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 . GIT'CHER ZUG SWAG HERE!

Saturday, July 7, 2007

A Miss for the Moon-Begotten (i)

Some notes on guerrilla flame wars:

The Dalai Lama and GW Bush: Odd, isn't it, to see their names in the same phrase?

Evidently a subliterate "dig" was issued yesterday, as some imbecile shot off his big mouth about how such and such "proves" that Astrology is 'bunk' without having the first idea what he was talking about. This can't be taken as a meaningful criticism by anyone with a fair mind or an open one, which are, generally, the same thing.

I'm not here to answer astrological questions, nor even to state whether I "believe" or don't "believe." (It frankly doesn't matter in this 'debate,' nor is it appropriate to this forum.)

But in the interests of edifying imbeciles everywhere who are quick to shoot off their big mouths without being prejudiced by the facts, here are the two horoscopes in question:

click for full size

GW Bush chart - click for full size

click for full size

Dalai Lama chart - click for full size

Without knowing ANYTHING about astrology, you can see that the two charts are vastly different. Gee: so are the two men. QED.

The statement was that since Bush and the Dalai Lama were born on the same day (eleven years apart!), this proved that astrology was bunk, since they were "identical." They are both sun sign "Cancers" or "Moon Children" (since the sign of Cancer is ruled by the moon).*

[* The sun sign was NEVER considered a determining factor in astrology, by the by. Sun sign astrology was introduced at the beginning of the XXth Century by a Theosophist, Alan Leo, as a way of printing up loads of "Astrological Profiles" at a couple of pennies apiece -- according to historian Benson Bobrick's The Fated Sky: Astrology in History. When Alan Leo was flooded with pennies, the modern marketing of astrology began. The modern "sun sign" horoscope column made its debut in 1930, by English astrologer R.H. Naylor. 6,000 years of prior practice had placed the strongest emphasis on the 'rising' sign, which, in the case of Bush and the Dalai Lama, are completely different. The sun sign wasn't considered particularly that important.]

But there is an important point here, that we see in politics all the time: people are more than happy to shoot off their big mouths on a near constant basis on subjects of which they know virtually nothing at all.

It doesn't work with astrology, and it sure as hell doesn't work with political discourse -- the major difference being that when this happens with astrology, it is generally comic.

When it happens with politics, it is generally tragic.

I leave it to the merely subliterate to explain the remainder to the specialized illiterate.


Thursday, July 5, 2007

Another Dip in the Nugent Slime

There is an important point about the Ted Nugent editorial I discussed yesterday that I didn't touch on, but which seems, in retrospect, important.

I've been a professional writer for over thirty years.

The best prior experience here, I believe, was when I was an editor with HUSTLER, and part of my duties were to read the foot-high stack of "readers letters" that passed over my desk every morning.

You see, it's not that difficult to tell the difference between a real writer, a ghost writer, and a rewritten piece.

Writing is, you might have noticed, not as easy as it looks. I was "lucky" enough to be shown that in spades: Half of that stack of "reader letters" I read every morning -- about "real" sexual experiences -- might as well have been written in crayon. And, there were the wannabe writers who were obviously writing (awful) fiction. And there were the actual interesting experiences so hobbled by amateurish prose that the best one could do was extract the seed of a letter from them. The number of letters I ever read that were ready to go out of the box?

Zero. I never read one that didn't have glaring flaws -- AS writing. AS storytelling, which, ultimately, is what was being asked, no matter the 'legitimacy' of the story subject.

To write a tight piece in the short space alloted took something more than a recitation of banal sexual experience. It is not much talked about, but writing a tight piece that elegantly* fit in the short space alloted to "real" readers' experiences took a good fundamental grasp of writing. Hack writing, perhaps, but up to a necessary professional standard.

[* 'elegant' as in the mathematical concept of elegance: the least number of propositions to prove the theorum.]

And the foot-tall stack dumped on my desk every morning proved that the actual number of amateur writers capable of that feat was miniscule to nil. Even one that passed muster was extensively rewritten to make the point in 1500 formulaic words.

(The same holds true for types of writing other than that of the subgenre concerned with the soft mucosa of those regions anterior to the navel and superior to the knees.)

It is telling, perhaps, that more months than not, when it came time for "Kinky Korner," I was ultimately assigned the job of writing the story either based on a small kernel of an idea from a letter,(we paid the letter writer), or, often, out of whole cloth.

"The Lesbian Wedding" June 1980, comes to mind -- Althea Flynt had seen an Olivia De Berardinis postcard she really liked and wanted a story to go with it. Things being the clusterf**k they always were at HUSTLER, after I wrote it and it was approved, they couldn't get rights to reprint the Olivia card, and had to commission another artist to come up with a NEW illustration based on the Olivia card (far enough different to avoid a lawsuit, of course), and the story that had been written specifically for it. Sisyphus never had it so good.

So: the question becomes, what happened to those stacks and stacks of mail I had to read EVERY MORNING? ("Slush" is the old, forgotten term).

Well, they were too abysmal to even bother with. One in literally hundreds was even worth a second look. That is the average cross-section of American prose.

You never know what professional prose looks like until you've seen a significant chunk of amateur stuff.

So, too, I would imagine that the prose stylings of Ted Nugent would fall into the category of those letters. If you've ever seen the difference between professional prose and amateur prose, you can't mistake the two. Nugent's final words are not the words that appear in the WSJ editorial: he don't write that good, guaranteed.

In the case of the Nugent editorial (See yesterday's: "Nugent: Die HIPPIE! Die!") I have no doubt that it was heavily rewritten by the WSJ staff, if not-- as is too often the case with our books, our articles, and columns by "famous" people -- entirely ghost-written, with a vague idea of where Nugent either stood, or what he was willing to 'say.'

A good (alleged) example is Chuck Norris' "column" on the WorldNetDaily website. Joseph Farah, the malady behind the WND internet publishing empire loves "celebrity" columns, and I have no doubt that virtually none of the "celebrities" involved ever lifts a finger to have those columns written.

This is the dirty secret of American publishing for a century and more. The vast amount of ghost-written, and simply written to go with a 'licensed' name (recognizable, 'celebrity') adds to a staggering heap of lies. Lies: in that they are fundamentally dishonest about who wrote them, and, therefore, prima fascie (famous fascie) untruths, propaganda, lies to get you to buy.

We are inured to them. But when Lindsey "Bionic Woman" Wagner pops up on the late night infomercial spots shilling for the "sleep number" mattress, even though we know she's reading words written for her, and oozing fake sincerity, we believe it ANYWAY, because we "know" her. She is "familiar" to us, because of her celebrity.

Which brings us back to Ted Nugent.

I cannot prove it, other than via my understanding of the editorial process, but I believe that the Wall Street Journal's "Fourth of July" editorial was specifically dreamt up at a WSJ editorial meeting, and planned for that date. Certainly the decision to run the editorial allegedly "written" by Ted Nugent on the Fourth of July* was entirely handled at the masthead level.

[* And one has to appreciate how little the WSJ understands what the Fourth means that they would attempt to negate and minimalize a generation that EMBODIED the ideals of the Revolutionary generation and the Enlightenment on that selfsame date.]

Make no mistake: it was the WSJ's intention to slur an entire generation.

Seeing how quickly progressives fail to take offense, and how easily they are diverted, I cannot fail to understand the raw simplicity of the propagandists' approach: put out every red herring possible, and they'll lose the trail very quickly. (GOP: Trolls 'R' Us.)

Witness the "strategery" of the post-Libby Skating Scot-free spin. (Less than 21% of us are buying it, reportedly.)

So, in a very real sense, I consider that Nugent op-ed no more "real" than my ghost-written "real letters" for HUSTLER. (As any free-lancer of the period knows, the writing of "real" letters was a sure-fire way to pay your rent, while the hoity-toity magazines fiddled and your personal Rome burned).

With HUSTLER, it was a post-card that Althea Flynt saw. With the WSJ, it was probably some Nugent sound bite that a sub-editor saw.

And, while I don't doubt that Nugent holds the vile opinion that is presented, I don't accept that he's professional enough to have written it, any more than you ought to accept that I, who CAN play an electric guitar pretty well, mind you -- could automatically substitute for Nugent at the local big hall, and run through his entire set.

There are skills and there are skills.

And then there's the Wall Street Journal's editorial page.

Who have just slurred a good and decent generation, who doesn't seem to take any offense, or, perhaps, even notice. Whether Nugent wrote, limned, or just put his name on the piece in question, it was an extension of the WSJ editorial board's feelings about that "sixties" generation.

Don't you get it? These people wouldn't mind if we all showed up dead tomorrow (as long, in most cases, as THEY didn't have to do the dirty work). They have expressed their contempt in terms as clear as John Hancock's signature. Will we appreciate the magnitude of the insult? (They probably just think it's all in good 'ol boy fun, like the cheap sophistries that that whore of the Right, David Brooks, is spinning over the Scooter Libby case in the pages of the formerly reputable New York TIMES.)

How we can remain "civil" in the face of this is beyond my ken.

I will only reiterate what I've said before: WHEN they manage to inevitably push their litany of hatespeak into actual bloodletting, and full-blown civil war (for there is no other place that this hatred of American against American can go), well ...

I've got dibs on Rush, as soon as it's legal and lawful to shoot him.

Whoever wants Ted Nugent is welcome to him, but I would prefer that you would call it now, so as to conserve on ammunition. We will need to manage it prudently.

But when the day comes that they have finally set brother against brother, and sister against sister in the name of their pocketbooks, I won't approach exterminating them with anything approaching remorse. They've already told me what they think of me, of my friends and of my peers.

Now, I'm returning the favor.

Put that in your pipe and have the WSJ editorial staff show you how to smoke it, Nugent.


Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Nugent: Die HIPPIE! Die!

Ted Nugent, the "Motor City Madman" has decided to retroactively rewrite history so that he can burnish his "conservative" bona fides.

Ted Nugent being \'moral\'

Here's your creepy Fourth of July card from the WSJ and Ted Nugent. Posted at 12:01 AM on July 4, 2007, in the Wall Street Journal's Opinion Journal online, came the slimy attack:

The Summer of Drugs
Forty years ago, dirty, stinky hippies converged on San Francisco to "turn on, tune in and drop out."

Wednesday, July 4, 2007 12:01 a.m. EDT

This summer marks the 40th anniversary of the so-called Summer of Love. Honest and intelligent people will remember it for what it really was: the Summer of Drugs.

Forty years ago hordes of stoned, dirty, stinky hippies converged on San Francisco to "turn on, tune in, and drop out," which was the calling card of LSD proponent Timothy Leary. Turned off by the work ethic and productive American Dream values of their parents, hippies instead opted for a cowardly, irresponsible lifestyle of random sex, life-destroying drugs and mostly soulless rock music that flourished in San Francisco...
Yes, he hates his generation. Now, after the chest-beating and the posturing, Nugent makes his ONLY debate point at the bottom, in typical Rightie, dismissive "holier-than-thou" fashion:

While I salute and commend the political and cultural activism of the 1960s that fueled the civil rights movement, other than that, the decade is barren of any positive cultural or social impact. Honest people will remember 1967 for what is truly was.

There is a saying that if you can remember the 1960s, you were not there. I was there and remember the decade in vivid, ugly detail. I remember its toxic underbelly excess because I was caught in the vortex of the music revolution that was sweeping the country, and because my radar was fine-tuned thanks to a clean and sober lifestyle.

Death due to drugs and the social carnage heaped upon America by hippies is nothing to celebrate. That is a fool's game, but it is quite apparent some burned-out hippies never learn.
Substitute "Jews" or "Blacks" for "hippies," and you've pretty much got the depth of Nugent's bigotry and the depths of his hatred for his own generation -- who never particularly embraced him. His fan base was, finally, the following generation. So, perhaps we can understand his bilious embitterment.

[Black] “Civil rights” were the only contribution? Get a life, Nugent. I don’t have time to list all the contributions that the “Summer of Love” generation made to American freedom and liberty (you know, what we’re supposed to be celebrating on the Fourth). And women’s rights, gay rights, marital rights, children’s rights, human rights, etc. etc. etc. They are, in Nugent’s words:

The 1960s, a generation that wanted to hold hands, give peace a chance, smoke dope and change the world, changed it all right: for the worse. America is still suffering the horrible consequences of hippies who thought utopia could be found in joints and intentional disconnect.
Instead, the WSJ and Ted Nugent celebrate the Fourth by slurring an entire generation, heaping contempt on their ideological enemies, and lying to make their slimy, elitist point.

More King George III than Jefferson, Adams and Franklin, to be sure.

But then, what did we expect of the Wall Street Urinal? How would Rupert Murdoch taking over the Klan Fest that is the WSJ's editorial page change anything? You can't get much lower that this.

I won't mention the old Amboy Dukes extended piece "Papa's Will" in which the protagonist lights his father's oxygen tent on fire, and then masturbates over the corpse. (That was the version Ted played live, the vinyl 'hid' this, obviously, like the vinyl hid Jim Morrison's lyric explaining what he'd like to do to his mother in "The End" on the Doors' eponymous debut Lp) .

This would undoubtedly probably be a poor example of Ted's "conservative" values. (don't screw with former record store managers who know your career backwards and forwards, Ted).

That's OK. Consider who else in his generation he wants to snuggle up to:

Ted Nugent: 13 December 1948

Rush Limbaugh: 12 January, 1951

(Like Rush, Nugent made his living off of the hippie music scene, then turned around to make a living pissing on them).

Tom DeLay: April 8, 1947

Here, I borrowed this from my prior blog, Skiing Uphill, August 10, 2005:

Here: look at these contemporaries and ask yourself, are these really the kids of the same generation?

Mick Jagger: 7/26/1943

Newt Gingrich: 06/17/1943

Sly Stone: 3/15/1944

Rush Limbaugh: 1/12/1951

Tom Petty: 10/20/1950

Bill Frist: 2/22/1952

John Kerry: 12/11/1943

Paul McCartney: 6/18/1942

George W. Bush: 7/6/1946

Elton John: 3/25/1947

Dick Cheney: 1/30/1941

John Lennon: 10/9/1940

Dick Armey : 7/7/1940

Jim Morrison: 12/8/1943

Jimi Hendrix: 11/27/1942

Jane Fonda: 12/21/1937

Peter Jennings: 7/29/1938

David Bowie: 9/8/1947

Tom DeLay: 4/8/1947

Trent Lott: 10/9/1941

Bill Clinton: 8/19/1946

Iggy Pop: 4/21/1947

Hilary Clinton: 10/26/1947

David Crosby: 8/14/1941

Dennis Hastert: 1/2/1942

Bob Dylan: 5/24/1941

Nancy Pelosi: 3/26/1940

Ringo Starr: 7/7/1940

Gene Simmons (of Kiss): 8/25/1949

Bill O'Reilly (of Faux): 9/10/1949

John Belushi: 1/24/1949

Tiny Tim: 4/12/1932

Ruth Bader Ginsberg 3/15/1933

Donald Rumsfeld: 7/9/1932

Little Richard: 12/5/1932

Karl Rove: 12/25/1950

Bruce Springsteen: 9/23/1949

So, the question becomes: what the hell happened to these politicians* that they seemed to have entirely missed rock and roll. Imagine, if you will, almost any of the politicians named at a rock concert by one of the artists named.

But it's the same generation!

[* well, not Kerry and Pelosi, of course, but you get the idea]

As, alas, is 'moral' Ted Nugent. Who went over to the dark side.

Drugs weren't the greatest thing in the world, but to discount the entire generation because the slimeballs you hung out with backstage in the astonishingly chauvinist rock&roll world (male chauvinism vanished, in rock and roll, ironically, LONG after the rest of the generation and society got the idea, and grew up -- one wonders if "women's rights" would be included in Nugent's "civil rights," although it seems apparent that they are NOT), well, Ted, perhaps you wrecked more brain cells than you'd care to admit. I'll be glad to stipulate it's not from drugs, but there are many other way to wreck brain cell, like alcohol, and gun blasts, and, well, hanging out with Rightie hatemeisters, like, say the WSJ's editorial staff.*

[* I understand that recent medical research strongly suggests that exposure to John Fund in person is the equivalent of smoking four PCP joints, in terms of destroying brain cells, for example. Reading his writing is only slightly less deleterious to brain health.]

What a gift from Ted Nugent and the WSJ on "the glorious Fourth."

What "patriots" they are!


Crushing Cosmic Ironies Dept.

Happy Independence Day! (USA)

Talk about yer IRONIES!!
Click on the eagle!

Or, read this, here.


Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Be Sure Your Sins Will Find You Out

Thomas Nast
Propaganda is the ring of Sauron.

Those who read THE LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy, or, perhaps, saw the movies, will recall that the Ring is a ring of power, and that it is, finally, always evil.

No one can use the power of the ring without succumbing to evil, no matter how earnestly they intend doing good. The best and brightest realize that the Ring will corrupt anyone who tries to use it, and they find the least corruptable being that they can find, and the ring damn near destroys him. The archetype predates Tolkien. It predates Wagner's Ring of the Nibelung. It predates Plato's Ring of Gyges.

The fictional elders realize something that many in Washington, and, significantly, the squatters in the White House don't: You cannot get a good result from a bad process. You can't cheat your way to honesty. You can't screw your way to chastity.

And so, you can't lie your way to the Truth.

When I was a book critic for several newspapers over the years, I was asked many things by my editors, but I was never asked the most crucial question: What criteria do you use to judge a book?

Why! I'd have said, if asked: The book comes with its own yardstick. The author will tell you, through their writing, how well to judge whether they succeeded in what they set out to say.

You can't judge a black romance novel on the same terms you would give, say, a precious collection of postmodernist short stories by a darling of the self-appointed intelligentsia. You can't judge Mickey Spillane by the same standard you judge Kurt Vonnegut. The author supplies their own yardstick. That's the code I always kept to.

In the same way, the criminal will always betray itself. "Criminal" here being the action and not the initiator of the action. The crime cannot help but point back to itself. The crime supplies its own shackles, one could say.

In Watergate, what UNDID Nixon was his desperation to get re-elected. It was burglarizing the Democratic National Headquarters in the Watergate complex that tripped him up.

The really meshugginah shit he'd been pulling in the name of destroying a country in order to save a war, he was getting away with! No problem.

Invade Cambodia and Laos (and consider how tempting invading Iran, as the ultimate bait and switch, is becoming ...), congress and the press will fulminate, but nothing happens. Burglarize Daniel Ellsberg's psychiatrist's office to get "dirt" on him to smear him over the Pentagon Papers? Hey, grab a pass and help yourself to cookies on the way out.

But it was Nixon's paranoia with actually winning a presidential election that proved his undoing. That was why they were at Watergate: the "plumbers" were removing bugs they'd put in DNC headquarters during an EARLIER burglary.

So, too, Ronnie Reagan and George HW Bush used the Iranian Hostage Crisis to beat Carter (although the "landslide" was Reagan 51% and Carter + Anderson 49%). And it was the deal they made that gave "Iran-Contra" its name, and, while they all skated -- Reagan famously said, "I didn't know," but took responsibility, and, in the final somersault in the triple, looked resolute and walked away almost unscathed -- it crippled his last two years in office. The crime supplies its own shackles.

And Bush had to invade Panama, and ended up facing down Iraq, facing some of the weapons WE'd given them to fight ... wait for it ... Iran.

So, too, the Bushies came into power obsessed with carrying out the program that was eerily (for some, TOO eerily) prescient about a "Pearl Harbor type event." A big part of that was deposing Saddam, and controlling the vast Iraqi oil fields.

This was supposed to provide counter-leverage against OPEC raising prices (Iraq could pump more oil) and against the political leverage that, say, the Saudis could put on Europe and Japan, who are almost entirely dependent on Middle Eastern oil.

It would, as well, preserve the vibrant American economy, by keeping massive price hikes from suddenly triggering a recession. Again, they could pump more oil. In theory, this would buy us the most armies in the real world version of RISK, and everyone would be happy: Israel, Europe, Japan; Iran would be contained, the Saudis could be both protected, AND threatened by a large US presence -- now, post 9-11 NOT on Saudi soil.*

[* Gee, Osama insisted that the US remove their troops from sacred muslim lands, and quietly, we did, just as John F. Kennedy removed the medium range missiles that we ringed the USSR with, in Turkey, Greece, etc. Funny: since we removed our troops from Saudi soil, no more attacks. Now: isn't that at least as credible as the assertion that Bush had "kept" any more attacks from happening since 9/11.]

So, the Bushies learned from Watergate, as the Reagan Administration learned from Watergate: Shred the documents. Burn the tapes.

But they didn't REALLY learn the lesson from Watergate: the wrong that you do will, weirdly, call itself to attention. We do not know why this is so, but it is, by all empirical science and observation, so. It is a fact of the human condition, known for thousands of years.

Why, it's even discussed in the Bible. (It's a popular book, we are informed , in Bush circles.)

The real crime is what trips you up. The core.

They tried to gin up the stakes on Saddam. They had "chemical weapons," but they wanted nuclear weapons, too, so they came up with aluminum tubes (for CENTRIFUGES!) and yellowcake uranium (to enrich to WEAPONS GRADE, and "mushroom cloud").

And Joe Wilson was sent by the CIA to verify what turned out to be a bad Italian forgery. And, after the famous fourteen words, Wilson's wife (legally and indisputably) an undercover CIA operative, was deliberately revealed as such to discredit Wilson.

CIA referred to the Attorney General. Then-AG Ashcroft recused himself, appointed GOP prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald, who only, finally, tried one party, Scooter Libby.

They thought they learned the lessons from Goebbels without grabbing the evils. (Madison Avenue snapped up those propaganda techniques after the war. We have only sophisticated and refined them.

But the great trap of propaganda is that, finally, it's lying, and the liar is, finally the party most deceived.

I used to see it in Hollywood. I know publicists, and they would put out press releases. And a lazy press would plagiarize from their press releases (hey! who's gonna complain?) adn then articles come out in newspapers and magazines.

And people read the hyperbole with various degrees with skepticism, from cynics like me, who know EXACTLY how media sausage is made, to the far end of the spectrum ... the publicists, who, for some reason, begin to believe that their own hype, that's been quoted back to them verbatim, is the GOSPEL TRUTH.

And they begin to make their decisions based on a world where their lies are truths. But the universe is a big arm, and always wins arm-wrestling matches. You can only lie to yourself for so long before there's a correction. Frequently that correction hurts. Because the universe is under no obligation not to grind you into dust.

Sentience only gives you the opportunity to keep from getting caught in the gears of the world. Should you become caught, it really doesn't matter whether you were sentient or not, the same physics applies in either case.

And that's why propaganda is the ring of Sauron.

There is no way to use it, without, ultimately, being corrupted by it.

And that's why it always ends up pointing straight back at the lie that's at the core of the crime. Nixon: reelection. Reagan: election. Bush: conquest.

I'll be fair; to a *much* lesser degree, Clinton: illicit sex*

My Quaker great-grandmother had a favorite saying she used to bedevil everyone with (if that's not an oxymoron): Be sure your sins will find you out.

The lesson is NOT about how to better shred files, erase tapes and leave fewer fingerprints. The lesson is NOT about how to better run the shell game with a bigger pea at higher stakes.

The lesson is about telling the truth.

Otherwise: these sorts of things have a way of remorselessly tracking you down. As, happily, do also GOOD things that you do in secret. In some religions, it's called "karma." And, no matter what happens, Bush, Rove, Cheney and the rest now spend ALL their time trying to patch the holes in their leaky raft of lies, deceptions, and tricks. Their entire lives are now enmeshed in the web of their own weaving. And it cannot be a happy thing. Imagine for a moment that Gulliver had staked himself down with Lilliputian threads.

Whatever they had ever hoped to accomplish by arrogating the presidency ... well, that's pretty much gone now. The crime supplies its own shackles.

Be that as it may:

I'm a big believer in the truth (or, rather, as much truth as we can perceive).

It's supposed to set us free, you know.

[* In deference to my pagan friends, I must note that the President (Clinton) had, at an earlier date, sex with Miss America Elizabeth Ward Gracen -- a "one night stand," according to the Associated Press. When Clinton became the American President, having had sex with Miss America, the country had the longest period of prosperity and economic growth in US history. This is perfectly in keeping with ancient fertility rituals going back to the corn king and May queen. This may not necessarily have been a negative.]

Monday, July 2, 2007

New Guards

Well, it's the 2nd of July (the real birthday of The Declaration of Independence).

Whether we ever get there or not, it's time to steel ourselves to the possibility and the committment that is radically put forth in the Declaration:

But when a long Train of Abuses and Usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object, evinces a Design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their Right, it is their Duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future Security.

We didn't start down this road. But now we've reached a crossroads. Either we return to a rule of law, or else we abolish this government and provide new Guards. There is no longer a middle path.

Thanks George III.


Hey Obama! What DOES Rise to the Level of Impeachable Offense?

My enthusiasm for the candidacy of Senator Barack Obama (D, Ill.) just dipped a couple of notches.


Well, I consider sound judgment and common sense to be prerequisites to taking on the most critical presidential term since, perhaps, the Civil War. See how YOU think he scores here:

Associated Press story, from the International Herald Tribune (NY Times overseas):

Obama says despite shortcomings of Bush administration, impeachment is not acceptable
The Associated Press
Published: June 28, 2007

WASHINGTON: Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama laid outa list of political shortcomings he sees in the Bush administration but said he opposes impeachment for either President George W. Bush or Vice President Dick Cheney.

Obama said he would not back such a move, although he has been distressed by the "loose ethical standards, the secrecy and incompetence" of a "variety of characters" in the administration.

"There's a way to bring an end to those practices, you know: vote the bums out," the presidential candidate said, without naming Bush or Cheney. "That's how our system is designed."

The term for Bush and Cheney ends on Jan. 20, 2009. Bush cannot constitutionally run for a third term, and Cheney has said he will not run to succeed Bush.

Obama, a Harvard law school graduate and former lecturer on constitutional law at the University of Chicago, said impeachment should not be used as a standard political tool.

"I think you reserve impeachment for grave, grave breeches, and intentional breeches of the president's authority," he said.

"I believe if we began impeachment proceedings we will be engulfed in more of the politics that has made Washington dysfunction," he added. "We would once again, rather than attending to the people's business, be engaged in a tit-for-tat, back-and-forth, nonstop circus."

Obama, son of a Kenyan father and American mother, spoke at a weekly constituent breakfast he sponsors with Illinois' other senator, Dick Durbin. He was asked about impeachment.
"I think you reserve impeachment for grave, grave breeches, and intentional breeches... " !?!?!???

What? From a Constitutional law scholar? Is he crazy? Did someone dose him with LSD, like the Beatles' dentist? Did he fall and hurt his head? I can't imagine what could possess him that massive illegal wiretapping, illegal wars of aggression, wholesale violations of the Hatch Act and the OTHER stuff ... never rises to the level of "grave breaches" let alone "high crimes and misdemeanors."

Never, ONCE? (Let alone cumulatively). And ...

"a tit-for-tat, back-and-forth, nonstop circus"

So there's a POLITE way to impeach a sitting resident*?!?

[*I won't say it, and, you might note, I HAVEN'T called that SOB "president" ONCE while he's been in office, either verbally or in print. And I ain't a-gonna, neither. ]

It's "a circus" and it's not "grave"?

There can be only ONE explanation:

Sherman! Did you fail to smooth out the welcome mat on the Wayback Machine again?

But, how did you know, Mr. Peabody?

Elementary, Sherman: That quote made sense in 1998, and Obama's not insane, so I can only deduce that the junior senator from Illinois must have tripped and fallen through a time warp.

Gosh, Mr. Peabody. Sorry, Mr. Peabody.

Well. I guess we cleared that one up. It just goes to prove the old saying, Sherman.

What's that, Mr. Peabody?

Why, "You can't have a political circus without a lot of political clowns," Sherman.

Mr. PEA-body!


Sunday, July 1, 2007

Good Eagle News And Bad Eagle News

Bald Eagle Resurgent

The good news is that the bald eagle is off the endangered species list:

Bald eagles no longer endangered
By H. Josef Hebert
Associated Press
Article Launched: 06/28/2007 01:30:53 AM PDT

WASHINGTON - The American bald eagle, a national symbol once almost wiped out by hunters and DDT poisoning, has not only survived but is thriving.

The Interior Department will announce today it is removing the majestic bird from the protection of the Endangered Species Act, capping a four-decade struggle for recovery.

Government biologists have counted nearly 10,000 mating pairs of bald eagles, including at least one pair in each of 48 contiguous states, giving assurance that the bird's survival is no longer in jeopardy.

The eagle population hit bottom in 1963 when only 417 mating pairs could be documented in the 48 states and its future survival as a species was in doubt.

There were once believed to be as many as a half million bald eagles in North America, predating the Europeans' arrival. The Continental Congress put the bird onto the country's official seal in 1782, although Benjamin Franklin preferred the turkey and called the eagle a "bird of bad moral character."


Conservationists called the eagle recovery a vindication of the 1973 Endangered Species Act, which has been under attack from property rights and business groups, and the subject of internal review at the Interior Department ... John Kostyack of the National Wildlife Federation called the eagle resurgence "truly one of America's great wildlife success stories" that shows the federal law is needed and can work.
But old Ben may have been more right than he knew. The bad news?

From the same story:

Earlier this year, a federal court directed Interior to make a decision on the bird's status by this Friday, acting in a lawsuit by a Minnesota man who complained the government's delays kept him from developing seven acres that included an eagle's nest.
That's right:

The eagle was not removed because it was determined that the Endangered Species Act was a success.

It was not removed to show us how we might actually be making PROGRESS towards NOT killing every life form on the planet, ourselves included.

It was removed, because it was in the way of a guy who wanted to bulldoze seven acres of pristine wild land.

The eagle was in the way of the Almighty Dollar, and, therefore, was reclassified. The bulldozers rejoice! Huzzah!

Oh well: perhaps the newly reinvigorated bald eagle can find another nation to represent -- one not so addicted to greed and fatal hubris.

On a side note, I understand that fried bald eagle is very tasty.

Tastes like chickenhawk.