Thursday, December 20, 2007


Though I never read The DaVinci Code, my understanding is that it was about some double secret Vatican cult dispensing an albino hit man to terminate with extreme prejudice anyone who might have proof that Jesus was married, had a kid, and descendants living in France. Or something like that. All that fuss and murder over one non-immaculate conception. Imagine how many people would have to be smoked if it turned out there was proof Jesus was gay.

And there is ample evidence. He didn’t have a kid. He was in his 30s and didn’t even have a girlfriend. He had one female BFF -- a whore. (Maybe history’s first fag hag.) He wore a Caftan, hung out with 12 guys, had long flowing hair, kissed a guy in a garden, and felt alienated, even forsaken, by his father. He talked about loving one’s neighbor, but cleverly didn’t specify the sex of that neighbor. He talked about having compassion for people. Most of the gay guys I know are very compassionate people. And upon getting a sense of his impending death, did he go out and get wasted? Gamble? Get laid? Buy a fast camel and tear up the desert? No. He threw a dinner party for his 12 guy friends.

It’s all there in the book. You don’t even have to crack the code. But it’s still ok. Even if Jesus were gay, it wouldn’t make him a bad person. It would make him the same good person, who wasn’t attracted to women. Makes you wonder why more Christians don’t get that. Though it does clear up quite a bit. Like the Haggards and Craigs of the world. It’s a very neat little syllogism: These guys are gay; these guys are true Christians; ergo, true Christians are gay. QED. (Or maybe it’s: gay people are true Christians?) Either way, it certainly explains the pope’s outfit.

And if that weren’t proof enough, there’s the First Baptist Church of Fort Lauderdale, which recently spent $1.3 million on its annual Christmas pageant, with veteran Broadway choreographers directing the moves of 600 dancers. According to the church’s senior pastor and show’s executive producer Larry Thompson: “I think Jesus would come to the show [and say], ‘Authentically you got it right.” Ok… Though I don’t exactly remember a chorus line in the manger, and I do wonder if Jesus might have suggested using the $1.3 million to feed the poor instead of mounting a glitzy Vegas-style passion play, when it comes to the interpretation and understanding of religion in this country, I guess we have to allow for some creative license.

Have an absolutely fabulous Christmas.

Sunday, December 16, 2007


As yet another scandal opens up the national psyche, and we trot out our outrage over the cheaters, it once again reveals our national balancing act of illusion and reality. Our popular fiction. And our non-fiction. There’s the myth -- the purity of the game, the green grass, the dads and sons, the sense of renewal and infinite possibility and it ain’t over ‘til it’s over. And running concurrently, the reality of spitters, corked bats, stolen signs and steroids. White Hats and Black Sox. The rules of the game and the way the guys in the clubhouse know the game is really played. Sure, we love our myths, but we can’t act like children when reality rears its head. Did it really take George Mitchell’s report for people to realize that many of their favorite players suddenly began to look like Brahma bulls with arms like necks, necks like thighs and thighs like tree trunks?

It’s always been interesting to me that when one of these scandals breaks, the conclusion is “a few guys cheated, but we got ‘em.” As opposed to the idea that cheating has always gone on, and occasionally people get caught. The truth is, most of the time they don’t get caught. Imagine all the scandals that never happened because the bad guys got away with it. Only in our popular fiction do they always get busted and brought to justice.

But as one side sheds tears over fallen heroes and the other side snorts “oh, grow up” I think the truth lies in the middle. As long as there’s power, money, and winning and losing in any world, there will be people who will try to figure how to manipulate the system. With baseball, as with politics. Talk about the myths in public while screwing with reality in private. Push the national buttons. Wear a flag pin. Be photographed with the family leaving church on Sunday. Take a proud stance behind God, country, and values – just not too wide a stance. These people have always lived in the world of the staged photo op, the rigged press conference, gerrymandering, and stolen elections, whether in 2000, or 1960. To some extent, this has always been, and will probably always be how and where the game is played, in the shadow world, the world where plausible deniability replaces ethics. The higher the stakes, the dirtier the backroom tactics. Whether it’s a World Series ring or the keys to the oval office.

But recognizing dishonesty doesn’t mean accepting it. This is where the myth comes back into play by serving as a regulator for when dirty tricks get out of control and become the accepted norm. Our myths are there to keep us honest. To keep healthy skepticism from descending into soul-deadening cynicism. It’s not about absolute morality. It’s about ideals and course correction.

Finally, as someone who grew up in Yankee Stadium and still gets a thrill from playing baseball, I would offer a modest proposal: make the players get drunk before every game. Make them stagger to home plate with massive hangovers like Mantle, or exhausted from a night of whoring and cigars like The Babe, and then try to hit one out of the park. Forced intoxication. That would level the playing field and take the game back to the good old days when juiced just meant loaded.

Thursday, November 29, 2007


Between the strike and impending holiday season I've found myself in a few malls lately. I've spent a lot of my life in malls. I don't hate malls. In fact, I secretly like them. It's something to do when you've got kids. Millions of diversions, shit to buy, and the food court. But now, suddenly, it's that most won-der-ful time of the year when they start piping in those goddamn Christmas songs. There's something about those songs. As soon as they start playing, I just want to shoot someone. The more Burl Ives, or Dino or Bing I hear, the fouler my mood gets. And it happens every year. And I never really know why. So I figure it's me. I'm just a dick. Scrooge McDick.

But I don't hate Christmas. I like Christmas. Even though I'm Jewish, I never really bonded with Hanukah, multiple presents aside. Not that I'm a big manger fan. Or subscribe to any of the popular mythology. Unless it's the Life of Brian version. But still, I enjoy the season. It's all just secular Christmas to me. Lights, parties, family and presents. Except for the Egg Nog. That looks and smells like puke.

But yet every year at that moment when I first hear those sleighbells ringing and jing-jing-a-linging their tunes, I want to scream. And it happened again today. From Bloomingdales to Macy's, from the Gap to Brookstone, and now even outside, in-between the stores, there it was. Piped in from the speaker in the sky. Omnipresent. And inescapable. And it was making me furious. But I couldn't' figure out why. And then it struck me. It's the forced happiness schedule. It's someone deciding that it's happy time for everyone, whether I'm ready or not. But maybe I'm not ready. Maybe I'm still pushing and working and dealing with the ten thousand things that invade and define every week. From house crap to kid crises, from sprinkler leaks to work stoppages. Then, all of a sudden, the mall decides it's time to forget all that and I'm supposed to just shut down and “go happy” or feel like a shitheel for still being stressed.

So there I was. Stuck. Wanting to shop more while being bombarded by those noxious, unctuous songs. And just as I was about to give up and bolt for my car, I hit on the cure -- Goodfellas. Specifically that Christmas sequence where DeNiro's character starts killing everyone who might rat him out in the Lufthansa heist. Bodies are tumbling down inside garbage trucks, or found hanging in meat trucks, or discovered by kids slumped over in a Cadillac. All to the accompaniment of some happy Christmas music. And for some twisted reason, that put a smile on my face. That great juxtaposition of murder and mush. Cause that's the way I feel this time of year. I'm still grinding the shit out. Still trying to dispose of all the loose ends and the mayhem and the garbage. With this gooey background music forced on me like some mood-altering ear Soma. That's when I realized it was ok to still feel stressed out and tense, despite the sleighbells and roasting chestnuts. And that took the pressure off. I told myself I'll shut down when I'm ready. Which is usually when I can hear John Lennon's anthem to Christmas peace if you want it and quietly hum along, while doing a remix in my head to dial out Yoko. That's my Christmas. On my schedule.

Monday, November 12, 2007


A priest and an animal of some kind go into a bar. The bartender says something to the effect that an animal in a bar is a somewhat unusual occurrence, and then the animal says something funny.

A guy goes into a whorehouse and asks what he can get for 20 bucks. The madam refers to some sexual practice, takes his $20 and sends him into a back room where something happens that is not sexual but takes the guy by surprise, as it dawns on him that what the madam said had a double meaning, implying that he was cheap.

A street bum asks a passing businessman for some help. The businessman gives him advice instead of money. The bum makes a derogatory, profanity-laced comment.

A large-breasted woman goes into a bar and orders a drink with an unusual name. The bartender makes a pithy remark, involving some wordplay based on the similarity between the name of the drink and her large breasts.

Jesus is on the cross, looks down at one of his disciples and says “I’m very high up.”

Three people of various ethnic backgrounds are on a plane when the engines go dead. They very quickly realize there are only two parachutes. Each makes a case why they should have one of the parachutes. One grabs a chute and jumps to safety. The second makes a remark about the third guy’s ethnicity, takes a chute and jumps. The third one dies.

Two old guys sit on a bench in Central Park, when a very attractive young woman walks by, causing them to reminisce about their younger days when they might have had an appropriate anatomical reaction.

An old man and an old woman who have been married 50 years have sex on their anniversary and when he asks why they haven’t done this more often, she makes a remark suggesting that she has, but with one of his relatives.

And my favorite: Two Jews walk into a bar.

Saturday, November 10, 2007


Even if you try to keep a low profile these days, the strike permeates your life. You can’t swing a dead cat on Ventura Boulevard or a spent Botox needle in Beverly Hills without hitting someone who’s been effected. From people on the business side who think the writers are insane and greedy, to agents who regret that it’s come to this, to producers who’ve been booted out of their studio deals, and writers, working and not, who range from philosophical to pissed. It’s already an open vein.

Then I got a guild email suggesting I inform on anyone I know who’s writing during the strike. Anonymously. And online @ www.ratbastard/scab/ It had an eerie HUAC ring to it. Are you now or have you ever been paid for writing under the table? C’mon. Time will tell whether this will be a noble effort or a fool’s errand but if you’re going to ask people to stop working and stop pursuing work at least have the decency to trust them.

And then there’s the nearly endless stream of analysis from every POV. One I found most interesting was the notion that, thanks to the strike, the networks will be released from the burden of having to make all these expensive pilots. First of all, there’s no law stating networks need to develop comedies and dramas. They could jettison both formats tomorrow from their development slate and only do reality. But they don’t because, despite the failure rate, it’s financially beneficial to continue to roll the dice with scripted shows. Especially now that networks have ownership of those shows. Because scripted programming syndicates. Comedies better than dramas. I’ve yet to turn on late-night TV and watch an episode from the second season of Survivor or American Idol. But Seinfeld is still there. These shows have been worth aftermarket billions. I don’t think they’ll suddenly be devalued due to a new delivery system. People like stories. People like to laugh. Internet streaming is not going to change that. And they will find a way to charge for it. (It would be nice if the two parties could agree on a formula today to cover that eventuality instead of bleeding the town dry, but the business has never been predicated on “nice.”)

That’s why it’s not surprising to read the article in today’s Variety -- NETWORKS GO TO BACK-UP PLAN -- STRIKE TRIGGERS DEPLOYMENT OF PILOTS detailing the pilots that have already been shot or the pre-ordered scripts that are “ready to go.” Some interesting shows, along with the usual cops, doctors and aliens. But it’s not all reality, all the time. And I assume the networks have a strategic plan behind the stockpiling of material. But I would ask them the same annoying question writers get asked in every single pilot pitch meeting: “What’s episode two?” And, as a follow-up: “Who’s writing it”…And “Who’s re-writing it?” Maybe the plan is to clean house of costly overall deals while keeping the wheels greased so the Fall schedules can still be announced in May, with writers going back in June. Assuming this doesn’t last that long. And that the actors don’t go out. And the town doesn’t go to shit.

And as for the lame signs and slogans. I found a picture of myself and some friends marching outside Fox in 1988. We were holding the same exact WGA ON STRIKE signs with the lightning bolt. Bad graphics then. Bad graphics now. There’s only one sign the writers should carry -- a blank one.

Saturday, November 3, 2007


In 1988, after years of spec work in New York, I finally sold a script and got to LA with an overall deal at a studio. I'd only been in the Guild about a year when they called for a strike. At the time I thought "fuck, I don't want to leave. I like this work." I had no sense of Guild history and frankly didn't give a shit. I'd finally gotten a break.

Then I went back to NY and attended a WGA East meeting at the Hilton. I didn't want the damn strike and was prepared to open my mouth and say so. Then Budd Shulberg got up and spoke about previous strikes, and all the sacrifices. He wrote On The Waterfront and A Face in the Crowd. I'd optioned a silly broad comedy spec. Thankfully, I was smart enough to take a quick lesson in Guild history and keep my mouth shut.

When I got back to LA the Guild said walk, so I walked. Did the picket line at Fox. Not the most attractive picket line, either. For that you want SAG. Solidarity was one thing. Who didn't hire whom and who hated whose script was another. Lots of suspicious eyeballing as we marched up and down Pico. During the 5 1/2 months, I burned through all my savings. Thirty thousand dollars. More money than I'd seen in my life. After getting Force Majeured out of the remainder of my studio deal, I luckily got a TV job two weeks later and it's been pretty steady ever since. More or less. But the whole time, I have been grateful for the minimums, the residuals, the health plan and the pension. Things I know we would never have if they had to come via studio good will.

Still, as that strike plodded on, I remember thinking, despite all the posturing, the accusations of greed and intransigence, that each side probably had its secret bottom line right from the start. Their real fallback positions. And I think they do now. So before everyone who makes their living off movies and TV -- in the business or alongside it -- starts to bleed, why not get there now?

I've been around writers for 20 years. We're not greedy people. We have agents for that who try to capitalize on whatever opportunities we get. Although some of us are incorporated, we're not vertically integrated. We don't have board members. We're not publicly traded. We don't have stock prices that fluctuate or stockholders who get frustrated. Although we come together at times like this, we spend most of our professional lives in competition with one another for jobs, assignments, and opportunities. One writer's "go" pilot is another one's pass. That tends to make us very nervous and ultimately, very pragmatic people.

Yet, if it comes to a strike, we'll strike. And we'll be united, somewhere between brothers and sisters in arms, and the coalition of the selfish. But I would ask everyone at the studios if it is really necessary? In 1988 cable was an unproven commodity. I think it's now on its feet. And it seems the whole DVD thing is catching on. Frankly, if the movie and TV business were so unprofitable, you wouldn't be in it. You know what it would take to settle this now. Proportionally, it can't be that much more, based on what you earn. It would be a crime for the entire city to suffer for another 22 weeks, only to have the two sides reach an agreement they could have reached 22 weeks earlier. Consider all the lost homes. The bankruptcies. The failed businesses. All that misery.

Maybe you think writers exist somewhere on the food chain between a regrettable necessity and a necessary evil. But we are not the enemy. We're your partners. We're your neighbors. Our kids go to the same schools. I know reasonableness and compassion are hardly a corporate strategy but, really, is the few extra bucks on the bottom line worth all the pain? There is, and always has been, enough for everybody.

Now, the directors -- those are some greedy bastards.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Celebrity News – ‘Cause That’s What’s Important

How to Lose the 3-Legged Race

Paul McCartney’s in divorce court and it’s going to cost him 100 million. And maybe it should. C’mon- you’re Paul McCartney, a fucking Beatle, only two of four left because Mark Chapman’s a better shot than John Hinckley and Cancer’s got a sick sense of humor. Still, you’ve got a billion dollars and the sad widower card to play. You could’ve had your pick of millions of women all over the world and not one of them a middle-aged fan living out a cute Beatle teenage fantasy. But, shit, with all those options, you could’ve at least picked a two-legged one.

Does Republican Sperm Taste THAT Good?

On a book tour, Ann Coulter says she’ll fight Hillary to the death ‘cause she doesn’t want to be fitted for a burqa. The only burqa this psycho bitch should be fitted for would be one where the arms tie in the back and there’s a ball gag for her mouth. If she had any decency, she’d donate that body to some fat chick with a good heart. She is evil incarnate -- a zit on the ass of society and self-promoting media whore who’s living proof that the Boys from Brazil was a documentary though in this case it was Hitler’s dog who left his seed behind. Oh, and I’d watch the “Jews need to be perfected” shit. We got your lord. We can get you, too.

All Federline – All the Time

Larry King continues to keep his finger on the corpse of America by losing no opportunity to flog the deaths of Anna Nicole, Nicole Brown, Tammy Fay, or Princess Di. If Brittney stops flashing her tits long enough to OD, Federline might as well stick a cot at CNN ‘cause he’ll never be off the air.

Hasselhoff’s the Wagon.

Is it possible to go into re-rehab? Or maybe it’s just research. Maybe he’s tuning up to be a judge on America’s Got Vodka. At least Hugh Grant’s still got enough of his wits about him to get pissed and fall into a vat of college girls. Looks like he had a good time and no money changed hands.

She Knows and Loves Dick.

Lynne Cheney left the Beltway long enough to flog her book on Jon Stewart, receiving a measure of grace and good manners from the host, while relating some regular guy stories about her husband, including his inscription in her yearbook: “Sweetheart, for you I would lasso the moon and send it careening into the sun.” The only awkward moment came when she first sat in the interview chair and stained her dress on the puddle of goo that was Chris Matthews.

Drew Carey debuts on The Price is Right

First item up: contestants try to guess the price of a backroom blowjob from a Vegas pole dancer.

What else? Lindsey left rehab for Utah, which is really just more rehab. A Lost star gets 6 months of lost weekends for her DUI. J Lo's pregnant, and Bobby Brown denied he had a heart attack even though his reps said he had a heart attack Brown claims it's his prerogative not to have had a heart attack.

Oh, and there’s a war on.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Rudy The Impaler

A recent poll centered on the Republican candidates has Giuliani out front of Uncle McCain, whose recent public statements seem to consist of the first thoughts that pop into his head after waking from a nap a little cranky. He's followed by Grandpa Fred, Reagan without the intelligence. With Mitt's hair and suit running a distant third and fourth, respectively. Alongside those numbers, a poll of Americans' biggest concerns. Number one: terrorism. That means it's going to be all-fear-all-the-time as we head down the one-year home stretch, with the Giuliani campaign firing a "soft on defense" barrage at Hillary until they have her both flipping and flopping from "I supported the war," to "I didn't support the war," to "I'll end the war," to "I'll end the of these days." And the Republican single-minded fixation on winning will leave no turn un-stoned as they adopt a scorched earth campaign policy, making sure each and every American has the living shit scared out of them on a daily basis. Hillary will need Jesus as a running mate, and even then it could get dicey as they hit him with also being soft on defense. And not a Christian.

President Giuliani? You can see beyond that plastered-on shit-eating grin and phony rigtheous indignation that he's just looking for 9/11 payback, and five seconds after taking the oath of office he'll be summoning the guy with the launch codes. That would put Armageddon sometime on or before 2017.

And still another poll has 27% of Republicans voting for a third-party candidate if Rudy is the nominee. So maybe they'll split the vote and put the election out of stealable range and the war closer to a close. Interesting, they could be casting a pro-life vote and not even know it. Still, every poll carries the "it's just a poll" caveat.

Al Gore may be the only unbeatable Democrat. The only closer. One hopes he's at least open to it. There's no point in working to save the environment if your opponents are hell-bent on blowing up the planet. If Gore won't run, the Dems will be forced to get as dirty as necessary to win and beat Giuliani like a bald-headed stepchild. Maybe they can dust off that old Goldwater commercial with the little girl and the nuke. Hell, it worked the first time.

Sunday, September 30, 2007


Some people think the truth is simply what’s true. It’s not. Truth is relative. The only way to tell if something is true is to stand it next to a lie. It’s a comparison thing. You gotta have the lies to find the real truth, so keeping the lies out of the public debate stops the open exchange of ideas, which is what this country was based on. Besides, the truth has been around a long, long time. It gets stale. If we restrict our thinking to just about what’s true, we get stuck in our ways.

Old truths worked for old problems. But we’ve got new problems. And we can’t have a new approach to a new problem if we keep relying on the same old truths. If I’d listened to the truth, believed the truth, acted based on the truth, do you think this great country, and the world, would be where it is today? I sincerely doubt it. Which is why when someone comes along sayin’ that I’m ignoring the truth, I say “damn right.” But ignoring the truth is not easy. Some people say you’re supposed to have an open mind. I say “no.” Having an open mind means that just any old thing can get in. A mind is like a bank vault; it only works when it’s closed. If it were open, evil doers could just walk in and take all the money. Then what happens to our great country when all the money gets into the hands of a few thieves? I think we all know the answer to that question.

You see, when you look at it a certain way, free speech is Un-American. In our capitalist economy, things that are free aren’t worth anything. Who’d pay for something if they gave it away free? Free speech ain’t worth the paper it’s printed on. Thoughts and opinions that have been bought and paid for – now that’s worth something. So I call on all Americans, in the interest of protecting our democracy, to put aside free speech. Resist what anyone else claims to be the truth. Disregard the facts in front of your eyes. Pay no mind to the lessons of history.

Ignoring the truth shall set us free.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


The current GOP presidential field is flailing, trying desperately to find some traction, like a cartoon character trying to run on the ice. It seems not one of them can pick up any momentum, or strike an actual chord with the voters. Not Mitt, that haircut in search of a personality; nor Rudy, full-time tough guy, part-time de-nutted husband, and occasional drag queen who’s traveling the world picking his teeth with the bones of 9/11 victims; or even John McCain, who’s racing around the primary states after doing a Pimp My Bus job on the Straight Talk Express dubbing it “No Surrender.” I particularly like the “Ich Bein Ein YOUR STATE HERE” bumper sticker, though for some reason the bus keeps running out of gas, and the GPS won’t work so it just meanders aimlessly through the countryside, much like grandpa when he goes out for a walk.

It certainly seems that, barring Democratic implosion, GOP electoral college gerrymandering, a mystery candidate crawling out of the woods who hasn’t been accused of licit or illicit gay sex, or an Executive coup (“the world situation has become too volatile to allow for the orderly transfer of power…”) there will be a Democrat in the White House in 2009. However, this won’t stop the GOP machine. If it’s Hillary, the “get Clinton” forces will begin swift-boating their alleged hearts out, but that will only be Stage One of a more nefarious plot. One that has already kicked into high gear.

Deep in the heart of the Virginia suburbs, just a country walk from CIA headquarters, in the bowels of the clubhouse of a restricted country club, (where the 3rd hole is this deceptive little par 4), and guarded by an elite private security force, is a double secret Republican (yet, somehow, Federally funded) laboratory where the goal is nothing less than building a Republican presidential candidate for the 2012 election. A GOP cyborg, who will roar onto the national scene, taking advantage of the impression of a limp, Carter-esque, one-term Democratic presidency to catapult itself back into power… and remain there. Ad nauseum and beyond.

But what would it take at this point to fashion such a candidate? GOP scientists have already begun identifying those key components:

The actor-y, heterosexual good looks and overall likeability of Ronald Reagan.
The war record of Dwight Eisenhower, (with a touch of Bush 1 fighter pilot credibility).
The single-minded lust for power, and complete absence of morals of Richard Nixon.
The folksy everyman-ness and unquestionable marital fidelity of Gerry Ford.
The shock and awe-shucksiness, perceived religiosity, straightfaced lie-ability, and ultimate vacuity and malleability of Bush II.

Once these key components are isolated, they will be distilled into a goo, dumped in a vat, whipped into a fine liquid, then poured into a stately 6-foot frame, adorned with a full head of wavy hair and twilight’s last gleaming white teeth, glazed over with the powerful two-dimensionality of Mitt Romney, and then buffed to a high sheen.

Actually, we have already seen one of the prototypes: The Fred Thompson 1, though it will soon be recalled, having failed even the most preliminary field tests for perceived sincerity and intelligence. Yet, this was just a prototype and simply means there is much work to be done, as scientists continue working to distill only those choice elements from various Republicans to build an invincible Uber-Republican who will capture the hearts and minds of all Americans by the strength of his intelligence, his faith, and his character. Or by force if necessary.

Scientists realize this will be a long process. But the goal is an important one, that of re-capturing the White House and restoring it to its former glory. They know it will take much work, but it’s worth it. After all, Rome wasn’t destroyed in a day.

Friday, September 21, 2007


Still giddy from his blood-surging rush of righteous indignation over the Betray Us scandal, and the success of its condemnation in the Senate, the President has issued a new list of executive proclamations.

The president's 64% disapproval rating will now be known as his 64% “heck of a job” rating.
Dead soldiers will be reclassified as “involuntary non re-enlistees.”
Wounded soldiers will be termed as “prosthetically redeployed.”
PTSD will be designated as Post Terror Surge Delight.
Blackwater and other private security groups will be known by the term “paid military buddies.”
Effective immediately, the Democratic Party donkey mascot party will be outlawed, replaced by a Two-Faced Communist Gay Weasel pissing on the American flag. (A national design contest will follow.)
God will be officially decreed a Republican. As such the GOP will be known as “God's Only Party.”
Allah will be declared a Democrat.
Based on an upcoming Surgeon General report that education causes Cancer, all colleges and universities will be immediately closed.
Pulling strings to enlisting in the National Guard as a way of avoiding service during the Vietnam war will be designated as “domestic gallantry.” Any media reports to the contrary will be outlawed and those reponsible will be fired for reasons of national security.
Serving in Vietnam will be known as “cowardice.”
Being wounded in Vietnam - "extreme cowardice."
Losing limbs in Vietnam -- “aiding and abetting the enemy.”
The New York Times may no longer publish under that banner and must change its name to read: New York Jewish Liberal Babykiller Treason Times.

Fox News will be retitled vox dei.
Beginning with the 2008 election, voting booths will have only 2 levers: one to vote Republican, the other to vote Republican With All My Heart. A Vegas-style eye in the sky will be installed in all polling places to catch those who merely vote Republican.

When asked if some of these proclamations seem excessive, cruel, defying logic, running counter to the principles upon which the country was founded, and perhaps even borderline insane, the president was quoted as saying: “Hey, I'm the president. If I say it, that makes it so. Je suis l'etat, and yippe-kay-ay, motherfucker. “

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Protest For The Digital Age

These are pictures I took during a rally in Harrisburg, 1972, in support of Father Philip Berrigan and six other nonviolent activists (The "Harrisburg Seven") accused of plotting to kidnap Henry Kissinger. (Talk about The Ransom of Red Chief...) The only speakers I remember were Bella Abzug (anyone?) and Daniel Berrigan. I got a few shots of him onstage. Being there seemed like the right thing to do at the time, though I suppose to some, I was just part of "America's noisy scum."

Thirty-five years later, it's another war. The outrage is the same, only it's played out in cyberspace. People at home furiously pecking away at keyboards instead of taking to the streets. Not that there haven't been demonstrations, or arrests, but they're no longer a focal point. Instead of the Days of Rage, shutting down the War Machine, and levitating the Pentagon, we've got the blogosphere and It's certainly more peaceful. Probably more civilized. And no one gets tear gassed or smacked with a bat. We can stay comfortably at home on our computers and preach to our respective choirs. Sometimes I wonder if it's as focused. And ultimately, as effective. If it's easier for those in power to turn a deaf ear to millions of clattering keyboards, than to a few hundred thousand people screaming outside the Oval Office window.

But it is what we do now. I suppose if anyone really gets mad as hell, they can always throw the computer out the window.

Friday, September 14, 2007


Like cracking a window after somebody farts in the car during a hot summer road trip, the only breath of fresh air from that puppet show masquerading as a presidential address was actually hearing the words “after my administration.” Not since Nixon has an entire country thirsted to rid itself of a white house occupant and put an unholy war behind them.

Still, Mr. President, I imagine retirement will have an upside for you, too. I’m sure it will be relaxing not to have to enter the oval office (on the days you were actually there) sit there, and know that you really weren’t up to the job. Intellectually, morally, spiritually; hell, even linguistically. To have to figure out different ways to posture like a president while pretending to either know or care what you were talking about. That desk hasn’t dwarfed a person since John John sat behind it. But stupidity and power are always a tough combination. Aware of its own inadequacies, it has to be doubly vigilant to keep up the image. And that can be exhausting.

Similarly, it will be a welcome relief for most thinking Americans not to have that vomit crawl up the esophagus every time the president opens his mouth. Or to shrink from embarrassment at the thought of being led by someone so totally bankrupt. So it’ll be win-win.

As you fade away, my only hope is that you won’t get bored. Idle minds are the devil’s workshop. Hell, the last 6 years have been testament to that. Of course, there’s the 2008 election, though I doubt there’ll be much of a place for you as the GOP frontrunners will be running like hell to distance themselves from the stench. So you will have to fill the time. A few suggestions:

You could sponsor a 10K for Iraq vet amputees and their spouses to run together. Gives the 3-legged race a whole new spin. Then maybe a picnic after for the families. For a couple billion you could get KBR to cater it.
You could call OJ and see if he’s up for golf. Have a beer after in the clubhouse, and play liar’s poker. Of course, there’ll be the eulogy for Cheney, which you should get your staff working on. There’s the funding for the Presidential Libery. They have senior discounts at the movies. (Though who needs an AARP card when they’ve got the PIN number to the Treasury?) You could catch up on your reading. I can’t remember if you ever finished My Pet Goat. There will be corporate boards to sit on. Time for some payback. As you know, there’s the lucrative lecture circuit so you can refurbish the ol’ coffers, as if you haven’t been doing that these past years. But you will need a theme. How about: “I Did a Heck of a Job”?

Either way, I’m sure you’ll find stuff to keep you busy. There’s naps. Jumpin’ in the pickup and patrolling the border for illegals... Does the Special Olympics have a rodeo?

Wednesday, September 12, 2007


What scares me less than President Pinocchio and the string of lies that launched us into Iraq and are keeping us there with no end in sight, and even less than the blustering of Fox News, aka The Ministry of Information setting the table for the bombing of Iran, is the prospect of another Republican president and the distinct possibility that this could happen.

Could be McCain, who seems to have a renewed taste for war, or at least the rhetorical appeal of running on that platform. Could be Benito Giuliani. That's not an Italian thing. It's a megalomania thing, 'cause when he tilts his head, juts out his jaw, and is shot at an up-angle, he's got that same power-mad look. One guy made the trains run on time, the other cleaned the hookers out of Times Square to make room for Planet Hollywood and Toys 'R' Us. He was nutty enough with the NYPD at his disposal, imagine how batshit he'd go with the entire U.S. military.

And even with the recent Republican implosion, one of them could still win. All it would take is another attack on U.S. soil. And that could happen because the Al Qaedas of the world don't seem to want a peaceful settlement to a geo-political crisis fueled by religious fervor that has been going on for over half a century. In their hysteria, they simply cry for the elimination if Israel. And that's not going to happen. And they have no other apparent political goals short of Armageddon and, in a bit of self-fulfilling prophecy, may have the means to create it.

One messianic maniac with a bomb vest and a thirst for holy war can wreak enough havoc in another attack on U.S. soil to make sure the fight goes on. The war with Iraq was sold as a response to 9/11. It didn't matter that it was untrue. Enough people bought the lie based on national outrage and a desire for vengeance. And we can be sold again.

If the recent appearance by Petraeus in his soldier suit conducting his wag-the-dog-and-pony show, complete with death charts, and cheered on by partisan cries from the sidelines via football metaphors like “we're going on offense” and “we've got the ball and we're headed down the field” don't trigger mass demonstrations and cries for impeachment, and if a recent poll is true that one in three Americans still believe there was a Saddam/9-11 connection, then we remain intellectually and politically malleable. Just push the right buttons where and when it counts, and we'll respond. Or worse, we'll do nothing.

Another attack timed close enough to the election to allow for maximum outrage and cries for revenge could provide the GOP with all the campaign rhetoric it needs to cut another anemic Democratic ticket off at the knees. And if enough people in the right states fall for this misdirection, then we could be fighting for another 8 years. Unless a century after the last one, this really becomes the “war to end all wars.” It could happen. And that's what scares me.

Thursday, September 6, 2007


George Bush will not be impeached. He will not change course. He is impervious to facts and immune to sarcasm. He will never admit he's wrong, which is the mark of the true idiot, and all the Times editorials and GAO reports will not effect the theatre of the absurd he's concocted entitled “Waiting for the Petraeus Report."

The only hope for peace is the 2008 elections and getting a Democrat in the White House. And with the Republicans going down the toilet literally and figuratively, it seems like a sure thing. But never count these people out. Like the Terminator, just when you think they're dead, they reform out of that mercurial slime back into a killing machine. Never underestimate their lack of decency when there is money, power and oil at stake. They will not go gently, especially when there is still swift boating to be done, muck to rake, and electoral votes to partition. Whoever the Democratic nominee turns out to be will find him or herself weathering a shitstorm of lies and misdirection that will pull lesser minds under its sway. As such, there is only one way to protect ourselves: bring back literacy tests.

Once a form of covert racism in the separate but equal south, it was not a bad idea on its face as a way of ensuring a minimum level of intelligence, like the bar at an amusement park saying: “you have to be this smart to vote." And if Literacy Test still carries too negative a connotation, maybe change the name to, I don't know, something more user-friendly, like Shithead Quiz. Nothing too complex; just a simple 10-question primer on current events. Maybe something like:

1) Global warming is:

a) destroying the planet.
b) a plot by Al Gore to force me to drive a golf cart.

2) Waterboarding is:

a) a form of torture.
b) an X-Games sport.

3) Gay people are:

a) just people trying to live their lives.
b) after me.

4) The Vice President is:

a) a heartless power-mad scumbag who shot his friend in the face.
b) not a member of the executive branch.

5) Bill O'Reilly is:

a) a responsible newsman hosting a healthy debate on the issues that face our democracy as part of a Platonic search for Truth.
b) Goebbels.

6) New Orleans was flooded because:

a) the levees were not build to withstand a powerful hurricane.
b) God hates jazz, and unnecessary fornication.

7) Jesus:

a) was a mystic who preached peace.
b) did the right thing when he realized he was Jewish -- became a Christian.

8) Real Americans:

a) are free to speak their minds.
b) trust the government and do what they're told so shut your mouth.

9) God is:

a) the name given by a particular religious tradition to the cosmic energy that courses through all things.
b) on my side.

10) George Bush is:

a) a great President who will be seen in history as the man who singlehandedly brought democracy to the Middle East and peace to a troubled world.
b) proof that hiring the handicapped has its limitations.

Answer key:

If you actually had to look down and check the answer key, you are officially declared TOO DUMB TO VOTE. Now put down the ballot, go home, and watch TV. We'll be over later to take away your guns. And your children.

Monday, September 3, 2007


“Great, so this asshole can’t wait to get home to the ranch to kick back and drive a truck? And I’m supposed to do what? Sit around and watch him lick his balls for a change? What about me? I’ve been crappin’ in the Rose Garden for 6 ½ years, eatin’ steak, livin’ like royalty and now what? I’m supposed to go back to that Texas pisshole and chase armadillas? Eat me. Not to mention the shit I’m gonna take from every bitch in the neighborhood, raggin’ on me that my master used the power of his office to nearly start World War III, let New Orleans drown, ratted out a CIA agent as a political ploy to deflect attention from being busted in a lie, employed greedy bastards, megalomaniacs and incompetents in every government office, let lobbyists run amok like it was the California Gold Rush, played fast and loose with the Constitution, and spent trillions on a war nobody wanted. And for that he thinks he’s goin’ on the lecture circuit? To teach what? How to fuck up the world in 10 easy lessons? ... Jesus! Oh, and speaking of Jesus, it’s “Blessed are the Peacemakers, asswipe!” And you think God’s gonna let you cry on his shoulder! If there is a God, I guarantee the first thing he’s gonna do when you get back to Crawford is whoop your ass, Texas-style. And if by some miracle, you do take the End Times ride to Heaven, I hope Molly Ivins does it, too! So in January of ’09, you can do the Nixon wave, climb on a chopper, and haul ass back to Texas but you’re goin’ alone, numbnuts! I’m not leavin’. I’m staying right here in the White House. Maybe the Democrats will adopt me if I promise not to eat Hillary’s cat. And if you try to take me, I’ll tell everyone how you, Karl, and Jeb stole the 2000 election. I heard it all, man. And I took notes. So do not screw with me!”

Oh, wait. That wasn’t Barney. That was Laura.

Any of this about to sound familiar?

An article from the Washington Post -- September, 2004

Battling for Iraq
By David H. Petraeus
Sunday, September 26, 2004; Page B07

BAGHDAD -- Helping organize, train and equip nearly a quarter-million of Iraq's security forces is a daunting task. Doing so in the middle of a tough insurgency increases the challenge enormously, making the mission akin to repairing an aircraft while in flight -- and while being shot at. Now, however, 18 months after entering Iraq, I see tangible progress. Iraqi security elements are being rebuilt from the ground up.
The institutions that oversee them are being reestablished from the top down. And Iraqi leaders are stepping forward, leading their country and their security forces courageously in the face of an enemy that has shown a willingness to do anything to disrupt the establishment of the new Iraq.

In recent months, I have observed thousands of Iraqis in training and then watched as they have conducted numerous operations. Although there have been reverses -- not to mention horrific terrorist attacks -- there has been progress in the effort to enable Iraqis to shoulder more of the load for their own security, something they are keen to do. The future undoubtedly will be full of difficulties, especially in places such as Fallujah. We must expect setbacks and recognize that not every soldier or policeman we help train will be equal to the challenges ahead.
Nonetheless, there are reasons for optimism. Today approximately 164,000 Iraqi police and soldiers (of which about 100,000 are trained and equipped) and an additional 74,000 facility protection forces are performing a wide variety of security missions. Equipment is being delivered. Training is on track and increasing in capacity. Infrastructure is being repaired. Command and control structures and institutions are being reestablished.
Most important, Iraqi security forces are in the fight -- so much so that they are suffering substantial casualties as they take on more and more of the burdens to achieve security in their country. Since Jan. 1 more than 700 Iraqi security force members have been killed, and hundreds of Iraqis seeking to volunteer for the police and military have been killed as well.
Six battalions of the Iraqi regular army and the Iraqi Intervention Force are now conducting operations. Two of these battalions, along with the Iraqi commando battalion, the counterterrorist force, two Iraqi National Guard battalions and thousands of policemen recently contributed to successful operations in Najaf. Their readiness to enter and clear the Imam Ali shrine was undoubtedly a key factor in enabling Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani to persuade members of the Mahdi militia to lay down their arms and leave the shrine.
In another highly successful operation several days ago, the Iraqi counterterrorist force conducted early-morning raids in Najaf that resulted in the capture of several senior lieutenants and 40 other members of that militia, and the seizure of enough weapons to fill nearly four 7 1/2-ton dump trucks.
Within the next 60 days, six more regular army and six additional Intervention Force battalions will become operational. Nine more regular army battalions will complete training in January, in time to help with security missions during the Iraqi elections at the end of that month.
Iraqi National Guard battalions have also been active in recent months. Some 40 of the 45 existing battalions -- generally all except those in the Fallujah-Ramadi area -- are conducting operations on a daily basis, most alongside coalition forces, but many independently. Progress has also been made in police training. In the past week alone, some 1,100 graduated from the basic policing course and five specialty courses. By early spring, nine academies in Iraq and one in Jordan will be graduating a total of 5,000 police each month from the eight-week course, which stresses patrolling and investigative skills, substantive and procedural legal knowledge, and proper use of force and weaponry, as well as pride in the profession and adherence to the police code of conduct.
Iraq's borders are long, stretching more than 2,200 miles. Reducing the flow of extremists and their resources across the borders is critical to success in the counterinsurgency. As a result, with support from the Department of Homeland Security, specialized training for Iraq's border enforcement elements began earlier this month in Jordan.
Regional academies in Iraq have begun training as well, and more will come online soon. In the months ahead, the 16,000-strong border force will expand to 24,000 and then 32,000. In addition, these forces will be provided with modern technology, including vehicle X-ray machines, explosive-detection devices and ground sensors.
Outfitting hundreds of thousands of new Iraqi security forces is difficult and complex, and many of the units are not yet fully equipped. But equipment has begun flowing. Since July 1, for example, more than 39,000 weapons and 22 million rounds of ammunition have been delivered to Iraqi forces, in addition to 42,000 sets of body armor, 4,400 vehicles, 16,000 radios and more than 235,000 uniforms.
Considerable progress is also being made in the reconstruction and refurbishing of infrastructure for Iraq's security forces. Some $1 billion in construction to support this effort has been completed or is underway, and five Iraqi bases are already occupied by entire infantry brigades.
Numbers alone cannot convey the full story. The human dimension of this effort is crucial. The enemies of Iraq recognize how much is at stake as Iraq reestablishes its security forces. Insurgents and foreign fighters continue to mount barbaric attacks against police stations, recruiting centers and military installations, even though the vast majority of the population deplores such attacks. Yet despite the sensational attacks, there is no shortage of qualified recruits volunteering to join Iraqi security forces. In the past couple of months, more than 7,500 Iraqi men have signed up for the army and are preparing to report for basic training to fill out the final nine battalions of the Iraqi regular army. Some 3,500 new police recruits just reported for training in various locations. And two days after the recent bombing on a street outside a police recruiting location in Baghdad, hundreds of Iraqis were once again lined up inside the force protection walls at another location -- where they were greeted by interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi.
I meet with Iraqi security force leaders every day. Though some have given in to acts of intimidation, many are displaying courage and resilience in the face of repeated threats and attacks on them, their families and their comrades. I have seen their determination and their desire to assume the full burden of security tasks for Iraq.
There will be more tough times, frustration and disappointment along the way. It is likely that insurgent attacks will escalate as Iraq's elections approach. Iraq's security forces are, however, developing steadily and they are in the fight. Momentum has gathered in recent months. With strong Iraqi leaders out front and with continued coalition -- and now NATO -- support, this trend will continue. It will not be easy, but few worthwhile things are.

The writer, an Army lieutenant general, commands the Multinational Security Transition Command in Iraq. He previously commanded the 101st Airborne Division, which was deployed in Iraq from March 2003 until February 2004.

Sunday, September 2, 2007


Greetings from Baghdad where The Surge is Working and it’s a balmy 130 degrees, so don’t forget that sunblock. SPF 50 ought to do it.

The flight was unremarkable, though private, thank God. I mean, if you’re going to visit a warzone, might as well be on a G4. Uneventful landing, no SAM’s whizzing by the fuselage. And, to my surprise, a duty free store at the airport with candy and scores of watches. Must remember on the way out to grab some I (heart) Baghdad T shirts for the kids and mugs for the CBS staff.

So much to take in on my first day. Ride to the so-called Green Zone was a stark reminder that there’s a war going on here. Concrete barricades everywhere, lots of barbed wires. And the checkpoints. One after the other. Apparently, the place used to be strewn with IED’s – military shorthand for Improvised Explosive Devices – which insurgents (the bad people) have used to blow up U.S. troops (the good people) and even many Iraqis (the people caught in the middle.) But that doesn’t happen as often because The Surge is Working.

Finally made it to the Green Zone, which I’ve been told is the absolute must first (and only) stop for a foreigner in Baghdad. Since all this terminology is new to many Americans, let me explain. The “Green Zone” is where important good people live, to make it harder for bad people to blow them up. Our living conditions are hugely luxurious. We’ve taken over a house rented from a wealthy Iraqi entrepreneur (wonder if he knows where any of that missing 8 billion is. Should make a note to schedule a hard-hitting, no-nonsense interview.) Anyway, the house has air conditioning, a pretty spacious kitchen, and multiple televisions. Alas, no flat screens or HD but, heck, when you’re at the front lines, you need to learn to tough it out.

Met some of the CBS staff, including a producer who’s been here from the beginning of the war. I asked him why he didn’t try to get another assignment. He said: “This is one of the most important stories in the world. I’m a reporter. It’s not only my job to understand the situation from an historical, religious, and geo-political perspective, but to be an eye- witness to events as they unfold, then to learn the facts, and report those facts back to the American people in as unbiased a way as I possibly can so they can become a more informed electorate, and that requires my physically being in the country for extended periods of time instead of parachuting in for a week for a photo op just to give myself some instant journalistic street cred.” Hmm… Apparently, that happens. Wouldn’t be surprised though, as there will probably more journalists in town pretty soon as The Surge is Working.

Later in the day, we visited the home of a typical Iraqi family just to see what day-to-day life was for them. Even though their apartment was small, extremely hot, had no running water and spotty electricity, (which would be like a 2-grand a month upper east side one bedroom) they were warm and welcoming. And while they told me they were afraid for their safety on a daily basis, the most heartbreaking thing of all was that their young children, ages 9, 7, and 8 months couldn’t even play outside because of the bombs and bullets. Yet the parents don’t blame U.S. forces and hope that the Americans will stay because if they don’t “the militias will kill everyone.” I told them not to worry about that because The Surge is Working.

(A thought: would’ve been fun to bring Willard here for one of his Smuckers tribute to those rascally centenarians, but I’ve been told that it’s tough to find anyone in Iraq who’s made it past 100.)

When we returned my producer informed me that what we did was a bit dangerous and we could have been victims of a kidnapping, or worse, which has happened to scores of journalists in Baghdad since the war began four years ago. Great, now he tells me!

Anyway, I’m anxious to get to my exclusive interview with General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker to get a better handle on the situation on the ground, as all Americans, up to and including the president, are anxiously awaiting their report to the Congress and the American people, having absolutely no idea what they’re going to say. Hmm…I smell a scoop.

All in all, it’s been an eventful day, and has given me a fuller appreciation of the situation on the ground and admiration and respect for our troops who I’m told must patrol the 110 degree streets in full body armor and heavy uniforms, but they are the boots of freedom – boots for which we should all be grateful.

Tune in tomorrow for more of my report from the front lines in Baghdad. We’ll be featuring “Kevlar fashions for Fall” hosted by Donna Karan, a cooking segment entitled: “Quickie goat recipes for that electric oven that’s only got an hour of power a day!” and a Concert in the Rubble, featuring the song stylings of crooner Michael Buble, who’ll be singing his new hit single: “The Surge is Working.” If that doesn’t get the bullets flying from all sides, I don’t know what will.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Army “Quick Ship” Bonus: Alternative To A Dead End Job

In an effort to bolster military ranks in time of war the army has instituted a new $20,000 “quick ship” bonus to get recruits to enlist and ship out immediately. In just 3 weeks the army had enlisted 3814 recruits using the bonus. James Hosek, a defense manpower expert at the Rand Corp., said that though the quick-ship bonus is a "very smart move" by the Army, it could attract people who are less motivated to be in the service.”

As with all contracts, it is advisable to consult an attorney before signing, however in the interest of clarity, the fine points are paraphrased as follows:

A) While termed “quick ship,” it is not quick pay. The enlistee will received $10,000 upon completing basic training and advanced individual training, with the remaining $10,000 paid out in even annual sums over the course of their initial active duty enlistment, based on the formula of one year=12 months. (Note: the term of service is extendable solely at the discretion of the army as it deems necessary.)

B) The remaining portion is reducible if the enlistee does not complete service. If said enlistee is killed in action, the remainder of the bonus is reduced by the number of months unserved, as the enlistee did not complete the contracted portion of service, as a result of death.

C) If enlistee is injured: the 10k is reduced per a formula based on “body part lost” (hereafter designated “BPL”) and terms of service (hereafter designated “TOS.”) The BPL formula breaks down as follows: the enlistee is designated as essentially a human body comprised of five major working parts: two arms, two legs, and one head. If an arm or leg is lost, diminishing enlistee by 1/5, enlistee will forfeit 20% of the outstanding bonus, collecting only 80%, further reduced by the amount of TOS unserved, based on the aforementioned BPL. Two BPL: 60%, three BPL 40%, etc… However, in the eventuality of BPL, the army will provide the appropriate prosthesis (prostheses), thus returning the enlistee in essentially the identical working condition as received.

D) Fingers and toes will be considered minor body parts (MBP), and designated as 1/10th of the abovementioned 1/5th BP, however their loss would not necessarily render the enlistee incapable of resuming service. It would be at enlistee’s discretion to continue service, therefore collecting the remaining portion of the bonus (less the per-digit percentage MBPL). If, however, enlistee decides not to continue service, the remaining portion will be reduced by the aforementioned formulae.

E) Further MBP designations include loss of eye (½ of a major working part; see also “ear,” “nostril,” and “testicle”), therefore the enlistee will only forfeit 10% of the outstanding bonus. However, if both eyes are lost (hereafter designated as “blindness”), or both ears are lost (hereafter designated as “deafness”) the entire remaining portion will be forfeited as that will render the enlistee incapable of completing the contracted service. Should both testicles be lost, the remaining portion will be passed on to enlistee’s children.

F) If, however, the head is lost, the entire remaining portion of the bonus will be forfeited, as the enlistee will no longer be fit to complete the contracted portion of service.

G) The money is taxable.

Hosek added: “There's a risk of bringing people in with lesser attachment or commitment to the Army, adding money will, for some people, sweeten the deal enough to persuade them to enter.”

Wednesday, August 22, 2007


The invasion of Iraq was to remove Saddam from power because he had WMDs, evidenced by the fact that he was buying yellow cake uranium in Niger which it turns out he wasn't, but that was based on faulty intelligence from the Brits which was exposed by a guy sent there by his wife, who was a covert CIA agent, but in any case we had to send in U.S.-led coalition forces because Saddam was part of the evil doers who attacked us on 9/11, which only happened because of a failure to recognize the Al Qaeda threat on the part of George Tenet when he headed the CIA, for which he was fired and given the Medal of Freedom, and if we didn't fight them there we'd have to fight them here, and Iraq would be become a safe haven and training ground for terrorists, unlike Pakistan, which is our ally in the war on terror, and not a safe haven and training ground for terrorists, and we had to rid the world of an evil dictator who gassed his own people even though we armed him for years during his war with Iran, and then didn't remove after the Gulf War because as Cheney said at the time it would have destabilized the region and resulted in a military quagmire, which it isn't now because we finally have the level of troops in Iraq that several generals who were fired said we should have had in the first place but it's all for a good cause that history will bear out because we are witnessing the birthpangs of a democracy in the Middle East and should be thought of as liberators, so the American people should feel proud and know that, after four years of war, and despite hundreds of thousands of people dead and injured, millions displaced, and a country in ruin that there's real progress being made and, as General Petraeus will tell the nation in a neutral and unbiased report -- “the surge is working” -- and any lack of order and stability in Iraq is the fault of the Al Maliki government, which has failed to establish a coalition among people who traditionally hate and mistrust each other, so this war is not a losing effort and we shouldn't compare Iraq with Vietnam, although we should compare Iraq with Vietnam because of the consequences of a troop withdrawal which wouldn't have been necessary if the protestors and liberal media had allowed the military to go in, unencumbered by dissent, and won the damn thing outright, instead of putting the pressure on to “cut and run” from a war we had no choice but to start in the first place.

If you think about it, it's really very clear.

Friday, August 10, 2007

The Invasion of the White People!

Riding what they've called the "Mitt Mobile," 96 white Romneys have invaded Iowa armed with a big, white family portrait. And that scares me.

First, let's get rid of the white elephant in the room. An extended family of look-alike white people from Massachusetts, many of whom went to Harvard, who play touch football and have almost identical twilight's last gleaming white smiles? Ring any familiar bells? The Mormon Kennedys? The political Osmonds? Of course there are no war vets to hang the campaign around, no profiles in courage, 'cause according to dad, the five fightin' Romneys are saving themselves for Mitt's campaign. Somehow, electing dad to the White House has become the equivalent of military service. Now, who figured out that equation? But that's not the scary part.

It's the goodness. That perfect, wholesome white goodness. Bible and scripture on Sunday. More scripture on Monday. Touch football. Staff tennis tournament with the championship played on the family court. Now before I'm branded some sort of racist, let me be clear: I'm white. It's nothing I'm proud of. In fact, white people embarrass me. More often than not, I find them clueless, clumsy, soulless, insincere, patronizing, reeking of privilege, occasionally bordering on rude and, quite often, fat. Not just that slightly overweight fat but the take-over-the-buffet-line-with-your-doublewide-ass kind of fat. And all that fat is often accompanied by massive stupidity. That good, old-fashioned "America's a great country 'cause we've got freedom of speech, so shut your mouth and stop criticizing the government" kind of stupidity. But even that's not the scary part.

I'll admit there are some good white people. I've worked with some. I live around them. Hell, my sister even married one. And I guess they've done some good things. But I was sort of hoping that the whiter-than-white perfect family portrait as campaign poster was something we'd transcended here in the 21st century, as some diversity entered presidential politics. Not just with race, and gender, but with every other aspect of life. Multiple marriages. Family problems. A little drinking. Drug problems. Maybe the occasional DUI. Imperfect candidates seem more human. And I want a candidate who's human. A dad who's gotten a call at 8 am to bail their kid out. Someone who's gone through the hell of divorce and climbed out the other side. A mom who's maybe had a drink or two after a hard day. It makes them compassionate. Like they understand the problems regular people have and might like to solve them.

So when I see this 60's Tide commercial photograph, I'll be honest--it scares the shit out of me. Because somehow the notion of the "I'm all-white, you're all-white" candidate is still lurking out there in the minds of campaign managers, which means it's still out there in the minds of Americans. Now, it's not Mitt's fault he's white. It's not his fault he's got religion. While, personally, I think believing that, some 18 centuries after his death, Jesus reappeared in upstate New York is a litmus test for insanity, if that belief gets you through the night, then go with god. And it's sort of nice he's got a big old family. But that big old family picture looks like a throwback to an older, Wonder Bread America, and sticking it out there as a campaign poster of the perfect, Bible-reading, touch football-playing family, as if it's a reason for people to vote for you is scary. Because it doesn't make you look like a man of the people. It just makes you look like a man of the white people.

Monday, July 30, 2007

White House PTSD

So, first the President goes in for a Colonoscopy. They scope him out and remove some polyps. To quote a friend: "It's the first time in his life that he wasn't full of shit." Then Cheney goes in for a heart tune up. Or perhaps a heart implant. At least they caught it in time. Luckily, he was in a meeting when someone heard him mutter "oil can." Meanwhile, Tony Snow is back, looking as white as, well, snow, but the debilitating Chemo hasn't kept him from doing his job, as long as he follows doctor's orders by avoiding alcohol, fatty foods and answering direct quesitons.

Now, perhaps this is all just part of the natural aging process? Or perhaps, looked at symptomatically, they're a signs of a deeper problem: White House PTSD, triggered by cumulative anxiety, the result of years of flagrant, boldfaced lying. Anyone who's told just a single lie -- white or otherwise -- knows the mental acrobatics required to keep the story straight, just in the face of a skeptical friend or inquisitive co-worker. Imagine having to run a 6-year string of bullshit past the eyes of the world. Day after day. Press conference after press conference. Not to mention keeping one's poker face under the searing, armor-piercing questions of Larry King. This kind of thing would have to take a physical toll on any person of normal strength and intelligence. Who knows the effect it's having on the President and Veep. One's old and mean. The other's selfish and stupid. Just imagine the mental and physical exhaustion involved in keeping up this level of mendacity for so many years...

Compassionate Conservativism. ("They both start with "C," which Karl says is good. Like a rhyme. It makes us sound like we give a crap about poor folks, but we really don't. Neat.")
No Child Left Behind. ("Education? Right. Just call me Veto Corleone.")
Restoring integrity to the White House.
We need to privatize Social Security.
Harriet Miers would make a terrific Supreme Court justice.
The jury's still out on Evolution.
The jury's still out on Global Warming. ("Wanna see some greenhouse gasses? Pull my finger.")
We're going to git Osama. We're gonna hunt him down. ("I look tough holding this megaphone. Gives me a boner.")
I really don't think much about Osama.
Pakistan? ("Musharraf says he's not there. He went down to them caves personally and yelled out "Marco." And no one said "Polo." I think that's pretty clear.")
Saddam attacked us on 9/11.
9/11 was perpetrated by "evil doers." ("Like that scary, bony-lookin' guy in Star Wars.")
Saddam has weapons of mass destruction. Chemical, biological, and nucular.
Saddam bought yellow cake uranium tubes from Niger. ("I like yellow cake. Especially when it's got that chocolate frostin' on it. I like to lick my finger and scoop it up when no one's lookin'.")
Don't want the smoking gun to be a mushroom cloud. (Sung with Cheney and Condy Rice in 3-part harmony.)
We'll be greeted as liberators.
We're fightin' a war on terror.
The war will pay for itself.
Mission Accomplished.
We didn't know about the levees.
Heck of a job, Brownie.
We're bringing Democracy to the Middle East.
Our brave fighting men and women will get the finest care in the world.
Walter Reed? ("I ain't got money to fix a hospital; I'm fightin' a war, dammit.")
I will await the findings of the 9/11 commission.
("Screw the 9/11 commission.") I don't care if everyone in the world except Laura and Barney disagree; I'm still not pulling out.
The Federal prosecutors were fired for poor job performance.
If anyone in my administration leaked a CIA agent's name, they're gone.
No one in my administration leaked the name.
Take a walk, Scooter.
Ok, someone in my administration leaked the name, but let's move on.
It's not the Congress' job to run the war.
It's not an escalation; it's a surge. ("Karl says 'surge,' is a good word. People will like it. Makes us sound tough. Like we got a boner. Everything with him lately is boners.")
I'm the decider.
General Petraeus is the decider.
I have full confidence in Alberto Gonzalez. He serves at the pleasure of me.
Harriet Miers is not testifying. (She's so short, I told her to crouch down real low so they can't find her. Can't serve her if they can't find her.)
Al Qaeda in Iraq is part of regular Al Qaeda. ("It's like a franchise. Like Dairy Queen. Don't you see? They even wear
those snow cones on their heads.")
We need Guantanemo. ("The evil doers have the secret battle plans and they ain't gonna give 'em up, voluntarily.
Waterboarding? Surfboarding? Hell, all sounds like a day at the beach to me. Still don't git how we got a base in Cuba. Maybe it's like some kind of Commie time share.")
I swear to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

Exhausting. And I'm just working from memory. Imagine if the entire world had you on camera every step of the way and you're sitting there trying to remember which lie you told, when, and to whom. It would have to be exhausting. Now, maybe the President did just have a routine Colonoscopy. And maybe Cheney just took a trip to Replicant Jiffy Lube. Or maybe this is what happens when people have to juggle this many lies for so long. Eventually, it would have to grind you down, haunt your dreams, and plague your every waking moment-- like the Tell Tale Heart-- and that could manifest itself physically.

So, if the President should suddenly come down with a case of Shingles. Or if Cheney's power source should misfire and sparks start to fly out of his head, like Yul Brynner at the end of West World. Or if Karl Rove's ED should recur. Or if Alberto Gonzalez should become the victim of uncontrollable flatulence. Perhaps they're the cumulative signs of White House PTSD. As a nation at war, we can only watch...and wait...and hope.

Saturday, July 21, 2007


By now, all the comics at all the Improvs all over the world have exhausted their topical "the president got a Colonoscopy, they found his head up his asshole" jokes. It's just too easy. But while his doctors biopsy the polyps looking for any signs of malignancy, compassion, or intelligence, the truth is if they really looked, they would have found something else up there -- the top-secret think tank working on a name for our Iraq exit strategy. That's where the real work is being done. Out here, it's all just for show.

All the "give the surge a chance" posturing is just the White House playing for time, waiting for the marketing guys safely ensconced in the President's small intestine, to come up with a slogan. A little over 30 years ago, we couldn't withdraw from Vietnam until Nixon and company came up with "peace with honor" as a way of justifying another war that shoudn't have been fought in the first place. So, critics, be patient, we'll be out soon enough. And it won't be strongly-worded editorials in The Times, nor biting sarcasm from the Lefty blogs that will make it happen. Because this president is impervious to sarcasm and immune to facts. He safely and happily floats in the womb of the oval office, dining on the placenta of his own ignorance. There's no need to poke him with information, nor prod him with invective. Our exit strategy from Iraq is in the works. At this very moment, deep within the walls of the president's bowels, Karl Rove works round the clock to come up with a slogan that will pacify the nation by cleverly repackaging this villainy as victory, so that we can bring our brave men and women back home with parades and marching bands and waving flags, and we can all come together in that good old-fashioned American "mission accomplished" feeling, secure in the notion that it all just hasn't been a profound waste of money and human life that served no purpose other than turning up the heat and the hate in the Middle East.

So that quizzical look on the President's face while attempting to parry his way through a direct question about the war is not the product of duplicity or evasion. The truth is, he knows we're getting out. He's just waiting for Karl Rove to emerge from his asshole with a marketing hook that will be simple and direct enough for him to wrap his mind around and sell to the American public. My vote: "We Did Our Doody--Let's Go Home."

Wednesday, July 4, 2007


The only surefire way to put an end to this imperial presidency -- this unholy Bush/Cheney/Rove triumverate -- is to elect a Democrat in '08, but how many more people will have to die before that happens? The Libby fiasco is simply the latest in a continuing series of lies told by this administration, each of which clearly demonstrates the utter contempt they have for the American people. And to send Tony Snow, who now has become the personification of the cancer in the White House to host this shadow play masquerading as a press conference adds even more insult to the injuries. With his trademark smugness and non-denial denials, one wonders why the press even bothered to attend as direct questions were only met with platitudes, evasion, and talking points, while citing all the pardons Bill Clinton awarded while in office. Though I don't recall a single one of them for which the crime emanated from the administration itself.

These people lied us into a bottomless pit of a war that will not only further destabilize the Middle East but, as the recent events in London and Glasgow demonstrate, provide the emotional and intellectual justification for more terrorist attacks in the future. The alleged "war on terror," is a misnomer. More Rovian Newspeak. You cannot bomb a mindset out of existence. You have to solve the problem that creates that mindset, and that problem has been in the Middle East for half a century. We need diplomats. Statemen. Peacemakers. This is the world's problem and it will continue to metastasize until brighter minds control the world stage.

Sane voices may eventually prevail and the 2008 election may deliver a Democratic president. But will the reward for 8 years of disservice be an honorable discharge, a fat book deal for his memoirs and fund-raising effort for the George W. Bush presidential libery? Not since Nixon has an administration shown such disdain for public opinion but even Nixon was brought down, not simply by the press or public outcry, but ultimately by his own arrogance and sense of invincibility and no matter how he was tarted up in his later years, the stain of Watergate will be attached to his name forever, serving as a reminder of the punishment for the misuse and abuse of power.

This long national nightmare needs to be over. The only way to demonstrate to these people that their conduct is unworthy of holding high office is to impeach the bastards now, and whether it sticks or not, it will at least serve as a symbol of public outrage that you can't lie to all the people all of the time.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

On second thought...Gore/Paul in '08

Al Gore as President. Ron Paul as Veep. Cut the Republican attack machine's legs out from under them in an attempt at true bipartisanship. This is not a new war. It's the same war that's been going on for decades. It's a matter of triage at this point. We can't let these fuckers spawn and leave us with another 8 years of a Manichean world view and an "end of days" mentality. We need statesmen who can operate on the world stage and work with sane voices in the Middle East to hunt down their own extremists and then proceed to find political solutions to a political problem.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Ralph Nader in '08 -- STAY OUT!

Ralph Nader is treatening to get into the '08 Presidential race. He's already given us two terms of President Pinocchio thanks to his arrogance as the 2000 spoiler by putting the election within stealable reach, at which time he said there really wasn't much difference between the democrats and republicans. Maybe not from the rarified point of view of his raging ego but down here on Earth that difference gave us the Iraq war and the criminally bungled disaster in New Orleans. How did this happen? Somehow in this version of The Godfather, Fredo took over the family.

Meanwhile, that thug Giuliani continues to dine out on 9/11 hopping around the country crowing something about "staying on offense" as if world politics were some kind of high school football game. All this mofo did was put on a Yankee jacket and an NYPD cap and waltz down to Ground Zero for a photo op.

And Conservative Coozbag Ann Coulter figures she can keep her profile alive by insulting John Edwards. Maybe the reason she wears those short skirts is that it makes it easier to pull the Republican talking points out of her ass. I know it's sexist but if anyone ever needed to be bitch-slapped... I mean, does Republican sperm really taste that much better?

And as three presidential hopefuls raise their hands proudly asserting they don't believe in evolution it's treated like just another opinion instead of being given its proper response which is to have the floor drop out under these three idiots, log fluming their asses out on the street. Someone who doesn't believe in evolution is not fit to hold elected office. Again.

We need our soldiers out of Iraq before "No Child Left Behind" simply becomes "No Child Left." A peacekeeping force in Darfur. The National Guard in New Orleans. And that colossal idiot and his gang of thieves out of the White House without being replaced by their kinder, gentler counterparts. Isn't 8 years of Compassionate Conservativism enough?

Hillary's too polarizing. Obama's cool but will be perceived as lacking experience. Gore needs to run. With Obama as the VP. We cannot let them steal another election. So, Ralph. You can't win. You can spoil. Do the world some good-- stay the fuck out.