Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Party of Winston Smith


If Arlen Specter's defection from the GOP is a strong signal that the Republican Party needs to retool its strategy for the future, then beginning by attacking Specter as a leftist then just 24 hours later using a five year-old campaign ad featuring George W. Bush's endorsement in order to paint him as one of the bad Republicans (or am I being tautological?) is not a good way to go about it.

The Republican Party has been the Party of Personal Reprisals for so many years now hardly anyone alive remembers when they were anything else. It's become a matter of accepted policy: When it suits them, even a sainted cardboard cutout cowboy like George W. Bush will be used less as a sacred cow and more like Mrs. O'Leary's cow.

It's cowardly and craven, to say the least, that they would (sniff) use our dearly departed Dear Decidin' Leader for nefarious purposes in order to smear one of their own. The poor man is now in no position to defend himself aside from Karl Rove's funhouse mirror reflection of recent history from the pages of the Wall St. Journal. Using Bush in this way would've been unthinkable before the 2006 midterms but this was when the backlash started against a man to whom the Congress gave everything he ever wanted and more in some cases even in the 11th hour of his Diebold-manufactured administration.

It's obvious that the Republican Party will never change. Some Republicans retire, die, get voted out, switch parties. But they and the voters keep refilling their rank ranks with more of their own. They can trot out Ken Mehlman and Michael Steele to get jiggy wid it but the ineluctable fact remains: The GOP will never change. It is not the party of Steele but the Party of Rush. The Party of David Duke. The Party of Karl Rove. The Party of Dick Cheney. The not-so-secret Party of Joe Lieberman. The Party of Reagan. The Party of Israel. The Party of Corporations. The Revisionist Party of the Reformed Winston Smith who, in the end, learned to love Big Brother again and didn't turn on him for political expediency.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Democratic Party Gets Shot in Arm by Magic Bullet


Mr. Specter acknowledged on Tuesday that his decision to change parties was driven by his intense desire to win that sixth term. It came after he and his political advisers concluded over the weekend that he could not turn away a conservative challenger in a Republican primary... - The NY Times

What's the difference between Joe Lieberman and Arlen Specter? Absolutely none. Both abandoned their parties as if they were unwanted, deformed babies because of their addiction to incumbency, because they knew their voter base had become so alienated by them, they'd have to appeal to the other side in order to survive even a primary. Specter was just a little more impatient and didn't even wait until the primary.

And Obama and Biden are welcoming him into the warm folds of the Democratic Party's embrace as if he's a long-lost cousin or brother, not a turncoat who doesn't give a rat's ass about one party or the other or the constituency of either as much as he does simply staying in office. Fuck, Specter even admitted it. He simply jumped from one vehicle to another like an aging extra in a Mad Max movie jumping from one car to another.

And the president and vice president are nauseating me.

It was Specter, don't forget, who gave Bush everything he ever asked for, including support for the Military Tribunal bill (colloquially referred to as the "torture bill"). Specter also voted for USA PATRIOT Act, the Iraq War Resolution, the bankruptcy bill and virtually the evilest shit ever punched through Congress by the Bush administration. Sure, he offered token resistance to the Bushies in terms of torture but then backed down and showed his belly like the good lap dog he was.

We need Specter in the party about as much as Bob Marley needed another form of cancer.

Idiots such as Olympia Snowe are already eulogizing Specter as if he died instead of merely doddering across the aisle and passing Lieberman on the way. If you insist on finding one difference between Specter and Lieberman, here it is in a nutshell:

Specter never really abandoned his party's ideologies in any courageous, significant way, an indictment that can't be leveled against Lieberman. Yeah, Traitor Joe is a withered, human colostomy bag but ya gotta give the cocksucker his due: At least Lieberman could say that he never gave a fuck about the Democratic Party or what it thought while sis boom bahing the Iraq war, publicly humping Dick Cheney's and John McCain's leg and essentially making Bush's two terms a lot easier and smoother than it should've been. As Jane Hamsher at Firedoglake said years ago and I'll keep repeating it until I'm Democratic blue in the face, "There's no such thing as a moderate Republican."

I understand that Al Franken's very belated victory and Specter's defection brings us to the brink of having a filibuster-proof majority in the Senate, which only holds water if you have fantasies that the divided Democrats ever had the lock-step discipline of the GOP. But considering all the gains the Democrats have made in the Senate these past two elections, Specter the Defector will in the long term prove as redundant as his Magic Bullet theory.

The crowning irony would be for Specter to get creamed in the primary by a real progressive. I know he's a five term senator and that'll likely never happen. But it's nice to fantasize, right?

The Bone Bridge- Chapters 9 & 10


Chapters Nine and 10 are now up. I cranked out over 5300 words yesterday alone and this is all the material I have for now. For a novel in progress that's supposedly popular, it's odd that the first eight chapters attracted not a single comment. Therefore I honestly don't see the point in taking time out of my day to continue doing this when there are much more efficacious ways to spend my time online, such as looking for a job.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The Bone Bridge- Chapters 7 & 8


The best thing about being unemployed is the ability to sit around the house writing 3-4000 words a day. Chapters seven and eight are up. As usual, don't forget, these are glorified first drafts.

No Apologies


The first 100 days are finally upon us, the End of Days for grading how good of a president we got for the other 1361 days.

Karl Rove sniffed, bloviated and snitted his way through a WSJ article on the 22nd that essentially could have been, and in fact was written by the fat, unpopular, blubbery-lipped kid who was either picked last or not at all for kickball games or chemistry lab partner.

Rove apparently didn't like it that President Obama had to go on "an apology tour" or "confession tour" all over the world. In tearing down Obama as a mere superstar rather than the best leader this nation's had since perhaps Kennedy, Rove is merely perpetuating the old McCain campaign bitching that says popularity is a bad thing (not for Reagan, apparently, whom Rove still thinks actually ended the Cold War with missiles that we wound up not using. I seem to recall the Cold War was won when Reagan bluffed Gorbachev into spending himself into the poor house over a Star Wars missile defense system that didn't actually exist).

Of course, what Rove failed to tell us on the 22nd was why President Barack Obama had some truly excellent reasons for apologizing to the world at large, or why a new president should have to spend so much of his time abroad apologizing for the blunders, brutalities and all around fuckuppery of his idiot predecessor, a man for whom Rove is still a parttime apologist.

The fact is, the "greatest" failures of the 44th president still shows more panache, intelligence and statesmanship than Bush's "greatest" successes. By September 10th, 2001, it looked as if Bush was destined for one term status just like Daddy, having done virtually nothing of any substance within his first 100 days, save for getting a head start on a recession that he later blamed on Clinton. In many ways, September 11, 2001 was the best day ever in the Bush/Walker clan's long, storied history.

We have a lot to apologize for and I saw this coming years and years ago when I said the next president will have to spend an inordinate amount of time from their administration doing damage control, starting with apologizing for what Bush had done during his endless End of Days administration.

Bush did not inherit a recession from Clinton as it's still being said. Bush did not inherit two unwinnable and costly wars that have killed close to 5000 US troops. Bush did not inherit a national economy plagued with foreclosure and frozen credit.

No, that's President Obama you're thinking of, Turdblossom. What did Bush have to apologize for? A surplus? No wars abroad? The low cost of gas and oil?

Take stock of just some of the progressive legislatiton and executive decisions signed into law by our new president:

The Lilly Ledbetter Bill that struck a blow against discrimination the workplace and garner equal wages for women.

Ordering the closing of Gitmo within the next year.

Officially banning torture.

A $787 billion stimulus package.

Lifting the ban on stem cell funding.

More troops in perennially undermanned Afghanistan.

A realistic timeline for withdrawing from Iraq.

Bush? He didn't want a timeline for withdrawal because it allowed terrorists to still be there so they can do something awful bad there when we leave according to our preannounced timeline. It was a strategy that would've failed according the Bushies because it failed to address the problem of 1) getting rid of the terrorists and 2) owning up to the fact that the terrorists weren't as endemic and ubiquitous as they'd prove to be after the 3/19/03 invasion.

US corporate greed and excesses certainly helped to drag down the global economy more than a notch or two.

The world is a filthier, more miserable and disease-riddled place in George W. Bush's baleful wake. We are still the only nation that hasn't signed on for the Kyoto Treaty, the only nation that bragged through its leader that it was "the world's biggest polluter."

It seems to me that, because of George W. Bush, President Barack Obama has to apologize to virtually every man, woman and child on earth who had been affected by Bush's poisonous slipstream, everyone, that is, except to Karl Rove or any other Republican asshat who stubbornly insists on remaining an unpaid apologist for the worst administration in galactic history.

Monday, April 27, 2009

They Call Us the Working Wounded


It seems that every time I invest the best parts of myself in someone else's life, especially my loyalty, I get screwed over with no apologies. It happened just over a month ago when 15+ years of selfless devotion to my family was rewarded with eviction and the needless threat of police intervention. Now this.

I just lost my job of six years a couple of hours ago, minutes after making my last post. Early this year, I and everyone else at work to a man had made a verbal pact to walk out on the job if our boss was replaced with his nephew as per his mother's wishes. We stood together in solidarity and risked our livelihoods for a guy who'd sneered and snarled at us for years and years.

My reward? Getting laid off. Snippy and defensive to the end, he sneered that he also had to lay off his wife, which didn't surprise me. What did surprise me was him putting her on the payroll to begin with, which, for all the work she did there, was tantamount to embezzling from the company. Half the time she sat around reading Stephen King or Dean Koontz novels. At least it can be said that I stayed busy doing something.

But if he didn't lay off four of us, as he explained, then perhaps the business wouldn't be around by next week. Maybe this will be a wake up call for him to stop neglecting his business, including paying his overhead expenses, stop using company money to pay for his personal vehicles and to not pocket cash payments from his customers (the reason Mommy wanted to fire him) when it should've gone into the central account.

This is part and parcel to right wingers. Act as if ignoring problems is the best form of conflict resolution, make others pay for your fuckuppery then sneer and snarl at them to sink or swim while remaining in the catbird seat.

This comes at a helluva time. You all know my situation. I have no one looking out for me, no support network or family to help cushion the blow. I have a landlord, two utility comanies and my stomach to worry about and nothing but a parttime job pumping gas to help pick up the slack. After I post this, I will be logging on to the Massachusetts DET's website to open an unemployment claim and hopefully will start getting some pittance of relief. But with the Dept. of Revenue's Child Support Enforcement Division on my back, whatever little I get will be garnished and I may wind up clearing only a $100 a week after child support. And I'll have to come up with taxes by next year on both that and the child support I'll never see.

So I'll have to ask you all who can afford to to please donate whatever you can. I never expected this Paypal account to replace even my shitty weekly income from my late, lamented job because I know my readership isn't that large. But the situation, obviously, has gotten a lot more dire since 7:30 this morning and I may be looking at living off whatever money I have in the bank. I need to come up with $1500 to my landlord in the next 4 1/2 weeks and the bills ain't gonna stop coming in.

New Chapters of The Bone Bridge


Chapters Four, Five and Six of The Bone Bridge are now up on its official blog. Sorry they've been so late in coming. I've been trying to sell American Zen, work on American Zen II and blog whenever I can. I'm also working a second job now (12 hours yesterday alone) and, well, internet access has been sporadic and spotty at best during this upheaval in my life.

As always, you can either follow the permalinks I'd provided you or scroll down almost halfway in order to see Chapter four, then scroll your way up (backwards) until you see the header for Ch. 6. Please remember these are rough drafts and Ch. 6 (as with One) isn't even finished. I just thought a few of you would be interested in Adam's unfolding adventure.

So please keep those Paypal donations coming in. I still need to get a car, put it on the road, get internet access, new eyeglasses and a whole host of shit. But don't be irresponsible and leave yourselves short.

Enjoy these new chapters of The Bone Bridge and don't forget to leave comments.

Update: Chapter Six has already been updated and expanded by several hundred words. So if you'd already seen Ch. 6 this morning, there's a wealth of new material and some much-needed revisions. You'll be glad you checked back.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Does Anyone Else Have a Problem With This?


I'm not just talking about Condi Rice and John Ashcroft officially making torture a firm American policy back in the summer of 2002. I'm not even talking about Rice, Bush, et. al. being exposed as liars by the chronology that was released today by the Senate Intelligence Committee. Sure, we all remember Rice getting up on her hind legs and saying, "We don't torture." Who cares? We know that Rice and every Republican is a lying cunt who couldn't be factual even by accident.

What I have a problem with is MSNBC, AFP, and virtually every Goddamned US news outlet that has reported on this story insisting on labeling Abu Zubaida as "the first high-value detainee in CIA custody", to quote MSNBC or to quote AFP's Michael Mathes, "the agency's first high-value Al-Qaeda detainee." Hm. Nice to know our MSM can all get on the same page once in a while.

Now, this would seem to give credence to the "torture is necessary to national security" meme widely circulated by Dick "Twister" Cheney if you happen to have about 150 pounds of brain damage between your ears and vote Republican every other year. It helps to believe that Abu Zubaida was a terrorist mastermind and that Rice verbally signing off on torture presents merely a stiff constitutional challenge and one to the Geneva Convention.

But let's not forget that Zubaida was such a fuckup that he could only be trusted with making travel arrangements for the wives and kids of actual al Qaida terrorists. The al Qaeda front office, as would the CIA come to find out later, already knew that Abu had a screw loose. When he was captured, the CIA found a diary written in four distinct voices, no doubt ones that Zubaida actually heard in his head.

This "first high value detainee" gave the CIA absolutely no actionable intelligence whatsoever, as with KSM, who was waterboarded exactly 100 times more than Zubaida. Zubaida was a mentally ill man to begin with and White House-sanctioned, CIA-administered torture didn't exactly make him any more lucid.

Before we can gather an appreciation of just how heinous waterboarding is, we need to disabuse ourselves of a couple of ridiculous notions: One, that it's a little more OK to torture by this method as long as George W. Bush or some other maniac calls him a "high quality terrorist detainee."

Secondly, let's stop calling waterboarding "simulated drowning." It is interrupted drowning, a form of torture that will result in death if not stopped.

And when you've lost William Kristol, who'd recently called waterboarding, "simply disgraceful", then you've lost Middle Wingnuttia.

A Boy and His Dog


This was taken yesterday at my old house after work of my adorable grandson and the equally adorable Buddy Dawg.

There's something ineffably endearing and almost comic about the posture of both. Gavin is ceaselessly fascinated by Buddy and Buddy, when he isn't accidentally cleaning his clock with his tail, butt or head, licks him to death. Even though I suspect a healthy percentage of his loving loyalty stems from the fact that Gavin loves to share his food with him from his high chair, it truly is a great picture of a boy and his dog.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Rome Wasn't Dismantled in a Day


Perhaps I was out of the loop due to my personal turmoil and almost total lack of internet access. Yet I honestly never knew until recently that the $700 billion TARP had its own Inspector General.

So imagine my shock, shock, I tells ya, when I read that IG Neil Barofsky had announced the opening of 20 criminal investigations into alleged TARP abuses that could include "for possible fraud, insider trading, tax violations, collusion, kick-back schemes and even, money laundering" (according to Chattahbox.com.) Yes, fellow moonbats, we still have to use the word "alleged." Innocent until proven guilty, yada, yada. It'll take a while before that quaint Magna Carta-era ideal becomes habitual to American thought again.

And if AIG isn't at the tippy-top of Barofsky's list, it ought to be. Of course, I'd very much like to know where Barofsky was when these alleged abuses began, which seemed to be the moment the checks began clearing, but I'll suspend criticism of that for now.

It may perhaps belabor the obvious to enumerate AIG's cold arrogance, intractable greed and genetically-encoded corruption. However, a short-term memory enables us to, as George Santayana wrote, be doomed to repeat history. Yet never should we forget these violations because who do you think's going to foot the bill next time these rapacious tycoons waddle to Capitol Hill with their beaverskin top hats figuratively in hand? You need only one guess and it ain't the White House holding a bake sale on the South Lawn. It'll be us, the real power but a bored, lazy, diffused, neutered and dead power. So we need to remind ourselves what's already been done to our tax dollars:

Immediately after cashing the first of three bailout checks, AIG wasted no time blowing $440,000 at the five star St. Regis resort on Monarch Island and had to be shamed and hounded into canceling another.

Last month, the Connecticut Attorney General informed us that, far from getting a "mere" $165 million in bailout bucks bonuses, AIG executives (specifically those who'd tanked the insurance giant thoroughly enough to the point where they had to be bailed out and rescued from their own greed) got about $210 million in bonuses. As with the resort getaway, they had to be shamed and hounded into giving back their loot (15 did, while five stubbornly kept theirs).

As the very poster child for corporate greed, arrogance, stupidity, incompetence and corruption, AIG has proven this time and again: The most egrgeious offenders have to be shamed and hounded into retroactively doing the right thing and, even then, it's done for PR expediency. No lessons are learned, as their constant ethical lapses in themselves prove.

Perception being everything, while AIG executives and executives in general hold our opinions in utter contempt, they nonetheless must bow to it or as far as their hideously distended midsections will allow.

In the meantime, we need to endure the recurring sight of executives dipping their paws in the honey pot and getting chased from it time and again like the single-minded children they are.

Now we're hearing that President Obama's Justice Dept. is seriously mulling filing charges against the moral Quasimodos of the Bush administration, particularly those who'd signed off on torture memos and had shoehorned torture into actual policy. We're possibly talking about John Yoo, who had no problem whatsoever with crushing the testicles of innocent children if it would get their Daddies to sing; the suddenly popular again and in demand Alberto Gonzales and maybe even Dick "No Brainer" Cheney. Oh my.

And this time, we don't have to stifle our ejaculations of joy at the news that some Bush-era cronies may at last be getting some comeuppance. However, let's not forget that prosecutable cases against these miscreants proves at the very least a strong likelihood that high crimes against humanity had been committed against hundreds if not thousands of largely innocent people, dozens of whom dying in US military custody. The prosecution of such crimes is not a cause for joy as one for grim satisfaction that the law is once again being enforced. A grim satisfaction that's tempered with sadness and frustration that even we, the so-called leaders of the shrinking Free World, haven't come as far as we'd like to think from the oblivious and complicit German citizenry of WWII.

Plus, as Boss Tweed said in Gangs of New York, "The appearance of the law must be upheld." And, so far, the mere appearance of the law rightfully being upheld (hopefully, without the followup, "especially while it's being broken") in the age of Obama is in itself a quantum leap from the "We'll obey only the laws we wanna, rewrite the ones we don't wanna and I don't wanna hear another word about accountability" days of the Bush junta.

For now, this is enough, the fact that our government is again interested in the rule of law, in once again making the US a nation ruled by laws and not a pack of loping, bipedaled jackals skulking in and out of Fox "News" sound stages. As long as there's a payoff at the end of the rainbow, for now I'll settle for the mere appearance of the law or what's left of it being upheld because we all should be able to appreciate by now the sheer depth, width and breadth of the moral and legal depravity bequeathed by the last administration to the current, an administration that at times had resembled a Hieronymous Bosch painting come to life.

After all, Rome wasn't built in a day, Neither will be dismantled in one.

For Thee, Not For Me.


Oh, the irony is delicious, is it not? It's tastier than a cinnamon roll or steak and eggs on this fine, sunny morning.

According to CQ.com, Jane Harman, the "Democratic" congresswoman who spearheaded the wildly popular HR 1955, the Violent Radicalization Bill that targeted bloggers as potential terrorists, the same Jane Harman who was cut some slack by Alberto Gonzales, the Che Guevara of Attorney Generals, so he could get her support for warrantless wiretapping...

...is herself now the subject of an NSA wiretap that caught her having a conversation with an AIPAC lobbyist. The alleged conversation on the audiotape captures Harman herself cutting a very inappropriate deal with this AIPAC lobbyist.

Harman obviously didn't know about the wiretap because just prior to hanging up, she was recorded having said, "This conversation doesn't exist."

Oh yes it does, you shrivelled bitch, you enemy of the first and fourth amendments. How does it feel?

Harman's denials of any wrongdoing and appealing to Attorney General Eric Holder to release the transcripts are already beginning to sound wearisomely familiar. It brings to mind a belligerent Ted Stevens denying even being convicted after he was convicted. It makes me think of Rod Blagojevich eager to clear his name despite the fact that his own audiotapes plainly revealed him to be this century's answer to Boss Tweed.

Jane Harman is an enemy of democracy, period, as are the 404 douchebags in the House who'd actually voted for her HR 1955 that could, theoretically, have bloggers picked up on the streets and whisked into vans. Jane Harman did nothing substantial whatsoever to stand in George W. Bush's way and even enabled him in his King Lear lunacies. She is Joe Lieberman in drag, plain and simple.

Now she's getting spoon-fed a dose of her own medicine while allegedly making crooked deals with AIPAC lobbyists but suddenly the rules don't apply to her personally. For thee, not for me, thank you.

Bullshit and fuck you, Harman. And I'll say it even louder into the mic, if you'd like.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Jesus fucking Christ!!!!!!!


I finally got someone with a pulse at Paypal, a sweet-sounding young thing who plainly wasn't prepared for an ogre like me yet performed admirably (No, dear, I didn't take anything out on her personally).

Here's the crux of the biscuit: I'd set up the wrong kind of account for what I wanted to do: Which was to set up a simple account that would then automatically disburse funds as they arrived into my savings account.

There's no such thing. They still have to be either accepted or denied and then manually transferred by me, the Paypal account holder. Even then, with the necessary business account to which I just had to upgrade, I still have to wait 3-4 business days before it gets to my bank because, as the help desk girl said, Paypal's not a wire transfer service.

Still, you'd think that we would've gotten past this Pony Express speed since we allegedly live in the digital age.

Anyway, bottom line, I've grabbed all your money, transferred it to my savings and when the money shows up I will go out and get hookers, coke and a really obnoxious sports car to crash into Republican National HQ.

OK, I'm kidding about that.

So now that that source of frustration is over and done with, I now return you to your regularly scheduled programming, already in progress and thank you once again for all the kindness you've shown me since the Paypal button went up last Thursday night.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Fuck Hospital Corners


I have to admit, it rather surprises me at how much I've accomplished with the help of some kind friends, strangers and coworkers in just the last three+ weeks. I started off with an air mattress in need of Scotch tape and a rickety chair. Now, all I need is a TV and a sofa and I can finally call this once-empty apartment a home.

What you see above is my new-used Queen-sized bed and perhaps the only time you'll ever see it made. Fuck hospital corners, as the file name goes. I did enough of those things in Navy boot camp (anyone else who was in the military remember their fetish for hospital corners and using coat hangers to get the angle just right?).


This reverse angle shows the bureau and the 4 drawer storage container that arrived the same day. In my kitchen is a microwave and a stand to go with it, which will greatly reduce my gas bill.

Next will be internet access and then, the holiest of Holy Grails, a used car. These will be running expenses so please keep those donations coming into my Paypal account but don't give until it hurts. Your generosity, especially in the first 24 hours, was astounding, especially in light of the economy having long since turned to dogshit after eight years of Republican misrule.

Longtime reader Comrade Rutherford is saying that Paypal took his donation out of his account so you others may have noted the same in your own accounts. Paypal has yet to give me access to a penny of it because they're being wonky. Hopefully, when they finally get around to making those "random deposits (sort of like a dummy transaction the first week of direct deposit)", my bank will give me the amounts so I can finally verify my savings account and access your kind donations.

Posting will be a little more frequent until I get an ISP since the internet cafe across the highway from my place (they have two PCs) just reopened a week and a half ago. Now, I no longer have to fuck around with the library, their diesel-powered servers and one hour daily time limit. Taking a break from American Zen II, I just got done banging out over 4000 words today alone toward The Bone Bridge, which will be uploaded on its official blog. You will, as always, be notified of the latest additions.

Yes, it's amazing what I've accomplished with the help of some good people but when you get right down to it, I'm doing the same things I've been doing for decades. Paying bills, doing chores, shopping, cooking, cleaning, taking care of banking business.

The sad part is that now I have no one else to benefit from my efforts.

It Doesn't Hold Water


You have to admit, it's difficult for even a bleeding heart liberal like me to take the side of a scumbag who helped plan the 9/11 terrorist attacks. After all, what is there to pity about a fat, hirsute slob like Khalid Sheik Mohammed? And, don't get me wrong: I'd never take the side of such a barely-human hair ball and am not now.

But according the NY Times, KSM was waterboarded 183 times, exactly 100 times more often than a four year-old Department of Justice memorandum reported. I guess the "1" accidentally got left out.

It's been gone into by better minds and writers than I how very important, vital even, it is for the United States to observe the rule of law, to show that we are better than the terrorists, that we can remain as relentless and determined as they without resorting to lawless ruthlessness.

That we are not above the Geneva Convention, in that the Geneva Convention is not a quaint document, as Alberto Gonzales once referred to it, in observing and respecting basic human rights because they are timeless regardless of what war template we're using.

It's also been said that the United States, in dealing with even the most serious national security threats, needs to consider that the illegal tactics we'd (until recently, thanks to President Obama. Why would Mr. Obama feel the need to ban torture if the Bush administration had already allegedly done so?) been using on our prisoners and detainees can also be used on captured American troops.

These are not original considerations.

But consider, also, what we'd gotten in exchange after selling our collective soul. KSM gave us shit instead of actionable intelligence. The CIA has never come close to apprehending anyone remotely connected to 9/11 that we've been able to convict as a result of KSM's "confessions." Mohammed played us for the fools we were, knowing that as long as he told them something, anything, they'd stop the torture and go running off where ever he sent them.

Torture such as waterboarding is indefensible but when you get nothing in the way of actual information that can enhance national security, that's twice as much it doesn't hold water.

Friday, April 17, 2009

April is the Coolest Month


As Blanche DuBois said, "I have always depended on the kindness of strangers." Minus the incipient madness of Tennessee Williams' character in A Streetcar Named Desire, I have myself come to rely on the kindness of strangers in both the meat world and more familiar strangers, you friendly ghosts in the machine whom I call my readership.

The real world strangers have given or sold to me for cheap chairs and tables. Tomorrow morning, I'll be getting a huge blob of furniture courtesy of a Brazilian family going back home next week. I will finally have a queen-sized bed, bureau, a third kitchen chair, a tall storage unit, a small sofa and a TV stand. You people, and you know who you are, have almost shamed and have outright humbled me with your generosity.

Thanks to all you people, I'm now like a Horatio Alger character completely gone to seed, someone who, in just three short weeks, built up an echoing apartment with an air mattress and a rickety chair into an actual home. Where once I fretted about making the rent and utilities, literally counting my pennies, I'm now more comfortable than I have a right to be and can actually start thinking about a second-hand car.

And I say I haven't a right to be this relatively comfortable because I haven't done a damned thing to deserve this save for finding myself a victim of soicumstance. Because I construe these donations as a neverending reminder of what I've come to represent to you people. It makes me rethink the seriousness of my obligations for those who come here looking for a quality grassroots take on all matters both political and social. I will redouble my efforts and make Pottersville better than ever. I promise not to fail your expectations again. To paraphrase Eliot, April, thus far, has been the coolest and most excellent month.

As heartening as your kindness has been (and I'm personally thanking all those who have kicked in, even though Paypal is being prickish about it and not letting me verify my account until I give them a DNA sample or some such shit. So if your money hasn't left your own accounts, that's the reason why), it's been tempered with sadness that, save for one real-world friend, everything done on my behalf has been done by strangers instead of my family of 15+ years.

So much for blood being thicker than water. You people are simply the very best readership that a blog ever had, hands down, the perfect delineation of quality over quantity.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Pottersville's Gone Professional


For over four years, I've been giving it away and proud of it, glad to do it. Now when it looks as if I won't be able to do that, it's at a time when my blog posts read if they were written in contravention of the million monkeys/million typewriters theory.

The quality goes down, the demand for money starts. Sounds very, very Republican to me.

Please note the Paypal button just above my profile on the right. There's no rush, no unreasonable demands. Except to say that if I don't soon see some cha ching in my savings account, I'll go to someone's house at random and shave their dog. Maybe drop off my junk mail in their mailbox, too. Clip my toenails in your bed and leave them there. Yeah, I play hardball, folks.

Seriously, whatever little help you can give me would be, of course, greatly appreciated but don't be stupid and give what you can't. I ain't exactly starving thanks to some OT at work and two very good friends who couldn't wait for the Paypal button and sent some generous tokens of appreciation to me via snailmail. Home internet access will be a done deal perhaps by this weekend. Once I have unlimited net access, this blog will be up and running and you'll be seeing our usual quality programming. Perhaps I can be persuaded to offer gifts in return like manuscript copies of American Zen (the first 50 pages of which I sent to St. Martin's Press about a week ago).

I don't expect much 'cuz times are tough so be smart. I would appreciate some help from anyone who can advise me on how to customize the button so it doesn't look so cold, curt and demanding, saying, "Donate." Paypal's customization template doesn't really offer shit in the way of diversity.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A New Twist on "Teabagging"


I only have to wonder how many Republicans felt the need to drive home their historically- and intellectually-bankrupt tea parties today by dressing up like Native Americans.

Well, until the results come dribbling in from Wingnuttia, we won't know but we know this: From the Lone Star state, Gov. Rick "My Hair Isn't as Good as Blago's But I'm Getting There" Perry is threatening to have Texas secede from the Union.

Number one, it's a delicious proposition but ultimately unworkable in theory. Contrary to popular belief, Texas cannot secede from the union. So, sadly, we will be stuck with this most brutal, barbaric and embarrassing in a We-Lock-Up-Our-Idiot-Child-In-The-Attic kind of way of our 50 states for the foreseeable future.

But that's not the thrust of this post. What's truly breathtaking is how willfully ignorant and stupid these Republicans are in inappropriately seizing the Boston Tea Party, which was about tea tariffs imposed by a largely absent British empire (taxation without representation, remember?).

This ain't about tea, our taxes are certainly represented by a central and visible government and didn't President Obama promise on the campaign trail to raise taxes only on those individuals and business who earn more than $250,000 a year?

I daresay most of the poor rednecks who partook of this teabagging ritual that was ignored by all but two members of Congress fall far short of the quarter million dollar threshhold.

But abolishing taxes entirely has long been a wet dream for Republicans and wingnut base for decades. These are people who praise with full throats and considerable emptier minds the odious likes of Grover Norquist, who'd love nothing more than to shrink government so that you could drag it into the bathroom and drown it in a bathtub, regardless of the fact that, under his proposal, we would no longer be able to fund certain things that are near and dear to the black truffle of the Republican heart.

Like the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Like a DoD that, at its peak during the years of George II, approached a trillion dollars a year. Like faith-based programs and abstinence initiatives, Wall St. bailouts, seemingly unlimited supplies of cash for war profiteers and a whole host of other things for which having a government, for a change, would be handy.

And, in the end, they, unlike their forebears in Boston, changed nothing. Which is only appropriate.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Johnny Depp They're Not


...certainly not even Orlando Bloom.

At no point in any accounting of the dramatic rescue of Captain Richard Phillips, the American skipper held captive by three Somali pirates, was the acronym SEAL ever used. The only word anyone will ever use is the word "snipers."

Fair enough. These men are operating under as much secrecy as possible and the less you mention the SEALs, the better. They don't exactly seek out publicity (ironically, when I got to Coronado Island, I sported the crossed quills of the JO or Journalist, a newly-acquired rating I'd earned at Great Lakes. I was the butt of jokes at Coronado because we all knew I'd never use my skills. I was sorry I struck for that rating.).

But when you mention the words "snipers" and "Navy" in the same breath, you know who they're talking about.

What I can't square is why they were using AK47s to take out those three pirates. Since when is a Soviet-era assault rifle standard issue among the SEALs or in any branch of the DoD? At medium range, they'll do in a pinch, sure (plus the AK47 such as the Kalishnikov fired the same 7.62 mm slug as my old M14, even though the M14 made for a far superior sniper rifle than it did in full-auto assault mode but that's a story for another day).

But if you want to get serious and make sure you do the job right the first time and if you have the luxury of time to plan a sniping mission, you'd use something state of the art like the Barrett 50 cal, a miniature cannon with a three mile range and a fucking dildo of a bullet that exits the muzzle at speeds in excess of 4000 feet per second. With firepower like that, you could drill for water on the fucking moon from down here.

Whew. Someone get me a box o' Kleenex. I love talking about guns even more than politics or baseball.

Anyway, if this doesn't establish President Barack motherfucking Obama as the coolest Commander in Chief ever, nothing will. It'll be hard to see how even the wingnuts could possibly criticize the president's decision to use "terminal force if necessary" to take out the pirates holding Captain Phillips hostage.

They're whining about, "But, but we never killed anyone before! We're the good pirates!" Go fuck your parrots and your peg legs, losers. You don't fuck with American captains by holding them hostage, you don't fuck with the Navy fucking SEALs and you don't fuck with the coolest and most dangerous man alive, President Barack motherfucking Obama.

Am I cursing too much? Fuck yes. But you all wanna know why this story has me so pumped up?

Because, speaking as someone who's been on more unheroic missions than I'd like to remember, it's really nice to see the Navy SEALs being used to kill some actual bad guys for a change.

And that's all I'm gonna say on that score for now.

So beware. There's a new sheriff in town. And he don't take no shit from terr'ists, pirates and corporate thugs like the last All Hat, No Cattle boob before him.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

I Hate to Sound Pessimistic But...


...doesn't President Obama sneaking into Baghdad under heavy security kind of remind anyone of the previous boob who had to do the same thing, even to the point of skulking back out under cover of night?

Especially when the most substantial thing he can say is, "Guys, you've gotta stand up on your own so we can stand down."

I mean, I applaud the new President for showing more energy and commitment to responsibly getting our troops out but when he starts sounding and acting like the last guy, I'm not exactly filled with a lot of hope that we'll finally get most of our people out within that much ballyhooed 16 month timeline.

So far, in this hurricane of activity in the first 77 days or so of the Obama administration, I haven't once heard the president address the other problems regarding Iraq, such as contractor abuses in the form of corruption and ineptitude. Outsourcing basic needs that used to be met by the military even down to feeding the troops to corporations and enticing them with cost-plus, no bid contracts that actually rewards them for their incompetence is perhaps the single biggest problem in Iraq that Obama hasn't addressed.

He never even bothered mentioning these very real problems during the campaign as did none of the other major candidates.

In other words, instead of worrying solely about nation building, we need to take steps to ensure that such greed (or have we forgotten about the 363 tons of cash that we'd airlifted into Iraq years ago?), laziness and incompetence never happens again next time we invade on false pretexts a nation whose leader had killed far fewer of his countrymen than the maniacs in Sudan and Burma.

Then we can, perhaps, turn our attention to nation building here at home after the wrecker balling by which we'd been victimized for the last eight years.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Tripping Over His Own Dick


Poor Levi Johnston. Who knew that engaging in a little family-values, pre-martial sex with the Governor's daughter would result in so many headaches?

Apparently, there's trouble in Palin paradise. Levi Johnston is having trouble seeing his three month-old son Tripp. He's arguing with the mother and the family is making nasty public statements about the father's family in response to his carping about his situation on the Tyra Banks show.

I honestly don't know why these Wasilla hillbillies are still newsworthy, why people are even putting Sarah Palin herself on national TV much less this walking brain stem who'd impregnated her daughter despite publicly declaring that he didn't want kids. Levi's whining,
Most of the times, I don't know what's wrong with her. She's in a pretty bad mood, she's short, she doesn't want me around, I don't think. She says that I can come see the baby and that kind of thing, but won't let me take him anywhere.

Gee, that sounds familiar so how come my identical situation isn't making national headlines? Because it's a private matter, and hardly an original one, at that and, most importantly, because no one gives a moose turd!

What's truly pathetic is, even though these two obviously cannot stand to be under the same roof at the same time, the spin on this HMS Titanic of a relationship is so insistent that this is what we're hearing from Alaska's answer to Kevin Federline:
Johnston told The Associated Press on March 11 that the couple had broken off their engagement. He has said they needed time to grow up before following through on marriage plans.

An ironic aside: The Palin family spokesperson, Meghan Stapelton, had this to say about the Johnstons:
We're disappointed that Levi and his family, in a quest for fame, attention and fortune, are engaging in flat-out lies, gross exaggeration, and even distortion of their relationship.

Oh, the irony. You could just cut it with a Bowie knife.

The Ten Cent Tour


This is by far the most Zen-like room in the entire apartment, or what passes for my livingroom. The rickety lawn chair is courtesy of my landlord and the only other decoration is a baseball on the mantle. It's actually a converted bedroom since it has a very small closet. Want to know how to convert a bedroom into a living room? Simply remove the door!


As you can probably tell, virtually every fixture in this bathroom is brand new, with the notable exception of the cast iron claw foot bath tub. The jerry-rigged shower is always an adventure. To get the shower temperature just right it helps to have the skill of a NASA engineer.


The kitchen also has all new appliances, including an apartment-sized fridge and stove. I was squatting in the corner where the kitchen table and chairs ought to be. Some day, some day...


The bedroom with the now-famous air mattress. Against the wall is the gossip chair I'd just bought last Thursday. On the built-in table on the right is the hard copy of American Zen.

It ain't much but it's mine, it's affordable, it's clean and I'm never cold. I just opened my own account with the local power company and will do the same for my NStar gas. As with a novel, it's a slow process requiring a gradual accretion.

All Time Classics

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