The continuation of Skiing Uphill and Boregasm, Zug is 'the little blog that could.'

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Name: Ed Waldo
Location: of The West

I am a fictional construct originally conceived as a pen name for articles in the Los Angeles FREE PRESS at the 2000 Democratic Convention. The plume relating to the nom in question rests in the left hand of Hart Williams, about whom, the less said, the better. Officially "SMEARED" by the Howie Rich Gang. And now, smeared by Fox News and Sean Hannity, as well! Plus, FEARED by Ted Nugent! AND Hated by the Freepers!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

All Wind, No Wood [Part II]

I was tracking through the various blogs that form the right and left in my neck of the woods, and I stumbled on Ted Piccolo's "NW Republican blog," which I scan occasionally to see whether or not I'm being smeared this month.

It seems that Piccolo—who goes by the internet tag "I Am Coyote"—has "won" an "award."

It's right there at the top of the redesigned NW Republican blog, which is the generic blog design (with a little tweaking) that blogger offers when you open a new, free blog. They HAVE recently tweaked it, though. It's gone from white (hex code #FFFFFF) to a canary yellow background (hex code: #FFF3BF)

It's the "Thinking Blogger Award." Evidently it is given to blogs that make one think. At least, its placement at the very top brays the greatness of the blog. Alas, being a blogger who thinks, I immediately thought, what the hell is that award?

After all, I'm familiar with the whole "Web Award" mania that swept the early internet. The first awards that really had wide web distribution were the "Top 5 Percent Of The Web" awards, which came from a place called Point Web Reviews (pointcast.com)

As noted on this old MIT site:

City of Bits On-line has been named one of the Top 5 percent of the Web by Point Web Reviews. Point provides descriptions and ratings of the Top 5 percent of all World Wide Web sites, while searching for the best, smartest, and most entertaining sites. Their rating scale reaches from 0 to a perfect score of 50 in the categories of content, presentation, and experience. City of Bits On-line received a score of 43 in Content, 38 in Presentation, and 40 in Experience.
But a profusion of "awards" soon became a meaningless fog of awards, and, finally, "fake" awards became the scam of the early internet. There was a period that "awards" were handed out like candy canes at an orphanage Christmas pageant. After all, web awards aren't worth the pixels they phosphoresce on.

Indeed, our old friend "Freddy Lenz" ended up with a whole virtual wall of them, although their actual existence is questionable in the extreme (e.g. he probably made up more than a few). Take a look at his website.

In the middle, you will note this "Mystic Gold Medal" award

Ripped-off 'award' medal

-- which is, literally, ripped off from the 1996 World Internet Exposition "Gold Medals." I know, because I won a Gold Medal (as you can see on my website -- although the neon flashing outer rim is a modification that I made to the "official" virtual medal.)

A REAL web award

[NOTE: if you click on the medal on my homepage, you will be taken to the archived original webpage on the Netherlands server.]

There are awards and there are awards: In 1997, I paid taxes on $1000 in prizes that came with that award, including CorelDraw 6, (which formed the base of my video and publishing empire.)

As I said: there are awards and then there are fake ripoffs like Dead Freddy Lenz' "Mystic Gold Medal." (Hint, if you're going to rip off a legitimate award, at least have the good grace to do in a less ham-handed and transparent manner than the "Mystic Gold Medal." Otherwise, all we've got is a mustache on the Mona Lisa.) And note this: I do not say that Lenz was responsible for the forgery. He merely advertently or inadvertently collaborated in the fraud by displaying the bogus "award."

As I said, being a "Thinking Blogger," I looked up the original site, which spoke of a certain "meme" and the nature of the "award"—which I'll get to in a moment.

According to Wikipedia, a 'meme' (as opposed to a 'memento mori') is:

The term "meme" (... rhyming with "theme"; commonly pronounced in the US as ... rhyming with "gem"), coined/popularized in 1976 by the biologist Richard Dawkins, refers to a "unit of cultural information" which can propagate from one mind to another in a manner analogous to genes (i.e., the units of genetic information).

Dawkins gave as examples of memes: tunes, catch-phrases, beliefs, clothes fashions, ways of making pots, or of building arches. A meme, he said, propagates itself as a unit of cultural evolution and diffusion - analogous in many ways to the behavior of the gene. Often memes propagate as more-or-less integrated cooperative sets or groups, referred to as memeplexes or meme-complexes.

The idea of memes has proved a successful meme in its own right, gaining a degree of penetration into popular culture which relatively few modern scientific theories achieve.

Remember, this is ABOUT meanings, which in this case contain that philological buzzword (which I use with great reluctance—I'm still averse to "proactive") and its relation to this rhetorical universe that "political debate" currently exists within.

The meme I am familiar with respect to Piccolo/"I Am Coyote" is that what a thing is called is intrinsic to its nature. We find it deeply embedded in Vedantic philosophy, specifically in Mantra Yoga. There is an intrinsic and unalienable connection between the word and the thing represented BY the word.

It is an ancient Western conception as well. In Genesis, Yahweh instructs Adam to name all the animals:

Genesis 2:18-20

18 And the LORD God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him. 19 And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. 20 And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field ....

Again, the 'meme' that words are intrinsically connected with their objects is a very ancient conception -- in contradistinction to René Magritte's "Ceci n'est pas une pipe"

('This is not a pipe'), or his paintings applying wrong words to common objects. There is quite a bit of philosophical discussion of Magritte's philosophical point, which you can explore if you're interested.

The point which I adhere to is that the Vedantic/ancient Hebrew conception is, in my empirical experience, a more correct 'meme.'

And there is another meme here: "Coyote" is, in virtually all Western American Indian tribal mythology, the trickster, akin to the Norse Loki, or the Roman Mercury and the Greek Hermes. Coyote is found, again and again, as in the European conceptions as an untrustworthy trickster, whose tricks are sometimes beneficial, but more usually the cause of grief, as often for Coyote as for his victims.


Coyote often plays the role of trickster, although in some stories he is a buffoon and the butt of jokes and in a few is outright evil.
When I returned to Santa Fe, New Mexico, my hometown in 1989, I noticed that "Carlos Coyote" was everywhere: the coyote with a bandanna, howling at the moon. And I immediately thought it odd that Santa Fe, the ultimate solar city mythologically (the State Capitol building is consciously formed in the shape of the Zuni "zia" which is the solar symbol on the golden New Mexico state flag) was now ruled by the image of the lunar trickster god.

And, on a purely archetypal level, the symbolism held true: Santa Fe was referred to by locals as "Adobe Disneyland," and "Santa Fake," referring to the omnipresent trickery and fake "authenticity" that suffused the tourist culture of "the City Different"—by then more properly "the City Indifferent."

So, having grown up around the Coyote tales, I have to take Piccolo's self-bestowed moniker as seriously as had he nicknamed himself "Loki"—although in my experience, he is anything BUT low key. In the case of his new "award," I was naturally wary. WAS this like Lenz' "Mystic's Gold Medal"? Or was it legit? I looked all 'round the award website.

I did not find any reference to NW Republican or Coyote having won a "THINKING BLOGGER AWARD" anywhere on the website. So, I wrote the proprietor of the site and award. He replied:

Re: awards question

Apr 19, 2007

Hello Hart,

The awards are given by friends to other bloggers and not me (when I started it, I had to choose 5 bloggers). It is aimed for you to highlight 5 of the best blogs that make your gray matter work. Here is the post of NW Republican:


Kind Regards,


So, I checked the "I'd Like To Thank The Academy" posting. Here is part of what it said:

Tuesday, April 03, 2007
I'd Like To Thank The Academy

Oh and Max... for the nomination as a "blog that makes you think."


I don't totally understand the rules (so much for thinking eh?), but I think I am supposed to also link to this site so folks, well... understand the rules.

Yes. The rules are simple enough: you have to nominate five websites to receive YOUR award; in other words, the "Thinking Blogger" is a sort of unregulated internet chain letter.

The award itself dates from February 11, 2007:
the thinking blog
fuel by ilker yoldas

11 February 2007

Too many blogs, not enough thoughts! Nevermind, that didn't rhyme (blobs?). What I've been pondering on since I tagged Divya Uttam (and she tagged me back!) is the purpose of these so called blog memes. What is it? Could it be word of mouth marketing? Could it be search engine optimization? Or more simply, is it a form of 'innocent' link baiting?

The reason why I participated in 2000 Bloggers was because.. well, I don't know. It was the first thing that introduced me to the concept of memes....

Which means that Coyote was a little less than two months down the food chain from the initial unleashing of Ilker's 'meme.'

Let's trace the family tree of Coyote's "award," shall we?

Coyote was nominated (as one of five) by "Max Redline."

Max Redline's "meme" is the neo-traditional Right Wing "debate technique" of heaping derision on those who don't agree with him (ad hominem), and on those who practice "science" (as opposed to 'talking points'). Indeed, he seems somewhat obsessed with "Climate Change Denial" and making fun of "algore"—the old Rush Limbaugh slur, from the early 1990s. From April 15:

Yet Again, Another Global Worming Protest Cancelled

Heavy rain and sleet cut down a protest op in Reno, disappointing organizers. While a couple of dozen folks turned out despite the weather, most apparently opted to toss another log on the fire and curl up with a good book. AlGore's message seems to be losing some traction. What's surprising is that it ever had any. Well, he does sort of look like a penguin....
(NOTE: this is merely a representative posting).

Not what is generally considered "Thinking" in any system with which I am familiar, but let's look at where Max Redline got HIS "Thinking Blogger Award" (hereinafter, TBA):

Congratulations, you have won a Thinking Blogger award from WhackyNation.

"Whacky Nation" it turns out, is even MORE smugly self-satisfied with his "knowledge" about the mythology of global warming, and even more certain that heaping derision on Al Gore (herein termed the "Goracle") is the way to win scientific arguments. There is a "team" of three ideologically-joined-at-the-hip bloggers. Mark Gardiner, Lou Guzzo and Alex Hayes.

Lou Guzzo—author of the nastiest of the Al Gore ad hominems—has the gall to claim (April 9):
"as one who has devoted his life to journalism and the print and broadcast news media ..."
You might note the ubiquity of the 'meme' in all three blogs, thus far: Coyote, Max Redline, and "Whacky" all have decided that they are climatologists and that Al Gore's "Inconvenient Truth" was made up out of whole cloth by the former Vice President. Therefore, making fun of the former Vice President is the proper tactic to refute any scientific argument about "global warming." In each case, the Homer Simpsonesque smugness mirrors that of the "Traditional Values Coalition" spokesnake Andrea Lafferty, who told the New York Times on July 11, 2004:

"There's an arrogance in the scientific community that they know better than the average individual."
Call it what you want, but I don't think anyone could reasonably call it "thought." (Unless, in the meme of the right, 'unreasonable' is 'reasonable' as long as we say it is. You know, like their devotion to 'the Rule of Law' and to 'restoring integrity to the White House.')

We track Coyote's self-touted "award" still further down the chain:

March 31st, 2007 3:44 pm
Thinking blogger awards (sic)
By Mark Gardner

Leaning Straight Up has given WhackyNation the Thinking Blogger award ...
He reciprocates with the "elite" award by naming "Leaning Straight Up" as one of his five chain-letter citations.

And, as each succeeding blog has been nastier, and more mendacious, "Leaning Straight Up" takes vicious blogging to a new low, even as it brays:

"Independence, Moderation and rare Common Sense"
Mr. "Moderation" has a particularly vicious segment on the war protests in Washington, D.C. focusing on the "patriotism" of the leather-jacketed flag-wavers, and suggesting that the war protesters are:

Todays lesson for liberals: This is what patriots supporting the troops looks like

Mr. "Moderation and Common Sense"

Or, here's some more "moderation," and "common sense":
He's a lousy politician and a joke of a candidate, but he has GREAT hair
Posted Thursday, April 19th, 2007 at 11:51 PM by Karl under Just for fun

Some days, I swear, the politicians make our job too easy. Such is the case of John "Silky Pony" Edwards, erstwhile presidential candidate and Breck model....
Boy, that's sure "fun" ain't it? "Thoughtful" too. Right? You are cordially invited to read Mr. "Straight Up"s screeds, and adjudge whether or not they are "thoughtful" or the screams of a borderline psychotic ill at ease with any semblance of civility or civil discourse.

Here's some more "moderation" from Mr. Manners:

"The media are the biggest hypocrites, for they supported the leakers, and argued it was no crime at the time, while they now pander to poor Val who was victimized....by them.

"Plame is a liar. Too many people have clearly said she was not covert, and that she gave recommendations for her husband. She lied, period. I don't expect Ringmaster Waxman to call her on it.

"Wilson lied about his trip, about his findings, about the conclusions, about who he told, about the president, and pretty much everything else related to the issue. Joe and Val are partisan hacks who are in this now for the movie deal and the lawsuit. Period."
  • Gore is a 'prima donna'

  • Global warming is a myth

  • "More dissent to the Global Warming's Holy Consensus" (sic)

  • True patriots don't protest the war (but show up in leather jackets to "protect" the Vietnam War Memorial because you can't trust them commie protesters, etc. etc. etc.

  • Leftie blogs are filled with hate, they are "moonbats" and "nutroots."[And he has the gall to call himself "moderate."]
And where did our Rambo-wannabe get his TBA?

Thinking Blogger Awards
Posted Friday, March 30th, 2007 at 11:58 PM by Karl under general

Bushwack at American and Proud and Beth at Blue Star Chronicles have both graced me with an award, the Thinking Blogger award.

While on it's surface it seems like a bloggers chainletter, in that when you get it you should likewise honor 5 blogs that make you think, as i considered it and looked at other bloggers thus awarded, I am honored to be in such company (all sic).

So, here are my 5 blog picks for the Thinking Blogger Award (see rules below):

1. Steve at Andrews Dad
2. Max Redline
3. Suzie at Assorted Babble
4. Whacky Nation
5. Perri Nelson

Congratulations, you won a Thinking Blogger Award.
Note the family tree (a nut-bearing species, evidently).

Let's take a look at "Bushwack at American and Proud."

Bingo: we've hit the "hateblog" jackpot. Consider what "American and Proud" displays (just a few):

Another proud Amerikan
Good Ghod ...

"Bushwack" is one of three founders of this delightful society. (Consider the meme regarding language I've outlined above).

Or this (with another confederate flag): "Sons of the Confederacy." Or "Cowboy Code Blogroll" (another phony cowboy, see part I); "Reject the UN Blogroll"; the astonishingly phony astroturf group "Americans Against Hate"

Founded in August of 1998, Americans Against Hate (AAH) is a civil rights organization and terrorism watchdog group, whose goal is to be an active voice against those that spread bigotry and violence. While there are others that claim to do the same - and at times they do - far too many times they are suspiciously silent. Americans Against Hate was formed to fill that void.

There is no question that our focus has changed, since the events that occurred on September 11, 2001. Now, more than ever, there is a need for an organization such as ours... to speak out against hatred, even when it is politically incorrect to do so, even when it entails criticisms aimed at certain religious sects.

For far too long the free world has sat back and ignored the violent hatred that was growing within undemocratic nations. We therefore unequivocally support our government's - and any other willing government's - war on terrorism.
Which, I note, Bushwhack places directly above a "Liberal Hunting Permit."


Ha ha. That's 'funny.'

It is that astonishing meme of "The Lost Cause," that turns "hatespeech" into any criticism of the Klan, any protest against illegal wars, torture, etc. etc.

Aristophanes, alas, is dead, else he'd be laughing his ass off at the naked sophistry of that satanic reversal. If you read between the lines, "Americans Against Hate" is about bashing Muslims, now.

Before, I'm sure, it was about attacking any P.C. utterance as "hate speech."

Actually, they're lying. They allege that they formed in August 1998, two months ahead of the "hate crime" of the torture murder of Matthew Shephard in Laramie, Wyoming in October. But, according to SourceWatch:

Americans Against Hate (AHA) was founded in 2000 by Republican consultant and media specialist Stephen Marks. The group ran no-holds-barred television ads linking Vice-President and presidential candidate Al Gore to fellow Democratic party leader Al Sharpton.

Marks told the New York Daily News, "We want to hold Al Gore's feet to the fire, just like George Bush got nailed for going to Bob Jones University," referring to Bush's controversial campaign stop at an anti-Catholic school in South Carolina with an interracial dating ban.

Time magazine described the AHA commercial as one of the "gut-punching ads hit the airwaves last week [the end of October 2000] in the handful of ground-zero states as both parties and their sympathetic special-interest groups worked to boost turnout among the faithful—or drive it down."

Time described the AHA ad, which aired in four states (Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Tennesee): "Sharpton, says the announcer, admires Hitler (flash to photo of the dictator) and defends rapists and cop killers (video of Willie Horton-style mug shots). The ad asks, 'Mr. Gore...what kind of unholy alliance will you have with Al Sharpton?'"
Yes, they were the proto- "Swift-Boaters." Gee: One wonders who is being "hated."

Which brings us almost back to Coyote.

Recall from part I that I was talking about Ronald Reagan and George Bush, and how they were sold to us as "cowboys"—to which I should add they were also sold as "regular guys," "plain, simple folks," and "common sense," even though that was just packaging memes that the ad agencies that run the modern GOP came up with.

Down the page is a prominent coverage of the "Draft Fred Thompson" movement, or whatever it is (probably astroturf).

You see, Fred Thompson is the PERFECT candidate of the new GOP meme: is he a "president" or does he just play one on TV? He was a lawyer for the minority during the Watergate hearings —defending Nixon, in other words. Then he was an actor, playing aircraft carrier commanders ('The Hunt for Red October' 1990) and other powerful Alpha males.

And he served one term in the US Senate before returning to television.

Perfect: he's the meme. Is he a politician? Or is he the tough D.A. of one of NBC's endless "Law & Order" spinoffs.

World Net Daily, the online Pravda of the NeoCons reports breathlessly that Thompson may RUN for PRESIDENT!

The perfect blending of TV fantasy and real world reality. You don't know if he's an actor or a politician, just like you don't know whether the "Thinking Blogger Award" is a reality or a con.

Because reality doesn't matter anymore.

And, trickster "Coyote" likes it that way. Consider the genesis of his award: something that anyone can have, filtered through the websites we've examined, and ask yourself how debased that coinage actually is.


And then ask: is the "award" there to honor the blog, or to con you into thinking that "NW Republican" is some kind of intellectual, rational, reasonable blog?

Just a couple weeks ago, Coyote posted this looking-glass screed that could just as easily have come from the pages of "Americans Against Hate":

Violent Liberals
Friday, April 13, 2007

... Yet no where on this blog can one find a conservative calling out a liberal so that he can "punch" them in the nose. Yet you see this kind of behavior all the time by the left. Heck, just recently on a popular leftwing bigot blog aptly named "Horsesass" the blogster was inciting violence in his liberal blogaudience. How typical.
[Note: he belies his "moderation" at the bottom with this:
Yip Yip

Posted by I am Coyote at 6:27 AM

Labels: Moonbats
Well, painting the opposition as violent AND crazy 'moonbats' doesn't exactly burnish one's 'reasonableness' credentials. But that's not in the meme.]

At least they're consistent: Rationality has no place in the debate. It's all ad hominem. And it's the consistent meme throughout the five blogs—and their satellites, if you want to follow the chain letter further. I didn't pick and choose the most egregious examples. I simply followed the line of crumbs back to our "Lost Cause" Redneck mafia nominator and his "Thinking Blogger" award.

And I hope that you've done some "thinking" herein.

But, with his fellow "team members" (Coyote writes about 90% of all NW Republican posts) Ted Piccolo occupies an interesting place in the grand orchestra of American political discourse:

This Piccolo is all wind and no wood.


Thursday, April 19, 2007

All Wind, No Wood [Part I]

Ever since Richard Nixon's defeat in the 1960 presidential election was blamed on Tricky Dick's five o'clock shadow in the debates—versus Kennedy's famously telegenic appearance—the ruling elite of the Republican Party has been obsessed with the creation of media reality. Certainly one member has. And another one who I'll tell you about later.

It is seldom remarked that the media repackaging of Richard Nixon in 1968 as "The NEW Nixon" and his barest-of-squeaky-thin-margins victory over Hubert Humphrey was created by syndicated talk show producer Roger Ailes.

You know, the Roger Ailes who put together the Rush Limbaugh television show in the mid 1990s? The Roger Ailes who put together and runs (for Rupert Murdoch, Citizen Cain) the Faux Nooz Network?

The Roger Ailes who sends out morning memos telling the reporters what today's story is going to be (see "Outfoxed")?

According to Wikipedia

Ailes' career in television began in Cleveland, Ohio, where he was a producer and director for KYW, for a then-locally produced talk-variety show, The Mike Douglas Show. He later became executive producer for the show, which was syndicated nationally. He received two Emmy Awards for it 1967 and 1968. It was in this position, in 1967, that he had a spirited discussion about television in politics with one of the show's guests, Richard Nixon, who took the view that television was a gimmick. Later, Nixon called on Ailes to serve as his executive producer of TV. Nixon's election victory was only Ailes' first venture into political spotlight.

But it didn't end there. He started a consulting firm in 1969 and never quite left either politics OR television:

Ailes carried out Republican political consulting for many candidates during the 1970s and 1980s, but returned to presidential campaigning as a consultant to Ronald Reagan in 1984. He is widely credited with having coached Reagan to victory in the second presidential debate with Walter Mondale after Reagan had disappointed his partisans with what some call a lackluster effort in the first debate. In 1984, Ailes won an Emmy Award as executive producer and director of a television special, Television and the Presidency. In 1988 Ailes was credited (along with Lee Atwater) with guiding George H. W. Bush to a come-from-behind victory over Michael Dukakis. (Ibid)

Read the rest of the citation, about how Ailes moved from NBC to MsNBC to Faux Nooz.

Because this isn't about Roger Ailes. It's about creating the appearance of reality. We call them photo-ops, staged events, etcetera, but, finally, we actually DO believe them, in a way. Because fantasy and reality are skillfully interwoven to create the desired effect.

Take Reagan. Reagan's only movie contract western was a throwaway role in "Santa Fe Trail" with Errol Flynn (a movie having nothing to do with the Santa Fe Trail). According to legend, when Ronnie was President of the Screen Actors' Guild, he traded the Union's request for residuals in perpetuity to Lew Wasserman (head of the producers guild and later head of Universal Studios) in return for a career as what we now call "a motivational speaker" for industry, and a WESTERN television series.

Ever since he'd escaped Dixon, Illinois, to become a radio sportscaster for WHO radio out of Des Moines, Iowa, and won a trip to and a contract in Hollywood, he'd wanted to be a Western Star.

And "Death Valley Days," an anthology series filmed in the waning days of Reagan's movie star career, put the idea in our heads that Ronald Reagan was a cowboy. He introduced every episode and even acted in a few. (And when have you seen Borax advertised SINCE DVDaze?)

Thereafter, like any good Hollywood resident, he PRETENDED to be a cowboy, and then, during his governorship (and following his careful introduction to the national audience as a featured speaker at the 1964 Republican Convention in the Cow Palace, in San Francisco that nominated Barry Goldwater and William E. Miller to run against LBJ) the image of Ronnie the "Cowboy" was carefully burnished. He had a "ranch" and horses. And made sure he was pictured, often, in his cowboy hat, and on or near his horse. (The last Republican with any RIGHT to wear a cowboy hat was Barry Goldwater. The ones since have been greenhorns PRETENDING to be cowboys—that ancient and uniquely American con-game).

You will note that Dubya purchased a "ranch" in Crawford, Texas in 1999 , just prior to his presidential run. Wikipedia:
Then-Governor Bush bought the land, which was a former turkey/hog farm, in 1999 shortly after earning a $14.3 million profit from the sale of the Texas Rangers. Based on fair-market land prices at the time the deal was closed for an estimated $1.3 million.
Wikipedia also notes that in August 2001, they even came up with a LOGO for the "ranch" calling it "The Western White House / Crawford, Texas," and it looks very similar to the one you see in the White House Press Room behind whoever happens to be lying at the time.

(No cattle were ever seen, by the by, on either "ranch," a sure giveaway in determining who is a cowboy, who is a farmer, and who owns a vacation home.)

playing dress-up!

During the Reagan presidency, that image was burned into the American retinae, and now GOP faithful have their Reagan Cowboy Icons hanging in their homes, much as the FDR faithful had their icons of Franklin Roosevelt hanging in their homes during the Depression. (And none knew that FDR was confined to a wheelchair.)

Roosevelt was, by the by, the first president to fully exploit the power of radio. And, because it impressed Ronald Reagan, the former FDR New Deal Democrat, he did a weekly radio speech that's become a presidential tradition. In actuality, Reagan gave a weekly commentary during all the years between his 'de-governation' in California and his election to the presidency in 1980.

Again: the personalities aren't the issue. The point is about manipulating media; the point is to create a specific impression using stagecraft and slippery rhetoric. Both parties—as you say—do it, but the disconnect between the reality and the "spin" is particularly a Republican—which is to say, a Roger Ailes—province.

This is what astonishes me when a Bill Press—an obligingly unctuous television personality for aeons— cannot distinguish between the often inept news of CNN (since Press has only ever been on the "opinion" side of the news operation) and the ideologically constructed "almost news" of Faux Nooz: Near-nooz (like, say, "near-beer").

For the connoisseur of mendacity, the model was Pat Robertson's "700 Club" television show, which pioneered the weird veer in and out of Reality. His "Christian Broadcasting Network" news would begin with straight news: a tornado levels a town. Floods. Famine. And then, perhaps they would veer slightly into missionaries bringing aid supplies. And then they would veer into a 700 Club plane arriving with supplies. And, weirdly for years, it would slither into the testimonial about how being born again had saved the soul of a survivor of the terrible tragedy, and she/he would then thank NOT Jesus, or God, but, instead ... the 700 Club.

It followed the model that Walt Disney used most perfectly in "Mary Poppins." If you will carefully watch the "jumping into the chalk drawings" sequence, you will note that in four successive shots, one real element is subtracted and one fantasy element added, so that you have a seamless bit of prestidigitation: the "real" world to the "fantasy" world in four cuts.

This was, rhetorically, what we used to term the "Reagan meander." He would substitute terms over three or four reformulations of a question until he was talking about something entirely different than the question he was allegedly answering.

Hollywood, and media, relies on sleight-of-hand tricks. It's a great American parlor game to notice the continuity glitches in movies ... the glass that's moved; the hair that doesn't match between scenes. But you've got to be quick.

The same holds true for the modern Faux Nooz approach, the Bush schtick—who is always doing a bad copycat of what he THINKS Reagan was doing. Alas, George W. Bush is D.C. looking at Hollywood. Reagan was Hollywood looking at D.C. and there's a WORLD of difference.

It is, in fact, a testament to the resilience and tenacity of the English language that it is able to withstand the assaults that Bush so relentlessly unleashes.

But that is only a portion of what this is about.

As I've been explaining, I spent a long time in Hollywood, and in media, and much of what I do is trying to explain how manipulation of media is used to give a false impression of reality.

In my fictional "memoir," Looking For Aphrodite (1986), I reported on the various manipulations of the print media, as practiced by porn magazines of the heyday of the 'men's magazines.' I covered the manner in which endless pseudonyms are used to mask a small core of writers, and how we generated all the "readers' letters" writing endless variations on a theme at pulp rates of a few cents a word:

Dear [insert magazine name here]

I am a 43-year-old florist from Cleveland, Ohio, Recently, I had an experience which might interest your readers ... (etcetera.)

[Name and Address Withheld]

I wrote about media manipulations with my report in the mid-1990s on Doctor Guru Zen Master Frederick Lenz Rama. Sadly, "world-class snowboarder" and computer cult leader Lenz ended up in the bottom of Oyster Bay, Long Island, with a belly full of barbiturates and a dog collar around his neck. And his media manipulations are forgotten. (And, as my friend TOMM points out, the weird parallels between the death of Lenz and the death of Carlos Casteñeda—as reported in SALON last week.)

And I reported on the long scam of a group of white "Hopis" and activists propping up the donations scam that they were supporting poor helpless Navajo elders out in Arizona, who were being evicted from their land by Black Helicopters, Government Agents and the Peabody Coal Company. And how the media were danced through the manipulation mill, and dutifully returned to the East Coast, and wrote their teary, weepy books without ever ONCE having actually asked the Hopi Tribal Council or even the average "Hopi in the Street."

They were introduced to "Hopi" all right. Hand-picked Hopi who were, sad to say, often recipients of a cut of the donations.

And I've reported on the astroturf and media campaign to push the hidden agenda of Howard Rich's hidden masters in dozens of states in 35 ballot initiatives last fall.

And I've reported on the "political consultant" from Seattle who's set up his own little suzerainty, his franchise operation in my own county, among our Democratic Reps and Senators, even while he runs dirty campaigns, like the "Recall Paul Gallegos" campaign paid for by MAXXAM of Houston, whose newly purchased subsidiary, the Pacific Lumber Company, had been embarrassed by Julia Butterfly Hill's famed tree-sit in the redwoods they wanted to clearcut.

Gallegos, the new Democratic D.A. had been enforcing the timber laws of California, and, flush with the success of another Houston company in unseating the California governor, Gray Davis, and replacing him with a Republican governor who would dismiss California's case for the great energy gouging, MAXXAM brought in our very own "political consultant" to pick up the reins of a flagging campaign. He still lost, sadly for MAXXAM.

Yes. I track manipulation in media.

Because the media is so hopelessly entangled in the Mirror Maze of the amusement park funhouse that they can't tell the difference between fantasy and reality, either.

Just witness the extreme contortions that CBS has had to go through in order to fire Katie Couric's ghostwriter for plagiarism, and NOT admit that Katie's "Notebook" which is supposed to be her own, personal, video blog (Couric's version of being a webcam girl, evidently) is just a phony, made up little bit that she does as a promo. She doesn't write it, she just reads it. (And, soon, we won't even know if it's HER, or a computer-generated simulacrum "reading" the pre-programmed text.)

And she's lying to you. Just as CBS is lying to you. And how do they fire the behind-the-scenes ghostwriter "Producer" for stealing Wall Street Journal pieces, which may well be just as phony, after all? (Very, very carefully.)

After awhile, you lie so often, and lie so convincingly that you don't know where the truth ends and the fantasy begins—just like CBS News.

So it goes.

But that's not the story I wanted to tell you. That's all prologue.


Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Catholics - 5; The Rest of Us - Nothing

Well, as I warned in these pages a year and more ago*, the five conservative Catholics who make up the new majority of the United States Supreme Court struck today, in a ruling that follows straight Catholic dogma, in upholding a largely symbolic nationwide enforcement of the so-called "Partial Birth Abortion" ban.

[* In these blog postings, and others:
"So-called" because there isn't any technical medical procedure by that name. It is a classic Right Wing smear, like "Secular Humanism," a philosophy that only existed as a doppelgänger for Jerry Falwell to preach his message of an unforgiving and hate-filled Jesus—until some of the more feeble-minded and reactionary decided to adopt the moniker as a badge of honor.

It is as phony as George W. Bush's endless lectures about the "ideology of evil" that Al-Qaeda supposedly embraces, defined entirely BY George W. Bush as the continuing raison d'être for his ongoing war crimes and slaughter of innocents who never did a thing to him.

[By the way, the Virginia Tech slayings, horrific though they were, ought not to shock you, if you have a heart, or conscience, or any decency in your corroded soul: that is a NORMAL day in Baghdad, thanks to us. Remember, the day following McCain's rug-buying junket to the Baghdad market, 21 regulars of that market were kidnapped, blindfolded and executed, their bodies found north of Baghdad. How is that less a tragedy that the Virginia Tech slayings? But, as usual, the "good" people of the United States don't mind any atrocity as long as it ain't Americans being atrocitized—to coin a Bushesque turn of phrase.]

The one guarantee I can give you is that Chief Justice John Roberts will finally get his Skeletor-like wife to give him that blow-job he's been hankerin' after for all these years.

happy nights!

He's been a good Catholic prick. The 5-4 decision was written by Anthony Kennedy, who often votes against the Inquisition-style punitive viciousness that the other four Catholic jurists so dearly love: Antonin Scalia (who converted Thomas), Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and the aforementioned John Roberts.

I hesitate to refer to them as "Justices" for fear of making a bigger mockery of the term than they already have. But, as I said, the great victory of five white men in decreeing what should be done about women's bodies was a purely Catholic effort. All Catholics voted for it, even though it makes no exception for incest or the life of the mother, and all non-Catholics voted against it.

Did you REALLY think that anything else was going to happen? I warned about this, and, Cassandra that I am, the warning went not merely unheeded, but uncommented.

I bring it up here because I doubt that anyone else is going to notice that five "jurists" whose souls are, technically, in thrall to the former chief of the office of the Inquisition (no matter how PeeCee the retitling of the venerable and wormy office might have been) who was the "Enforcer" for Pope John Paul II, the most conservative and hard-nosed pope of the XXth Century—the antithesis, if you will, of the fundamental doctrinal decency of Pope John XXIII.

And they have delivered for Pope Joey Ratz.


I have news for you "pro life" pricks: We are overbreeding the planet. We are drowning in a sea of babies (that you don't seem to give a good goddam about once they're born) but you are more than happy to force women to carry unwanted pregnancies to term, because YOU know what "God" wants.

That's why we've invaded Iraq without provocation, right? And that's why we've hamstrung the World Health Organization with "abstinence only" education in Africa as the only means of stopping AIDS, and why we've managed to make giving out condoms impossible for them (thus sentencing thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, if not millions to the slow death of AIDS). Right?

Yeah, I think that as long as one dumps Jesus' litmus test of "by their fruits ye shall know them" you're doing a heckuva job, you moral shits. Here in Eugene, we have one of their segregated (from reality) schools on 18th Street that I pass often called, unselfconsciously, "Home of the Warriors."

Yup. Killing in the name of Jesus, that old oxymoron. But you can't terminate a pregnancy, because WE (who have no dog in the fight) have to uphold our version of what we have decided "God" said, no matter whether or not we cause pain, whether it is beneficial to the victim of our "Christian" lovingness, or whether we even have the capacity (as in the case of five Catholic judges) to become pregnant as a biological possibility.

Congratulations, you generation of serpents.

It doesn't mean much that Gonzales v. Carhart, 05-380, and Gonzales v. Planned Parenthood, 05-1382* (neither of which are referenced by most "news" coverage, by the by) are only symbolic victories. As the opposition notes (opposition to the opposition of abortion, who have oxymoronically painted themselves as "Pro life") the ability to perform abortions in the third trimester is hampered not a bit by the ruling upholding the banning of a non-medical procedure. "Partial Birth Abortion" was always a chimera, and a shibboleth. It was meant as an example of something SO horrific that no one could, in good conscience, support the notion.

[* download the full decision here, don't rely on the media to interpret it for you. Pay special attention to the dissents. ]

It was coined, hatched and fomented to create a clear fault line, to grab ANYONE sitting on the fence of "I believe in abortion, but not necessarily ALL abortions."

And, after an endless, decades long struggle to enshrine in law a fundamentally fictional ban on a non-procedure (a couple years ago, the hate-filled fanatical pricks of the "religious right" inspired by their role model, Lucifer, attempted to pass a "partial birth abortion" ban on the floor of the Oregon legislature, when someone got up and asked, "How many were performed in Oregon last year?" and when the answer came back "zero," the bill died a quiet death, aborted, as it were, by facts) after years of phony organizing, and showing endless gore-filled photos, supposedly of the cute baby seals, er, BABIES, victimized, a law was finally passed in the lunatic Republican Congress—since forcibly dismantled—and the lower courts dutifully relied on former non-Catholic Supreme Court precedent and struck it down as unconstitutional.

But they had not taken George "Son of Satan" Bush's court-packing into account, and so, by that narrowest 5-4 margin, precedent was reversed.

hail daddy!

So: take it as a warning shot across the bow.

And recognize that all the "Red Mass" attendees have had their way, and Kennedy, too, who does not attend the medieval "Red Mass"—rightly in my view, feeling it inappropriate to his high office.

Meaningless, yes. A warning, as well. What was most frightening was that EVERY Republican candidate released a "huzzah" press release, and all the Democrats condemned the action.

That, IN AND OF ITSELF, is sufficient to guarantee my vote for a woman's right to NOT be treated as a brood mare, as a breeding animal by sick, celibate patriarchs with little humanity and less compassion. Here's the poop from the New York TIMES:

Mr. McCain:

Today's Supreme Court ruling is a victory for those who cherish the sanctity of life and integrity of the judiciary. The ruling ensures that an unacceptable and unjustifiable practice will not be carried out on our innocent children. It also clearly speaks to the importance of nominating and confirming strict constructionist judges who interpret the law as it is written, and do not usurp the authority of Congress and state legislatures. As we move forward, it is critically important that our party continues to stand on the side of life.

Mr. Giuliani:

The Supreme Court reached the correct conclusion in upholding the congressional ban on partial birth abortion. I agree with it.

Mr. Romney:

Today, our nation's highest court reaffirmed the value of life in America by upholding a ban on a practice that offends basic human decency. This decision represents a step forward in protecting the weakest and most innocent among us.


Tommy G. Thompson, a Republican:

I commend the United States Supreme Court for upholding the nation's ban on partial-birth abortions. This decision sends a clear message that the United States values life and has no tolerance for this gruesome, abhorrent way to take a life. There is no place for partial-birth abortions in this country, and I am pleased the court upheld the law passed by Congress.

Note that at least two (Giuliani and Romney) had formerly been in favor of a woman's right to choose. But, the lust for power is sufficient that they've done a complete 180, which speaks volumes about their "trustworthiness," and "morality."

The only woman on the Court (the only jurist with any actual experience of pregnancy, in other words) noted this slim ray of non-Catholic hope in her dissent:

If there is anything at all redemptive to be said of today's opinion, it is that the Court is not willing to foreclose entirely a constitutional challenge to the Act. "The Act is open," the Court states, "to a proper as-applied challenge in a discrete case." ("The Government has acknowledged that preenforcement, as-applied challenges to the Act can be maintained."). But the Court offers no clue on what a "proper" lawsuit might look like.
—Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Justice Harry Blackmun (the author of Roe v. Wade) wrote in his 1989 dissent to Casey v. Reproductive Services (the third abortion "test" case of the term): "For today, the women of this nation still retain the liberty to control their destinies. But the signs are evident and very ominous, and a chill wind blows."

That chill wind is blowing from Rome.


Monday, April 16, 2007

The Big Push

Well, as Howie Rich's paid slime merchants liked to sniff, I prepare taxes.

This is not who I am. It is something that I do. Just as driving a tractor did not make me a farmer, operating cranes and gantrys did not make me a steel worker, and working in endless office situations did not make me a temp.

OK. I AM a temp.

I will only be here a century or so.

Meantime, tax day is tomorrow.


Sunday, April 15, 2007

Occam's Disposable Razor

One last thought on the Imus brouhaha.

When something weird like this happens, when you have a scandal that seems to come out of nowhere like this, there are two explanations:

First, that it is simply an expression of the Collective Obnoxious -- a lunatic falling-all-over-themselves media frenzy created by the endless pack-mentality and the copycat mindlessness of an increasingly centralized media. As I noted, this started out as a Manhattan food fight, but Manhattan exerts an almost black-hole like effect (the physics phenomenon, no ethnic or racial puns or referents implied), in which the sheer gravity of Manhattan gossip and the concentration of all national media on that wretched island ends up driving a national firestorm, even though, fundamentally, the rest of the country doesn't have much of a dog in the fight.

Or ...

Or, you have to ask yourself "Who benefits? Who profits from all this gratuitous misery?"

Certainly, as my friends can testify, I nailed -- with that question -- that Eugene state senator Vicki Walker stood to gain the most from the "Neil Goldschmidt" controversy of 2004, even as the media firestorm overshadowed the primary election, and drove all meaningful political discussion from the stage. Two months later, on the verge of being "outed" as the secret source of the career-destroying revelation that the ex-governor had a long-term affair with his baby-sitter a quarter century earlier, Ms. Walker outed herself as the "Deep Throat" of the matter. Having asked the question, it came as no surprise. (Merely as an affirmation of the effectiveness of asking the question that none of my lame-brain "colleagues" in the media bothered to ask.)

And, in like manner, we ask ourselves, "Who benefited?" in L'Affaire Imus.

The only answer I can come up with is: The Bush Administration.

I can hear you screaming, WHAT??!? All right, hear me out.

First, a very vocal media critic of the administration was silenced. Permanently.

(Kind of like Dan Rather, who's been replaced by that masturbation fantasy of the shut-in Right Wing, squeaky-clean Nazi nymphet Katie Couric. See here. And HOW COME there wasn't an equivalent firestorm over Katie's unbelievably crass plagiarism of the Wall Street Journal? Surely THAT vile bit of theft and cover-up far exceeds Imus' media sins by orders of magnitude. I guess Les Moonves was too busy firing the Imus staff -- and one CBS producer of Katie's -- to worry about such a triviality as blatant plagiarism by CBS' flagship anchor -- "I remember my first library card...." Good ghod. Or, perhaps she was too busy smearing Obama.)

And, the spotlight was, for a solid week, turned away from a myriad of major scandals, from a war that's melting down, and the bloodiest war week in Canadian military history since Korea in Afghanistan -- another war that's melting down. Alberto Gonzales got some breathing room, and Bush didn't have to make a speech EVERY MORNING to try and hijack the news cycle.

For a bunch that tries to hijack EVERY news cycle when it suits their needs, it was tantamount to a two-week vacation on the French Riviera. A much-needed week to get their ducks in a row, and their wagons in a circle.

By comparison to the outrageous plethora of Administration scandals, the Imus imbroglio was nothing more than media gladiatorial fluff: cotton candy for the OJ/Scott Peterson/Anna Nicole Smith rubbernecking-at-the-train-wreck demographic.

And lookie what happened: Barack Obama's presidential candidacy is suddenly facing an ugly racial backlash that didn't exist a week ago; the Bushies got a week's worth of breathing room; the Right Wing has been inflamed at the PeeCee "madness" of the "libs" -- as any assay of Right Wing web sites will quickly confirm -- and the pointy-headed bastards of the KKK/GOP leveraged a very nice week of intangible gains for the next election cycle.

Remember: fomenting race war was their tactic in 2006, even though it didn't work, just as fomenting anti-gay hysteria was their tactic in 2004, which DID work. And today America is quite a bit more racially polarized than it was just one week ago. Hmmm.

So, I have to ask myself, WHO benefited from the mess?

The media and blogosphere have begun to turn on Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton and the Society of Black Journalists in an equally crazy backlash. The KKK/GOP managed to get a week of cover. The Administration was off the front pages in a week that they didn't WANT to be on them (as opposed to the usual attempt to suck all the oxygen from the room). And there is a vast reserve of new unfocused anger and paranoia that can be exploited politically when the time comes.

I'd say someone made out big time, and left the rest of us with an ugly racial hangover.

But then, accusing the Bushies of media manipulation (or, in this case, exploiting a relatively inane comment made to a national cable audience of 3, if you include my cat, sort of like the well-timed firestorm that knocked John Kerry out of the race two months ago*) is just paranoia. Right?




[*NOTE: Watch out. Democratic candidates are being "swift-boated" in much the same way that Nixon took out Democratic candidates -- like Ed Muskie -- in 1972, until he had EXACTLY the opponent he wanted to face, George McGovern. The same thing seems to be happening here, and you ignore the manipulation at the peril of what remains of that "Of the people, by the people, for the people" notion that Lincoln so famously noted. The Muskie thing, by the by, was Karl Rove's 'baptism in slime' for that career that has arc'd without deviation to this sad point in history. - HW]