14 September 2006

Unlimited Terms of Endearment Part XVI: Howie's Bad Week

It's been a tough couple of weeks for the friends of Howard Rich. Nevada's Supreme Court gutted one initiative and tossed the other one out. The Oklahoma Supreme Court threw out their SOS petitions based on fraud and other improprieties. Missouri closed the book on SOS Missouri. The Michigan State Canvassing Board voted unanimously to toss out the SOS petitions for various improprieties. The Montana court threw out their petitions. And, in Nebraska, the Secretary of State's office found that there weren't enough valid signatures to qualify the Terry Schiavo initiative.

You have a week like that, and you just want to stay in bed with the curtains drawn for a couple of days, at least.

But it's hard to feel all that sorry for them. Because, with the exception of the two fellows in Michigan who might be relatives of the Americans for Limited Government Board, or other, interrelated boards, none of the friends of Howie Rich are affected by the passage or lack of passage of their cabal-concocted "magic bullet" cures for what they have diagnosed.

As Howie told that Oregonian reporter in Chicago: "It's all about the ideology."

Still, they ARE out a few million dollars' worth of uninvited agitating, and, given their mutual worship of the almighty dollar, right now that's got to hurt. We can take a measure of schadenfreude at the agony their wallet nerve must be in right now. I would imagine that it's a sort of sciatica of the money clip, and all the Tylenol in the world can't do anything to assuage that aching.

If you know how it feels when you are shown millions of dollars in a movie, and you realize that you are actually worried about it (it got burned, exploded, etc.) even though you KNOW intellectually that it doesn't actually exist, well, if you know that feeling, just put an exponent on it, and you probably have a pretty good idea of how they feel: people who are devoted to money feel intense pain at the unreimbursed loss of that money -- even if it's not their money to begin with, which is a distinct possibility.

There is something fundamentally creepy, frankly, about this unending welter of mystery groups with their shadowy backers that is, first of all, fundamentally antithetical to any conception of 'democracy,' and, finally, Machiavellian in the pejorative sense.

The simple morality of the fundamentalist would classify it as clearly "evil."

All through this one realizes that these people believe in what they are doing. But somewhere along the line, they decided that honesty and openness weren't as important as the 'work' they were doing, and, if needs be, they had to lie people into the truth, and manipulate them into freedom.

It has been a constant irony that their rhetoric invariably decries the "privileged" and the "special interests" when they themselves are nothing if not privileged scions with their own ideological special interests.

Howie Rich loves his pig, and they parade it around. The pig has been sighted in New York, in Michigan, in Montana -- parked outside the courthouse where Montanans in Action were denying any connection to Howie Rich -- in Colorado, where it seems to have evolved from a wooden horse (Trojan horse, get it?) after the friends of Howie Rich realized that most voters probably had no idea what the wooden horse represented, and even less idea of what that might mean.

Thus, the pig, even though "capitalist pig" would seem the easiest slur to throw in a mud-slinging campaign, and they, themselves most vulnerable to that slur.

There is a new website up, that was registered on September the 11th, Monday. It's called http://www.howierichexposed.com and the information about the Trojan horses of Howie Rich is a new piece of data on that website that I hadn't known before then. I have no idea who they are -- I'll googlemonkey it out one day, soon -- but I did immediately run a WHOIS on them:
Ballot Initiative Strategy Center
1025 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Suite 216
Washington, DC 20036


Administrative Contact:
Griswold, Oliver oliver@****
1025 Connecticut Avenue, NW
Suite 216
Washington, DC 20036

Technical Contact:
Administrator, DNS admin@****
8520 National Blvd.
Suite A
Culver City, CA 90232

Registrar of Record: TUCOWS, INC.
Record last updated on 11-Sep-2006.
Record expires on 11-Sep-2007.
Record created on 11-Sep-2006.

(I've cut out some of the boring stuff).
There are some minor errors, but all in all it's an impressive website. On one of the pages, the Governor of Montana is featured in a windows media video clip, challenging Howie Rich to a debate. He's standing at a lectern, shot facing three quarters left. Behind him on the state capitol steps a crowd stands, holding up their VOTE NO signs, etc. And then ... but first this FLASHBACK:
12 July 2006
Unlimited Terms of Endearment Part III,
Under A Western Sky

There used to be a commercial that enjoyed quite a lot of success here in the West: A group of cowboys is hunkered down around a campfire, eating chili, and someone pulls out his jar of salsa. The most grizzled old cowpoke tells the cowboy to read the label. "New York City," the cowboy reads.

And all the cowboys exclaim in horror: "NEW YORK CITY!!?!"

And the governor of Montana, in that videoclip, says "now there's a big shot in New York City ..."

And the crowd yells, with great vigor: "NEW YORK CITY!!?!"

Laughter. (Warning, if you download it, turn your volume down on his opening because the crowd's exclamation of mock-horror is loud enough to overamp your speakers).

And that's another bad thing that happened to Howie Rich this week. Howierichexposed.com is a well put-together website, and they say nice things about me, but that doesn't influence my evaluation. I'm just making full disclosure here. I have had no contact with them.

Sandlapper's leave-no-stone-unturned reporting on DailyKos remains brilliant and he posts with great regularity. And Becky at Preemptive Karma sticks with the story when anything breaks. And the number of sites and news stories focusing in on Mr. "I don't do interviews" (or debates, evidently) must also be extremely uncomfortable to Mr. Rich.

So, I don't think that there's much doubt that it's been a rough couple of weeks for Howie Rich -- who is invariably identified as the Svengali of the operation, even though it seems apparent that he has nowhere enough personal wealth to be doing this alone. One of my contacts tells me that none of it is actually Howie's money but I have no independent confirmation of that, even though the source has proved extremely reliable in the past.

But there seems to be a growing and truly grass-roots revulsion for a Rich New York landlord waltzing into our states and telling us what we have to do, and interfering with our state constitutions and the whole clockwork mechanism of government. It is a perfectly understandable revulsion, the fundamental perception is primal: this ain't your tree, don't mess with our bananas, bub.

Or, as so eloquently voiced by the good citizens of Montana on THEIR own capitol steps: "NEW YORK CITY!!?!"

Too bad it's dead in Montana now. I'd have enjoyed watching that debate if Howie'd been man enough to accept the very reasonable and justified challenge of coming and explaining to the citizens of the state he was messing in why he wanted to mess with their state.

But now, I'd imagine he's probably in bed.

With the shades drawn.

Tough week if you're a friend of Howie Rich.



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