local 7-Eleven for a fresh cup of lava-temperature coffee and a swarthy clerk with an attitude so frightening that even the cockroaches and shoplifters hide in the corners.

At one point, I had actually tried to be friendly with one of these people near the rampage that is Hollywood amongst the homeless and the street-bound deranged - thinking that many of these guys come from places like Turkey or Syria or Afghanistan or Bangladesh and who have no attachment to anything beyond surviving to the next day, having escaped from a culture that has stood for longer than a thousand years, and where a relative disappearing in the night is not so foreign a concept, even accepted as a way of life. The socio-political experience that can be discovered in an American convenience store these days puts a place called "America" or "The Third Reich" in complete perspective, and how the concepts of freedom and democracy are really an elitist game played by aristocrats who want to trick the rest of us into feeling like we actually have choice in anything. Democrats and Republicans would seem like a collection of queer punks next to the tyrants who ruled the ancient world, never mind the National Socialist movement born in Germany and remains with us today. Take any true-blooded Roman or Greek or Mayan or Aztec or Zulu or Moor and they'd beat down your average redneck with their bare hands in a hot and ruthless second - the master race is often the one that is the most barbaric and comfortable with terror, which Dubya has clearly enlisted with a bizzare constituency of radical clerics and angry misfits gone mad on fear, whether he really wants to admit it, even to himself.

According to most historians, Adolph Hitler jumped the shark about mid-summer in 1942. By the time Stalingrad had arrived on the scene, his Reich was stretched to the breaking point in every way, shape and form: the military, the financial system, German industry, the National Socialist infrastructure and even the people themselves. The party's best and brightest minds - among them the erstwhile Albert Speer, Hitler's personal architect and general think-tank onto himself, which would amount to the American Enterprise Institute in America today - had the strategy and tried to make the pieces all work together while Hitler stomped stark-raving insane through the halls of the Reich Ministry changing his mind on a daily basis, having consulted with astrologers and other devious minds hellbent on total annihilation. Even with direct access to The Fuhrer, Speer later revealed, the worm had already turned by the end of 1942 and the bitter epilogue was approaching in the form of Roosevelt, Stalin and Churchill.

But it took another three years and about four million more dead before Hitler finally realized what men like Speer, among his closest allies and trusted advisors knew all along - that the Reich had been hoisted up on the crutches of its delusional leader while the inner circle worked anxiously twenty-four-seven on meaningless plans built on an eroding base of slave labor and frenetic schemes to unleash super weapons and a new master breed of soldier who could turn the tide in the name of a once glorious Fatherland, neither of which occurred, possessed with the concept of a thousand-year empire.

Not a bit of this terminal craziness really matters now, and as his reward, Albert Speer spent another twenty years of his life locked up in a prison cell at Spandau for nothing less than blind and stupid loyalty, for which he was charged and convicted as a war criminal. Hitler was too mad to consider the concept of international tribunals and crimes against humanity - unless he was conducting them - so right about the time that the Soviets entered the suburbs of Berlin, he escaped the final humiliation by stepping down into the infamous bunker with his faithful bride, Eva Braun, and sucked on a round from a ceremonial Walther machine pistol after killing her as bogus consolation to the end.

At least that's what history says happened. Nobody really knows for sure. There were no pictures or suicide notes and there were only fragments of bone in the charred foxhole where the bodies were found burned beyond recognition - and the one alleged witness to Hitler's final demise was another personal adviser named Martin Bormann, who was rumored to have died alongside his Fuhrer, but also had this curious habit of showing up in places like Argentina and Paraguay and Brazil and Chile many years later, leaving Nazi hunters like Simon Wiesenthal and Serge Klarsfeld with many sleepless nights in South America.

By the end of 1942 Bormann was virtually Hitler's deputy and his closest collaborator, having an uncanny ability to exploit his weaknesses and personal peculiarities in order to increase his own power. Always in attendance on the Fuhrer, taking care of tiresome administrative detail and skilfully steering Hitler into approval of his own plans, Bormann acquired an inside track for displacing dangerous rivals like Goering, Goebbels, Speer and even Himmler, whose access to the Fuhrer was controlled by him. Bormann exploited his position of trust to build a stell curtain against reality, in which Hitler could indulge his fantasies and in which more sensible, conciliatory proposals from other members of the Party were screened from him. Bormann reduced everything to simple, administrative formulae that freed Hitler from the burdens of actual work. He drew up his calendar and decided whom he should see and whom he should not. Hitler rewarded these and other services by the trust he placed in Bormann, whom he once called "my most loyal Party comrade".

Bormann was the Karl Rove of his era, and his perverted relationship with Hitler seems collectively similar to the paranoid-frantic symbiosis of the Dubya-Rove fraternity that surfaced in the aftermath of September 11. We are drifting into some entirely creepy parallels here, and if I worked in this theme before the latest Gulf War dimension I would have expected some right wing bimbocon-in-training about a moment later posting comments about how I should live in France if I didn't like the outcome, and then worked over by some of Rove's dedicated freak-jobs from the bowels of the IRS for speaking - and any day now I have come to expect another "Enemies List" from the desk of Chief of Staff Andy Card, yet another of the gutless greed addicts drinking from the rethug Kool-Aid fountain.

But like Frank Zappa once said, "Government is the Entertainment Division of the military industrial complex." Onward, Christian Soldiers ... One deception, under God, indispensable, with liberty and justice for none ... Lord Almighty. Hittem where it hurts. Lithium is no longer available on credit. Amen.

Sunday, January 02, 2005

The Impossibility of Reason and A Meaningless Confession

a true american psycho
"I have all the characteristics of a human being: blood, flesh, skin, hair; but not a single, clear, identifiable emotion, except for greed and disgust. Something horrible is happening inside of me and I don't know why. My nightly bloodlust has overflown into my days. I feel lethal, on the verge of frenzy. I think my mask of sanity is about to slip."
- Patrick Bateman from American Psycho

I have to admit that it was Dubya who got me involved in politics again, and now that he's getting hit from all sides, suddenly it's starting to feel like it has all been worthwhile. He is a freak in the truest sense of the word. As long as Dubya remains in the White House - and he will hide in Crawford more now, and will probably stay completely away once the bitter end draws near - the reality-based community could always find solace in the knowledge that we know where the universal foe slithers, somewhere alongside the ditch of his own mind. There is nowhere else to look, for evil lurks inside the soul of our preznut ready to strike at any moment - like the Patrick Bateman character in American Psycho, played with wonderful sociopathic precision.

"There is an idea of a Dubya; some kind of abstraction," he will tell you in a private moment. "But there is no real me: only an entity, something illusory. And though I can hide my cold gaze, and you can shake my hand and feel flesh gripping yours and maybe you can even sense our lifestyles are probably comparable... I simply am not there."

I have had my own blood feud with Dubya since he entered national politics and disembowled John McCain on the backroads of South Carolina, but I am not worried that I will end up in Hell beside him for it. We have all joined the ride with that vile little bastard, whether we liked it or not, and we will be better people for having survived his time. Dubya has that Nixonian quality of making his enemies seem more honorable than they might be in real life; and therefore, anyone who opposes him shares a strange sense of brotherhood. All of my closest friends and allies share a hyperbolic disgust for the man. My first mate, Dr. Carlos Mongrel, hates him, entire blogs are dedicated to this hate, talk shows are filled with hate on both sides of the political spectrum, and this vicious hatred has brought us all together in a fellowship of the damned.

"My need to engage in homicidal behavior on a massive scale cannot be corrected, but, ah, I have no other way to fulfill my needs."

That will be Dubya's legacy - the constant and undeniable hate in everyday life now choking off the air supply - and if you ever forgot how deep his rage is seeded, he would strike up and kill you just to spite his overbearing mother. Psychopaths are never short in the motivation department, Sparky. That is why God gave us the imagination to create electric chairs.

"You're a fucking ugly bitch. I want to stab you to death, and then play around with your blood."

Dubya likes to remind everyone that he's a Yale creation, and how he lasted there is anyone's guess. Most of his friends never went there - mostly because he had a difficult time fitting in with his classmates, along with a cultural estrangement from a campus torn apart by the Vietnam War - so it's hard to determine what exactly he did there beyond the C-minus work his campaign spin-meisters have spun into an ignorant Mother Goose tale told to children with free samples of black-tar heroin.

Patrick Bateman: He was into that whole Yale thing.
Donald Kimball: Yale thing?
Patrick Bateman: Yeah, Yale thing.
Donald Kimball: What whole Yale thing?
Patrick Bateman: Well, he was probably a closet homosexual who did a lot of cocaine. That whole Yale thing.

Many people have told me that words like freak and scumbag only serve to undermine the cause of open Political Discourse - which has some serious truth to it, but the usual complainers and Dubya apologists overlook the point. Dubya has been a product of the margins and the blind spots of honest political reporting, allowing him to sneak into the Oval Office almost without guilt or association. He appears so homespun to some people that they could vote for him based on a single photograph from the ranch. The tone and style are so American Wasteland, so Will Rogers giddy and high on prozac and xanax, that he has been able to slither through the political minefields and deep investigative analysis which has crippled many national figures on their climb to the summit. You have to get down and dirty with the rats and flies and cockroaches to take in Dubya completely, and the sudden moment of understanding is as revolting as it is excruciating.

Dubya's spirit will be with us until our minds snap or old age claims us - if you're me or the next guy on the street or John Kerry or Oprah Winfrey or Snoop Dogg or Larry King or the Olsen twins or your deranged half-brother the skinhead with a wall covered in Nazi propaganda facing a life long odyssey with hate in front of him. This is not a temporary thing. Your unborn children and the kids they will come to call their friends in the neighborhood will hear the name Dubya, and it will remind them of the ugly, neo-fascist essence that ended the American Century, because nobody from here on out will be left unscathed. Who knew that a pansexual freak from the bowels of West Texas was a megalo-crazed monster with a soul filled with torment and a presumptuous, greedy desire to be Boy King.

Patrick Bateman: Do you know what Ed Gein said about women?
David Van Patten: The maitre 'd at Canal Bar?
Patrick Bateman: No, serial killer, Wisconsin, the '50s.
Craig McDermott: So what did he say?
Patrick Bateman: "When I see a pretty girl walking down the street, I think two things. One part wants me to take her out, talk to her, be real nice and sweet and treat her right."
David Van Patten: And what did the other part think?
Patrick Bateman: "What her head would look like on a stick..."

That is Iraq, in synopsis, for readers with a deliriously short attention span. The total picture is a lot crazier and reads like the bizarre transcript from a kangaroo court. Anyone associated with the decision to invade is human scum, but only Powell was smart enough to waltz away free and clear his name. What's left now is a pack of barbaric, knuckle-dragging thugs with the moral capacity of brain-damaged ferrets on speed. But they will be Dubya's inner sanctum for the next few years, and he will not alter for a moment the rack of delusions that comprise his policy position on the Middle East unless he's caught red-handed on tape taking a bribe from Halliburton or Bechtel or Parsons or any of the Private Military Corporations currently vaporizing the Iraqi homeland into a parking lot for a McDonalds and a Circuit City.

"Hell is the impossibility of reason," the popular Vietnam allegory known as Platoon once admonished. And that's what Iraq now feels like ... Hell. And somewhere out there is the beast and he's hungry today, tonight and tomorrow.

How else are we to explain the administration's plans plans for lifetime detention of suspected terrorists, including hundreds that the U.S. government could not get convicted in an open court. As part of its newest - dare we say: final - solution, the Defense Department, which already holds 500 prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, plans to ask the U.S. Congress for $25 million to build a 200-bed prison to hold detainees. These suspect are unlikely to ever reach a military tribunal for lack of evidence. The new prison, dubbed Camp 6, would allow inmates more comfort and freedom than they have now, and would be designed for prisoners that have no more intelligence to share, which amounts to detainees that no longer respond favorably to "lit cigarettes [being placed] in ear openings" and other various "environmental manipulations." We all know that the administration appreciates the use of "stress positions" where prisoners are chained by hand and foot in the fetal position for 18-24 hours at a time during which most defecate on themselves. Or leaving these prisoners unconscious in small rooms where the temperature can exceed 100 degrees.

Patrick Bateman: Come on, Bryce. There are a lot more important problems than Sri Lanka to worry about.
Timothy Bryce: Like what?
Patrick Bateman: Well, we have to end apartheid for one. And slow down the nuclear arms race, stop terrorism and world hunger. We have to provide food and shelter for the homeless, and oppose racial discrimination and promote civil rights, while also promoting equal rights for women. We have to encourage a return to traditional moral values. Most importantly, we have to promote general social concern and less materialism in young people.

Ah, yes. The young people. Dubya has poisoned them forever. The range of search-and-destroy operations underway in Iraq should eventually fill the nation's V.A. hospitals with enough PTSD cases to make another generation forget all of the mental and emotional wounds suffered in places like Saigon, Da Nang, and the Mekong Delta. Killing and maiming the same people that you're trying to democratize can lead to some long-term flashbacks and hard periods of depression, especially at night when memories of killing a lot of innocent people creep back into view. I wonder if this is what Dubya learned at Yale during the salad days of Nixon's secret plan to end the Vietnam conflict: "Grab them by the balls, and their hearts and minds will follow" was the standing order back then. The Chimperor certainly did not learn from past mistakes, and for that he should be sent to Gitmo - or Camp 6 - until they can pin a charge on him that will stick.

Dubya will be found guilty of many things, to be sure, but he will be remembered most as the classic example of a bonafide carpetbagger and capitalist pimp who spent just enough time in charge to steal your valuables and shit in your bed. But he also has proven that he will reach across the ocean to shit in even more beds, and for that crime he will become known as the most wretched and disgraceful leader of the first half of the 21st Century, and he will bear the scarlett letter "W" for weasel in our history books, only because Dubya won't have a Henry Kissinger to massage the otherwise rough edges of his failed and treacherous Presidency. By degrading and scandalizing the United States as the world's only free superpower, and by fleecing its citizens of billions through the somewhat legal appropriation of U.S Treasury resources, the sheer mention of his name will cause young women to faint and old men to take up pitchforks and lanterns just to rid themselves of the beast's terrifying memory.

"There are no more barriers to cross. All I have in common with the uncontrollable and the insane, the vicious and the evil, all the mayhem I have caused and my utter indifference toward it I have now surpassed. My pain is constant and sharp and I do not hope for a better world for anyone, in fact I want my pain to be inflicted on others. I want no one to escape, but even after admitting this there is no catharsis, my punishment continues to allude me and I gain no deeper knowledge of myself, no new knowledge can be extracted from my telling. This confession has meant nothing."

Saturday, January 01, 2005

Fresh Blood on the Tracks of Hopelessness

There hasn't been a soul in Washington that has called Dubya a braindead rodent yet, at least not in a public setting, but from the quiet corner tables at Cafe Milano - an orgy of aristocrats and insiders with gold American Express cards and diamond-encrusted jewelry, socialites with backless tops and hard-to-detect foreign accents - they whisper much uglier things these days: dope, liar, fiend, village idiot, hopeless hack, ignorant, criminal, white trash, latent homosexual and dumber than Gerald Ford during his worst spill on the golf course.

No one will compare him to Ronald Reagan or Barry Goldwater anymore, or SpongeBob SquarePants, for that matter - and if another presidential election were to be held tomorrow, Dubya would find himself on the next flatbed out of DC and back to Crawford for afternoon highballs with the rest of his degenerate cabal.

Most Americans are still ambivalent about our Child Preznut. A recent CNN/USA Today/Gallup Poll showed him with a 49% job approval rating - a wretched crazy train leading toward a slow-burning political death if you are a student of history - but even his closest advisors are getting worried less than a month after he declared that he had a mandate and intended to expend the political capital granted by his re-election, which since that time has amounted to little more than four weeks in the village stocks getting pelted by rotten fruit and rocks. "He's in for the fight of his political life," said one of his most trusted confidants. "We aren't sure he can withstand another media screw-up about cabinet appointees or relief efforts or the Iraqi conflict. Holy mother of freaking God! We put our dicks on the line to get him back in the White House. It scares the shit out of us to think that all of it could go up in thin air because he hasn't got the good sense to use the vetting process or get the facts before speaking freely in front of the cameras."

"Utter bullshit!" I shot back. "Dubya's never checked the facts, even with his own trust fund. The rest of the world is just catching up with his gameplan."

All of which is true. Everything he has touched since giving his acceptance speech has been a complete disaster - and he owns every one of these failures, in accelerated continuity, from letting Colin Powell walk away to appearing cheap in the face of the worst human disaster since Pompei ... Only God must have the compelling answers at this point: Condi Rice is totally unqualified for the job based on her 9/11 testimony, and Bernie Kerik played the role of perverted policeman so well that he could play the dark and cringe-inducing Harvey Keitel role in The Bad Lieutenant without missing a beat. "Vampires are lucky, they can feed on others. We gotta eat away at ourselves. We gotta eat our legs to get the energy to walk. We gotta come, so we can go. We gotta suck ourselves off. We gotta eat away at ourselves til there's nothing left but appetite. We give, and give and give crazy. Cause a gift that makes sense ain't worth it. Jesus said seventy times seven. No one will ever understand why, why you did it. They'll just forget about you tomorrow, but you gotta do it." After the nasty investigative stories of Mob connections began to take hold, he will be lucky to ever get any closer than a sniffing distance to a legitimate police force; the tabloids will beat him down like a creeping lizard every time he appears near a badge. The Weekly World News will publish undercover photos of him and a naked Judith Regan in his Ground Zero lovepit, right next to the exposé on Osama's secret cache of Midget Suicide Bombers, which the terrorist network is planning to stash in the overhead compartments of commercial airliners.

Data from recent reliable reports indicate Al-Qaeda has been planning "Operation Explosive Elf" for months, but recently stepped up the effort after Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge resigned. "We noticed an increased amount of 'chatter' just after Ridge announced his departure from the department," says our source. "Perhaps they felt we were more vulnerable without the man who makes the call on yellow, orange and red threat levels."

So freaking what? It is terribly hard to feel any sense of forgiveness for the arrogant and terminally heinous demagogues who appear to be so firmly entrenched in Dubya's inner sanctum, offering us petulant freaks like Fat Bernie and the wayward Condi who never met a carpet that didn't fit her knees or backside. Or even Alberto. Yes-siree, little old Alberto Gonzales, the next Attorney General of the United States, who has a growing problem with background checks. He will have little or no legal clout after the dust settles. "No mas" will be recorded on his voice mail. And the Justice Department and the FCC and the FTC and the SEC will piss in his morning coffee because he's got the look of a drunken nerd.

Dubya has already retreated back to the Crawford bunker more and more knowing he's been treated much the same way. He has butchered these last few weeks so badly that once-loyal senators and generals share bizarre "faggot" jokes about his hand gestures and lip expressions over lunch. Even his mother has begun calling him a "pathetic chimp," and his wife is considering a change back to her maiden name to escape the constant ridicule. Close family connections are openly worrying that the twins have become even more enamored with the adult entertainment industry, in concert with their new affinity for charitable causes and creative sexual positions in the back of limousines without tinted windows.

"Ha, ha, hee-haw. Even Robert Kennedy had his sexual indiscretions," says the grotesque Patrick Buchanan. "Perhaps Jenna could be the new Homeland Security chief."

Perhaps. Just never looked at it that way. At least she could get past the background check. And she has no felonies that would creep up from the depths - none that we know of. So what the hell? She could always lie about her age and qualifications. The geared-up simpletons in the White House will believe almost anything, but they expect us to believe even more.

But not this guy, Sparky. The only time I ever believed anything out of Dubya's mouth was when he said it would be better if he didn't have to explain anything to anyone - which he had once said to The Washington Post - and that was enough proof for me. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last, the old saying goes - and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron. The wingnuts and fundies will declare, "At least he's our moron." And even then, his own friends are choosing up sides and taking names.

It is among the most harrowing tales to fallout from the 2004 campaign: The same idiots who supported an enfant terrible through a crazy summer of bankrupt political discourse by deceiving and outright lying about a veteran's noble service in an unpopular war are now becoming afraid of each other ... way back in the good old days down in the Texas Governor's mansion they were an extremely tight and efficient team, and they always knew where the enemy lived.

But now the rules have changed. The enemy hides in the dark and many of them were once friends.