The Friends of California Libre...

18 October 2004

The Curse of the Bushino

Greetings, friends,
Last night we had the first rainstorm of this season, early for once, and very welcome. It was a good hard rain, not too cold, peaking about 4 in the morning, raising the rivers and driving the homeless under the bridges. I was enjoying myself with my friends Sandra and Robert at the end of an old-school punk gig at Self Help Graphics on the real Eastside...great fun, with maybe a few too many white people for my taste. And yes, we did go to King Taco afterwards.

I'm disappointed that no one wants to visit the "Hollywood Hell House" (and see Bill Maher do the Devil), but perhaps those of you with tots will be more into the "Ghost Train" at Little Steamers in Griffith Park, next Saturday, Sunday and Halloween between 6.30 and 9.30. More info:

I'm beyond disappointed that the Board of Education decided last week to tear down the Ambassador Hotel on Wilshire Boulevard to build a high school. This has been dragging on for years, so long it's really hard to care. The Ambassador was one of the last grand hotels in Los Angeles, where Joan Crawford danced on the tables and Robert Kennedy had his head blown off, and it will be sorely missed. If I thought there was much future in LA other than the post-apocalyptic kind, I suppose I would be more pissed off. As it is, they've knocked so much down already, it's part of the nature of this city that very little will be left behind to point out to the kids. "And there's the historic Sherman Oaks Galleria..." You think I'm kidding? Ha ha.

In the "maybe you should go see" category, I think I can recommend "The Motorcycle Diaries", which proves once again that Truth is stranger than Fiction. Based on Che Guevara's diaries when he, as a bourgeois medical student, took a road trip around South America with a pal, it's a bit overwrought (I mean, we are talking about Che, who these days would be right up there with Osama) but not too much of a heart-string-puller, okay for American kids (no exposed tits or obligatory loud fuck scenes, and nobody gets shot.) Best of all, it's a great South American adventure, with big, big mountains. Sure, we didn't get to see "Team America: World Police", but there's always this weekend, isn't there? So anyway, after listening to X do "Riding with Mary" (which always makes me drive more carefully) I noticed my odometer read "55555" when I parked Lucky Seven. Now what's the cosmic significance of that? Could the Second Comers be right?

I spent the whole weekend, seems, writing and watching DVDs or the satellite dish at my pal's studio; the best part of "Ghost World" (the first hour), "The Ambushers" with Dean Martin (blazing, eye-achingly awful), "Barbarella" (pretty awful but you gotta love Jane Fonda busting the Orgasmotron) and then "Wizards", that pathetic anti-war Ralph Bakshi cartoon from the 70s, which does have the best climactic line: "Here's a little trick I learned from mother, you son-of-a-bitch!" Great, great stuff. Go, Hollywood Hell House.

Enjoy it now, before the Christians take over the US and make "The Handmaid's Tale" look like "Now Voyager" (thanks, Aunt Nona and Dana):
> > Here's a link that confirms:
> > Paperwight's Fair Shot: Dred Scott = Roe v. Wade or
> >
> >
> > Puzzled by Bush's reference during Friday night's debate to the
> > Dred Scott decision in response to a question about Supreme Court
> > appointments? I was until I realized it had nothing to do with
> > slavery or Bush's mightily flawed understanding of
> > historical/legal scholarship.
> >

I've also been watching this very cute Japanese anime on the satellite dish (and no, it's not pornographic) about three sisters (between the ages of 13 and 19, natch) who also happen to be secret agents hunting for a series of powerful books. It's extremely bizarre (can we say "The Prisoner" with goggle-eyed noseless schoolgirls?) yet for some reason very ecovative of being a teenager, especially the middle 17-year-old girl, who even has my formerly luxurious head of hair and my lovely long cashmere coat (and a lot of heavy world-weary silences.) Maybe it's not good that I identify with a female secret agent in a Japanese cartoon, but better that then the lead in "Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia" (yet seeing Warren Oates hoist that tequila bottle is always a treat for me) or that overstyled vampire movie "Nadja" (which is either a work of subtle comedy or the silliest piece of shit I've seen in a while.) So much for the satellite for now.

How about a little screed? Here's some support that John Kerry might not be expecting (or wanting, thanks, Mark):

Scenes we'd like to see in a porno movie: Ann Coulter doing herself with a .45. Nasty stuff.

For the more G-rated minds, this song (which will be available on my website until the election) reminds me why, as jaded as the French might seem, they still invented the word "naivete":
Here it is! The song that will propel Kerry to the presidency! It’s called “Kerry On (Don’t Beat Around the Bush)” and is poppy and fun, danceable and catchy, an enthusiastic simple show of support for Kerry. We are convinced this can and should be used as a kind of Kerry theme song to help motivate voters and pump up Kerry supporters.
Please take a few minutes to listen to it and then feel free to download, burn it onto CDs and hand them out, send it on to friends and djs and radios, post it on websites, and put it into the hands of anyone you might know who would enjoy it and get it played (i.e. your friend or acquaintance over at MoveOn, etc). Enjoy and Kerry On! Muzak ( Michelle (

More seriously, here's where you can do some browbeating of the Sinclair Corporation, which is planning to devote primetime to smearing anyone who DARES to challenge George W. Jesus himself (thanks, Geri):

Still think I'm kidding? To these Christian fanatics, even George is too much in league with the Devil:
Robertson: If Bush 'Touches' Jerusalem, We'll Form 3rd Party
By Daphna Berman
Influential American evangelist Pat Robertson said Monday that Evangelical Christians feel so deeply about Jerusalem, that if President George W. Bush were to "touch" Jerusalem, Evangelicals would abandon their traditional Republican leanings and form a third party.

This is serious business:
God's Party?
By Tom Ambrose
It's time for a major reality check: The GOP doesn't walk on water, nor has it been anointed by God as His personal ambassador to Washington, D.C. Today, many Christians feel the Republican Party is at least as corrupt as the Democratic Party...

I'll bet this woman is a good Christian:

And what good Christians the Bushes are (thanks, Mike):
Kitty Kelly Takes on the Bush Family Mafia
In her new book, Kitty Kelley shows how the first family intimidates those who've tried to expose the clan's dark secrets of drugs, drinking, womanizing and nepotism. Now they're coming after her.

The number one question about our Leader, though, might not be how he found Jesus in the coffee shop of the Holiday Inn in Midland, Texas (true) but:
Is He a Dope?
The Los Angeles Times Editorial
Although neither group likes to say so, some Americans who support President Bush and many who don't support him have concluded over four years that he may not be very bright. This suspicion was not allayed by Bush's answers in the first presidential debate a week ago.

You can turn him into an even bigger dope here; it's a Java applet that will kill precious time at work (thanks, Dr. Hillary):
There is a combination that makes bush look a bit like an Iraqi or Iranian computer nerd.

Nah, you say, how could somebody THAT stupid be in charge of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA?
Revision Thing By Sam Smith
Harper's Magazine
All text is verbatim from senior Bush Administration officials and advisers. In places, tenses have been changed for clarity.

Here's the long, detailed, nauseating truth:
Seymour Hersh's Alternative History of Bush's War
By Mary Jacoby

And another long article that is very, very interesting, and even a little scary:
Kerry's Undeclared War By Matt Bai
The New York Times

But it all goes back to, who do you want lying to you?
Iraq Had No WMD: The Final Verdict
By Julian Borger
The Independent U.K.

Who do you want protecting you? How does this make New Yorkers feel?
Bin Laden 'No Longer Top Target' By Christina Lamb
The Sunday Times U.K.

How do you want your government making friends around the world?
The Hidden History of CIA Torture: America's Road to Abu Ghraib
By Alfred W. McCoy

Here's an idea...alienate your friends...

Irritate your nuclear-armed enemies...
U.S. Destroyers Deploying off North Korea
The Associated Press

Ignore the needs of your closest neighbors...
U.S. Blocking Arctic Report
Scripps Howard News Service
Washington - The Bush administration is trying to bury an international report that contains recommendations on the impact of global warming on the people of the Arctic, an Arctic leader told a Senate panel yesterday.

Reject half of the human race...
U.S. Rejects U.N. Plan for Women
The Associated Press
United Nations - The United States has refused to join 85 heads of state and government in signing a statement that endorsed a 10-year-old U.N. plan to ensure every woman's right to education, healthcare and choice about having children. The Bush administration said it withheld its signature because the statement included a reference to "sexual rights."

Don't worry, because in America we believe in Democracy and Freedom and God and Faith. God will protect us from the rising oceans...
With Russia's Nod, Kyoto Treaty on Emissions Clears Last Hurdle
By Seth Mydans and Andrew C. Revkin
The New York Times

God will protect our right to free speech...
India Scraps Its 'Patriot Act,' Incenses Far Right By J. Sri Raman
t r u t h o u t Perspective
Feds Seize Indymedia Servers By John Leyden
The Register U.K.
The FBI yesterday seized a pair of UK servers used by Indymedia , the independent newsgathering collective, after serving a subpoena in the US on Indymedia's hosting firm, Rackspace. Why or how remains unclear.

Sorry, but I only believe in the alternatives:

Thanks for the painting of King George, recently taken down from a Washington DC gallery (but that's not censorship, just more of God at work) to Sergei.

And again, thanks to Aunt Nona and Dana:
This is a piece written recently by novelist E.L. Doctorow. It first appeared in the September 9th issue of the Easthampton Star. It is an eloquent and compelling essay worth reading.

I fault this president for not knowing what death is. He does not suffer the death of our twenty one year olds who wanted to be what they could be.

On the eve of D-day in 1944 General Eisenhower prayed to God for the lives of the young soldiers he knew were going to die. He knew what death was. Even in a justifiable war, a war not of choice but of necessity, a war of survival, the cost was almost more than Eisenhower could bear.

But this president does not know what death is. He hasn't the mind for it. You see him joking with the press, peering under the table for the WMDs he can't seem to find, you see him at rallies strutting up to the stage in shirt sleeves to the roar of the carefully screened crowd, smiling and waving, triumphal, a he-man. He does not mourn. He doesn't understand why he should mourn. He is satisfied during the course of a speech written for him to look solemn for a moment and speak of the brave young Americans who made the ultimate sacrifice for their country. But you study him, you look into his eyes and know he dissembles an emotion which he does not feel in the depths of his being because he has no capacity for it. He does not feel a personal responsibility for the thousand dead young men and women who wanted be what they could be. They come to his desk not as youngsters with mothers and father or wives and children who will suffer to the end of their days a terribly torn fabric of familial relationships and the inconsolable remembrance of aborted life....they come to his desk as a political liability which is why the press is not permitted to photograph the arrival of their coffins from Iraq. How then can he mourn? To mourn is to express regret and he regrets nothing. He does not regret that his reason for going to war was, as he knew, unsubstantiated by the facts. He does not regret that his bungled plan for the war's aftermath has made of his mission-accomplished a disaster. He does not regret that rather than controlling terrorism his war in Iraq has licensed it. So he never mourns for the dead and crippled youngsters who have fought this war of his choice. He wanted to go to war and he did. He had not the mind to perceive the costs of war, or to listen to those who knew those costs. He did not understand that you do not go to war when it is one of the options but when it is the only option; you go not because you want to but because you have to.

Yet this president knew it would be difficult for Americans not to cheer the overthrow of a foreign dictator. He knew that much. This president and his supporters would seem to have a mind for only one thing --- to take power, to remain in power, and to use that power for the sake of themselves and their friends. A war will do that as well as anything. You become a wartime leader. The country gets behind you. Dissent becomes inappropriate. And so he does not drop to his knees, he is not contrite, he does not sit in the church with the grieving parents and wives and children. He is the President who does not feel. He does not feel for the families of the dead, he does not feel for the thirty five million of us who live in poverty, he does not feel for the forty percent who cannot afford health insurance, he does not feel for the miners whose lungs are turning black or for the working people he has deprived of he chance to work overtime at time-and-a-half to pay their bills -- it is amazing for how many people in this country this President does not feel. But he will dissemble feeling. He will say in all sincerity he is relieving the wealthiest one percent of the population of their tax burden for the sake of the rest of us, and that he is polluting the air we breathe for the sake of our economy, and that he is decreasing the safety regulations for coal mines to save the coal miners' jobs, and that he is depriving workers of their time-and-a- half benefits for overtime because this is actually a way to honor them by raising them into the professional class. And this litany of lies he will versify with references to God and the flag and democracy, when just what he and his party are doing to our democracy is choking the life out of it.

But there is one more terribly sad thing about all of this. I remember the millions of people here and around the world who marched against the war. It was extraordinary, that spontaneous aroused oversoul of alarm and protest that transcended national borders. Why did it happen? After all, this was not the only war anyone had ever seen coming. There are little wars all over he world most of the time. But the cry of protest was the appalled understanding of millions of people that America was ceding its role as the last best hope of mankind. It was their perception that the classic archetype of democracy was morphing into a rogue nation. The greatest democratic republic in history was turning its back on the future, using its extraordinary power and standing not to advance the ideal of a concordance of civilizations but to endorse the kind of tribal combat that originated with the Neanderthals, a people, now extinct, who could imagine ensuring their survival by no other means than pre-emptive war.

The president we get is the country we get. With each president the nation is conformed spiritually. He is the artificer of our malleable national soul. He proposes not only the laws but the kinds of lawlessness that govern our lives and invoke our responses. The people he appoints are cast in his image. The trouble they get into and get us into, is his characteristic trouble. Finally the media amplify his character into our moral weather report. He becomes the face of our sky, the conditions that prevail: How can we sustain ourselves as the United States of America given the stupid and ineffective warmaking, the constitutionally insensitive lawgiving, and the monarchal economics of this president? He cannot mourn but is a figure of such moral vacancy as to make us mourn for ourselves.

E.L. Doctorow (

And finally, a completely non-political joke from Aunt Nona and Dana:
A man escapes from a prison where he has been kept for 15 years. He breaks into a house to look for money and guns and finds a young couple in bed. He orders the guy out of bed and ties him to a chair.

While tying the girl to the bed he gets on top of her, then gets up and goes into the bathroom. While he's in there, the husband tells his wife:

"Listen, this guy is an escaped prisoner, look at his clothes! He probably spent lots of time in jail, and hasn't seen a woman in years. I saw how he kissed your neck. If he wants sex, don't resist, don't complain, do what he tells you, just give him satisfaction, no matter how much he ravages you. This guy is probably dangerous. If he gets angry, he'll kill us. Be strong, honey. I love you".
To which the wife responds, "He wasn't kissing my neck. He was whispering in my ear. He told me he was gay, thought you were cute, and asked if we kept any Vaseline in the bathroom. I told him where to find it. Be strong, honey. I love you, too."

Vive le Screed!

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