The Chimes at Midnight
Thursday, July 31, 2003
The Politics of the Escape "Hatch"...
Is there a more disgusting spineless jellyfish in the U.S. Senate than Orrin "Oral" Hatch?
Honest to Ghod I think he defecates in sheer ecstasy at the mere mention of George Bush Jr.'s name.
Hatch was on Imus yesterday fairing squealing with indignation, WMDs WILL be found in Iraq, the Democrats DON'T know what they are talking about...the President's lies in the State of the Union were "technically" correct.
The world is WRONG, my president is RIGHT!
Dear ghod even that old golem Imus found him tedious and irritating (I SWEAR I could hear the I-Mannikin sighing heavily in the background).
It was a sad performance by a wretched U.S. Senator who is in deep deep denial about nearly everything.
Now I may be wrong but wasn't Hatch the sex-hating puritanical freakjob who actually wear a hole in his tongue incessantly denouncing Bill Clinton's sex life?
Yup, he was...
So the Hatch doctrine is this, when democrats lie about sex it's grounds for impeachment, when republican's lie in order to start a war it's called "statecraft".
You can tell from his insincere high pitched obnoxious needy whine that Hatch does not believe this line of bullshit....no he is not that dumb.
He is a coward though.
He could come forward to put all his weighty "moral authority" on behalf of a full accounting of the President's mendacity in the lead up to war...but that requires courage and a believe that it's WRONG to lie like a dog in front of congress.
Frankly I think Senators Frist, Santorum, Hatch and Allen all need to enrolled in a "Courtiers Anonymous" 12 step program....their irrational dependency in the political fortunes of the incumbent President is bringing the ineffable spirit of democracy into disrepute.
Never mind sounding like a demented toadying old hag...
The U.S. Senate exists to protect our rights and make laws wholly and necessary for the public good...it is NOT a brothel from which to belch groveling praise for an unelected power worshipping presidential dilettante.
Wednesday, July 30, 2003
WTKK 96.9 FM in Boston, is at it again.
As the Hub's loudest most gruesomely reactionary radio station, they've taken to playing Jerry Goldsmith's "Patton" theme music under their "we are FOR the war" promos.
It's about as subtle as being whanged on the noggin with a honey bucket if you asked me.
Hell, why stop there?
WTKK ought to play Liszt's "Les Preludes" under their promos in the fashion of Joseph Goebbels whenever he announced "victories" on the Eastern Front.
Not that I wanna wallow in Bush=Hitler comparisons or anything, but if you are gonna carry on in an obnoxious pseudo martial fashion - shit go for broke I say.
Someone out there beyond the three people who actually READ the Chimes at Midnight out to contact Mister Goldsmith and ask him if WTKK has the rights to appropriate his music in such a crude bombastic fashion.
I'll bet you'll find you that WTKK hasn't paid him a nickel for the use of his music...conservatives are reliably self righteous cheap bastards.
On the other hand, self conscious bombast like this is always a sign of political exhaustion IMHO.
More and more has to be done to extract the same level of commitment from an overtaxed base cohort....
Napoleon had to practically whip the Imperial Guard up the hill at Waterloo via loud martial band music.
Similarly as Mr. Bush's war degenerates into a ghastly series of firefights and ambushes, his supporters become ever in need of a heroic soundtrack to cover up the thud of rocket propelled grenades.
Monday, July 28, 2003
Bob Hope is Dead...
Even President Bush is pretending to be sad.
Oh I know, that was cheap shot in extremis...but a man who couldn't remember whether or not Saddam "let the U.N. Inspectors" back in can't be expected to recall any of the funny bits from "The Paleface".
I don't know if Bob Hope was a great comedian he sure was a great landowner though.
No joke at one point Bob owned half of the San Fernando Valley (bought as long as $30. per acre in some cases)...and was but common consent the largest private landowner in Southern California.
Sooner or later when the Studios expanded, they had to deal with Bob.
But ah I remember with the simplest nostalgia all those nasty put downs Hope had for Jimmy Carter back in campaign 1980...
Friday, July 25, 2003
The Blame Games
It was Stephen Hadley's fault this week.
Two week's ago it was George Tenet's fault.
Hadley has another week of twisting in the wind before Dick Cheney and Condi Rice desperately dredge up another fall guy in the great "who lied" sweepstakes.
Sad isn't it?
This is Bill Simon's fabled counter elite at work, blame, deny, obfuscate and snarl.
The best and the brightest of the conservative movement, unleashed upon Washington sans let or hindrance....they are a spineless craven bunch in the harsh light of day.
Yet like Halberstam's bunch from a generation ago, they couldn't wait to get themselves a nice war with which to demonstrate their awe inspiring ability.
They couldn't fix Amtrak, no that is too pedestrian no they had to have a war...and from the looks of it they've been planning this war since 1998.
I don't know what is going to stop these people, the democrats are having a hard time for themselves in Bush's Washington.
But I do know nature abhors a political vacuum, and the GOP cannot long run roughshod over the world and the laws of the republic without malign consequences for themselves.
I'm not holding my breath though...hell I think I'll send Grey Davis $200.00 just to start the next war off right.
Thursday, July 24, 2003
J.F.K. in '04
I supposed to be doing some on line advocacy amidst all my ranting and raving...or so I read in the Boston Globe's front page feature article on blogging on Monday.
Frankly I have a suspicion that nobody out there really cares as to why I'm for Kerry.
I'm not even sure I care as to why I'm for Kerry.
He is the democrat from Massachusetts in the race, I'm a Massachusetts democrat so I'm for him.
What more needs be said?
That I'm supposed to be thrilled and transported by him?
That Kerry's very existence somehow elevates public service to a noble cause?
No...that be the case for others but for me, it's Massachusetts First, Massachusetts Last, Massachusetts Always.
The Bay State has fallen on hard times since November 22nd 1963, we are derided nationally and assigned a condescending second class status by over fed over paid pundits.
Three of our best have sallied forth since 1980 to do right by the nation and all have returned bloodied, defeated but unbowed.
That would be Senator Kennedy, Governor Dukakis, and the Late Paul Tsongas (peace to his ashes).
THAT just tends to piss me off ....
Frankly we have entirely too much cult of personality politics going on the USA these days. If it's one refrain I've heard from Center Barnstead New Hampshire to Tampa Florida, it's "I vote the man not the party".
Frankly, give me the good old days of mugwumps and the Tweed Gang...at least the parties had real power over the process.
Nowadays the press has more control over nominations and candidates...too much control IMHO.
And that my friends, is a bad thing.
It is this type of personality politics that has created a new class of preening celebrity airheads whose only claim to power is "name recognition".
Every four years millions of dollars is spent to make some hapless jerk-off like George Bush look cuddly, warm, charismatic yet truculent and unthreateningly simple-minded at the same time.
The main judges of these vast campaigns are pretentious dingbats like Tim Russert and Howard Fineman.
The voters have less and less influence over the process because their primary input into the system, the political parties are wan wasted things that are little more than fund-raising flags of convenience.
I can't anything about the above pathologies...but I can register my discontent by making my decision on the basis of local party parochial concerns and leaving personality politics out of it.
So I'm for Kerry long and loud, what is good for Massachusetts democrats is damn straight good enough for the nation!
Wednesday, July 23, 2003
Qusay and Udai Hussein are dead....Sonny and Sonny-er Corleone have gone to the last round up.
Okay I kid, the world is a better place without them, blah, blah,blah and I could hear Tom Friedman's sigh of relief all the way here in Menotomy.
Ghod, what new lyrical "it was all worth it" tripe is being typed into Friedman's word processor even as I write this?
One can only imagine.
However the more I think about Udai and Qusay's final firefight, the more I suspect they had no clue as to the whereabouts of their father....Old Saddam cut those two loose the second the bombers appeared over Baghdad.
The Leader's whereabouts was too valuable a bargaining chip for Saddam's notoriously brutal issue to play with.
Yup, Saddam is in the Ukraine somewhere or possibly the P.R.C. or maybe North Korea (if his escape plan was good and he had outside help)...he has got low level flunkies to disseminate his fight-to-the-death audiotapes and a good choice of virgins to mix up the cocktails.
In all a nice set up.
Meanwhile our soldiers are still getting killed on the average of one a day.
That can't be good, regardless of how chipper the White House may feel.
Hell I suspect the troops shot Udai and Qusay dead out of desperate desire for closure and an early return home - screw orders from Headquarters....morale may be that low.
But whatever the circumstances, a early demise for Saddam and his kinder is a reasonable excuse to cut the occupation short with flags flying and honor intact.
Keep that in mind as this thing unfolds, La Famiglia Arbusto is famously unable to stick to an unpopular course, they'll look for a exit pronto when the polls turn decisively against them.
Of course conservatives are overjoyed to see Baghdadians shooting off their guns in celebration over Udai and Qusay's timely end...me? I'm appalled to see so many Iraqis casually armed to the teeth.
If there are any U.S. Forces a bloggin' hyar today, keep yer heads down one and all...
We're trying to do our best for you all back here.
Y'know the people who didn't want you to go there in the first place.
Tuesday, July 22, 2003
The following "clarification" ran at the bottom of Jeff Jacoby's column in the Boston Sunday Globe 7-20-03:
Clarification: I wrote last week that while initial reports on the looting of the Baghdad museum put the number of stolen objects at 170,000, subsequent reports drastically reduced that number to fewer than 50. Even more recent reports have revised the number back up to at least 6,000 and as many as 13,000.
So what do we learn from this?
That Jeff Jacoby can't count worth a damn.
Well what of it?
He after all a barrister by training, a mere shyster, not an art history expert or even an experienced journalist.
If "mainstream conservatism" (that thrashing fatally gored saurian) is to achieve the historically necessary "dictatorship of the punditariat" then a few shrill amateurs have to thrown into the fight.
Heck the ability to count is a definite drawback on the revolutionary right...William Safire can't count, Bill Kristol is hopeless at it...why the very act of counting the body bags at Dover AFB is considered a treasonous act to the men-on-horseback of the City Room.
Ah Jeff Jacoby, that grinning smirking young senescence...inexplicably called in 1994 to a heroic destiny at the pinnacle of the Opinion Industry.
Never particularly good at marshaling his story straight, but a King Hell monsta at crying poormouth month after month year after year.
Any attempt to engage him in a debate or note his distorted or nonexistent "facts" invites the accusation of jackbooted political correctitude stifling beleaguered conservatives' first amendment rights.
A book could easily be published containing all the letters to the Boston Globe correcting Jeff's addlepated distortions of the facts.
Oh it's FRIGHTFULLY tough to be a lone Jacobyn, fighting the good fight on behalf of sore oppressed conservatives....Jeff has been dining out in style on that line along for nearly a decade now.
And there is no end in sight for his well fed times I assure you.
The marks are well heeled and the livin's easy.
All you need is innumeracy and the balls of a demagogue.
Friday, July 18, 2003
Busheviki and Bushevism
Is it possible to speak of a specific Bush ideology?
"Bushism" or "Bushevism" as it were?
The easiest thing in the world is to dismiss Bush as a skinny deadbeat GOP Shaman.
Smeared with sacred excrement from the Reagan Ranch and shaking his tattered red-white-and-blue fetish over the heads of the usual well fed louts, brutes and curs.
Such is the life of a political witch doctor of the first degree.
However I think there is a serious Bush ideology and he is it's chief exponent and at times a reliable fanatic in it's defense.
Bushism is designed to sound conservative in the modern sense but is in fact a classically anti-conservative ideology.
Certainly it is an elite top down ideology. Anything that relies on press relations, spin, and raw pushiness like Bushevism is not a popular ideology by any means.
Which is not to say the appearance of a bumptious populism isn't important, but this is a propaganda tactic and nothing more. Real power is concentrated in the hands of the topmost tier.
It also a statist ideology. Granted much of today's bureaucratic grown and centralization of power in Washington is a consequence of "war conservativism". However much of that growth also serves Bush's floorwalker style law and order mentality. The war on "Terrorism" has created new long-lived bureaucracies and institutions that increase state power with consequences that cannot be imagined.
One doubts Barry Goldwater would have anything good to say about a "Department of Homeland Security".
That having been said it is also a profoundly utopian ideological construct. I think of it as "reactionary socialism", a kind of vulgarized conservative notion positing that there is no limit to government resources and revenues that can be redistributed to the rich.
Classic conservatism accepts limits, limits to the reach of justice, the state's interests, among a host of other things. The main thing they are conserving is order, public and private.
Why because order is always in short supply.
Order therefore is imperiled when governance is reduced to the transfer of public assets to private interests.
And let us not forget the omnipresent Bush cult of personality with it's emphasis on trite pietism, mock heroic signifiers, pseudo-folksiness, and the President's indispensable leadership.
All of which deftly conceals the President's rhetorical limitations, ennui, incoherence, and insincerity.
The genius of Bushevism is that it overarches and unites virtually all strains of conservative thinking.
It also obscures from those groups those trends that presage the downfall of modern conservatism at the hands of the Bush family.
So I'm asking three obvious questions now:
1) Is Bushevism a revolutionary ideology?
2) If yes does it have a theory of violence outside the foreign policy context?
3) Is Bush himself a revolutionary?
Thursday, July 17, 2003
The Charisma Notes (Fourth and last in a thought forgotten series)
I have asserted in a democracy that charismatic leadership is considered by career politicians to be a kind of operative "gold standard".
Many of them want it, but few for a variety of reasons, have it.
If you have it, leadership is somehow thought to be easier since issues can be decided by force of personality sans recourse to debate, reason, or even considerations of right or wrong.
Charismatic leaders are thought to be more persuasive (although Ann Ruth Willner might assert they are more "suggestive" in a near hypnotic fashion). An acute power of persuasion is thought to be a necessity in a democracy where the masses must be swayed at a minimal cost.
Charismatic leaders are believed by their followers to have transcendent powers of decision, persuasion as well as other heroic characteristics. In the classical charismatic relationship the leader both projects these attributes and has them projected upon him by his or her followers.
Therefore I contend that George Bush Junior in a very overt way is trying to become a classic charismatic leader.
The operative word in the above sentence is "trying" which freely denotes that Bush's "charisma" is being deliberately and artificially cultivated.
His superfluous flight to the Aircraft Carrier Lincoln being an important signifier and an attempt to merge the President with certain popular warrior myths. In that case he was also assisted by the Washington Opinion Establishment's unconscious preference to identify with strength.
I have also suggested that in a post modern fashion, it may be necessary only to activate a charismatic relationship with one key enabler, in this case Karl Rove.
Mr. Rove seems to spend an inordinate amount of time creating a leadership mythology around the President. However he is strongly inhibited in this endeavor by President Bush's poor oratorical skills.
It may well be possible that Karl Rove is seeking to create a new charismatic leadership style one that does not require gripping powers of personal persuasion.
That is only a theory though.
Critical to this "Rovian variation" is the notion of charisma as a commodity subject to market forces.
The allocation of charisma for a candidate lacking in certain key attributes therefore costs more money than those with traditional powers of persuasion and a heroic mien.
There is also a technology of charisma that strongly impacts the monetary price of charismatic leadership.
By this I mean TV commercials, phot-ops, advertising campaigns, etc.
It all costs money, more all the time.
If we wanted to, we could easily identify George Bush Jr. as a typical ill-fated son of a noted charismatic leader, a'la Baby Doc Duvalier, Richard Cromwell, or Senator Russell Long. All of these men were or are diffident personalities forced to run governments build on the bumptious charisma of their fathers.
The problem with that is, Bush's father was no spellbinder himself.
I think something new and different is going on.
Oh the net effect is still the same, but the path to charismatic leadership is changed.
One could call it "neo-charisma".
Bought on the free market, imposed on a personality ungifted with "natural" powers of persuasion, buttressed by emerging technologies, and activated initially by a relationship with a key enabler.
Crucial to this is a kind of lowering of charismatic expectations while still pursuing a charismatic political image.
In Washington DC this is the essence of "spin".
A mere one hundred years after William Jennings Bryan (the first serious modern spellbinder in America) charisma may have now become a wholly artificial quality.
Thanks to modern information technology reality is increasing "negotiated" and self filtered.
It may then follow that in a political context, charisma can be programmed and disseminated at a particular cost.
I think a lot of the President's public persona can be analysed successfully in the above manner.
This is all I have for the charisma notes,
I freely admit they are at times a rough read...
Wednesday, July 16, 2003
Full Immersion Baptism in the English Language Creek:
The State Lege has watered down certain provisions of the statewide english-only ballot initiative.
Governor Romney has called this, "arrogance".
Takes one to know one Willard.
Like all Passive Aggressives, the Governor remained curiously silent when the Lege did his dirty for him and gutted the Clean Elections Law, a measure he expressed his contempt for in so many lavish well funded ways.
Calling the Governor a hypocrite and opportunist at this point seems repetitive and trite.
So lemme try for some irony here.
On the macro level, the English only ballot initiative is about the management of outsiders.
Language is a huge signifier in this world along with race and gender...speak-a-da-wrong palaver and you got problems keed.
So it seems ironic to me that a matched pair of demagogic outsiders themselves, Ron Unz and Mitt Romney are this initiative's biggest apologists.
Unz is of course the tyrannical California millionaire who has made his mission to impose his own views on education and language on every other state in the Union.
Governor Romney of course is a Michigan born, Utah educated, political dilettante and viceroy from the planet Kolob-six months into his term and he still doesn't know Bedford from New Beford.
Where these two strangers get off deciding education policy for the 352 cities and towns of Massachusetts is a mystery?
But they know best, them and the best political machine endless stacks of money can buy...it's getting so your local school committee is turning into a quaint moldy anachronism like the Convent or the U.S. Senate.
I think in some ways mainstream conservatism, even in it's death throes, is taking on the appearance of a classic transnational non-governmental institution. I t can raise endless amounts of money elsewhere and draft thousands of volunteers in order to effect all kinds of irritating and appalling changes in your locality.
Hence these endless regulations decreed by ballot initiative governing what language teachers will say "stop", "quiet", and "thank you" in.....
Small effin' Gummint' indeed.
There is wild talk out there about Dick Cheney resigning the Vice Presidency.
Granted he's effed up everything from the Energy Task Force to the search for WMD's in Iraq, but he is still Halliburton's most successful rainmaker on the Federal payroll.
So I doubt he'll lose his job...however as a public service and because I'm a vicious bastard I offer a few simple Vice Presidential suggestions to the Commander in Chief along with some idle oddsmaking.
Hey it's the silly season in cyberspace too y'know.
Jimmy "Sunshine" Davis: Fmr Governor of Louisiana...okay granted he is dead, but if Florida 2000 teaches us nothing it's the importance of new constituencies among the GOP. In Davis necro-Americans will have a voice in Washington.
3 to 1
Haystacks Calhoun: Dunno if he is alive or dead, don't care. I just love the notion of Veep named "Haystacks" Calhoun....
Odds 5 to I
Andy Dick: Nasty freakjob actor will bring some MTV cred to the ticket. Concert act in which a beer bottle is inserted into an orifice popular in prison might raise a few eyebrows down at Bob Jones University.
Tacky, loud and insecure, the perfect Republican.
Gary Bauer: if Andy Dick doesn't wash then Bush can go with this pious mouthy little runt. His main claim to fame will be he makes the President feel tall.
Prime vice presidential qualifications!
Rep. Helen Chenoweth: the militia movement's idea of Cleopatra. With a constituency full of gun nuts, mad bombers, and irregular rightical chic guerilla movements, Helen is prime mainstream conservative fodder, strident, shrill, humorless and angry. And that 0% rating from the ACLU doesn't hurt either.
At last a Vice President who hates the Bill of Rights more than John Ashcroft!
3 to 1
Last but not least you do need some self loathing allegedly gay demagogue to round out the list. Alas there are none to be found. Jeff Christie isn't qualified for the office (and that sez a lot) and Jack Kemp is just oo old and shopworn.
But Karl Rove will find someone, it's bad enough that George Bush is one heartbeat away from the Presidency.
Tuesday, July 15, 2003
Notes for Potential House Impeachment Managers:
George Bush can't play defense worth a damn.
Take a look at yesterday's brief q&a at the White House if you don't believe me.
Faced with the mildest question about the Niger forgeries, Bush's voice takes on an insincere toadying whine and he starts flapping his arms like a distressed pelican.
Bush clearly has something to hide, all the classic tells are there, the lack of eye contact, the "I'm-a-victim" shrug of the shoulders, the fluttery hands....the lowest floorwalker at K-Mart can see this guy is a suspicious character.
Any halfbright ADA could crack him like a soft boiled egg during cross examination...
Monday, July 14, 2003
Like any other American crime family, the Bush's are a bunch of painfully irritating self loving hacks.
The notion that they could sustain themselves outside U.S. politics or organized crime (two industries where the success bar is set artificially low) is laughable.
What they are uniquely good at, is getting their underlings and henchfolk to eat shit on command.
It is a grotesque thing to watch to be sure.
But it has saved many a Bush backside and will continue to do so until the flaming end of time itself unless somebody somewhere calls them on it.
Consider for a moment, until four pm EST last friday, George Bush was in serious trouble, and then viola' right in time for the evening news, George Tenet takes "full responsibility" for the inclusion of the "Niger Forgeries" in the President's State of the Union address.
I can't begin to imagine what Condi Rice, Donald Rumsfeld, The Vice President, and Karl Rove have in their files that would compel a grown man to abase himself in such an appalling way.
But it must be a considerable thing to be sure.
D'ye suppose they keep files on each other?
I wonder what Rumsfeld has on Cheney?
Friday, July 11, 2003
The C.I.A. ate my homework
Condi Rice...the poor dear.
Anyone else out there think the National Security Advisor to the President is sounding a lot like Joliet Jake from the Blue Brothers' movie?
It's the C.I.A.'s fault!
George Tenet said it was okay!
British Intelligence screwed us up!!!!
My Ghod what a contemptible bunch of cowardly jobbers we have in power down in D.C.
A contrary puff of wind and they start screeching in raw terror.
And not for nothing but hasn't Tony Blair risked all for La Famiglia Arbusto ten times over since 9-11-01?
And what does he get for all his troubles? Condi Rice claiming the Niger Forgeries were an English foul-up.
That sure makes Blair look good in front of Parliament doesn't it?
So much for transatlantic solidarity.
I hope Director of Central Intelligence George Tenet shakes out his feathers and sings like a canary when the time comes.
He would have a lot to say about the gaudy mess these yankers have made of the so called "war on terror".
The grown ups have left the building true believers...and now when push comes to shove these desperate hacks start flinging blame around likes it's manure in a tornado.
If there was God of Justice and Mercy in Heaven above Bush would be met by an Independent Counsel when he gets off Air Force One at Andrews Field.
Alas we don't live in that country.
Four Years and Three Thousand Lives
Tommy Franks kicked off his retirement yesterday by estimated the U.S. would have to occupy Iraq for the next four years.
This is of course the same General Tommy Franks who obediently yelped "bring it on" after his Commander in Chief was caught acting like a callow blustering hammerhead two weeks ago.
However, you don't earn a General's stars without learning how to count so we can take his four year time scale as a pretty accurate assessment of J.C.S.' thinking.
If we assume a minimum average of two U.S. fatalities a day between now and the spring of 2007 we come up with about three thousand KIA's between then and now.
A drop in the bucket compared to the battle of the Bulge or Guadalcanal.
And it is small beers compared to Viet Nam as well.
But, it is a lot of blood sacrificed on the bogus insistence that Iraq was trying to acquire nuclear weapons.
It's a lot of blood that hasn't yet yielded up Saddam, his murderous sons, Sheik Omar or Osama Bin Laden.
The American People will assume heavy sacrifices in the name of clearly defined goals, they can
However they won't put up with chronic mendacity-especially if it doesn't get results, cupidity, or hapless reactive approach to events.
As always I hope I'm wrong, and I earnestly hope Saddam, Uday, and Qusay get paraded through the streets of Baghdad in an iron cage....but that looks plenty unlikely as of 2:27pm EST 7-11-03
Meanwhile we've blundered into our own little version of the West Bank and we won't be exiting anywhere near as easily.
Thanks George...keep up the fundraising big guy...your donors can't hear the mortar rounds.
Thursday, July 10, 2003
The Flag children...
They are at it again, in the lead up to a national election, the GOP is pushing hard for an anti flag desecration amendment to the constitution.
They are counting on the current patriotic fervor, not so much to pass this dubious statute, but to cast their opponents in a harsh un-American light.
Ho hum, it is the same old, same old down at Conservativebehemoth.com.
To hear these flag hags tell it, old glory is thrown on the barbeque every hour on the hour in this country, and that somehow hurts us all.
If you are living in the Bay State, then lets try this....
Take a leisurely drive up route 95 North to the border from Massachusetts, count the number of tattered and forlorn flags you see snapping in the breeze from the aerials of passing SUVs.
When you get to ten or so, you'll have a number greater than all the reported flag burnings from the year 2002.
Then pull over, talk a walk up the side of the highway, I guarantee you will find dozens of tattered little flags by the roadside that have flown off some car antenna somewhere and are now slowing rotting on the way to the Granite State.
You could easily roll all those lost and abandoned flags into a gigantic ball and make a gift of it to President Bush the next time he blows into Portsmouth to thunder his disapproval of flag desecration.
Ask him to toughen the punishments for this outrageous crime, like burying miscreants alive in their SUV's after that worn and tattered ensign is ceremoniously removed by an Honor Guard from Americans for Tax Reform.
Wednesday, July 09, 2003
Okay, he lied...
We've known he lied for months now.
According to Howard Fineman per the Imus program this morning, the only real question is, "President Bush, dupe or knave"?
Now why do I think that the whole dupe-knave dichotomy plays to Bush's intangible strengths?
Maybe I'm getting worn down by this gruesome little ideologue but it seems to me, that if the President was duped into including the Niger forgeries into the State of the Union, well then he's already lowered expectations on his brainpower to an acceptable level. Bush will fire a few people and move on with a shrug.
On the over hand if he's proven a knave, well Bush has already made the case that lying is a necessary part of Presidential leadership.
Granted much of this is occurring in a vacuum. The press refuses to pursue the issue with Monica-esque intensity, there are no extra-governmental institutions harassing the Admin, and no-one is challenging their credibility in the courts, so the President has an unusual freedom of movement when it comes to this issue.
In my view it's not dupe or knave, it's right or wrong...no well constituted court would take "I'm stupid" as a mitigating circumstance. And as for "I'm a knave" well....it's a risky defense strategy to be sure.
Tuesday, July 08, 2003
Savage Elation II
Sooooo....I read that MSNBC has fired talk show tyrant Michael Savage as he wished a caller would "get AIDS and die".
Like Captain Renault in "Casablanca", MSNBC seems shocked-shocked-shocked to discover their paid conservative provocateur has a harsh hate filled side.
I guess no one thought to play the audio tape demo from his San Francisco radio show eh?
But Savage's dismissal does raise certain issues...operationally speaking...where IS the line in radio/television?
Oh sure we all know about George Carlin's seven deadly words you can't say on TV....but other than that what are the rules?
My thesis is, there are not rules, it's Hobbes' war of all against all out there.
I mean think for a moment, Savage loses his plush TV gig for calling down death on a caller, but Howard Stern marches on despite numerous gruesome on air provocations.
Of course, Savage did have various gay rights organizations gunning for him, that helps to keep the pot boiling...by contrast people seem to have given up on toppling Stern.
So maybe it's a pure power situation...the R.C.C. came down like the proverbial million pound sh*thammer on Opie and Anthony...they had em' dead to rights and had the muscle to make it stick.
Which is fine by me, Opie and Anthony aren't worth the powder necessary to blow them both to hell....
However is anyone else disquieted by the notion that there really aren't any objective standards in play here?
That it is all a loose normative calculus of how much outrage from within and without a network will put up with before dumping a controversial act?
So that what it comes down to on radio and TV, no prior standards and practices just the rule of force?
Mitt and SuperMitt
Does Brian McGrory actually defecate himself at the mere mention of Mitt Romney's Serene and Inviolate Name?
If so, how does the poor Boston Globe Intern who has to clean up after the metro columnist feel about all this?
Northeastern University work study is hell my friends, never forget that
Along with the death of American Conservatism another of my favorite hobbyhorses is the epidemic of raw sycophancy among the punditariat.
We were once a journalist nation of individualists and contrarians, now to get ahead one must grovel and grovel in a particularly loud and obnoxious fashion before the Accepted Orthodoxy.
So in today's column Brian recounts in breathless toadying detail Mitt Romney's alleged jet ski rescue this weekend of a family whose boat abruptly sank on Lake Winnepausakee.
Y'know what? fine, yay for Mitt he and his oafish sons were the only sober people at the lake this weekend and they did a good deed. However the fact that the famously telephilic Romney declined a CNN interview tells me there might be less to the story than meets the eye.
But ah for Brian McGrory the incident echoes Superman flying off to divert an errant nuclear missile aimed at Hackensack New Jersey. Like all media whores Brian can't resist fantasizing and reminding us that somehow Mitt's predecessors could never be counted upon to effect a similar rescue.
Of course they couldn't Brian, they don't own jetskis, batmobiles and they can't fly through the f*ckin' air!
Brian reserves particular contempt for former Governor Michael Dukakis who is described in morbid detail as being too engrossed in Walter Isaacson's new biography of Ben Franklin to save anyone in peril on the waters.
See how they do it...?
Romney's generous act is somehow proof positive that the last democratic Governor of Massachusetts is a negligent bastard fit only for the stockade.
This is media whoring at it's most basic, sycophantic, and repulsive. Brian's lavish praiseful tone is enough to make me doubt on the basis of no evidence that Romney truly did anything heroic at all.
Hell we'll never know not with Brian McGrory on the job writhing on the ground, yelping, and crawling before the all powerful SuperMitt.
Monday, July 07, 2003
Notes to a Grand July Forth or MTC go home!
Why in the name of Odin the Thunderer has CBS television horned in on the
annual July Fourth Esplanade concert and fireworks display??!!!
The whole hatch shell mishaugas survives because it's a nice unpretentious
local event. So of course CBS had to come blundering in with it's vagisil ads
and SUV commercials to tart the whole thing up like it's payday Coaltown.
We were also faced with that pie faced hammerhead Harry Smith acting as
"M.C." and slowing everything down to a frustrating crawl.
Oh and lets not forget the loud obnoxious commercial breaks, a nice set of
which cut a solid five minutes out of the pyrotechnic display. Good thing the
local park down the street nicely overlooks Cambridge we at least could see the
fireworks sans interruption.
Frankly anyone watching it on TV from coast to coast got screwed IMHO.
Speaking of interruptions, who the hell invited that joyless tramp
LeAnn Rimes to the show???
LeAnn must have some serious props with Bain Capital Gruppe or whoever set
up the Esplanade concert this year because her two songs were little more than
free advertisement for her current tour.
Ah but that is the Brave New Commonwealth, "welfare" is a form of gratis
publicity given to post pubescent C&W moppets and none other.
Gruesome musicality seemed to be the theme of the evening thanks to Mitt
Romney's best pals the Mormon Tabernacle Choir.
A greater collection of musical blunderbusses can't be found for the money,
the MTC does to the classics what your friendly neighborhood vivisectionist
does to stray dogs.
The Commonwealth is sodden with chorales and choirs but yet we must beg some
musical auslanders to groan over the Boston Pops on July Fourth.
All of a sudden we are like Palookaville or something.
It is the hour of patriotic kitsch down on the banks of the Charles,
forcibly grafting the Mormon Tabernacle Choir onto the proceedings is proof
positive that civilization has entered a bathetic decline here in the Bay State.
What John Adams would've made of this legion of blue polyester jacketed
androids from out the deserts of Utah can only be imagined.
With any luck he'd a bounced his trusty ale tankard off one of their gleaning
Revolutions have started over less my friends.
But at least the fireworks still looked nice.
However I give fair warning to the powers that be, if next year the Mormon
Tabernacle Choir returns to overawe the Esplanade Concert with their toneless
yalping, we march!!!
Music for the people
By the people
And of the people
Shall not perish from this Commonwealth!
Thursday, July 03, 2003
A Granite State of Mind....
The "Old Man of the Mountain" succumbed to time and circumstance and came tumbling down on or about May 30th 2003.
Immediately, the State of New Hampshire swung into action empaneling a committee to investigate the pernicious "law of gravitation" and to find just which state legislators backed such a destructive statist socialist proposal.
Meanwhile Joe McQuaid cheerful vulgarian and publisher of the Manchester Union Leader (think of it as a print version of Fox News sans the wit and sophistication) mused on NPR yesterday that "the Old Man of the Mountain Revitalization Fund HASN'T contacted Disney's animatronic people yet...but they will".
A grotesque proposal that must be contemplated in mute silence.
If Joe McQuaid hurries perhaps he can still get Charlton Heston to lay down vocal tracks singing the Declaration of Independence to the tune of "The Theme to Davy Crockett"?
Or perhaps the all animatronic "New Old Man of the Mountain" could be coin operated? Lotsa tourist dollars there and thanks to its network of maddening toll booths N.H. has experience in nickel and diming unwary visitors.
The funds used to defray the extortionate property taxes the local yeoman peasantry cling to like tribal fetishes in a volcanic upheaval.
The Granite State never changes, it is still the same bitter, angry, reactionary wasteland that I found when I got off the bus in Center Barnstead in the summer of 1979.
The notion that New Hampshire may replace an iconic rock formation with a robotic tourist attraction is proof positive that the state can neither preserve what was good and old nor avoid embracing what is new and awful.
New Hampshire could be safely sold to Yugoslavia without doing any cultural or political damage to the Union whatsoever....
To paraphrase General Sheridan; If I owned Hell and New Hampshire, I'd rent out New Hampshire and go to live in Hell.
NOTE TO THE LAITY:
I'm off til monday, but if it all goes to smash and I don't come back...try to remember that I was once an eagle.
Wednesday, July 02, 2003
Kultur Notes for the Fourth of July Weekend
The Edgemere Drive In on Route 20 in Shrewsbury Ma has finally opened up for the season.
Never a top line drive in contender compared to the mighty Tri Town in Lunenberg or the Mendon Twin DI, the Edgemere grinds away defiantly every summer secure in it's niche as the cheapest of the five remaining drive in's in the Commonwealth.
A few years ago their huge outdoor screen was knocked down in a storm, the replacement ended up being much smaller than the original. This turned out to be a blessing in disguise as the smaller screen meant a much sharper brighter projected image. Previously the Edgemere was plagued with chronic image issues, their projector was simply inadequate for the size of the screen.
The improvement was such that one could watch grainy muddy horror flicks like "The Blair Witch Project" with perfect equanimity.
The other thing I like about the Edgemere is it's preposterously huge lot, it is simply impossible to get stuck in a bad parking space.
So...listen to Humble John, the movies this summer will be no better than the movies from last summer. Thus if we are gonna have dreck foisted on us we may as well see it in a locally owned independent venue one that keeps alive a grand American cultural tradition.
Besides, if you are wondering where the working class is, this summer, they are at the drive in.
No joke, with today's ticket prices so high the only way a poor family of five can see "Finding Nemo" for the flat $14.00 per carload price at a drive in.
My advice to John Kerry (whom I'm sure reads this blog every day) is to figure out some way campaign at a drive in, either four-wall the joint or just show up to shake some hands before the show...it'll get him into direct contact with the working poor.
And what the hell maybe the movie will be good as well.
The Edgemere Drive In
Route 20 Shrewsbury Ma.
(508) 754 4968
Showing Friday and Saturday July fourth and fifth:
1) Finding Nemo
2) Bruce Almighty
Tuesday, July 01, 2003
God talks to George Bush?
Or so Mahmoud Abbas asserts quoting the President to the effect that "God" told him to depose the Taliban and invade Iraq.
And as we all know the Prime Minister of the PA would never lie or exaggerate.
What do you suppose God sounds like in the airy spaces of George Bush Junior's mind?
Perhaps the Almighty affects Candace Bergen's dulcet tones?
Or maybe the Eternal takes on the smooth syrupy chuckle of ....Howard Da Silva?
I'm joking around here because that is really all I can do in this crisis...
I mean, the President (or so the Mahmoud Abbas reports) hears voices which he has self identified as that of the Protestant God of Thunder and Fund-raising.
In any other reasonably well run nation claiming the Almighty speaks to you is bound to raise a few eyebrows, especially if you happen to be the Head of the Government.
Not in America though, we love the Little Lord Jesus with a homespun democratic ardor, ANY Hammerhead can claim to be on intimate terms with the Son of God sans reproach.
Maybe this is for the best.
Because the alternative means casting aside our cherished notions that Bush is lazy, dumb, or a skilled but malevolent politician in favor of simply identifying him as psychotic.
THAT raises issues for us all regardless of ideological persuasion.
Yup you read it here firstest, parsed in the best journalese, The President is allegedly psychotic.
Conservatism is dying in this country (along with a lot of other quaint notions like the once lofty democratic spirit) for a lot of reasons, now we have a new one...the movement has chained itself to the fortunes of one man whose wits might be faltering in a dangerous way.
It all looks like beer and skittles now to Grover Norquist but when the President starts up with the glossolalia on camera with other world leaders it might put a dent in his polling.
Think about that Grover.