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, March 24, 2007

Rites and Wrongs

We don't merely 'out' national electoral conspiracies or expose the crapulousity of the national press corpse (sic) 'round these parts. All work and no technical dogmatic theoretical micromanagement of obscure philosophical points makes Hart a dull boy, to paraphrase Stanley Kubrick's version of The Shining.

Sometimes, we are called upon to resolve matters of dogma and technical practice.

One Reader Writes:


When you spoke of the Dharma the other day, I was assuming you were referring to Buddhism. I just read an article on the Kali Yuga in wikipedia that seems to show Hindus have Dharma also. Do you know if their meaning is more or less the same and/or derived from the same source?



ps: and please - don't waste too much time on lil' old me. A simple response would do (though if you have the time to wax....)

To which I offered the following, highly technical Tibetan Buddhist reply:

It doesn't really fuckin' matter.

When you get lost in the complexities, the simple truths vanish.

"Dharma" in the context I was using it probably comes straight from the Bhagavad Gita: You fulfill your path by fulfilling your task impeccably. In Arjuna's case, it was the War of the Gods, and suddenly he was gripped with every kind of rationalization, doubt, question, etc. At which point, Krishna said, (I paraphrase):

Yo! Dude! You're in a chariot! You're wearing armor. This is a war.

What do you THINK you're supposed to be doing? Playing Dixie? Making tofu chili?

You're in a war. Act like a warrior.

You're here. Be here. When you're there, be there.

That's dharma.

It's a lot like the Hasidic concept that you constantly pray in order to liberate the life force that's contained (trapped) in everything. It's Don Juan's idea of being an impeccable warrior: the action is perfect, is not constantly undone by doubts, second-guessing, etc. When you act, you act. When you are still, you are still. Dharma, to me, was always that "moving meditation" where instead of sitting on your butt until your ass is square, you live your mundane life in an aware state, and act with purity of purpose in the best way you know how. If you are a writer, you don't "undo" your life by constantly dreaming of being a singer. When you write, you write completely. When you sing, you sing completely.

Nothin' special. The concept itself, like "karma" is well defined in Eastern thought.

Here's the relevant portion of the Wikipedia entry (toss the rest out):

I would throw out the "especially in a religious sense" portion as MEANINGLESS, since there is NO separation between secular and sacred. That's only for lawyers.

Sing: (to "I've been workin on the railroad")

I been doin' Kali Yuga
all the livelong life

I been doin' Kali Yuga
just to get my karma right

Can't you hear the dharma doin?
rise up so early in the morn
light up all the pricey incense
and lay off the internet porn.


"There's an arrogance in the scientific
community that they know better than
the average individual."
Andrea Lafferty, Traditional Values Coalition
quoted in the NEW YORK TIMES 7-11-2004

Friday, March 23, 2007

Whose Gore Is Being Oxed?

Regular readers of this little blog might recall the story earlier this week "They Get Their Own Facts." (March 16)

Well, Cyberjournalist.net posted this two days later:

Conservative Wikipedia launches
March 18, 2007

Andrew Schlafly, son of conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly, has founded a new site called Conservapedia.com, which describes itself as "a much-needed alternative to Wikipedia, which is increasingly anti-Christian and anti-American."
They're good people, and I subscribe to their e-newsletter. subscribe: http://cyberjournalist.publishmail.com/

And, I note in the latest issue that they're linked to this site, wherein a nice fellow named Yehuda Berlinger has posted his version of "A Blogger Code of Ethics," which -- I will note in passing -- I have ALWAYS followed, with respect to this blog. I've been a professional writer and journalist for 31 years now, and those hard-won lessons in "ethical" writing are so ingrained that I never stop to consider that most people don't know them, and most online 'journalists' and, sadly, print journalists, NEVER seem to follow them, let alone evince any evidence that they KNOW them.

Case in point:

Yesterday's "John Edwards" announcement. Elizabeth Edwards, it had become known, had received news about her breast cancer, diagnosed following the 2004 Presidential Election (felony convictions in Ohio on that one, not being covered in the media), and there was wild speculation about whether Edwards would abort his presidential campaign.

A wannabe commercial news blog "Politico.com" has a news blogger named Ben Smith, who posted that Edwards was going to suspend his campaign. CNN Radio, ABC, CBS, Reuters and UPI all reported that bit of gossip, rather than simply wait for the actual news and press conference. A few minutes after the address, they scurried (scuttled?) to expunge the erroneous bit of news, and, in the case of Politico, the blogger 'fessed up, and received props for his online "honesty."

Of course, the bogus story was expunged.

Go ahead and take a look. Many
mea culpas, but history has been erased. And what's to stop "Ben Smith" from erasing the culpas mea'ed, given time?

Ethics. (Oh. Whoops.)

A gazillion newspapers printed the vicious little gossip piece and then posted the post-speech AP followup as fast as they could. Notable is NEWSDAY, whose "Glenn Thrush" article was neatly "disappeared." Compare that with "Yehuda's" 'blogger ethics' point:


Unless my posting inadvertently violates one of the other codes mentioned, I will generally not change the URLs or delete my postings, although I may correct for grammar, clarity, or spelling.

If corrections need to be made, I will try to use strikeout rather than deleting the material and mark all updates as such.
Ladies and Gentlemen, THAT is a dishonest coverup. Here are some of the journalistic criminals who violated that precept of Journalism 101: 'Get it first, but get it right.'* Alas for them, the Google cache isn't quite so easily expunged.

Edwards to suspend presidential campaign: source
ABC News - 25 minutes ago
Mar 22, 2007 — CHAPEL HILL, North Carolina (Reuters) - Democrat John Edwards is suspending his US presidential campaign, and may drop out completely because ...

[* borrowed from a reader comment on Smith's blog: Posted By: Mike | March 22, 2007 at 12:48 PM -- first comment in thread, which Ms. Sklar and I both borrowed without attribution. - HW 13:40 PDT]

And the Los Angeles TIMES:

Edwards to suspend presidential campaign, Democratic source says
Los Angeles Times, CA - 38 minutes ago
Democrat John Edwards is suspending his US presidential campaign, and may drop out completely because his wife has suffered a recurrence of the cancer that ...
Here's NEWSDAY'S "GLENN THRUSH" (perhaps a relative of "Gary Gentile"?)

John Edwards to halt presidential campaign
Newsday, NY - 1 hour ago
BY GLENN THRUSH. WASHINGTON -- John Edwards is expected to suspend his presidential campaign Thursday, and might drop out of the race altogether, ...
Here's some more "legitimate" journalistic outlets whose commitment to "truth" seems, at best, a marriage of convenience:

Source: Edwards To Suspend 2008 Campaign
CBS 11, TX - 25 minutes ago
(CBS News) WASHINGTON John Edwards is suspending his campaign for president — and may drop out of the race completely — because his wife has suffered a ...

Source: John Edwards to Suspend 2008 Campaign
NewsMax.com, FL - 28 minutes ago
Democrat John Edwards will suspend his presidential campaign, and may drop out completely, because his wife Elizabeth has suffered a recurrence cancer that ...

John Edwards To Suspend Presidential Campaign-MSNBC*
CNBC, NJ - 38 minutes ago
By Reuters | 22 Mar 2007 | 12:02 PM. Democrat John Edwards is suspending his US presidential campaign, and may drop out completely because his wife has ...

[*how's THAT for incestuous? CNBC reports that MSNBC quotes Reuters ...]

John Edwards to halt presidential campaign
Orlando Sentinel, FL - 54 minutes ago
BY GLENN THRUSH | glenn.thrush@newsday.com. WASHINGTON -- John Edwards is expected to suspend his presidential campaign Thursday, and might drop out of the ...
Let's see: ABC, CBS, CNN, NBC (bpoth CNBC and MSNBC), Orlando Sentinel, NewsMax, NEWSDAY, Reuters, LA TIMES. Who else?

Well, WHO-TV in Des Moines, Iowa offered this piece of local investigative journalism:

... State party leaders believed that Edwards would suspend his campaign. Former Democratic party chair Gordon Fischer earlier, ( ',' is sic) confirmed that Edwards is suspending his campaign due to his wife's health, perhaps indefinitely....
At LEAST it wasn't the national echo machine. Do you begin to understand how poisonous this media concentration is? One bad story gets into the hopper, and every major news outlet ends up with egg on their face.

Er ... I mean that they OUGHT to, except that none will cover it, and the coverup of the irresponsible journalism continues. Politico.com probably WON'T lose credibility as a mutant print/internet news outlet -- neither fish nor fowl, Smith neither a quite blogger nor reporter -- mostly because it was an embarrassment, and in the nooz biz, embarrassments are best forgotten-- except for Christmas parties and drunken late nights at hotel bars, where the secrets sins of the botherhood (and cisternhood) of journalism 'fesses up to their secret shames, which are legion.

So, don't think that the "legitimate" press doesn't know about coverups. I've been around newsrooms (usually as a freelance book critic) for nearly thirty years now (since I became the first freelancer at the late Los Angeles HERALD-EXAMINER in 1978 because my buddy who worked at the telephone company overheard their scuttlebutt while he was rewiring their phone system, and heard that they were thinking of allowing freelance pieces in the paper, after having been exclusively staff-written for years). And, as such, I've had a unique perspective into their office politics (although they would be embarrassed to know it) , which are, like the office politics anywhere, feral and only in the realm of gossip.

And who guards the guardians? Who protects the public trust with those who allegedly protect the public trust?

Generally, no one. And so, they are allowed to get away with this atrocious behavior. Think about it, the largest news outlets in America were more than happy to quote secondhand, ONE anonymous source, because telling you in ADVANCE is more important than simply reporting the event in real time.

There is something fundamentally poisonous, cancerous and diseased about a news media that regularly reports the news to you -- wait for it -- BEFORE it happens!

Prima fascie, there is something WRONG with the headline: SO AND SO IS GOING TO DO SUCH AND SUCH. It cannot be.

Any fool who's actually observed reality knows that even things that EVERYONE knows are going to happen sometimes don't -- think of the 1989 World Series Game between the San Francisco Giants and the Oakland A's that was cancelled at the last minute by the SAN FRANCISCO EARTHQUAKE.


Any editor who passes on a story that tells you what is GOING to happen is in dereliction of every canon of journalism, and, by all rights, should have his face held to the stat camera glass, and repeatedly photostat'ed by quartz lamps until he's charcoal.

Well, except weather and financial reporting, which are always whimsical journeys into the flim-flam world of soothsayerdom and seance-land "the Market fell today because of concerns over the burgeoning widget shortage." Oh, reALLLLLLY? How could anyone short of "God" know what ALL investors were thinking? And, if this was a "poll" when was it taken? Or, was it, in fact, pulled straight out of your Collective Ass? The latter, I'd wager.

And leave us not forget weather: I have, on tape our local weatherman, John Fishbeck, telling us that summer water worries were over, the Cascade snow pack was X number of inches. A week later, the "pineapple express" from Hawaii arrived with torrents of subtropical supersaturated air, and that warm rain melted the snowpack and we had flooding for weeks. And the summer water was NEVER replenished that year. Soothsaying. But with weather, the "could be" and "maybe" are understood to be there, since it's ALWAYS prediction, and rarely reportage -- except for them cutesy-pie sunset photos that local photographers send in, desperately attempting to get their 15 minutes of fame.

(Parenthetically, it's rather sad, you know, that most people have never been in a TV news studio for any length of time and seen how tawdry and, in many ways, commonplace it is. The photo of the cityscape in back of the anchors, for instance, is usually JUST THAT. If you get up close, you can see the flyspecks and coffee-stains left over from some forgotten diva tantrum, along with stray flecks of spittle and that pancake makeup that they slather on, slowly killing the TV performers' skin -- after all, mostly they just read the news, and make sure their hair is properly coiffed, their teeth are correctly capped, and their diction is airy. Not, however, their proper enunciation. Feb YOOO ary is the rule. February the exception that proves the rule.)

When "fact" is mixed with fiction, fact will suffer from the association.

Fiction may not benefit, but fact will surely suffer. This is why "creationist" books are sold at the Grand Canyon. This is why Conservapedia can claim, straight-facedly, that kangaroos may have surfed to Australia on rafts of vegetation torn up by the Great Flood of Noah.

And, why Bush & Cheney & Co. could sell a war to a credulous press eager for revenge and not for facts.

(Do you really think that it could have happened, if the terrorists had, instead, brought down the Sears Tower in Chicago and Independence Hall in Philadelphia? Puhleeeeze. The New York media's bloodlust for revenge seemingly throttled their critical faculties, and here we are. Any inference about the poisonous nature of concentrating all "news" in New York and Washington, D.C. is purely your own speculation.)

Which leads us finally to Al Gore.

The Right Wing has launched a full-out blitz on reality with the fundamental ad hominem "Al Gore says global warming is a reality, and, therefore, because Al Gore says so, it can't be true."

The Republican pavlovs have had a generation to condition their true believers to drool on cue, and "Bill Clinton" and "Al Gore" -- or as Rush desperately tried to coin but never caught on, Algore -- are guaranteed bell-ringers. Woof woof.

There is not time to go into the motivations of those behind this Fantasy Blitzkrieg to prove that global warming is a "myth." You probably know them already, and if you don't, watch this space in future. But, this much can be said: it is imperative to the invisible hands that pull the marionette strings of the Propaganda Media of the Right (PMOR) that their dogs foam at the mouth whenever "global warming" is mentioned, irrespective of the dangers involved.

But the salient and conspicuously absent ingredient in all of this is "reality." "Facts," said John Adams -- when he infamously and famously defended the accused British soldiers of the "Boston Massacre" --"are stubborn things."

Which is why the entire "global warming" debate revolves around a few kook scientists and smearing Al Gore.

Because, as science has been belittled by this administration, much as Hitler and the Nazis belittled science -- to their ultimate peril -- except that which was convenient to their purposes, thus sending all of the atomic scientists (many were Jews) to America to eventually build the Atomic Bomb, so, too, the Bush Administration has conveniently ignored any science inconvenient to their ends.

The title "An Inconvenient Truth" is, itself, a spot-on critique of the whole yowling mob of imbeciles that increasingly characterize the "right." I watched the Senate and House debates on the latest "supplemental" request for war-cookies from the spoiled brats in the White House yesterday, and I must say that the new Republican minority is setting a new World's Record for whiny petulance in pursuit of political ends. I mean, half the speeches were on the order of "Mommy, I saw Jimmy take a piece of candy," conveniently forgetting that a mere year earlier, whiny baby brother had been caught trying to slit Jimmy's throat in his sleep.

It is to marvel. And it's so petty: like the bark of a spoiled chihuahua who's just been humiliated with a rock square in the nose. He is suddenly struck not merely with comeuppance, but is literally traumatized at the sudden realization of his REAL priority in the Grand Scheme of Things. "The Democrats didn't let us put ANY of our fifty amendments into the Rules Committee hearing!"

Or, (I am not making this up): "They said they wouldn't legislate in the wee hours of the morning, but the Rules Committee session lasted until 1 AM.) This, from the bunch who held the prescription drug vote after 1 AM in the morning, and held the vote OPEN for hours until, after intimidation and whitewashed bribery, they twisted enough arms to turn it the other way?

Dear Lord. I used to say that you could never fully comprehend the sheer magnitude of rationalization that the human mind is capable of until you'd either tried to convince an alcoholic that they are, in fact, an alcoholic or had debated a Jehovah's Witness door-to-door salesperson.

To that, add listening to a Republican legislator in Washington, D.C.

But, in Al Gore's visit to the Hill, even the normally sane Jon Stewart decided to get into bed with Ann Coulter in picking up what needed to be lampooned in a man who, to the best of my knowledge, has done NOTHING ignoble or shameful in all of this, and only selflessly acted in a
praiseworthy manner.

He is, Jon Stewart brilliantly observed, overweight.

That's it. The funniest joke in all of monkeydom save a couple: You're fat!

That ranks right up there with: "you're ugly! "

And "you're stupid!"

But below: "You have a funny name that I' m going to make a rude pun out of."

Of course, the piece de resistance of this brilliantine humor is: "I throw my shit in your face," of which the descriptive, "you're a poopyhead" is generally the first insult that we humans learn. Fortunately, we generally leave that ancient anthropoid joke (pre-dating our species, even as jokes like "shitting a brick" -- Aristophanes -- predate our language) to the realm of symbolic action (the pie-fight and the figure of speech) rather than actualize the metaphor.

Ann Coulter, clearly a mind in the same gutter as Jon Stewart's yesterday, has written a brilliant critique of global warming this week, entitled, "The Coming Ass Age."

I might speculate that Stewart's lapse into imbecility was engendered by the fact that Al Gore was invited to the Oscars this year and that Stewart, pointedly, was not. But that would be unfair.

No: as the complicit, increasingly criminal media (criminal for printing fantasy as "fact" and with no adjudgment as to which fantasies might be better, Left or Right) as that "legitimate" media covers the nooz about Global Warming (that's not right, quoth John Bolton, it is properly called "Global Climate Change" according to an administration who denied whatchamacallit's existence for five years and more) as that complicit media covers the brouhaha, they give "Equal Time" to the fantasy and the facts.

And, I have watched over the past month, as the Conservative Talking Points have quietly made the belief in science or facts a matter of True Faith.

They lampoon Gore because a slimy little Libertarian Think Tank*
found that Gore's got big electric bills.

part of the State Policy Network, some of whose whose staff members, along with Oregon Blogger Kurt Weber of the Cascade Policy Institute, and CitizenFOIA, sit on the Board of Directors of the little company, Total Consulting Strategies, Inc., that "sold" their "SPEND-O-METER" applet to every TABOR/SOS Campaign, and many state policy groups from Maine to Oklahoma, to New Mexico, Michigan to Oregon to South Dakota to the Hawaiian Islands. Hint to journalists: look in the page code for this phrase, sometimes omitted by incompetent webmasters: "copyright 2005, all rights reserved. Spend O Meter is the intellectual property of Total Consulting Strategies, Inc. email at info@totalcs.net"]

Woooo. Gore should use LESS electricity! (Even though we don't, because we don't believe in conservation, as Conservatives. We believe in profligacy, except in sexual matters. Right Mr. Bill "Virtues" Bennett?)

So, why do they feel themselves NOT hypocrites for using the internet and microphones, and glasses and airplanes, and cell phones and paper and PENCILS, when they reject science? Well, the bell seems to be ringing, after all. Woof woof.

And Jon and Ann notwithstanding, let me say this: if, in fact, we cut to the chase in this low pursuit of monkey humor, the final run will be the throwing of feces, and you two skinny pukes will NEVER win a shit-flinging contest from a fat man, so be warned. Think it through. (And, as I -- a fat man -- like to tell young people at buffets, "Kid, never get between a fat man and food. It ain't safe.")

So the whole debate about Global Warming, and the tremendous amount of decency, of taking a SCREWED situation (the theft of his legitimate election in 2000) and turning it into something decent and good, it all comes down to FAT jokes?

Good lord.

Why, that's almost as bad as the lousy job that the media is doing safeguarding our liberty. For instance, did you know that felony convictions have been handed out Ohio for tampering with the election of 2004? That Kerry -- it increasingly looks certain -- had the persidential election stolen by Bushies ... AGAIN?

(Posted 10 hours ago) Explosive new vote fraud developments continue to rock Ohio and Florida

Yeah. I know.

But it's literally all about having their own facts.

And I can tell you that life is self-correcting. If your simulation of reality (that which you perceive as reality, but which you KNOW to be five senses sampling little slices of the electromagnetic spectrum, most of which you CAN'T perceive without scientific instruments) varies with reality itself, you are in for a crash.

It's like a drunk on a river with a foot in two canoes. As the current increases, the separation between the canoes is going to increase to the point that one canoe or the other must be abandoned (assuming the drunk doesn't fall in the river). If he chooses the "fantasy" canoe, the drunk ends up institutionalized or dead. If the latter, he has a chance of surviving.

Facts are stubborn things.

So: we report news before it happens. We decide to throw facts out when politically inconvenient. Might I lobby meekly for reality? For 'just the facts, ma'am"?

Thought not. OK. Onward.

To you reporters:

There is such a thing as "reality." There are such things as "facts." Your job is to filter those and give us a reasonably accurate picture of what's going on. The fact that it's impossible is a dumbass cavil from sophomore philosophy: can you ever know the perfect final Truth? No. Deal with it. Do the best you can.

I am beginning to think that the single most dangerous innovation of the XXth Century was sending these boobs to ivory tower journalism schools, and not to the harsh realities of real life on the streets. Trust me: it ain't nothin' that you can learn in some airy-fairy j-school. There's crap out there that'll curl your toes, chillun. Just ask my friend, SG, who was shot in the back of the head and stuffed into the trunk of his car in Hollywood -- the smell finally gave away his condition: murdered in cold blood.

(Everybody knows who did it, but nobody -- this reporter included -- is going to go after them. We'll have to leave that one to karma.)

You don't learn about that crap in journalism school. But the unreality that our j-school "journalists" of the last couple generations have learned seems to stick with them for a lifetime.

To you non-dittoheads:

Hang in there. Reality is a powerful principle, and the truth will, finally, set you free. But you have to be unflinching in facing it. It is often inconvenient.

To the pavlovian dittoheads (who can read or know someone who can):

You don't get your own facts, anymore than you can say that because Al Gore says the Earth is round, it is, therefore, flat. It is not a matter of political "belief." If Hitler says two plus two is four, that does not make it a false proposition. If you don't like Algore, that has no bearing on global warning. (Whoopsie! I think I hear your bell ringing.)

It is also, I charge, a form of criminal political insanity, and you are NOT allowed to take part in the decent politics or governance of this country.

If you're so goddamned cocksure of your own insane "reality" -- because the White House fax machine has told Rush and the Wall Street Journal editorial page staff to TELL you it is so -- then you may NOT live on this continent. I freely cede you the giant island just east and south of the Hawaiian islands.

I know that it isn't on any "map" or on "satellite photos," but, given your deep belief in your ability to force reality to conform to whatever cockamamie belief system you non-thinking "dittoheads" subscribe to, I'm SURE that you will find it.

If only you believe hard enough. Like with global warming. Like with "abstinence-only" education as a way of stopping AIDS in Africa; like cutting down all the trees, and despoiling the Earth because "Jesus is coming soon."

I understand the sunsets there are spectacular. You can even call it "Reaganland."

So, ask not for whom the bell rings.

It rings for thee.


Addendum: Rachel Sklar on Huffington Post has a similar story about the wrong call on the Edwards campaign.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Strictly From Commercial

Have you been waiting to buy a pair of Disapproving George Boxer shorts?

Here's your chance!

By popular request we are opening a Zug swag shop.

This is to help defray the costs of putting out this blog (for which I don't receive a thin dime) AND to spread graphic propaganda throughout the known Universe.

Get KEWL Zug Swag!!
Get your KEWL Zug Swag HERE!!!

Or, simply bookmark this URL: http://www.cafepress.com/zug

We are PARTICULARLY impressed with the Zug Courier's Bag, which is just ... too cool!

And, given the terrific amount of coding time it took to set up the products, the graphics, and write the scintillating and hilarious product descriptions, I invite you STRENUOUSLY to go and take a look. You might find the baby bib more to your liking, or even the Zug G-String. And, at an astonishingly reasonable price, YOU can have a Zug wall clock! 1001 household uses!

Read it as comedy, or buy enough to gag a Yeti. Just visit.

Amaze your friends. Makes a great stocking stuffer. Never too early to start that Christmas Shopping. Consume. Not connected in any way to United Mutations.

"The modern-day composer refuses to die" -- Edgard Varèse (1883-1965)


Wednesday, March 21, 2007

The Nanny State

The editor of REASON, Elvis impersonator Nick Gillespie (no doubt in his black leather jacket) was getting off sound bites on CNN radio news the other day about “the nanny state.” Gillespie is a member of that Cato “in” crowd of would-be libertarians who would like to save us -- as strong mother Ayn Rand commanded -- from the weaklings and the mobocracy.

And after years of trying to write this column, something clicked.

I finally had a nail to hang this tale on, and we need, for a moment to return to OUR fountainhead, Greek Mythology.

Heracles and Omphale

In one of many variations on this theme, as penalty for his murder of Iphitus, the great hero Heracles was, by the Oracle's command, sold as a slave to Omphale for a time. There are many late references in texts and art to Heracles being forced to do women's work and even wear women's clothing and hold a basket of wool while Omphale and her maidens did their spinning, as Ovid tells: Omphale even wore the skin of the Nemean Lion and carried Heracles' olive-wood club.


Omphale's name, derived from Omphalos, a Greek word meaning Navel (or axis), may represent a significant Lydian earth goddess. Herakles' servitude thus may represent the servitude of the sun to the axis of the celestial sphere, the spinners being Lydian versions of the Moirae. Most earth goddess religions contained a priesthood which wore women's clothing, was effeminate, or involved eunuchs. The priest of Herakles, curiously, also wore female clothing, and this myth may represent an attempt to explain the fact.

It is an ancient mystery, and one that we seem to have long forgotten -- there is a vast gulf in the way that a man sees the world, and in the way that a woman sees the world.

We have literature and stories across a hundred generations -- usually, because of male physical dominance, shaded to the masculine view of the world -- that tries to explain, or makes a joke of the difference in male thinking and female thinking.

Going back further: each sex, in the Biological Imperative to survive and reproduce, has a different strategy.

The default in humans (and most mammalian, and most sexually differentiated species) is FEMALE. While males may be necessary for reproduction, the actual, rather incredible process is engineered solely into the female body and instinctual processes.

For the survival of the species, it HAS to be foolproof -- the dumbest bunny has to be able to give birth on her own. Otherwise, the species could not survive.

AND ... in the case of humans, a series of instinctually ingrained priorities MUST be present, because no fetus can survive merely by being born. It must have the care of the mother (or, others, at this point) who oversee its slow climb into being able to control its bodily functions, stand, walk, feed itself, clothe itself and survive on its own.

That age of survival can come very early, as the street children of Rio de Janeiro apocryphally attest to. But that age is STILL a couple of years, and so instinct there must be foolproof, as well.

Because if reproduction were left solely up to humans, humans would very quickly either fail to reproduce, else botch the reproduction that they managed entirely.

Either way, humans would no longer exist.

We call these instincts “the maternal instinct” and it is -- because it HAS to be -- the strongest instinct in the species.

Unfortunately, it is also a very VERY conservative instinct. The natural tendency of the maternal instinct is to NEVER allow harm, threat or risk to come to the offspring, and when this is completely out of balance, we call it being a “mommy’s boy,” or “smotherly love,” or “being mothered to death,” etcetera.

Now, I bring this up because it is crucial to our understanding of what will follow. Think of Hercules in his apron, doing “women’s work,” and think of the implicit humiliation that the male readers of the story have felt over the past 3,000 years.

All right, now, you are in a revolutionary generation. You have seen women’s status change more in the “political” arena than at anytime in the past 3,000 years or so. It is really such a huge change that it’s hard to comprehend over the course of one lifetime, or one century.

It began with the long struggle for suffrage, beginning with suffrage in the Wyoming Territory just after the Civil War, and reaching a first peak in 1920, with the passage of the 19th Amendment. But that was merely a plateau phase, and had to extend to the next culmination, the women’s movement of the 1970’s. The Equal Rights Amendment was nearly ratified, but was beaten back by professional hysterics at the last moment. Here, let THEM say it better than I could:

The Equal Rights Amendment, first proposed in 1923, is still not part of the U.S. Constitution.

The ERA has been ratified by 35 of the necessary 38 states. When three more states vote yes, the ERA might becotme (sic) the 28th Amendment.

But this is NOT about amendments or women’s rights or even cross-dressing, gentlemen, so it is safe to keep reading. Remember Nick Gillespie in his macho leather jacket, editing REASON magazine with a macho hand and railing against the “nanny state.”

I must confess that for many years I have railed about the “childproofing the West” campaign that endlessly continues. I am firmly convinced that it will not end until the last piece of styrofoam has been wrapped around the last sharp rock, and the last cactus spine has been safety-tipped.

And I explained to the motorcyclists of Oregon -- now the Motorcycle Caucus -- how to create an official caucus in the Oregon Democratic Party -- their main political issue being that Mommy doesn’t have the right to tell them to wear their helmets. I GET it.

But, when you really sit back and think about it, this squeal about the “Nanny” state is nothing more than the classical horror and humiliation projected by generations of men on Herakles doing “women’s work.”

Just think of Jim Backus in the classic movie “Rebel Without a Cause.” We know that he’s lost his masculinity because he’s wearing an APRON over his business suit. He’s not STRONG like poor angsty James Dean wants him to be.

But, take it from a kid from Wyoming: you don’t have to give up your masculinity to accept that women have a legitimate point of view. Think about it: the entire Bush Maladministration has been one long bit of Macho Posturing.

And, sadly, macho posturing by Not Real Men to other Not Real Men. Fake cowboys clearing brush on “ranches” purchased in Texas farm country just before the 2000 election. Psycho Wyoming townie and professional draft dodger Dick Cheney slaughtering tame and wings-clipped pheasants and quail. These are not “macho.”

It is macho posturing. The whole war jag, the bluster, the we’re gonna keep you safe.

OK: It gets back to the male role in the reproductive process. Where the female has to HAVE the kid, in all species from birds to humans, the male has to be able to PROTECT the kids and the process, and PROVIDE for the mother and the children.

We’ve even codified it into law in ten thousand places over thrice as many years.

But this whole “libertarian” philosophy, and this whole “conservative” I’m a FREE man, is just that: the philosophy of a mature male, without any responsibilities. Let them do the women’s work, and we, brave hunters, will cut brush (fearful of horses) and shoot old guys in the face.

Yippie yi-oh ki-yay!

Men have had the monopoly on the political process for thousands of years. Now, I don’t for a minute believe that any creature as cunning and intelligent as Woman could be cut out of the process for that long. Their political impact has been exercised in other ways.

“Behind every great man, there’s a woman,” etcetera. Our cliches acknowledge it.

No: what I’m talking about is mechanical. Our laws have had a masculine cast because they were cast by men. We talk about the Founding Fathers and never the Founding Mothers. We worship the “framers” -- most ESPECIALLY the conservatives and the libertarians. Witness the “Cato Institute,” the “Federalist Society,” the “Heritage Foundation,” “Townhall dot com,” the “Sam Adam Alliance,” etcetera.

The only comparable tough women I can think of would be the Daughters of the American Revolution, who can move giant stones the way you’d move an end-table. Take a look at any polished stone monument in the West, and chances are it’s the D.A.R. who put it there. (Don’t mess with those chicks.)

And, it is to that “masculinist” conception of politics that the term “the Nanny State” refers.

I got news for you, “sovereign individuals,” and Ayn Rand freaks: when we established women’s equal voting rights in the political sphere, we gave up that John Wayne conception of the rugged individualist, master of his destiny, social Darwinism (the only form of Darwinism, ofttimes that conservatives believe in, and then with a religious fervor).

When human law and philosophy come into conflict with human instinct, instinct wins every time. Just look at what a long and difficult history we have in regulating human sexuality. Every myth cycle seems to spin out of control in some tale of a king or a queen or a goddess or a god breaking sexual taboos -- from the Iliad to Camelot. From Gilgamesh to Chaucer to Jackie Collins.

But human instinct isn’t just about the sexual. It’s ultimately about the reproductive. And in that arena, the maternal instinct holds unquestioned sway.

The maternal instinct WILL make its voice heard in the halls of government. That is inevitable. That is the direction of history. And it is altogether meet and proper that this is so.

But listen to this from the Cato Institute’s webpage (I cite them as an example. They are by no means alone.):

The Jeffersonian philosophy that animates Cato's work has increasingly come to be called "libertarianism" or "market liberalism." It combines an appreciation for entrepreneurship, the market process, and lower taxes with strict respect for civil liberties and skepticism about the benefits of both the welfare state and foreign military adventurism.


Market liberals have a cosmopolitan, inclusive vision for society. We reject the bashing of gays, Japan, rich people, and immigrants that contemporary liberals and conservatives seem to think addresses society's problems. We applaud the liberation of blacks and women from the statist restrictions that for so long kept them out of the economic mainstream....

Get that last part? We applaud the liberation of blacks and women to be tough guys like us. It’s implicit. We John Wayne entrepreneurs , gutsy and untaxed (since WE built all our wealth all by ourselves) welcome you women and blacks (somehow equating them, perhaps on the level of freed chattel) to ...


That’s the sort that hates the “nanny state.”

That’s what’s implicit in the slur. “I can do it MYSELF, mommy!”

Hey. Don’t think that I haven’t been there. I was the MOST assertive little kid around. If you don’t believe me, ask my family. The tales are many and legendary.

So I understand WHY the “John Wayne” model cannot ever be the dominant model in our society again.

In some ways, the Bush regime is a bizarre manifestation of this sea change in politics. The “maternal” response to 9/11 was, well, the “Mother” reacting to the endangerment of her children. Remember, there is no animal -- not even a wounded animal -- more dangerous than a mother defending her young.

And the Bushie “we’re Cowboys and we’ll protect you” meme played right into that instinctual response. I don’t need to go into it here, and it’s been pointed out elsewhere that the Democratic candidates after 9/11 didn’t play into that security theme, and lost as a result.

When it was clear that the Bushie Cowboys COULD NOT protect “our children” they lost both houses of congress.

But the rock-ribbed “conservative” philosophy is a peculiarly masculine view of the world. And, one that increasingly makes little sense in the shared male/female view of the world that our politics now embraces openly.

We are still very schizophrenic about our view of the matter. The “First Lady” of the United States has her own staff, her own budget, and a myriad of “powers” that are inherent in her sexual situation, but are nowhere understood in Constitutional law. We do not know what to do to acknowledge that the wife of a president is more intimate (and therefore potentially more influential) than anyone else in the country.

Sexual politics ARE politics, and this screech against a “Nanny State” is, finally, no more than a masculine sexist slur. Or, call it a masculinist slur. (Masculinist slurs are most often uttered by those males who feel themselves, ironically, most emasculated.)

The ‘dream’ of the masculinist state is, inherently, doomed, as a pure matter of historical impetus. Or what? Are we going rescind women’s right to vote?

I think it is too late for that. We must accept that the maternal viewpoint does NOT see the world as atomistic, and everyone as a strong, independent individual. That only holds true for a few males in the prime of their lives. For EVERYONE else, that is not true, and as a political fantasy will give way in time.

Just because two million people who experienced “Indian” wars and other armed conflicts as a daily reality codified the unlimited right to have guns does not mean that it makes any sense in the world we live in today.

And just because John Wayne made it by his own efforts does not mean that the man living in the cardboard box has an equal opportunity, or should die because he’s weak.

If we allowed humans to die because of weakness, we’d have to kill everyone before they ever got started.

And we’d have to kill them when they got old. Whether Nick Gillespie prances around in his leather jacket or not, as soon as he became weak, well, too bad for him, right?

No: as women’s worldview becomes a co-equal partner in our political culture, her weltanschauung will inevitably enter into the law. And if you want to call it a “Nanny state,” so be it. It may even be the WRONG world view.

But it is an inevitable world view, and we need to stop thinking of government as a giant ‘boys club’ with women allowed as members as long as they act “like one of the boys.”

It isn’t and they aren’t. Or shouldn’t be. The Nanny is here to stay.

Still, I think that there was a profound reason for the priest of Herakles -- the ne plus ultra of macho, remember -- to wear a woman’s dress. And it’s still profound.

Now, back to Childproofing the West.

And ratify the damned ERA, would ya? Jeez.


Tuesday, March 20, 2007


It's Spring!

Impeachment's a blooming!


Monday, March 19, 2007

The War Letters

For this Fourth Anniversary of The War Against Saddam (Insane), I am going to trot out my credentials as someone who called this a disaster since BEFORE we got into it. And, called this a matter of war crimes when no one was willing to say so publicly.

The titles are my own. They were never used by the RG editors, and appear here for the FIRST TIME ANYWHERE! A Zug exclusive! (I know it's not that Earth-shaking, but in a world of mind-numbing and constant hype, you've got to keep up with the Jonestowns, right?)

Here are my public letters in the Eugene REGISTER-GUARD for 2003, that year of the Hawk Triumphant. It seems the only way to "celebrate" this dark, fourth anniversary of Our Little Quagmire. The liars who bullied us into it, are, by the by, now trying to spin us into staying, into victory, etcetera. We begin with them.

And, note, I have a little trick I love to bedevil the R-G Editors with. Every letter is EXACTLY 250 words long, not 249, not 251. 250. Precisely. Why?

Just for the sheer cussedness of it all. I've written to precise wordages for so long, it's a little writer's game I play. Anyway ....

Eugene Register-Guard
November 27, 2002

Political pornography

How did we come to this?

As I write this letter, we are in our third day of unrelenting, right-wing hate attacks on 10 seconds of a Sen. Tom Daschle observation that Rush Limbaugh and his wannabes have increased the number of threats that he and his family have received. For two solid days, and now a third, the hate radio jocks of America have attacked Daschle in terms once reserved for back alleys and bathroom graffiti. And all the while, they pule and whine about their "free speech."

Hate radio is not free speech. Hate radio is the opposite of free speech. At first blush, the U.S. Supreme Court's classic opinion seems to defend hate radio: Americans have a "profound national commitment to the principle that debate on public issues should be uninhibited, robust, and wide-open, and that it may well include vehement, caustic, and sometimes unpleasantly sharp attacks on government and public officials." But, in fact, hate radio is commercial speech and a type that has the effect of suppressing that very robust debate that the Supreme Court has repeatedly held is indispensable to the functioning of our democracy.

Where is the robust debate when Daschle speaks 10 seconds and Limbaugh fulminates for six hours? (Add the additional dozens of hours from Rush wannabes such as Lars Larson and Victor Bok!)

The students at the University of Oregon have every right to wonder how KUGN-AM radio can call itself the "Voice of the Ducks" and broadcast this political pornography.



Eugene Register-Guard
February 24, 2003


San Jacinto, Agincourt, The Battle of Marathon, The Spanish Armada: history is filled with examples of arrogant men and armies finding disaster against much smaller, weaker foes. The "common knowledge" of the Civil War was that the Army of the Potomac would march straight to Richmond and end the war on its first day at the First Battle of Bull Run.

All were humiliating defeats.

More than the Byzantine spins and twists in all the reasons for making war - that we must go to war to prevent war; that, in order to stop the "rogue nation" of Iraq, we will become a rogue nation ourselves if the UN doesn't concur - I am worried about the astonishing hubris of our War Hawks. They've already carved up Iraq's oil franchises; they're busily planning for the Iraqi Occupation; they've even sketched out the post-Saddam government.

We are following the classic prescription for a devastating military setback arrogant overconfidence. Were disaster to occur, the consequences for the United States, our position in the world, our relative security in that world, would be set back far beyond any reckoning of those who seem to think that war is a casual event, like a fund-raising concert, or another gala.

I have someone's World War I trophy, found in an abandoned ranch house in New Mexico. It depicts a German imperial crown surrounded with the motto "Gott Mit Uns" or "God's on OUR Side." That government was in tragic error. Right or wrong, I hope we're not.



Eugene Register-Guard
April 13, 2003

Are we looking for fights?

Many years ago, my Aikido instructor warned me that there was a great problem in the study of martial arts: karate, kung fu, ju-jitsu and the rest. "The problem," he said, "is that you have to constantly train and practice, so, many times, all you think about is fighting. As that becomes the focus of your thinking, you find yourself constantly looking for or drawn into fights."

In other words, the continual pursuit of skill in fighting has a tendency to lead to the continual pursuit of fighting itself.

I wonder, with our few military enemies and our huge military budget if, as a nation, we're not following down that path my instructor warned about. When you constantly prime, equip and train your huge military, do you have a tendency to start constantly looking for ways to use that capacity?

His view of Aikido was that it was useful because you were, at worst, constantly looking at how to avoid fighting and how to quickly cease fighting even when fighting could not be avoided. Is there a large-scale version of this kind of thinking that we could apply to our own defense? We changed the War Department to the Defense Department in 1947 and yet we keep fighting wars far, far away from our home shores.



Eugene Register-Guard
June 19, 2003

A question of war crimes

After 80 days, it's time Americans confronted a grave question: If no weapons of mass destruction are found, then members of the Bush administration are guilty of war crimes.

The U.S.-sponsored United Nations Charter, Chapter 1, Article 2, states: "The Organization is based on the principle of the sovereign equality of all its members." And "All Members shall settle their international disputes by peaceful means in such a manner that international peace and security, and justice, are not endangered."

Saddam Hussein was evil, but we had no lawful right to depose him. These are our American values.

In the 1945 Nuremberg Trials, there were four counts, and one, if not two, are applicable here. Count one: conspiracy to wage aggressive war, and count two: waging aggressive war, or "crimes against peace." When it was argued that the court had no jurisdiction, U.S. Supreme Court Justice Robert Jackson, lead prosecutor, rejoined, "The wrongs which we seek to condemn and punish have been so calculated, so malignant and so devastating that civilization cannot tolerate their being ignored because it cannot survive their being repeated."

Remember that in the near year of spin leading up to this war the term "regime change" was never used until 48 hours before the war began: because such a war would have been unlawful.

If war crimes have been committed (thousands are dead), those who screamed about the "rule of law" in 1999 better step up to the plate, else there is no such "rule."



Eugene Register-Guard
August 8, 2003

A Lynching

Steve Williams' defense of the lynching of Saddam Hussein (8-1-03) mirrors the near-universal screech of the "Rule of Law" crowd these days. "Saddam was bad - ergo the ends justify the means."

Nothing could be further from the "Rule of Law." Remember, WE were the ones who spent much of the Twentieth Century trying to legitimize international law. WE were the party who spent nearly a year attempting to obtain legitimate authority to engage Saddam Hussein (to "disarm" him, NOT to "depose" him!). And we, us, the good ol' USA, were the party who tried to hide behind a phony "Coalition of the Willing" to legitimize an action that cannot be characterized honestly as anything other than a lynching.

Lynchings are illegal, no matter how bad a guy the lynchee is. This diabolical spin that being against the war equals being in favor of Saddam Hussein would be laughable, were it not so forcibly advanced by the same hypocrites who wailed, squawked and pounded their chests for the "Rule of Law" when their case was, at best, a technicality, and their motives were demonstrably the opposite of the simon-pure righteousness they so endlessly and loudly espoused - and espouse.

We began by attempting to murder Hussein in cold blood in an undeclared war, and we conclude by playing "WANTED: DEAD OR ALIVE" sweeps. But, really, it was a necktie party, and remains a vigilante's approach to law.

Again, we see that the so-called 'Rule of Law' only applies to non-Republicans. Impeach Bush.



Eugene Register-Guard
October 27, 2003


I've done my level best to bite my tongue on this Limbaugh matter. But having listened to the absurdities coming from the Right AND the Left, something needs saying:

To the Right, I'd say: Isn't it astonishing that the selfsame conditions that would have you sanctimonious hypocrites up on your soapboxes screaming for the Wrath of God to come down were this a poor Black or Latino living in Rush's Florida County, suddenly find your "Christian" charity and prayerfulness when darling Rush turns out to be the junkie? Make no mistake about it, Oxycontin is synthetic heroin, pure and simple. It is a "prescription drug" in the exact way that cocaine, morphine and speed are also "prescription drugs."

To the Left: I am astounded at the muddleheadedness of this sudden need to cast the question in "larger" terms. We've had a century to debate what should happen to junkies. To suddenly discover the question this week ... well, it makes me wonder if Rush wasn't right about you all along.

To everyone else: Not only has Mr. Limbaugh himself shown no compassion whatsoever for anyone in his present circumstances, but the LAW in Florida prescribes a minimum sentence of five years in prison -- in no small part because of Limbaugh's own screeching about "lenient judges." Let him be hoist by his own petard. Like it or not, it is the law.

Is it really a question of whose ox is being gored as to whether the law is actually enforced?



To: Eugene Register-Guard
Written November 16. (Seems to be unpublished)


There is something profoundly disturbing and all-too-common in L. W. Huffman's November 15 letter crowing that "These two extreme left-wing thinkers bash anything that is conservative or connected to the name of President Bush. That is why I will place [Les] AuCoin on my 'do not read list' along with [Molly] Ivins."

Why? To paraphrase a favorite of the Far Right: because they will not know the Truth, and the untruth will enslave them. What have we come to when folk like Huffman are convinced they should never be tainted by hearing any opinion they don't agree with? When conservative commentators continually "win" one-sided debates that all too often suppress any uncomfortable facts?

The 700 Club/CBN openly suggests that they are the *ONLY* news source their viewers need. And the "fair and balanced" Fox News is so unashamedly biased that the Republican Senate leader's office circulated this memo last week: "Fox News channel is really excited about the marathon. ... The producer wants to know, will we walk in exactly at 6:02 when the show starts so we can get it live to open Britt (sic) Hume's show? Or, if not, can we give them an exact time for the walk-in start?"

You have to go back to the horrific days of McCarthyism to find this phenomenon of the "Silenced Majority." And it's absurdly deemed not only acceptable but even desirable. This tunnel-vision represents a far greater danger to our democracy than any terrorist, any dictator, or any "heathen" belief.


PS: For fact-checking, I quote from this Republican memo, circulated to their own by Senate Majority leader Bill Frist (R, Paranoia) staffer Mañuel Miranda, which was openly mocked by some Democratic Senators during the appalling "30-hour Marathon" spectacle last week:

"It is important to double your efforts to get your boss to S-230 on time. Fox News channel is really excited about the marathon. Britt [sic] Hume at 6 would love to open the door to all our 51 Senators walking on to the floor. The producer wants to know, will we walk in exactly at 6:02 when the show starts so we can get it live to open Britt [sic] Hume's show? Or, if not, can we give them an exact time for the walk-in start?"


Eugene Register-Guard
December 29,2003

The Land of the Terrified

Dear Editor:

Since all we liberals do is whine, I'd like to avoid that and offer a constructive suggestion instead. This letter isn't protesting the sudden invocation of a High Terror Alert by the Department of Homeland Security during the busiest travel time of the year -- all without actually giving the average citizen anything to do except to be afraid.

And this letter isn't to complain that while Saddam Hussein was famously getting his tonsils examined by a U.S. Army doctor, President Bush was signing into law the Intelligence Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2004, which greatly and stealthily expands domestic surveillance powers in a fine-print rider to a little-noticed, mostly-classified appropriations bill.

Even though Texas Republican Representative Ron Paul objected, "the stealth addition of language [is] drastically expanding FBI powers to secretly and without court order snoop into the business and financial transactions of American citizens. These expanded internal police powers will enable the FBI to demand transaction records from businesses, including auto dealers, travel agents, pawnbrokers and more, without the approval or knowledge of a judge or grand jury. This was written into the bill at the 11th hour over the objections of members of the Senate Judiciary Committee," I'm not complaining.

No, I'd just like to offer the following friendly suggestion. Rather than continue the venerable National Anthem with the outmoded, "Land of the Free and Home of the Brave," let's change it to the more modern and trendy "Land of the Subjugated and Home of the Terrified."


For fact-checking, Rep. Paul's comments can be found in the Congressional Record November 22, 2003 (Extensions)Page E2399, and at: http://www.fas.org/irp/congress/2003_cr/h112203.html

Gee. In my Hart, I know I was right. Of course, I'd have rather been wrong, and that we'd never gotten into this misbegotten war. What else is there to say? Four years later, Iraq is in worse shape than it was when we invaded in 2003. On this date in history.

Today, less than one American in three thinks this war is a good idea. What the hell is wrong with them?