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

 My Photo
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, August 4, 2007

As The Mask Slips, The White House Shows

As you in the blogosphere might know, and as you in the blogosmear are fully complicit in, Confederate Yankee ("Bob Owens") now claims that Pvt. Beauchamp is completely discredited:

Col. Steven Boylan, Public Affairs Officer for U.S. Army Commanding General in Iraq David Petraeus, just emailed me the following in response to my request to confirm an earlier report that the U.S. Army's investigation into the claims made by PV-2 Scott Thomas Beauchamp made in The New Republic had been completed.

I know that's what they WANT to prove, and the coordinated blogs (wonder how many were included in the "Executive Privilege"strategy conference call from the White House last week, called for by Captain's Quarters blogger Ed Morrissey?*) have all jumped on the "story."

[* 'White House, Bloggers Plot Privilege Defense']

Except: WHY is a private citizen (with a very specific agenda) receiving emails straight from General Petraeus' Public Affairs officer, UNLESS this is all of a whole cloth?

Let's take this a step further: WHY would Petraeus' Public Affairs officer respond to a blogger's email request for information that discredits a private in a political scandal with a pro-Administration spin unless the Administration was in on it? Does anyone seriously think that if I emailed for confirmation of the opposite I'd get a reply? No: the lid would be clamped down if the opposite result had been "revealed" by that internal investigation. It's entirely too political for the Pentagon to touch, UNLESS they were playing politics with full White House approval.

The Army does NOT make its internal investigations public without a court order, as a rule, and it CERTAINLY doesn't release the information through a sympathetic blogger ... unless this is being coordinated from the top, and is a White House policy.

Or, do you believe that Petreus is running a "rogue" operation?

Come on. There is a scandal here, all right.

Tinker to Evers to Chance: White House to Petreus to Confederate Yankee and blogosmear.

Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the swiftboating of Private Beauchamp by the commanding general of the Iraqi forces, almost undoubtedly on direct orders from the White House. Let them answer the charge, or stand convicted by their very silence.

Because commanding generals in theater DO NOT pursue their own media campaigns, at least since Douglas MacArthur.

So, either they've screwed up and let the mask slip, or else Confederate Yankee is a pathological liar, and the rightie blogs that cite him are credulous and gullible as hell. (Which might explain their almost rabid defense of an illegal, failed Iraq war.)

And The New Republic has credibility problems?

More to come.


Friday, August 3, 2007

Torquemada Goldfarb and the Fatwa Against Beauchamp

The freelance McCarthys and Torquemadas of the Rightie blogosphere are literally in a feeding frenzy. From the roiling of the waters, you'd think someone was dumping chum into a tank of piranhas that hadn't eaten in a week.

Except that I have far too much repect for piranhas to humiliate them with a comparison to the Rightie blogs, led by Michael Goldfarb (of Murdoch's Weekly Standard) and Michelle Malkin (a regular and paid contributor on Murdoch's FAUX Nooz). Piranhas deserve some scintilla of respect. They do not do what they do from malice, evil, or the delight in killing. They kill to eat, in contrast to Goldfarb, Malkin and their (usually anonymous) ilk, who eat to kill. Character assassination builds a powerful appetite, one is forced to conclude.

Check this archived page from Memeorandum. You would think that the THIRD MOST IMPORTANT STORY IN AMERICA* was the Private Scott Thomas Beauchamp affair, and that the very future of the republic was at stake. This is less important than the near-breakdown of the House, and a ginned up "scandal"about John Edwards, but FAR MORE important than the bridge collapse in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Priorities? What priorities? It's all about the hate, you know.)

[* UPDATE: 4PM PDT 7PM EDT: It is now the NUMBER ONE STORY, the MOST IMPORTANT story in the blogosphere. Er, the Rightie blogosphere.]

The Righties have issued an unstated Fatwa against Private Beauchamp, except, were this Salman Rushdie, he'd be working in the Ayatollah Khomeni's circle, in Tehran, with no possibility of escaping or hiding. How long do you think Rushdie would have lasted in that environment with Khomeni's call for his death hanging over his head?

And how long can Beauchamp survive in a war zone, after the Rightie bloggers -- who screamed for a week with UTTER CONVICTION that Beauchamp DID NOT EXIST, that he was a liberal back here in the states ginning up a completely fictional story -- after Rightie bloggers have turned their entire attention to him. I've been watching Memeorandum for some time, and I've rarely seen ANY story get the kind of coverage this one has. Hungry demons in a feeding frenzy couldn't be worse to watch than these.

Except it's all from the Right. There are virtually no leftie blogs or journals defending our potentially doomed soldier. At best, there's the "objective" "What's all this then?" from Howie Kurtz, and other MSM'ers. However, the (very) brave blogger Libby Spencer has injected some of the only sense in this nonsense and is well worth reading on the subject, as she addresses that sleazy, cowardly Bob Owens who calls himself The Confederate Yankee:

from Newshoggers, Spencer writes:

... We've had this conversation before. You won't take the word of a publication that has largely been on your side about the occupation and has no known history of outright fabrications but you're willing to take as gospel, the spokespeople of the military brass? As if the military has never lied to us? Are you forgetting something as recent as Tillman?

Sorry, but you guys were wrong when you said Beauchamp wasn't a soldier and you made a huge deal out of something that doesn't even matter -- one can only think to avoid talking about the things that really do matter. Like how badly this surge is failing. Nobody would have read the stupid piece if you folks hadn't made a federal case out of it.

I'm even willing to believe the guy made the whole thing up, out of thin air. So effing what? What have you accomplished here except making trouble for one soldier who is fighting in the sandpit, no matter what his political views are?

And the stunning clarity of Libby's argument will be IGNORED. Why? Because she is stolidly clear-eyed sane. And, as sad experience dictates, sanity is not welcome in this rhetorical dog pit. Only blood is.

Alas, a breath of sanity in this auto-da-fé is a mere fart in a windstorm. As per usual, the malicious Michael Goldfarb is head cheerleader for the lynching frenzy he seems to delight in having whipped up. (Goldfarb had better pray that karma is a complete fiction. Because in any just Universe, he would have a price to pay for this sheer malevolence that few would be willing to pay. I note that Goldfarb doesn't face death every day from his enemies -- let alone from his friends. How 'brave' you are, Goldfarb. What an example you set for all writers, everywhere!)

Listen to his WEEKLY STANDARD blog:

We now know that, at the very least, the New Republic's Scott Beauchamp lied about the timing and location of the ridiculing of a disfigured woman in a U.S. mess hall--the incident, if it happened, took place in Kuwait, Beauchamp now says, before he had the opportunity to experience the "morally distorting" effects of war. But the New Republic, for some reason, finds Beauchamp's new story just as credible as the old one. We continue to have our doubts.

The Righties are out to smash The New Republic magazine (a magazine that NONE of them read, have read, or EVER WILL read) over a supposedly fictional author who turns out to NOT be fictional, and, having made MORE factual errors in their attack than they can claim in the story, their hypocrisy yet knows no bounds. As they know no shame.

Because we have to be PERFECT, or else they, whose errors are so manifest that no one can even KEEP UP with them, they, moral pricks will CRUCIFY us if we make the slightest error, or, worse, say anthing that can be MISCONSTRUED.

Right, Ted Nugent? Mere weeks before implicitly accusing me of terrifying his family and explicitly:

COLMES: ... you said, for your own purpose (ph), it makes you feel important that some guy wants to assassinate you. He doesn't want to assassinate you. You don't really believe that, do you?

NUGENT: Yes, I do. My family takes it very seriously. They're very concerned about it. And I think just the use of the word assassination. And the hate speech that this guy spews is of great concern.

Nugent was saying in an interview that he was in favor of dog fighting. He waves a rifle over his head at an NRA convention and screams forget the police! Shoot crooks! Shoot child molesters! Shoot Shoot Shoot!

HE gets to parse me?

It's their technique, and now Private Beauchamp is in extraordinary physical danger. He is under a complete communications blackout, while his command's Public Relations Officer -- a National Guard Lt. Col. from Colorado -- gets to say whatever he's told to say by Pentagon/Administration brass.

Do you get it? Do you understand why these little Joe McCarthys MUST be opposed? Do you understand the danger that Michael Goldfarb and his self-appointed inquisitors have placed Scott Thomas Beauchamp for having SPOKEN? For telling us about a war whose COFFINS are shrouded less in flags than secrecy, because this "government" doesn't want us to see the children, the sons, daughters, fathers, mothers, sisters and brothers that are being killed an a relentless fashion by the inhabitants of a country that we invaded to suppposedly return to them, after removing Saddam Hussein.

So why in hell are we STILL there? And what is our moral justification for anger at THEM for killing their occupiers. Were the situation reversed, I'd be killing occupying troops, too. No matter whether their propaganda machine called me an "insurgent," a "rebel," a "guerilla," a "terrorist," a "christianist" or whatever. Sticks and stones may break our bones, but IUDs are really tough to stop.

Sorry if that's too real for some.

THEIR outrageous errors don't faze them: the errors of their chickenhawks, of their pathetic arm-chair quarterbacks, and, worst of all, their military morons who think that merely because they've worn the uniform, they and THEY ALONE, know anything at all about a war that they've BEEN COMPLETELY AND CONSISTENTLY WRONG ABOUT FROM DAY ONE, and continue to be wrong about ... but ...

Hey, it was the liberals who sold us good conservatives out on Vietnam.

One admission of error in a relatively inconsequential story in a small circulation liberal magazine -- sorry TNR -- is their wedge to crucify THE NEW REPUBLIC and Private Beauchamp. TNR will survive. But if one hair of Beauchamp's head is harmed, it will be upon their heads. Still, TNR thinks it's a Christian in the Coloseum, and refuses to defend itself in any meaningful ways against the trained jackals of the arena.

What is this, Zardoz?

And you still think that we can COEXIST with these barbarians?

On a humorous note, the depth of these buffoons' hypocrisy can be seen in the defense of Matt Sanchez*, whose credibility some misguided idiots from the Left have attacked for Sanchez' having been a GAY PORN STAR, prior to becoming another Jeff Gannon/Guckert darling of the Rightie blogosmear. "Morality" and "truth" and "credibility" only matter, one concludes, when they can be used as offensive weapons. But if the kettle notes that the pot is FAR BLACKER, the mangy hackles rise on their leprous spines, and they screech like banshees that they are not demons, but angels.

[* see the UPDATE]

YOU are the demon, for having innocently noted that leather wings and claws dripping with blood are NOT standard angelic issue. (Shame on you!)

It would seem that many of the same folk who tried to raise the ad hominem that my writing couldn't be trusted because I worked for HUSTLER 28 years ago, NOW are defending Sanchez (who is working for Murdoch's THE WEEKLY STANDARD and is a face for Murdoch's FAUX NOOZ), even though they "hate" pornography and gayness. But, to paraphrase scripture, "With Fanaticism, all things are possible."

Were I not actually watching this, I'd not believe it. And where is the "liberal" press as a U.S. serviceman serving in combat is being fed to the blogosmear dogs? Where is the liberal blogosphere?

Somewhere West of Altoona and East of Betelgeuse, I'd imagine. Second star to the left and straight on 'til morning.

Courage. ESPECIALLY Beauchamp.

UPDATE 5:45PM PDT: There are excellent counterpoint essays relating to this madness by Robert Farley at Lawyers, Guns & Money, and Josh Marshall at Talking Points Memo

Kilgore Trout Fishing In America (part ii)

Yesterday, we talked about the mess that American letters is in: thousands of journalists losing jobs, etc. I didn't talk much about the loss of the American publishing industry to foreign overseers and mega-publishers, and to mega-media companies, in whose organizational chart the publishing arm became a mere appendage, anemic and carrying little status.

In the modern media economy, a HarperCollins, say, becomes a bargain movie property search mechanism for the much larger overhead of Fox Studios, and the News Corporation (whose wholly-owned subsidiaries HC and Fox Studios are), who can shill the novel and then the movie on their news, movie, sports and cable networks, and in their newspapers and magazines, all without ever having left the "in house" mega-corporation.

This alone was worth it to the movie studios (before they were gobbled up by even BIGGER media corporations) in economic terms. Generally speaking, the "screenplay" and literary rights portion of the movie costs less than 2% of the total cost of a motion picture, but Ghod forbid that any writer might earn a decent amount on the deal.

After all, the writers might get "uppity," and the Hollywood system was specifically designed to prevent writers from attaining the sort of power that playwrights exercise on Broadway, the studios having originally been subsidiaries of the great theatrical families, the Schuberts, the Lammles, etc.

If the book made a little money, well, that wasn't important in the Grand Scheme. The point was to obtain film properties cheap, and then to have a coordinated promotion machine that could follow the story from hardcover to paperback to film to reissue of the paperback with a still from the movie slapped on the cover. Better yet, a "novelization" of the original script, handed out to a hack writer who could have the paperback ready for simultaneous release to the drug store and supermarket racks on the selfsame weekend that the movie comes out.

Such is the "coordination" of the mega-media. (We will pass over the marketing of kiddie meal toys, "collectors cups" and other promotional gee-gaws at fast food joints, toys, etc.)

Authors were relegated to the back seat of the media bus. (We still await our Rosa Parks.)

Because, ultimately, what could one notoriously independent, cranky author hope to accomplish in a deal with a mega-corporation, heralded by a phalanx of corporate lawyers, all determined to see that the author donated as many rights as possible while receiving as little compensation as practible.

Perhaps it is this "brilliant" strategy that has debased American letters to near illiteracy, and American writers to penury and the contemplation of suicide. Our very profession seems like an Iron Maiden at every level. The outcome is assured, seemingly; the only question being how slowly the cask is closed.

The sad fact is that during the 1980s, movie studios realized that owning a publisher would save them gazillions, since they could make deals with authors for movie and television rights before publication, and BEFORE the writer's agent (writers are no longer allowed to speak to publishers directly, making agents the gatekeepers of book publishing, giving them an unwarranted power over the world of authors, and buttering their bread on the side of the publisher and NOT on the side of the authors they purportedly represent).

And, by comparison, the publishers were easy, cheap pickings for the media conglomerates. Most had been founded in the XXth century by one or two businessmen -- Simon & Schuster, for instance, ("notable for its position as one of the four largest English-language publishers in the world" - Wikipedia) was founded by two partners in 1924 to cash in on the crossword puzzle craze. (One guess what those partners' names were.) Charles Scribner's Sons was LITERALLY that, and they published Hemingway, Fitzgerald, Heinlein and Vonnegut, among others.

Within this structure of rot and cronyism, I determined to attend the Willamette Valley Writers Conference (which starts in earnest this morning).

Alas, it was not to be. But first, a pastoral interlude:

I am a bastard son of Kilgore Trout.

Seriously. I can document my mongrel pedigree and as Walter Brennan used to say in "The Real McCoys," No brag, just fact.


I've noted elsewhere that I met Kilgore Trout at a science fiction convention on the Bicentennial in 1976. He wasn't going by that name, of course, but I'll let Kurt Vonnegut clear that up:

From freelance writer Hank Nuwer's interview with Kurt Vonnegut:

1985 Galapagos (novel) publication tour (Dallas, Texas)

NUWER: I don’t think so; at least he didn’t comment if the thought so. But I thought it was funny. Let’s see--have you ever counted how many books and stories your fictional sci-fi writer, Kilgore Trout, has written in your novels?

VONNEGUT: The [Bob] Guccione science magazine--what is it?

NUWER: Omni.

VONNEGUT: Yeah. Omni sent me an essay on Kilgore Trout where they put it all together. Of course I don’t look back in my books to see what Trout was [like] in a previous book, or what I said about him, so he’s different in every book.

NUWER: Is it true that he was inspired by Theodore Sturgeon, the sci-fi writer?

VONNEGUT: Yeah. In fact, it said so in his obituary in [The New York] Times.

NUWER: I didn’t know that.

VONNEGUT: Yeah. I was so pleased. Sturgeon got a nice big obituary in the Times, eight-ten inches, something like that. I was just delighted that it said in the middle of it that he was the inspiration for the Kurt Vonnegut character of Kilgore Trout.

Sturgeon was to be my book critic at HUSTLER, or, rather, I was to be his editor. We became friends. He told me that he thought I was a good writer. That little bit of praise has taken me through three decades of a paucity of same. But this isn't about dropping a name.

"Hart Williams" the writer is very much the son of "Kilgore Trout." Trout, you will recall, was a sort of sad homage to Sturgeon, who Vonnegut met when he was trying to become a writer, selling Volvos and teaching high school English in Barnstable, Massachusetts on Cape Cod in the 1950s.

Kilgore Trout makes his debut in Vonnegut's God Bless You, Mr. Rosewater, where Trout is eccentric zillionaire Eliot Rosewater's favorite novelist. Since all of Trout's novels are filler material in porno magazines*Rosewater's collection represents an amazing act of tracking and detection.

[* Vonnegut explains what "beaver shots" are, which were then highly illegal, but are now in any "men's magazine" one would care to purchase. One generation's crime is another generation's yawn. How else to explain the current rage for pubic topiary, at least among female models of the modern pornographic videation?]

This was based on a very real world reality of publishing at the time: The men's magazines of the 1950s and 1960s walked a thin legal line. Because of the Supreme Court's decision prior to "Miller v. California" in 1973 -- which entrenched the "community standards" test that led to Harry Reems being prosecuted in Memphis, Tennessee for a movie he acted in in Florida -- the standard of "without redeeming value" created a kind of Devil's bridge: the men's magazines published "serious" writing, articles, interviews, short stories, investigations, as the JUSTIFICATION for showing breastal shots. In 1969, PENTHOUSE shocked, SHOCKED the USA by showing (GASP!) female pubic hair. Etcetera.

At any event, Vonnegut was only stretching reality a big about Kilgore Trout being published between beaver shots. By the time I was making a living writing for men's magazines, 1978-1988, my science fiction was LITERALLY published between beaver shots. The first appearance of "Hart Williams" as a pen name came in a quickie knockoff called "CHOICE," which was a "big boob" magazine in the early 80s at a time that "big boobs" had vanished from men's magazines altogether in favor of models with small breasts and pubic hair.

(The "big boobs" thing is a peculiarly American fixation, I think. Russ Meyer made a cinematic living off of this peculiar psychological quirk of masculine American fantasy. As they say, the market dictates this sort of thing. We get the fantasies we ask for.)

It was a tall tale called "Mountain Mary," and begins with the lie "I wouldn't lie to you. Honest."

But it was still only in there to fulfill the old legal prescription "utterly without redeeming artistic, scientific, blah blah value." My short stories, articles, interviews, investigative pieces, science fiction etc. were there to provide legal "value" to the beaver shots.

But that was the deal with a generation of authors. Theodore Sturgeon, "Kilgore Trout" put out a collection in the early 70s called Sturgeon Is Alive And Well, and virtually all the stories in it had originally appeared in a Knight Publications magazine, KNIGHT and ADAM, mostly.

He could sell them stories for "redeeming social value." Kilgore Trout had stepped through the looking glass.

"Kilgore Trout, incidentally, is the sad hero of Kurt Vonnegut's Breakfast of Champions, a frustrated SF writer reduced to using his work to pad out the space between pictures in pornographic books. It's not strictly applicable here; but I like the name, and Trout's angst - if not his solution - will be recognisable to all writers."


But, Vonnegut was making ANOTHER criticism of American letters and publishing. The "beaver shots" context of Kilgore Trout's science fiction novels was also a sly reference to how science fiction was treated by American publishing.

From the time that young Ted Sturgeon returned to find his secret stash of Hugo Gernsback's THRILLING WONDER STORIES torn into "postage-stamp-sized pieces" to the advent of Kilgore Trout in the 1960s, Kurt Vonnegut, as a science fiction writer himself, knew of the shameful and abusive degradation of science fiction, its authors, publishers and readers. That's right, kiddies: science fiction had been considered "pornography" by Argyl Sturgeon, Ted's step-father, in the 1920s, and it was still essentially seen as such in 1965, When "Rosewater" was published.

In some ways, science fiction is still marginalized, but at least they're used to it. Increasingly ALL authors are marginalized -- forced to take a back seat whenever the more important publishing event of the memoirs of a transvestite basketball star require the intellectual focus of our Nation of Letters.


Here's the capper: in and around 1986, it had become clear that nobody gave a damn about prosecuting magazines for pictures. Thus, there was no need for "redeeming social value," and men's magazine publishers, ever eager to prop up an ever-narrowing profit margin, eaten up almost entirely by paper costs, pretty much dumped the need for Kilgore Trouts to fill the spaces between the beaver shots. Beaver shots uber alles. Amen.

The postwar generation of writers who had been nurtured by the guilty tradeoff of "redeeming social value" was now S.O.L. And making a living became very tough.

About that time, I rented an office, wrote a fictionalized "memoir" of my time in the mini-Media of LA porn, covering the transition from film to video, and tried to sell it.

No. No one would even consider reading it ... because of the subject.

And in a lot of ways that's been the story for the past 21 years. This week marks the 21st anniversary of its completion (the book is now old enough to drink). There was a time in the early 1990s when an agent REALLY liked it and tried shopping it around New York City, but the same irrational bigotry (I won't even READ it) held sway, and, it sat on a DELL editor's desk for several months, while the editor tried to write a "marketing proposal" for the marketing department -- marketing had taken over the publishing world in the early 1980s, and "editors" were reduced to writing proposals denoting WHO is the target audience? WHAT is the sales hook? etc. It was a far cry from Maxwell Perkins editing Hemingway, Fitzgerald, et al. But then, so is "Bestselling Author" Paris Hilton.

Now, there is one more link in this Kilgore Trout chain that I think is justified, and I'll bet on my career as a book critic and my track record in the good guesses department on it:

Kilgore Trout didn't just write science fiction novels. His TITLES are absolutely outrageous, over the top, and remind one INEXTRICABLY of Philip K. Dick, who was utterly shunned during his life by the "bon ton literary" world -- to quote Twain. He died between the filming and the release of the film "Blade Runner" (my second wife and I used to brown bag our lunch on the set at the Burbank Studios, but that's another story). It's such a damned shame that Philip K. Dick never lived long enough to garner any of the acclaim that was his due.

But "Kilgore Trout" fictional novel titles like Venus on the Half Shell, parallel such Dickian titles as Our Friends From Frolix 8, and the three Trout novels The Pan-Galactic Memory Bank, The Pan-Galactic Straw Boss, and The Pan-Galactic Three-Day Pass seem linked to Dick's Galactic Pot Healer.

But then, Sturgeon never quite achieved the fame that was his due. He also "invented" the character of "Spock" in Star Trek -- according to Leonard Nimoy -- and the "Prime Directive" is said to have come from an unproduced script. The Vulcan greeting "Live Long And Prosper" is known all over the world. Its author, Theodore Sturgeon, is not.

Kilgore Trout -- Vonnegut's protest at the shabby treatment of more than one great writer -- committed 'suicide' by drinking Drano in 2004, a final protest from Vonnegut. And perhaps an attempt to forestall the literary necrophilia that modern publishers would surely slither forward with: tempting family members with "free money" for licensing the character* to write a series of novels under the 'Kilgore Trout' trademark.

[*See James Bond novels, Dune novels, and the post-mortem Asimov ouevre for further illumination of the concept.]

I've written about it in "The Mark of Cain" which refers to Sturgeon's complaint that without the "sf" label, no one was willing to look at anything else he had written. Well, allow me to bring it full circle:

I have seen a copy of the novel that Philip K. Dick wrote in the late 1950s, Confessions of a Crap Artist. He thought it was a great book*, but no publisher would touch it. Few would even bother looking at it. Dick finally had it privately printed himself, as a trade paperback, and he autographed a copy and gave it to Ted Sturgeon.

[* "Philip K. Dick longed to be known as a 'serious' writer, and worked on non-SF novels throughout the fifties, in addition to his science fiction novels and short stories. This is the only "straight" novel he wrote to have been published during his lifetime." - Wikipedia]

I cannot think of it without feeling a bitter sorrow, both were marginalized in the world of letters in their lifetimes, eternally penned in a livestock enclosure marked "sci-fie" and not accorded "human" status by the publishers until AFTER their deaths. Philip K. Dick's self-published non SF novel, autographed to fellow great and fellow sufferer Theodore Sturgeon is a testiment to the inhumanity that we heap upon our best writers.

Kilgore Trout speaks for them, with Vonnegut the puppeteer operating the controls. And now, it's even worse than it was in the mid 1960s, when Trout first appeared. It was lousy then, but, by comparison, it was paradise compared to now.

"Trout is usually described as an unappreciated science fiction writer whose works are used only as filler material in pornographic magazines."- Wikipedia

I didn't ask for this fate, but I got stuck with it, nonetheless: I am a bastard son of Kilgore Trout.

And, remembering that, long ago day when I had started my writing career by meeting writers at WESTERCON 29 at the Los Angeles Airport -- the aptly named LAX -- I thought I'd attend a day at the Willamette Valley Writers Conference. I would meet some peers, agents, etc. I could slap together a CD with all the blurbs a kid could ask for, audio, video (Thanks Sean Hannity and Ted Nugent!!), and, say, three completed projects, like, say that book I wrote 21 years ago, and do some business.

Simple, right?



The SURPRISE ending? This is NOT the ending. Tomorrow will be. I promise. I wouldn't lie to you. Honest.

From the OBSCURE REFERENCE DESK: Richard Brautigan, author of Trout Fishing In America came from Eugene, Oregon, which is where Theodore Sturgeon passed away.

NASA's Phoenix Lander blasted off yesterday, carrying with it a DVD library of famous science fiction stories, art and radio shows about Mars (including Orson Welles' famous "War of the Worlds" broadcast adaptation of H.G. Wells' novel). It carried, in addition to a virtual Who's Who of science fiction, one Vonnegut story and TWO Theodore Sturgeon stories. Only Bradbury (Martian Chronicles collection) and Isaac Asimov (three stories) were similarly honored. Details HERE and HERE. I had not been aware of this when I wrote the piece. Synchronicity. (That's the pretentious term for 'coincidence.')

Thursday, August 2, 2007

The Write Stuff (part i)

I am officially a writer. Two things prove this.

The first is that I have, on my refrigerator, a PROFESSIONAL DISCOUNT ORDER FORM from Writer's Digest Professional Services Division. The second is that I don't subscribe.

Because Writer's Digest is a wannabe magazine. They have to be. They have to have a fundamental base of wannabes (at the time Robert Heinlein gave his famous speech to the graduating class at Annapolis in the early '70s, about 50% of the adult population of the USA wanted to be professional writers. In it, he lays out Heinlein's Five Rules*), or else they don't have a demographic large enough to support the magazine. The actual number of full time writers is very small, and the number of sometimes compensated and "on the side" writers is larger but still minuscule in the larger economy.

[*Heinlein's 5 Rules:
1. You must write.
2. You must finish what you write.
3. You must never rewrite except to editorial order.
4. You must put your work on the market.
5. You must keep it on the market until it sells.]

Writers Digest has to write about the writer's life as those who want to be writers believe it to be. Since I read my first copy in 1975, loaned from my writing professor, until I saw a copy in a waiting room recently, it hasn't fundamentally changed. But from the point of view of the writer, "7 Tips to Punch Up your Dialogue" doesn't mean spit to me. I need professional information, not fabulist fiction about writing fiction. That I save for my dentist's office.

Now a part of that is making a living, or at least earning something. Today, the Willamette Writers Conference begins in Portland. I was going to go. Really I was. But that's getting ahead of the story.

These have been tough times for writers. Used to be that you sent in your manuscript, a "slush pile" reader read it and usually rejected it. A few made it to a higher editor who still might reject it. When you became a known quantity, you had access to the editors directly, and your career was in good shape. We saw what happened to Mrs. Muir in that movie about the ghost.

Of course, like with "Uncle Neddie" (George Sanders), nothing in writing was what it appeared to be. Publishers have always been a little fly-by-night. And, because writing attracts so many whose vanity makes it easy for publishers to lower the prices, everyone gets paid slave wages.

When I started writing for the magazines of the Knight group (Players, Adam, Adam Film World, Choice, Vertex, Knight, etc. etc.) the rates hadn't gone up from the mid-60s when Harlan Ellison could survive on a couple of articles and/or short stories a month to the late 70s, when two pieces wouldn't pay more than about half of a month's rent.

That was true throughout the magazine industry. Writers hadn't fundamentally gotten a raise in decades. In fact, much like the "War On Terror" (where every time Osama misbehaves, WE get punished), every time that paper prices shot out of sight (which was continual), the publishers came up with NEW ways to NOT pay writers. First, payment on acceptance became payment 30 days after we send out our letter of acceptance. Then it became payment on publication, which finally turned into payment on the 30th day of the month that it says publication happened on the cover.

Except that for some weird reason that I've yet to learn, magazines always come out a month early. The Christmas issue comes out the first or second week of November. So, the December issue came out on November 7th, and the publisher got all of his money by December 7th (when the January issue came out), and the writer gets paid for the piece on December 31st. He doesn't actually see the check for the December issue that's now been off the stands for more than a month until the first week of January or so.

The publisher has made his money off the writer's work, gotten a month's INTEREST on that money, and then pays the writer. Killing the goose that laid the golden egg.

Because, weirdly, we don't value writing. We don't value words. The cheap paperback may cost $6.95 now instead of 75 cents. But the writer probably didn't get PAID much more than the writer who wrote the 75-center back in the "golden age of paperbacks" in the mid-70s.

OK. Worse, with the advent of the internet and the movement away from paper print, the industry started laying off reporters. And reporters (except for sports reporters) are writers, too. I had not known the following shocking fact until recently ... perhaps because I am stupid, but perhaps because it was hard for the media to "pick up" the story because of the "insider baseball" aspect and the conflicts-of-interest involved.

NPR's Michael Goldfarb (not to be confused with THE WEEKLY STANDARD's Michael Goldfarb, who may yet succeed in having Private Scott Thomas Beauchamp fragged in Iraq) blogged:
Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Why Iran Doesn't Fear America & Why America Should Fear Its newspapers being Destroyed

Listen closely to these two commentaries:

Iran goes nuclear and the Bush Administration rattles its saber. Given the debacle in Iraq, is anyone, particularly the Iranian government afraid of them?


3000 American journalists lost their jobs last year, and analysts say this year could see just as many reporter and editor positions disappear. Journalism is being shut down ... can democracy survive?

posted by Michael Goldfarb in London at 8:30 AM 0 comments

Clark Kent Fired

It's gotten worse since. From Reuters:
Planned media job cuts up 88 pct in 2006
Thursday, Jan. 25, 2007, 12:29 pm ET
By Joanne Morrison and Michele Gershberg

WASHINGTON/NEW YORK (Reuters) - The number of planned job cuts in the U.S. media sector surged 88 percent last year and that trend will likely continue as readers shift from print to online services, a study on Thursday showed.

For all of last year, the media industry announced 17,809 job cuts, up sizably from the 9,453 cuts announced the prior year, according to the job outplacement tracking firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas.

That was the biggest tally of announced layoffs for the industry since 2001, when the dot.com collapse was under way.

The trend is expected to continue this year ...

That's also the secretaries, research assistants, fact checkers, editors and others not counted as "journalists" but indispensable to the process nevertheless. It's been a rotten time in the print media for the past several years, and my peers, who started out in the post-orgasmic flush of Woodward & Bernstein having brought down a presidency (at least that was how the movie sold it) are now facing a premature retirement with zero prospects for future employment or retraining (they're too old).

I worked in Orange County, California in the late 80s, and it was the same with draftsmen. The people who had drawn the schematics, the blueprints, the plans for the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo spacecraft, the Space Shuttle, were now doing pasteup for proposals for the space station -- a project that would be designed using CAD (computer assisted drafting) that had put these expert technical draftsmen out of work, men and women. In Whittier, California in 1987, I worked in a shop that typeset supermarket flyers (English and Spanish. The Spanish word for grapes is "uvas" which would make a great crowd-chanting-in-square "Evita" scene: UVAS! UVAS!) and pasting up "Wonder Bread $1.37" and "potatoes 18 cents/lb." were the same draftspeople. From Command modules to cantaloupes, they had fallen a long way.

It is what happened in the First Industrial Revolution, as weavers were put out of work by factories. The French peasants threw their wooden shoes into the machinery in a futile attempt to stop the machines, giving us the term "sabotage," from their shoes, "sabots."

Now it is hitting the writing trade. Soon, perhaps, we will have machines that crank out all our books. Paris Hilton has had a bestseller. It can't be far off.

And, with those cheering thoughts in mind, we return to me, who is a writer according to a writer's magazine that I refuse to subscribe to, and my almost attendance at the Willamette Valley Writers Conference.


Tomorrow: The Senses Shattering Conclusion With A Special Surprise Ending! No one will be admitted to the blog in the last 10 minutes!!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Malkin's Mangled Misanthropy Misses

Sometimes, just as you realize that some of the most rabid, misanthropic lunatic righties would like nothing better than to see you and anyone like you dead, they pull off a stunt that reminds us all of what astonishingly pathetic losers they actually are, and why they couldn't actually hold a job in the Real World, unless backed up by cranky zillionaires even more screwed up in the head than they are.

I'm speaking, of course, of the Kewpie Doll From Hell™ Michelle Malkin. (Sorry, Bill O'Reilly anti-fans!) Having hung this absurd albatross around her own neck, it deserves to be enshrined in the Political Hall of Fame's "Really Really Really Stupid and Pathetic Moves" wing, right next to Jerry Falwell's "Tinky Winky" commentaries, and virtually anything Pat Robertson ever said.

From YouTube (tip of the hat to TBogg's blog):

Hall of Fame weirdness

Oh. And if you go to the original YouTube page, the comments are almost as hilarious as the video. The difference being that they MEANT to be funny.

Ladies and Germs, I give you the single most unintentionally hilarious political commentary made this year by ANY party or persuasion.

I would nominate it for a Razzie, except that I don't think they have a category for "Shrill Ann Coulter Wannabe Who Desperately Craves Attention But We Don't Think This Is Exactly What She Had In Mind."

Laughter at moronic stunts by rightie racist hatemongers who have a much higher opinion of their own intelligence than is warranted by the facts? It's the gift that keeps giving, and giving and giving and giving and ...


Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Back At The Public Trough With Christine Todd Whitman

I wrote the article below without asking WHY Ex-NJ governor and EPA chief Whitman was on the radio this morning. The New York Times clarified why (Google: 'posted 6 hours ago'):

New York TIMES:

U.S energy bill aids the expansion plans of atomic power plants
By Edmund L. Andrews and Matthew L. Wald
Published: July 31, 2007

WASHINGTON: A one-sentence provision buried in the Senate's recently passed energy bill, inserted without debate at the urging of the nuclear power industry, could make builders of new nuclear plants eligible for tens of billions of dollars in government loan guarantees. ... The nuclear industry is enjoying growing political support after decades of opposition from environmental groups and others concerned about the risks. An increasing number of lawmakers in both parties, worried about global warming and dependence on foreign oil, support some expansion of nuclear power....

So, they're back at the public trough. Now, the original post:

How sick is that?

If there were ever any doubt that Republican Barbie-Doll-from-Hell ex-NJ Gov. Christine Todd Whitman was the right person for the "Clean Skies" initiative and the "Clean Water" initiative for Bushco before she jumped ship, well, she's confirmed it with her slimy "buddies" interview on the "liberal" Bill Press Show.*

(*Syndicated by Jones Radio-- Ed Schultz, Stephanie Miller, etc. Rightie hosts, too, like The Neal Boortz Show. Press, the former Chair of the California Democratic Party, and co-host of CNN's late, unlamented "Crossfire," seemingly swings both ways,: Left and Right.)

What's astonishing is how sweetly and uncritically Press does this. His "incisive" question about the nightmare of nukes: "Why do we have to subsidize them?"

Whitman's slimy answer: Environmentalist lawsuits. Oh. This from the former head of EPA under Bush. She supposedly "distanced" herself from the current Administration's environmentally rapine policies, and now is shilling for Nuclear? The rankest of the rank hypocrites, a more palatable version of Ann Coulter, but just as sleazy with the facts. Some highlights:

Yucca Mtn. in Nevada "As we all know it's being held up." (By Harry Reid). She "understands."

She holds up France and Japan as examples. (Right. Suddenly crapping on France is forgotten.)

We need to start doing these things now. (Getting Kyoto permits: "time consuming" and "we've got to get in line now.")

Whitman pretends that her assessment of Ground Zero after 9-11 (asbestos and toxins in the air are allegedly responsible for debilitating effects, respiratory diseases, long-term health disasters in 9-11 responders, volunteers, rescue workers ... and are being ignored by the Federal Government) was "correct." (With nuances, which is the Democratic term for "not just black and white," but which is the GOP term for "I'm a lying sack of crap.")

"No higher risk of long-term health problems ... in general." and "We were always concerned [about asbestos, but] ... not in a position legally to be able to enforce it."

Which is a lie. She told the people of Manhattan that the air at Ground Zero was safe. They believed her. Now, they're dying.

So we're supposed to believe her about nuclear power?

You gotta give her style points for sheer brazen gall. Having aided and abetted in covering up deadly aftereffects of 9-11, and having been the Administration's "point man" on wrecking new arsenic standards in drinking water, wrecking air and water regulation, and assisting in the Bush/Cheney attack on the environment (or, turning the EPA into an oxymoron again, as the Reagan Administration did), she NOW both acts like she's NOT an environmental thug, a murderess and someone who "cares" about the environment, AND pushes the most toxic substances known to man as the "solution" for getting us energy independent.

She conveniently forgets that ONE of the 9-11 targets was the Indian Head Nuclear Power Plant on the Hudson River above New York City. HAD they succeeded in slamming one of the jets into that plant, ALL of NYC would now be ground zero.

Thank goodness

[End interview 4:23 AM PDT]

Press invites callers to discuss the question, "Nuclear energy: should it be part of the mix?"

[Press continues to rely heavily on his old CNN connections for 'timely' guests. From his website this morning:


* Former Governor and EPA Administrator Christine Whitman
* MSNBC Host Tucker Carlson
* CNN Weekend Legal Analyst Avery Friedman
* Politico's DC Gossip Queen Anne Schroeder

Gee, that's "liberal." (NOT!) Oh, and this weirdly pathetic posting on his blog:

July 31, 2007
Bill WINS!!!
Dan wrote this at 7:13 am:

Bill Press is “D.C.’s Hottest Male On-Air Media Type” according to Mediabistro’s FishbowlDC. Thanks to YOUR votes!

Now, I (Associate Producer Dan) humbly ask for forgiveness to allegations of giving instructions on how to cheat the contest. Competition was getting tough, and we know for a fact other campaigns were cheating as well - it just so happens we got caught! I ask for forgiveness. Bill has given me my lashings.

For the record, Bill took the high road and did not accept the win from FishbowlDC, but they rejected his rejection.

Isn’t this what politics is all about? Cheating, then forgiveness? :-)

No: that's just slimy. I know they think it's "funny," but it's basically disgusting.

Just a couple of additional comments, here.

Here's the press release where she goes to work for her NEW satanic masters:

WASHINGTON, DC, April 24, 2006 – Two prominent environmental figures today announced that they will co-chair a new coalition designed to add fresh voices from across America to the resurgent movement advocating increased use of nuclear energy. The creation of the Clean and Safe Energy Coalition – also known as the CASEnergy Coalition – was announced by Christine Todd Whitman, former Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency and former New Jersey Governor, and Patrick Moore, co-founder and former leader of Greenpeace.

Gov. Whitman and Dr. Moore called on Americans to join them in supporting the use of nuclear power as a clean, safe, reliable and cost-effective way to balance America’s energy demands and protect the environment.

“Our country’s significant energy needs keep growing. We must diversify our energy sources to meet these needs,” said Whitman. “Nuclear energy should be an important part of this diversification plan, especially since its production generates no air pollutants or greenhouse gases.”

Oh, disgusting comment (4:36) Bill Press: "I think Christine Todd Whitman can still be counted among the environmentalists."

Really, Bill? And Torquemada can still be counted among the non-violent pacifists of the Fifteenth Century.

Jesus. They lie to us with a straight face, and Press collaborates with this environmental thug to be polite. This is the liberal problem in a nutshell: we are civil to barbarians, when they only USE our civility to accomplish their (barbaric) ends. They DEPEND on it, and we oblige them.

[The Nazis depended on the civility of the Jews to get them to march in orderly fashion into the showers, so beware!]

But Whitman is "still" an "environmentalist"?

Look. I debated nuclear power in college, having to DEFEND it against the many cases that wanted it killed. We never ran an anti-nuke case, so our research specialty was the literature that DEFENDED nuclear energy, of which I read mountains of. At the end of the time -- my cousin worked at Los Alamos for many years, and having been brought up among PRO-nuclear engineers and scientists -- I was forced to conclude* that nuclear energy has been an unmitigated disaster in virtually EVERY case, from weapons to power plants, and that in any sane cost/benefit analysis, we risked everything to gain virtually nothing. (They never mention that uranium is an even MORE limited resource than oil and coal, or that, if you go to "breeder reactors" to produce more nuclear fuel, they produce plutonium in great abundance.)

[* Intellectual honesty demands that we embrace the truth, as facts emerge, whether we like the conclusions or not. I would be just as willing to convert back, were there any meaningful new arguments. But there aren't.]

Nothing I've seen since has altered that conclusion. Intellectual honesty demands that we put aside the lies and half-truths of an astonishingly dangerous and disingenuous industry ... that now hires "environmental hero" Whitman and "Greenpeace Founder" Moore?

Well so what? Al Capone was once an altar boy. People change when lots of slimy cash is waved under their noses.

The Nuclear Power industry has huge investments in technology, siting and plant construction that they would rather make back than worry about those laughable nuclear accidents. And they've been hiring big-buck shills like Christine Todd Whitman for years and years.

What's HILARIOUS is that she's working for the nuke people because she's supposed to be an "environmentalist.' I guess they didn't bother reading the newspapers from 2001 through 2005, when she ran (into the ground) the EPA. Or perhaps they were impressed by her rationalizations that it wasn't her fault. She was just following orders.

Hmm. That sounds familiar. I wonder where I've heard it before?

But, of course, if we put nuclear plants everywhere, we wouldn't be dependent on terrorists.

See: Impacts of a Terrorist Attack at Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant from the Union of Concerned Scientists ( a group, unlike Whitman, that actually has credibility).

But I guess terrorists are only dangerous when Republican thugs say they are, and NOT when they say they aren't.

Bill Press (4:58 AM): "I'm still not ready to get on board."

Gee. And I'm still not ready to get on board with legalizing child rape. But the way I just said it implies that it's a REASONABLE choice. Just like nuclear power.

[Here, from the REAL Greenpeace website: Nuclear Power’s Extreme Makeover]

OK in a nutshell, what's wrong with nukes? The fact that we'll have to contain the waste for over 100,000 years for a few years of power. Insane. That plutonium is the MOST TOXIC SUBSTANCE known. Lunacy. That every plant is a target, and that even if ALL accidents could be prevented, they will always be magnets for terrorism, the success of which would functionally make the surrounding area uninhabitable forever.

None of this is remarkable, except that this right wing slime shows up on "liberal" talk radio. It's not like the barbarians who dominate the field with their astonishing hatespeak don't have plenty of time to give Whitman's lies, half-truths and criminal rationalizations. But no.

There is a special spot in hell for you, Christine Todd Whitman.

But take solace in George Bernard Shaw's observation that the damned feel perfectly comfortable in hell.

After all, it was made for them.


[NOTE: 5:15 AM, Tucker Carlson disconnects himself from Bush in classical "rat deserting sinking ship" modality. And "who cares what Dick Cheney thinks?" I shoulda stayed in bed.]

Monday, July 30, 2007

Another Day Down The Rabbit Hole

A Really Tasteful and Respectful Radio Play About A Completely Fictional Television Show


Bill O'Bully - A famous Right Wing Television Commentator

Mishrill Merkin - A former reporter turned Internet 2.0 media entrepreneur and blogosphere eyecandy blogmistress. Pronounced "my shrill MURR kin"
Barbie Kewpie - A former Democratic consultant, now makes her money appearing as a "consultant" on the O'Bully Show and writing for periodicals and publishing houses owned by the same people that own O'Bully's Network (and who publish HIS books, syndicate his radio show, publish Merkin's books, etc. etc.).


O'BULLY: And we're back in the 'No Win Zone.' ... Anonymous Left wing hate has been completely ignored by the liberal imperious sovereign media, and here with us to discuss it is our resident VOX NOOZ expert, Mishrill Merkin. What say you, Mishrill?

Wonderful to see you, Bill.

O'BULLY: Mishrill, your blog today continues to follow the story of that soldier in Iraq who wrote all those horrible things about our troops. What wrote you, Mishrill?

MERKIN: We've started a parody writing contest, Bill. It's based on this FABULOUS parody that was written by blogger Slime Seeker on anonymous writing by the left and how hateful it is.

O'BULLY: That sounds hilarious, Mishrill. How laugh you?

MERKIN: Oh, we've already had some side-splitting stories. One that comes to mind is PatriotWho KillsLiberals "Why I killed Vince Foster" by "HC." Another zany laff riot is KillAllLiberals' short short story, "Why I want to skull-fuck that soldier puke I don't even think exists in the hole I'd blow in him with my illegal assault rifle."

O'BULLY: Isn't that a little close to Ted Nugent's most recent editorial in the Wall Street Journal -- "Why we should kill all the liberal writers"? How answer you, Mishrill?

MERKIN: His Nuge-ifocity [NOO ji FAAS ih TEE] wasn't talking about anonymous liberal bloggers, Bill. He was talking about liberal writers, which is a completely different thing. KillAllLiberals was challenging the cowardly ANONYMOUS bloggers who spew their hate-filled venomous stuff that puts them in league with Al Qaeda terrorists and slits the throats of our brave troops in their sleep.

O'BULLY: Come on, Mishrill. Are the liberal bloggers really any kind of threat? What fear you?

MERKIN: Well, if you just look at how they've destroyed the free market with their antitrust laws, their labor unions, their anti-child-labor laws and their health and safety laws, you'll see what a menace that liberals are, Bill. They only look pathetically weak and ineffectual. But so are moths, but they can ruin sweaters if you don't have the balls to deal with them.

O'BULLY: You're of course speaking about moth balls.

MERKIN: That's right Bill.

O'BULLY: Let's bring in a Liberal Democratic Consultant who is a regular here in the "No Win Zone," Barbie Kewpie, activist and lawyer.

KEWPIE: Thank you Bill, I ...

O'BULLY: Barbie, you've stated in the past (now that you're writing for our fine publications and working for us as a consultant) that anonymous liberal bloggers are not the great threat that they're made out to be. How can you defend that? What say you?

KEWPIE: Thank you Bill, I ...

O'BULLY: Mishrill?

MERKIN: That's simply not true, Bill. I've warned again and again of the danger of liberal bloggers. Last week, you'll remember, a rabid blogger bit the announcer at a NASCAR event. And the endless hatespeech from the liberal blogger "Taliban" has deeply hurt Ann Coulter's feelings. What kind of heartless baby-murderers are these anonymous liberal bloggers? They won't be satisfied until they have silenced every other voice, and turned the internet into the moonbat fairyland of Blogistan.

KEWPIE: Bill, I ...

O'BULLY: You'll get your turn, (sarcastic) MIZ Kewpie. What say you, Mishrill Merkin?

MERKIN: They hate our troops, our Jesus and our way of life. They hate us for our freedom. Their mothers wore army boots.

O'BULLY: (With naked sarcasm): Miz Kewpie?

KEWPIE: Bill, I ...

O'BULLY: Mishrill, you had something you wanted to say?

MERKIN: No, Bill. But as long as you're asking, I believe that anonymous liberal bloggers gave Barry Bonds steroids, planted controlled demolition charges in the Twin Towers on 9-11, cause the sinking of Titanic and drown puppies for fun.

O'BULLY: What say you, MIZ Kewpie?

KEWPIE: Bill, I ...

O'BULLY: Well, that's where we'll have to leave it. We're outta time for this segment. What want you, Mishrill?

MERKIN: [all the "bl"s should lead to semi-babbling incoherence] I just wanted to say that my NEW blook is for sale on my blog, about the dangers of blig government and anonymous liberal bloggers: ALL LIBERALS SHOULD HAVE A HEART ATTACK AND DIE ALREADY. I wrote it in collaboration with my good friends LittleGreasyTurdballs, Hairlessnads and VillanesSumPump. It's must reading for all concerned Christian, Patriotic True Americans.

O'BULLY: Thank you Mishrill. You are, without a doubt, American's favorite Merkin. How reciprocate you?

MERKIN: Thank you, Bill. You are the most incisive voice in television, and the handsomest man on radio.

O'BULLY: [Drumming fingers on desk] AND ....?

MERKIN: And the O'Bully Method for Kids is just the best book ever, Bill. I've been reading a chapter to my son every night at bedtime, and little Vlad just loves it. He's stopped pestering me for money for his candy and comic books, and I have to thank you for that.
And for writing that *wonderful* book, which I'm also selling on my website along with my new book, . I wish I could carry some of the really AMAZING "no win zone" gear you've got on YOUR site, W W W DOT BILL O'Bully DOT com.

O'BULLY: This old salty dog thanks you. And thank you Democratic Liberal Consultant Barbie Kewpie. Just because you're from the other side of the aisle doesn't mean that you can't be bootylicious. And you are.

KEWPIE: Thank you, Bill, I ....

O'BULLY: Myshrill?

MERKIN: She's completely full of crap, as usual.

O'BULLY: There you have it. Balanced and fair. Next up, how pantywaist liberals are threatening anonymous conservative bloggers with "outing." Is this another hellish checklist item on the homosexual agenda?

And, later in the show, The O'Bully Report takes a "no win zone" look at four-eyed pansy sissy boys in our schools. Are they giving Conservatives their lunch money WITHOUT putting up enough of a fight? Will our next generation of Conservatives be aggressive enough to inherit America's future without the "school of hard knocks" training that guys like me got on the schoolyard playground? God I miss those days.

What watch you, America? We'll be right back.

[REALLY LOUD screeching fanfare. Overdone, almost Rococco graphic in Red, White & Blue motif. Various noisy electronic clutter dancing everywhere on the screen. Cut to Commercial.]

AUTHOR'S NOTE: The aforementioned transcript is completely fictional. To see a Really Tasteful and Respectful picture of a Koran in a toilet, see the Michelle Malkin (no relation) blog.


Sunday, July 29, 2007

On The Veracity of Stooges

Or, Red Meat for the Rightie Blogosmear

Here's another "story" that currently only exists in the Red Blog camps.

The Australian newspaperThe Age, reported yesterday that, seemingly chillingly:

Freed Guantanamo inmates take up arms
The Age (Australia)
July 28, 2007

AT LEAST 30 former Guantanamo Bay detainees have been killed or recaptured after taking up arms against allied forces following their release.

They have been discovered mostly in Afghanistan and Pakistan, but not in Iraq, a US Defence Department spokesman told The Age yesterday.

Commander Jeffrey Gordon said the detainees had, while in custody, falsely claimed to be farmers, truck drivers, cooks, small-arms merchants, low-level combatants or had offered other false explanations for being in Afghanistan.

"We are aware of dozens of cases where they have returned to militant activities, participated in anti-US propaganda or engaged in other activities," said Commander Gordon.... [more]

Why "seemingly"?

Well, I have two reasons.

The first, and unimportant reason is that I was interviewed on the floor of the 2000 Democratic National Convention as an Oregon Delegate by a reporter for The Age, and later looked up the article on the internet (when I'd gotten back home). The Age's reporter had quoted me as saying the exact opposite of what I told her. My sound bite was: "We are electing a president, not a talk show host." Her question was, "Isn't Al Gore dull?" Her quote, attributed to me was that, yes, Al Gore is dull.*

[* That's agenda-driven reporting, BTW: you have a preconceived notion of what the story is -- from observation, to be fair -- but then you're looking for quotes to fill in the little "VERITAS" spaces in your piece. WHEN you get to this point, stop. You've slipped off of the journalism bus, which is a fearless search for truth, even if you don't like it, even if it's uncomfortable. The other is being a propagandist, the only question being the degree. The difference, the one that FAUX NOOZ and the other newsbusters who claim "Liberal Bias" miss is that there is a vast difference between trying to be objective -- an impossible paradigm, perhaps, but a GOOD paradigm -- and intentionally "fixing the facts to fit the story."]

So my personal experience in terms of the veracity of The Age isn't good. And, in my epistemology, what I have experienced directly always carries a lot more weight than something I've read. But you're reading this, so it's just a story.

The second, IMPORTANT reason why I said "seemingly," ought to be a no-brainer.

The second reason?

Look at the SOURCE.

"a US Defence Department spokesman told The Age yesterday."

End of story. We, AMERICANS know better than nearly anyone that our military lies to us on a regular basis. They did it in Vietnam. They BRAGGED about it after Gulf War I (that Marines were mounting an amphibious assault on a heavily occupied island just off the Kuwaiti shore).

And now, with the war and with Gitmo and the "secret CIA prisons" under scrutiny, and the mad yowl of the disinformation arm of the Administration (Note how many screams of "Al Qaeda"! "Al Qaeda"! "Al Qaeda"! "Al Qaeda"! went up after the Congressional subpoenas were openly defied by the White House in the past fortnight), what critical thinker could possibly take a "PUBLIC RELATIONS OFFICER"s interview with a major non-US newspaper at face value?

Doesn't it seem interesting that there was no headline on this with a compliant US media?

Now, that doesn't mean that there hasn't been a nice rightie blowback. There has. That Kewpie Doll from Hell, Michelle Malkin was, of course, on the story like white on rice:


More Gitmo catch-and-release
By Michelle Malkin
July 29, 2007 10:46 AM

Earlier this month, the US released 16 Saudis from Guantanamo Bay. A total of 77 Saudis have been freed from detention. If you shared my 'Uh-oh' reaction, then you will not be surprised by this latest report in The Age (via Andrew Bolt) about freed Gitmo detainees taking up arms and resuming jihad.

Other Discussion: The Newshoggers, Dr. Sanity, Michael P.F. van der Galiën, , Wizbang, The Jawa Report, Andrew Bolt and Times of London (owned by Rupert Murdoch).

Consider what side the PR Officer's bread is buttered on. And consider that such an interview would have to be cleared at the highest levels. Ask yourself what benefit or cover this might give the Commander In Chief in his little problems about illegal wars, Geneva conventions, falsified intelligence, etceter, etcetera, etcetera, et al, ad nauseum, ad infinitum, &c.

And then ask yourself: Are these the same "critical thinkers" who were arguing all week about details in the formerly anonymous Private Scott Thomas Beauchamp's report from Baghdad? Who nitpicked the typeface of Dan Rather's 60 Minutes II report?

An interesting sort of critical thinking.

Here are a couple of other interesting facts:

The killers the Left wanted freed (sic)
The Herald Sun (Australia)
By Andrew Bolt
Saturday, July 28, 2007 at 10:58am
The real scandal isn’t that the US has locked up suspects at Guantanamo Bay, but that it’s let so many of them go free - free to resume their terrorism:

"AT LEAST 30 former Guantanamo Bay detainees have been killed or recaptured after taking up arms against allied forces following their release.

"They have been discovered mostly in Afghanistan and Pakistan, but not in Iraq, a US Defence Department spokesman told The Age yesterday.

"His comments follow the death this week of Taliban commander and former detainee Abdullah Mehsud, who reportedly blew himself up rather than surrender to Pakistani forces. In December 2001, Mehsud was captured in Afghanistan and held at Guantanamo Bay until his release in March 2004. He later became the Taliban chief for South Waziristan."

How many people have now been murdered by fanatics set free from Guantanamo Bay, at the urging of so many civil libertarians and Leftist activists?

How many deaths do those civil libertarians now have on their conscience?


The Herald Sun is a morning tabloid newspaper based in Melbourne, Australia. It is published by The Herald and Weekly Times Ltd (HWT), a subsidiary of News Limited and owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation. It primarily serves Melbourne and the rest of the state of Victoria, and shares many articles with other News Limited paid daily newspapers, especially those from Australia.

Herald Sun is the highest circulating newspaper in Australia, with a weekday circulation of 551,100 and readership of 1,500,000. (emphasis added).


[The Age's parent company] In October 2006 speculation began that the company would be bought out and split up began to grow after the passage of changes to Australian media laws. Rival media company News Corporation purchased a 7.5% stake in the company ...

Oh, and this:

Since the 1980s The Age, despite the loss of its corporate independence, has remained a successful and influential newspaper.... Its sports journalism is also extensive, although it does not try to compete with The Herald Sun in volume of sports coverage.

For the Administration, this story is too good. (Of course, there's an old saying in the news biz: if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.)

Other than that, though, the story is very credible. Which is why it seems funny that basically only the Rightie sites have picked up on it. Hmmm.