The Friends of California Libre...

02 February 2005

The State of the Disunion

Greetings, friends,
Anyway, I'm not going to say anything about the recent election in Iraq that Mr. Bush won't say tonight in the State of the Union speech, except with more Christian analogies. Nope, I'm very pleased that so many people would defy death to exercise a right that over half of all Americans gave up out of laziness years ago.

Still, Dr. Phillips had to spoil the beauty of it for me:
New York Times. The date is September 3, 1967:
U.S. Encouraged by Vietnam Vote Officials Cite 83% Turnout Despite Vietcong Terror
by Peter Grose, Special to the New York Times
WASHINGTON, Sept. 3-- United States officials were surprised and heartened today at the size of turnout in South Vietnam's presidential election despite a Vietcong terrorist campaign to disrupt the voting. According to reports from Saigon, 83 per cent of the 5.85 million registered voters cast their ballots yesterday. Many of them risked reprisals threatened by the Vietcong. ....A successful election has long been seen as the keystone in President Johnson's policy of encouraging the growth of constitutional processes in South Vietnam. The election was the culmination of a constitutional development that began in January, 1966, to which President Johnson gave his personal commitment when he met Premier Ky and General Thieu, the chief of state, in Honolulu in February.


May I say, right off, that I'm glad Bruce Wagner made the cover of the Weekly? Many critics here think his books are trash (because he writes about LA in the disparaging manner of a New Yorker, even though he's from LA) but along with Jackie Collins, he's the closest living thing to Budd Schulberg or Nathanael West we've got.

Anyway, I don't know how, but I had completely forgotten the last episode of "Twin Peaks", which I made it to last weekend, even the wonderful "Miss Twin Peaks" contest (with the "Umbrella Dance" and Lana's "contortionistic jazz exotica"). If anything could make my day, it was seeing David Lynch and his friends use the most sacred convention of the soap opera - the Friday afternoon cliffhanger - to the end the series, rather than tying anything up neatly; one of the greatest FUCK YOUS in the history of television. It was so good I'm going to recount all the cliffhangers for you (probably more for my own enjoyment, eh); a few of you told me you're re-watching the series yourselves, so you'll want to skip this part:
Windom Earle leaves Leo Johnson holding a cage full of tarantulas over his head with just a string in his teeth.
When Big Ed and Norma finally get back together, his wife Nadine is hit by a sandbag and recovers her memory. "WHERE ARE MY DRAPE-RUNNERS!"
After Donna finds out that Benjamin Horne is really her father, Dr. Hayward loses it and slams Ben's head into a fireplace.
After returning from the dead, Andrew Packard finally wrests the key to a safe-deposit box from a series of puzzle boxes left by his rival, Thomas Eckhardt. Along with Pete Martell, he takes it to the bank, opens the box and not surprisingly sees a bomb, which then blows up the bank. At the time, Audrey Horne had chained herself to the door of the bank vault in protest.
and last, but never least,
After his trip to the Black Lodge, Dale Cooper returns possessed by the evil spirit of Bob. He squeezes a tube of toothpaste out into the sink of his hotel room and then smashes his head into the mirror. "How's Annie? How's Annie? How's Annie?"

Well, at least Bobby and Shelly were happy. I've enclosed some pictures to make you feel better.

Another treat for me, in watching the 24+ hours of "Twin Peaks", are the episodes of "Pinky & the Brain" I tacked on the ends of the tapes in 1995. I don't know if they repeat this cartoon on cable anywhere, but it was a work of madness almost equal to David Lynch.

Speaking of madness:
North Korea says those with long hair are unhygienic anti-socialist fools

Anyway, I hope all of you will either enjoy heckling the State of the Union speech tonight ("...the state of the Union is...gggrrreat!") or have cocktails at some appropriate spot. Remember you've only got a week until Lent.

Some people are getting an early start. The Germans, as befits their obsession, love to play with poop (thanks Ged and Geri):

I am looking to you, my European friends, to keep the faith:
"Europe Must Not Hesitate to Criticize Bush"
By Aline Brachet
Le Nouvel Observateur Hebdomadaire

We're the bastion of Freedom©, so it's up to you to make the hard decisions and save the world from disunion:
NATO to Be Marginalized by the EU
Link to article:
Europe vs. America
By Tony Judt
The New York Review of Books

But come on now...let's think positive. How about the good work going on in the Ukraine (thanks again, Geri)?
I must confess I really like this guy...apparently he can take his poison, he's smart and ballsy enough to make his first state visit with Vladimir Putin, who was probably his would-be assassin, and he even apologized for the pogroms done against Jews in the Ukraine, which forced my great-grandparents to Chicago over 100 years ago. He's helping me overcome my distaste for Ukrainians and anti-Semitic Slavs in general. Maybe it's because his family lived through it:
Survivor's Son Yushchenko Recalls 'Sacred' Auschwitz

Meanwhile, over in England, yikes!
'Baby Lips' Blair earns admirer's kiss in Manchester

Makes you wonder:
Scientists Get to the Root of the Venus' Flytrap's Mysterious Snap

Other than events in the Ukraine, I am glad to see my Spanish friends stepping up first to vote for the EU Constitution:
Spain hopes to stir passion for Europe
International Herald Tribune
According to government figures, about 80 percent of Spaniards favor stronger ties with the European Union.

Now if only I could figure out how to get Switzerland (and Norway, if they stop killing whales) into the EU. It's one of my pet projects, rolling around in the back of my mind; and probably a good service for Europe.

Because things look bleak on this side of the Atlantic, my friends:
What Could Go Wrong in 2005?
By Marshall Auerback

Disaster confronts the world wherever we turn:
CNN .com - Report: Global warming approaching critical point - Jan 24, 2005*
Global Warming Is 'Twice As Bad As Previously Thought'
By Steve Connor
The Independent U.K.

Obviously my government is not going to take action; they ranked 45th in this survey:
Nations Ranked As Protectors of the Environment
By Felicity Barringer
The New York Times

A reality check is coming, but I doubt it will be cashed:
Ground Control to Mr. Bush
By Bernie Sanders
In These Times
The time for playing nice with corporate outsourcers and their enablers in government is over.

Not to mention disunion, and making us a global laughing-stock:
Python Swallows Bush!
By Laura Miller
Monty Python's Terry Jones talks about becoming a political writer, the decline of the British press and how Bush and Blair have erased the line between absurdity and horror.

And why not? He's only giving us a budget deficit of $855 billion THIS YEAR. Our grand total debt, a figure they rarely admit to, is over $7 trillion. Lots of other cool things at this site:
U.S. deficits seen totaling $855 billion
The New York Times
The figure does not include the costs of war and President George W. Bush's plan to reform Social Security.

The Stooges, well, look like fucking Stooges, and embarrass us further (thanks, Lucas):
Cheney‘s Attire Draws Ire
CBS News Online

That is, if they can even GO to Europe without being put on trial for war crimes!
Rumsfeld cancels trip after accusations

Yep, we are definitely the largest sales force of Freedom©.
Bush and Freedom: With Friends Like This...
International Herald Tribune

And he's running the government like a criminal enterprise (thanks, Miles and Mrs. Lightwood):
Subject: Eve of Destruction - Village Voice
Some interesting observations in this!,perlstein,60130,6.html

But that's not half as depressing as this long litany of sins (thanks, Mark):
Subject: America, the Beautiful?
No. 1?
No concept lies more firmly embedded in our national character than the notion that the USA is "No. 1," "the greatest." Our broadcast media are, in essence, continuous advertisements for the brand name "America Is No. 1." Any office seeker saying otherwise would be committing political suicide. In fact, anyone saying otherwise will be labeled "un-American." We're an "empire," ain't we? Sure we are. An empire without a manufacturing base. An empire that must borrow $2 billion a day from its competitors in order to function. Yet the delusion is ineradicable. We're No. 1. Well ... this is the country you really live in:
• Twenty percent of Americans think the sun orbits the Earth. Seventeen percent believe the Earth revolves around the sun once a day (The Week, Jan. 7, 2005).
Et cetera.

Here's the ultimate indignity; the UN is asking for other countries to help US out of our jam:
U.N. Report Calls for Help to Ease U.S. Budget and Trade Deficits
By Elizabeth Becker
The New York Times

Nope, as put so punk-rockily by this article in last week's LA Weekly, maybe it really is time for California to strike out on its own:
Leaving Home
by Joe Donnelly
In defense of secession

Everywhere in the country, you see disunion and fear of the future:
Rebellion of the States: Red, Blue and Angry All Over
By James Dao
The New York Times
Washington - Utah, the reddest of the red states, seems unlikely to protest federal action by a Republican House and president. Yet last fall, as Congress debated a Republican proposal to prohibit states from issuing drivers' licenses to illegal immigrants, Utah was right there, objecting along with liberals and civil libertarians.

And so, friends, let us embrace and dream of the end:
Our Velvet Revolution
By Doris 'Granny D' Haddock
A growing number of Americans are beginning to identify with the pro-democracy activists whose courage opened much of the world to freedom in the final decades of the 20th Century.

Vive le screed!

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