Friday, February 27, 2004

Some information about my helpful patron saint, Martin of Tours. We protestants don't believe in special "saints," but Martin was a remarkable historical personage - controversial, even contradictory - with good sense.

Don't miss out on authorized "The Passion of Christ" merchandise. particularly the pewter nail pendant for only $12.98 plus s&h. "Dying was His reason for living." So make "Buying your reason for giving" more money to Mel. Remember, If it ain't sold by Mel, you must be in Hell.

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Thursday, February 26, 2004


1. Near New York City &/or near Philadelphia
2. Cancer Alley.
3. Bruce Springsteen.
4. Atlantic City (gambling or Miss America).
6. The Sopranos
5. Frank Sinatra (he's from there, right?).
6. Funny "Joisey" accent.
7. Sports: A. The stadium where the Jets &/or Giants play &/or Jimmy Hoffa is buried. B. The college with the odd name, they have a good women's basketball team. C. Nets. D. Devils.
8. One of the Six Flags amusement parks (contest prize info on a bag of potato chips).

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Hey, you can't do that!

These kinds of musical experiences began during the Sixties & have never stopped. Breaking the 3 minute single with Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone" & "Light My Fire" by The Doors; former through brilliant lyrics, latter with a long organ break. John Coltrane's nakedly spiritual "A Love Supreme," stripping the metaphor from "jazz." Charles Ives' wild 1st Piano Sonata (I heard before his much more famous 2nd), which sounded improvised. Neil Young not even faking the flash on his extended "Down By the River" solos; playing the way it came to him. "I of IV" by Pauline Oliveros, feeding tones into inter-looped taped decks, letting the music simultaneously compose & play itself, more beautifully than any electronic music I'd ever heard. Lightinin' Hopkins twisting the beats around on "Walkin' This Road By Myself." Hey, you can't do that! Whoa, yes you can! The liberation of form.

A bit later, "Charlie Haden & the Liberation Music Orchestra," turning left without apology. Burning Spear visionary minimalist reggae. The Clash & The Ramones, punk at heart a reactionary return to musical "roots," the anarchy mostly hype, the self-annihilation all too real. Backtracking to Louis Armstrong & the Hot Five - does it get more "modern" than that? Ornette Coleman as riff-driven Southwest R&B. Parliament/Funkadelic Mothership - took Mr. James B. another step by ignoring the white consumer/audience altogether, so the undeniable "blackness" became almost irrelevant, less self-consciously "black." Like the encoded lyrical hooks of Louis Jordan & the Tympany 5. I first heard "Five Guys Named Moe" in the Seventies on Amiri Baraka's radio program. Steve Reich was too easy, was it a trick? All this stuff shook me up, compelling me to understand, accept & make peace with it. I could not, would not reject any of it out-of-hand.

The Small Print: Iraq Casualties 2/18/04 - 2/24/04: 3 dead, 35 wounded

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Monday, February 23, 2004

A "most enduring human institution."

WASHINGTON (AP) - Jumping into a volatile election-year debate on same-sex weddings, President Bush on Tuesday backed a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage - a move he said was needed to stop judges from changing the definition of the "most enduring human institution."

Even the Republicans are doubtful about this. Seems an act of desperation on part of Dubya. The last Amendment to curtail a freedom was the one that prevented Americans from owning slaves. Unless we include the one that will prevent Bush from being President for Life.

Anyway, this "most enduring human institution" has & still does in many parts of world enable polygamy, child brides, & the oppression of women. Mr. Bush truly is an intellectual dummy. Throughout the world, throughout history, marriage has taken innumerable forms, including ones that were very informal with bonds easily dissolved; forms in which marriage could hardly be considered institutional at all. Marriage during Roman Empire was entirely contractual. In other places one could marry one's brother or sister. What we think of as "love" in marriage is a relatively recent, European concept. Marriage is for begetting children & establishing rights of property & heir; love is for one's lover, in one's spare time. Marriage isn't even an option for many child-bearing women in America, including one bitterly conservative woman I know who opposes gay marriages yet who never seriously considered marrying the father of her two children, resulting in severe economic hardships. So who is more "moral?" The heterosexual who rigidly defines marriage one way & deliberately chooses to live in quite another? (Perhaps she reasons that if she had gotten married it certainly would have been to man) Or the gay couple who assert a right to a middle class existence dignified by a legal & frequently a spiritual blessing, too?

Saturday, February 21, 2004

What conservatives may fear most about gay marriage

What conservatives may fear most about gay marriage (paraphrasing the NYT) is that sanctioning it isn't going to change much one way or another. The demeaning of heterosexual marriage by television continues apace, with vulgar"reality" programming. The divorce rate remains approximately the same for all. Drive-thru wedding chapels in Nevada do not close, nor do the brothels. Gays & lesbians get hitched & return to their practically invisible middle class lives & lifestyles: no "Married Queers Here" signs in front of houses & condos & apartments already occupied by these couples. No proportional upsurge in numbers of gay people. These marriages are civil marriages, the only marriages the government cares about, obtained with licenses one purchases at city hall & has signed by an authorized person & a couple of witnesses. An actual "ceremony" is optional; so are rings & flowers.

View gay marriage not as a new & dangerous freedom - in most of America gays are about as free as everyone else nowadays - but as a reasonable, necessary & inevitable extension of justice, which only seems radical but will in fact play out over the long term with rather ordinary, even mundane consequences. Which is exactly the sort of marriages gays & lesbians are seeking or are in any event likely to have. Religious conservatives, who irrelevantly believe marriages are - or ought to be - made in heaven, just do not make a convincing case for defining marriage as only between "a man & a woman," an unsupportable moral judgement in a civil society, & hypocritical as well.

Bush's team wants to make gay marriage part of the national presidential debate - a smokescreen - Bush doesn't need to defend his Jesus put me on the wagon so I could be President Southern Methodism to the Southern Baptist Convention - he has to account to everyone for his actions in Iraq, on the economy, the environment, Medicare, & a host of other issues that touch us - from this administration - severely.

Friday, February 20, 2004


Unusual for me to have such a colorful dream. I'll just mention how it ended.

Got in a little sportscar driven by a woman so large I barely squeezed into passenger seat, seemed to be Cranford, we were going to local record store ..The Ritz..(not real) for something important...turned my head & saw a very tall dogwood in full bloom - biggest dogfwood I ever seen. & it was as if showers & wind had just passed through there spead out before was a magnificent spring, down to a single hopping robin. I remarked on this to the driver - yesterday a few trees showing green, & today...


Getting myself off Zoloft was a good decision. It takes four to six weeks for Zoloft to kick in completely, & the same to clean it out of system. I'm able now to sort out the withdrawal symptoms from Welbutran XL side effects. It's been like waking up from semi-hypnotic state.

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Wednesday, February 18, 2004

Occasionally I wander through online personals to remind myself of how peculiar I really am. If I weren't too poor I'd usually be too short. If I weren't too short I wouldn't be "fit" enough or enjoy line dancing or think Vegas is a great vacation or care about antiques or be a devoted dog lover. I'm proud of the fact that my disqualifications go way beyond what most women can even imaginatively weigh in the balance. But that's been my life. If I'd lived a relatively conventional existence (tho I have had a fairly quiet one), right about now I'd probably just be recovering from years of child support payments for kids I had with a woman who divorced me long ago. But there's been no kids, no marriage & no so divorce, & hardly anything that would attract fiftyish single women & vice versa.

The Small Print: Iraq Casualties 2/11/04 - 2/17/04: 7 dead, 23 wounded.

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Monday, February 16, 2004

Declining the Laureate's Wreath

A few years ago a guy from the chamber of commerce offered to make me Poet Laureate of the small city where I have resided for twelve years. He was serious. "We'll get City Council to pass a resolution of some kind, hold a ceremony, invite the press." Whoa! I declined immediately. I like this city very much; it is old, it has character & conveniences; but I could not think of a single reason why I should be Poet Laureate of Rahway New Jersey. First & most importantly, there was nothing in it for me except a useless newspaper feature that might make me look undignified at best, at worst an unintentional fool. (Intent is the point of foolshness.) Of what value is such an honor when not conferred by one's true peers? Besides, I don't much believe in the concept of a poet laureate, especially one connected to a political body. Look at what happened to Amiri Baraka, lately the Poet Laureate of New Jersey. Uttered a few poetically-crackpot lines that we admirers of Mr. Baraka tend to just accept as part of the man's expression, causing so much uproar that the position itself was abolished, which was O.K. by me. He shouldn't have sought or accepted the job in the first place.

& there are the matters of the poet himself & of his poems. I don't care to be known in my town as a poet by anyone who doesn't need, seek, or appreciate that information. It is easier for me to go about in disguise; I've assumed several, including one as a respected local newspaper columnist & another as a goofy-looking middle-aged man on a bicycle. I stand on my art here; because it is not necessary that My Fellow Citizens read it, I become the most accessible of poets, as available as a minor poet can possibly be. I designed my "career" to that purpose! & of the poems? At the time this Poet Laureate offer was made I'd written & published only one poem naming a specific location in Rahway, & that without mentioning the city itself. The poem was about ideating suicide. I've since written another, concerning a cemetary. All of my poems happen someplace, many describe an actual physical space, very few give a precise location. Even "Boardwalk," as realistic a portrait as I've ever painted in words, is my invention - everything "real" on it was moved there from somewhere else. In fact of feeling safe, of belonging, of love being where I sleep at night, I cannot claim to have a home, where I would willing reign as Poet Laureate.

Sunday, February 15, 2004

Learning from narrow-minded bigots...

In 1968/69 I worked at the great Harmony House record store on Rt. 22 in Springfield. I was twenty years old, a rock n roll organist who loved music. One of the areas in the store I took care of was "budget classical," inexpensive recordings of everything from Gregorian Chant to early Steve Reich & Pauline Oliveros. One of our regular customers was a misanthropic middle-aged man who believed fervently that everything composed after the classical era - Mozart, Haydn, early Beethoven - was worthless crap. He was a fanatic - his viewpoint obviously insane. So I hit the guy up for his recommendations of classical & baroque bargain records; it was all terrific stuff. He had a great ear for those periods. But it didn't bring a bit of credibility to his harsh, irrational opinions of Berlioz, Brahms, Bruckner, Dvorak, Mahler, etcetera much less any of the "modern" 20th Century music he detested with his whole being. Which of course included jazz & rock n roll.

One finds narrow-minded, angry bigots occupying all sorts of niches, in the arts, sports, history, literature, religion, politics, business, spouting what they perceive to be commonly accepted, common sense orthodoxies, but which are actually like reflections from warped funhouse mirrors, peculiarly applicable mostly to themselves. Family, friends, coworkers offer little opposition, it's too predicably disagreeable to do so. Some of these xenophobic souls have a genuine expertise in a particular area - baseball of a specific era or team, early New Orleans jazz, rockabilly, Biblical geography, Civil War battles, are but a few of the many I've encountered - one taps the savants' petrifying brains for what is worth learning & then leaves them in their fortified worlds, raging endlessly for or against their selected slice of the past, present or future.

Saturday, February 14, 2004

Here is your Valentine.

Here is your VALENTINE.

On the positive side, not having a Valentine Sweetheart means a woman won't be breaking my heart any time soon. I've certainly proven that I'll risk the heartbreak; some people never do.

A poet ought to offer a few thoughts on this day: The cute little bow & arrow cupid is not a sexless Valentine cherub; he's a powerful Greek god, one of the oldest. In the ancient world order he represented neither sentimental romantic love nor agape, the Greek word Christianity adopted to mean a selfless, spiritual love. Cupid's true name is Eros; he's all about passion, sex, reproduction, fertility, desire - the will to possess. & being these, he also reveals impotence, jealousy, decay, loss & death. Eros set off the Trojan War, when besotted Paris kidnapped the beautiful Helen. Eros is involved, in one way or another, in all wars, because he is a primary root of violence. Dante's Francesca & Paolo, ilicit lovers condemned to ride the whirlwind for eternity, gave into Eros & were murdered by Francesca's husband (Paolo's brother, who fell to a lower lovel of Hell for his crime). The Greeks & Romans understood this. We don't understand it so well, having stepped back to the supposedly safer distances of physiology & psychology.

It is possible that St. Valentine's Day was instituted in order to appropriate Lupercalia (Feb, 15), an ancient Roman pagan fertility festival that had been reinstated by Augustus Caesar. But there is little evidence that Lupercalia was being celebrated after nearly 500 years CE. Still, Candlemas, The Purification of the Virgin Mary, is a midwinter Holy Day, falling on Groundhog Day in the Western Church & February 15 in the East; & who is Our Lady if not a tender manifestation of an Earth goddess? Paganism persisted in Christianized lands because it filled a human spiritual need that Christianity did not. It was far easier for the Church to overlay pagan festivals with Christian significance than to stamp out their practices altogether - an impossible task anyway, as it turned out. That's a lot to take out of a heart-shaped box of candy on Valentine's Day, but there it is!

Thursday, February 12, 2004

Repair the Earth
Let little Birds
Made in China

Day like a leaf floating down
a bumpy stony brook

It doesn't come to you until you're well into it. Out of bed slightly late, dozing garbled news on clock radio. Errands, important not difficult. Bike to bank with short time to spare, skip the lubricant, pedals creaking loudly, bike complaining of nearly four weeks inattention. I'm sorry machine pal, it was the depths of winter, no more, say look at that late afternoon Sun! blinding. good, right? creakcreakcreak I hear ya!

Bank teller keys in same numbers over & over, another teller comes over to correct something, just enough hesitation, touch of anxiety - hmm something wrong with my account? wait, say nothing. Relief, I realize she's a trainee working alone, perhaps first day.

The customer in front of me at Dunkin Donuts counter is seriously English-challenged, yet his boss sent him in with a big order & too many duplicate coupons ... only one per order sir. He understands nothing. They give up quickly. He pays a dollar for four medium coffees & a cappucino. I don't even think he paid the dollar. No tip, either. My cappucino (with coupon) tastes suspiciously like Latte, too creamy, no espresso bite just under surface. Oh well. Filipinos with sweet tooths, if you're not assertive upfront they dump in half a cup of cream & four sugars before the coffee is even poured, & call it a "regular."

Walk into Walgreens, pick up sale flyer, big ugly cashier says "sir you have to leave the bookbag with the main cashier." Actually, it's a small maroon artists studio-pack, planted solidly in the middle of my back, & it's holding my checkbook & a large money order & a cheap cassette player & not so cheap earphones, I hand over my backpack only in downtown Elizabeth stores where they put it in a numbered cubbyhole & give you a claim tag, never in Rahway, never even been asked. This IS annoying. So I take the sales flyer & stand by the door in plain sight looking it over for anything I might actually want. About the time I conclude there's nothing this week, it's all Valentine crap, the big ugly cashier comes over AGAIN, & asks me AGAIN to deposit my bookbag. I have no patience for this, I come here a lot. Nothing I want this week I say, & the cashier says coolly, "well thank you very much sir," & although I'd enjoy slapping this one silly or saying out loud you make yourself ugly from the inside out('cause we all know God don't make ugly), I reassure myself that the twisted soul will either quit or be fired by next Wednesday. I'm a 55 year old guy riding an old bicycle, wearing a bright orange ski hat. I'm not going to pull it down over my face & drop little bottles of laxative suppositories into my cappucino cup, a better hiding place than an obvious bag.

At the market. Goya beans 2cansforadolla, cheap lettuce & broccoli, & these items I do cram into my backpack, then head for the post office, straight ahead ride down the smoooth Milton Ave. sidewalk, dusk, my orange cap clearing the path of commuters homebound from train station.

On the last leg home, I stop by the dollar store for a browse, & thinking back - it seemed like a struggle, this short journey - I then recall the tall cranes, much higher than the Methodist Church steeple, where the downtown double deck parking garage is being built, seeing a deep blue sun-has-set sky through those open steel frames. & the pretty Chinese checkout lady at the market smiling at me. & the French silver coin someone left on the glass desk counter at the bank, & I left it there, too. & the sun pops up again in the Southwest, & on Elm Street near the Mayor's house I distinctly heard two birds, one in a tree on each side of the road, singing a springtime tune. Yes, it was definitely that sort of music. & in the dollar store, surrounded by red hearts, feeling sad because I have no Be My Valentine Sweetheart again this year, I find the cheap wooden bird cage windchimes with the two little birds inside & the battery compartment on the bottom, & on the box it says:


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Wednesday, February 11, 2004


That was the #3 story on Channel 7 TV news tonight. What is real for whoever attends those parties is merely fantasy - wishful or tsk tsk - for the vast majority of the TV audience. So why is it news?

Are sex parties more common than I think? Well, first, I've never thought much about how common they are. So I wasn't asking the question. Although I imagine teen sex parties happen a lot more than they did back in 1966. & I always copped out anyway when the opportunity to orgy presented itself, like at Woodstock or when a girlfriend & I were invited to "swing" with another couple we knew.

Sex is everywhere, yet it is possible to become involved with a partner for whom sex doesn't make even the Top Ten of enjoyable pastimes, rating below (these are not euphemisms) walkin' the dogs, feedin' the birds, pettin' the pussies, suckin' the salsa, climbin' the ladder, strokin' the brush, dippin' the stick, lickin' the popsicle, changin' the oil, whackin' the weeds.

So much news is completely contrived. Channel Two was touting a Special Report on "Can the food at Disneyworld Make you Sick?" Another question we weren't asking. & they investigated it, or maybe some other station did & WABC used the material. & what did they uncover? Eight reported cases of alleged food poisoning for all of 2003, for over one-hundred Disneyworld eateries. & inspection violations on the order of "vegetables held at the wrong temperature." Of course, there are numberless upset stomachs & pukings at any amusement park. But the food at any typical Jersey diner probably causes more than eight cases of food poisoning per year, what with undercooked eggs, thawed fish, room temperature whipped cream on pastries; with all items in a ten page menu prepared by a single Mexican short order cook who speaks little English, mistakes & oversights happen. The real story is how the food at Disneyworld seems to be remarkably safe.

The small print: Iraq casualties 2/3/04 - 2/10/04: 5 dead, 29 wounded, + 50 Iraqis killed in a single car bomb explosion.

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Flyer in Dembling's Market, a Hammond L-100 spinet organ for sale "CHEAP." Cabinets differ, the keyboards would be as shown. Note the drawbars on the left. No price, but it probably is cheap if the owner is selling it locally rather than for top dollar through the many organ afficionado sites. The L-100 isn't my model, lacks a component called a "scanner-delay vibrato" that creates the truly authentic Hammond sound. But it reminded me how much I'd love to have a classic organ again (owned a few portables, sold or gave 'em away), & how much I miss having a piano. When I mention this, people actually ask why don't I just get a piano or organ. Well, if I had the bucks I wouldn't have the floor space, & if I cleared enough floor space I still wouldn't have the air space. This apartment building has thin walls & ceilings - it's shoddy construction when you look closely, past the ivy covered brickface. One could not play a real piano or organ here without half the tenants hearing it. Already have plenty of musical toys, but they are what they are & no more.

With a slighty better model Hammond I could set the drawbars to 88 8000 000, the fabulous Jimmy Smith sound, or one of the other not so Secret Registrations of the Jazz Masters!

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Monday, February 09, 2004

Charlie Mosler Memorial Reading: "all a poet ever gets."

Prefaced my reading of a Charlie Mosler poem at his "Memorial" concert / reading by saying I met Charlie in the Seventies shortly after I left college, which began a series of oddly similar encounters that went on for 25 years. After a reading or gig or party, Charlie would be sitting at a piano, his large left hand splayed across about an octave & a half of the keyboard, hitting some conglomeration of notes over & over. He'd always say something like, "Rixon, I heard a cat play this - is it a C sharp diminished seventh with a thirteenth in the bass?" * I'd lean over, peering at the notes & say something like, "Charlie, doncha know if you already figured out how to make the sound you can give it any name you want? Think of one." The musicians laughed.

Edie pulled the affair together from invites to flyers to food; She never ceases to amaze. Among the poets who showed up to honor Charlie were Sofran McBride, Tom Obrzut, Hal Sirowitz, Sheldon Biber, Donald Lev (sadly, without Enid Dame, who passed on recently). Also music journalist Michael Redmond, actor Jeff Maschi, WNTI jazz DJ Todd Ellis. It was nice to find myself standing beside painter John Volanin, who I feel like I've known since forever, yet see so infrequently.

Musicians performing included Alan Wasserman, Artie Bressler, Sue Terry, Rosemary Conte, Steve & John Conte, Honey Gordon, Derwyn Holder, Wayne Smith, some others whose names I didn't catch. The music was better than swell, ranging from classical to Coltranish, with a closing jam session, of course.

A capacity crowd at Barron Arts Center, Rona Mosler looked pleased, but it was a bittersweet occasion.

What Charlie got on Saturday afternoon is all a poet ever gets. It's all Joel Oppenheimer got, all Joe Salerno got. If you're really influential there could be a little parade, like Ginsberg & Berrigan got. There might be a larger audience, if you have a lot of non-poetry family & friends who show up; or less; or nothing at all. Maybe, as with Salerno, the very people who wouldn't publish The Live Poet pull together a book for the deceased one, which then quickly sinks out of sight, like 99% of all books of poems These are matters-of-fact, not cynical opinions.

Charlie Mosler was a rare bird a amongst us; we were too used to having him around. If he had flown in from the outside he would've been recognized as one of the last of his species, & played the so-called "Big Tent" at the Dodge Poetry Festival every other year. Charlie trusted too much that he would be appreciated & accepted based on a combination of longevity & the quality of his "product," a common enough miscalculation, & a sign of creative integrity. & it doesn't usually happen that way, does it? Hell, at the 1994 Festival I witnessed Gary Snyder with Paul Winter, in a poetry & music performance that was simultaneously shameful & shameless. Charlie Mosler cut that sort of crap every time he stepped on stage. It was a part of his mission. He was nobody's sycophant, & had a low tolerance of flatterers. I liked that about him.

(* Pianist Wayne Smith, whom I consider a genius, mentioned later that he'd just encountered a 13th bass note in a Debussy piece. Wayne doesn't joke about stuff like that. Some years back he correctly identified a few bars of music by Faure on a torn piece of score buried in one of Christine Dolinich's collages.)

Friday, February 06, 2004

I could happily spend the rest of my life setting my poems to music, if I had the space & peace. Had to accept that no composer would do it for me. The Balancing Beam is essentially a song cycle, & a rather traditional type that. Many, many other poems are lyrical. & I have pieces in manuscript that are as much musical compositions - by how they were made - as any other art. That's where I started out, so long ago, in the Sixties. The last group of songs I wrote was 1978, & the last time I composed music in earnest was about 12 years ago.


On a fair day
my mother met me
halfway between her home & mine,
on the street behind the high school.
As I accepted Her sloppy kisses, she said,
"I sent you money for your rent."

We used to be indifferent or enraged
whenever we saw each other.

Mom invited me for dinner
tomorrow, it's Thanksgiving,
I forgot.
"I don't think my sister
wants to see me," I said.
"Come late, Jean's leaving early.
There's a woman who wants to meet you,
she's been watching you,
but you never noticed her."

Waking, I thought, Oh great,
I hope she's not dead, too.


It's about time I figured out how to organize the archives of this Blog.

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Tuesday, February 03, 2004

The Bush/Cheney/Republican Killing Machine Hits the

That's right. It's gonna cost a minimum of fifty-billion dollars to pay for another year of the Bush/Cheney Perpetual War, over & above what's in the military budget, which is increasing by 10%. & it's not money allocated for Homeland Security. & not money set aside for unexpected military missions (or any being planned secretly). Will the corporate pigs who own this Presidency settle for any less should the Bush Junta stay in power another four years? Death is too profitable.
The small print: Iraq casualties 1/25/04 to 2/2/04: 17 Dead, 59 wounded.

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Monday, February 02, 2004

Sometimes I wish George W. Bush would drop dead of a heart attack* so that the Administration's Chief Liar & Thief, Dick Cheney, would become President, thus exposing the oozing pus in the infection. Not since Nixon has such a cynical, deceitful bunch of dickheads had control of the Oval Office. & not since Reagan has a President been such a cardboard, cartoon frontman for the agenda of greedy corporate robbers & opportunists. Bush seems incapable of telling the truth about anything. When he can't get away with lying, he panders, evades, disseminates or simply squints his beady eyes, presses his lips firmly together & offers us the "Hey Dad, I'm Presidential" expression.

Rather than tell us the truth about which programs, entitlements & social sertices he intends to cut (like the V.A.), Bush presents a whopping deficit budget that quietly starves these programs to death without him having to take responsibility. That's the Reagan Anaconda method, & it infuriates conservatives & liberals alike. As for foreign policy, we haven't suffered from this many lies since the Spanish-American War, the American Soldier paying for them daily with a steady drumbeat of Military Funerals & flag-draped coffins we rarely hear about, much less see. Yesterday's Sunday Star-Ledger front page story about an unfortunate but brave & determined soldier who lost one leg & had the other shattered fighting to eliminate Saddam's Weapons of Mass Destruction is a media rarity.

Bush dodged 'Nam & now presents himself as a Warrior-President. Cheney dodged 'Nam & now he's mastermind behind the Iraq Killing Machine. Feed our soldiers into it at the rate of two or three each day, give or take the occasional helicopter crash, & hopefully nobody thinks much about it except next-of-kin. Who cares how many expendable Iraqis - I mean the ones helping us - get shredded in the process? Then, just to be sure, push another button on the machine that pumps out a smokescreen issue like, oh, "Gay Marriage" to take the patriotic American's mind off the carnage. After all, the sale is in the sizzle, right?

(* Back off, National Security Stooges, it's not treasonous to wish a president dead, only to advocate it. I prefer that Bush be soundly defeated - again - come November.)

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"If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be." Thomas Jefferson

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