If I am lucky…

there will be a day when the memory of today, and where I am, will be as distant as the memory is right now of Jack’s bedroom at 320 First St. in Hackensack. We will all be together, happy and healthy.

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“The Last Days of Disco”

My God – Was this really the year we graduated Mt. St John’s? The year I started at Rutgers? I would have sworn that it was much later in the decade, deeper in the disco era – say, Gaynor’s “I Will Survive.” But it really is the year that Gaynor had a hit with “Never Can Say Goodbye.”

Wow, was disco *really* that long ago? It’s like the jitterbug era was to us – ancient and peculiar in costumes, attitude, dancing, music, pastimes, sexual behaviors…But

How odd – I had associated this song with the disco of five years later, after I graduated from college …with the Bee Gees, and Glria Gaynor’s “I Will Survu=ive.” Instead, it’s Gloria Gaynor’s “Never Can Say Goodbye”:

Now, when’s the last time you thought of that, eh? Yet it still makes me move, more than any new song I’ve heard in years. We were in the bank today, Jake and I, setting up a joint checking account, and the bank’s sound system was playing a station offering “current” hits. It wasn’t until Pink’s “Raise Your Glass” (this summer’s Chumbawumba remake – at the same time, I really like it)) came on the I realized that *tunes* are what music no wonder has. Where are the hits of yesteryear? Seriously – there were hit tunes as long as radio and recorded music has existed. There were hits *before* recorded music. Otherwise, hoe could Gilbert and Sullivan have succeeded? Since “The Beggar’s Opera”, and that was in 1728!

{Now here is a digression, the sort of AADD (Adult Attention Defit Disorder) that the Internet has made the bane of my life). I discovered, while looking up the date that “The Beggar’s Opera” was popular, that it is theonly surviing example of a once-thriving sort of play called the “satirical ballad opera.” “The Magic Flute” wasn’t written until 1791! That’s more than 70 years later.]

Anyway,”The Beggar’s Opera” certainly had its share of hit tunes. Even Henry VIII had his own hit tune, “Greensleeves,” [popularly believed] and that song dates from at least Elizabethan times. So there have been popular tunes for at least 450 years – wherever humans have gathered together, and heard each other sing or play. Once the popular press could print written music, and the general public had enough money to purchase it, tunes could be distributed anywhere. Then there was the creation of affordable musical instruments, which could really only occur after the Industrial Revolution made the manufacturer, and purchase of, of musical instruments.

So 450 years of popular tune in the English-speaking world. Are there any such figures left in the English speaking world? Have I really lived so long that I am nostalgic for disco?

It isn’t that I abhorred it. There were many disco tunes I liked. But disco was primarily *unserious.* I was a serious person – I never had the alternative of being anything but. Someone at 52 Ski Hill had to be a serious person – there were the four younger kids to consider. So although I would dance to disco if I were at a party, I never went out to discos.I never felt cool enough, pretty enough, or rich enough. The disco look cost money! It cost a good deal to take the tunnel or the bridge into the city. Danksins cost a pretty penny. More than that, I was drawn to music like the Talking Heads, or Elvis Costello – music with a beat, but about serious issues.

Now I miss disco, like I miss the Twin Towers. They were both simultaneous creatures, and they both collapsed, turning into dust that left survivors gasping and confused. “Where to go now?” When you think about it, disco has its own holocaust, same as the World Trade Center.

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The Tenth Anniversary of “9/11”

I put “9/11” in quotes because it is no longer a date, but an event – just as “Pearl Harbor” is no longer a location. There is my *own* 9/11 story: it is actually three or four weeks long. It begins with that glorious, absolutely lucid, dulcet clear cerulean sky on that Wednesday morning, as I drove Jake to school, and we saw the light glinterring off the dewdrops on the fields at Douglass Campus. It was one of those glorious early-fall days that make you believe that “God’s on His Heaven, and all’s right with the world.” Jack was down in Florida with the PruPac bus, taking care of prepping its bus systems prior to its deployment.

So he had to call me from Florida to ask me if I was watching the TV after the first Tower fell. I was in the middle of a long phone call with Toni Mullins, who was distraught because she’d had to put her dog down that morning. Jack actually had the operator break into my call with her. I turned on the TV, and at first didn’t understand what was happening – there was a Tower, and a lot of smoke – but where was the other one? The announcers on the television seemed mystified, as well – where was the other Tower? Suddenly, we all realized – it was gone. It had collapsed. Such a thing seemed unbelievable, and still does. How could the Tower just crumble like that? It was so huge, so sturdy, made of steel and concrete and stone – where did it go?

What had happened to all the people that were in it? That was my next shocked thought. There were 30 to 50 thousand people that would work in the Towers on a weekday. What had happened to them? Now, we say “3,000,” and are horrified by that number. But on the actual day, and for days after, we were certain that the death toll must have been much, much higher. We have never given proper acknowledgement to the calm and deliberative way that those Towers were evacuated, and that so few people – comparatively – died.

But on that morning, I was still too completely numbed by what I was watching, too awe-struck, to process what I was seeing. The first coherent thought I did have was about the school. I knew Toni wasn’t there, and wondered what I could do to help. I drove over there immediately.

When I got there, the teachers were standing around in the hallways, stricken and frightened. Trish was a basket case – Bill, her husband, was supposed to be working on the roof of the North Tower that morning, helping to install a new antenna. She hadn’t been able to reach him, and was terrified that he’d been killed. None of the classrooms had been informed, and the teachers didn’t know what to tell the students. They drafted me, as Chairman of the Board of Directors, to go into every classroom and inform the students about what had occurred.

The children whose responses I most remember were the K – 2 grades. Every classroom in that age group (and there were three) had the same question: Did the planes hit the buildings on purpose? It was very difficult for them to understand that one – that TWO planes had to hit the TWO buildings separately. But when the children understood that, they all asked the same question about it: Why did they do it? What had we done to make them so mad at us? Those children all understood that this sort of thing wouldn’t have happened because of nothing at all. The mush-mouthed reason that adults later repeated dully, “They did it because they hate our freedoms,” obviously made no sense to them. These kids had no reason to feel compelled to mouth the old “acceptable” explanation that the adults clung o. They wanted to know what we had done to make them so mad at us! It’s a natural question, especially to children, who are very aware of the sorts of reasons that people get angry at each other. They figured we must have done something pretty dreadful to make them so angry at us.

Americans never did find out that reason – which is why we are in such a miserable space over there today.

I suppose my breakdown and suicide attempt 2 weeks later was a part of 9/11, as well. I got through the actual day alright, being very strong while everyone else was cracking up. I remember sitting in my bedroom that night, alone, hearing Barber’s elegiac “Adagio For Strings” playing on WNYC. (It seemed to be all they played for three days.) I copied Auden’s “September 1, 1939″ into my journal….”as the clever hopes expire of a low-dishonest decade.” “Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world.” “We must suffer them all again.” I knew what was coming…at that moment, I was afraid that we would simply nuke Baghdad. (We were fortunate that Bush felt queasy, when Cheney was so gung-ho.)

The Anniversary here has been a lot of turgid, self-important programs on cable revisiting the horrors of the day. They are very difficult for me to watch. There has been a lot of memorial music on WNYC, including all the music that listeners suggested memorializing the day.

But for me, what I have been thinking about is the actual death of the buildings as well as the people. Those buildings were actual presences in my mind, even realer and more visceral than many politicians or celebrities. I’d never met the Presidents or television stars that are supposed to be so important – but those buildings… I knew them, had looked up at that 100+ stories from their bases in the courtyard, had been on the rooftop viewing area, had eaten some of my best meal ever in the restaurants, had watched the arguments over their creation, and then their years-long climb into the skyline…. and had seen them everytime I even got *near* to Manhattan. They mattered to me, in the way that only a monumental piece or architecture that is part of your life can.

The Towers have been gone for so long that I can divide NY into “Towers NY” and “After Towers NY.” When I watch movies from the 70s, the 80s, the 90s, and I see the Towers, it’s the indicia that the movie is truly ancient. Even more than the autos or the clothes or the haircuts, it’s the presence of the Towers that date these films. Once, seeing the Towers in a movie was a quick way to know that the screenplay was actually taking place in Manhattan. Now, seeing the Towers affixes the film in *time.*

Now it’s impossible to head to Manhattan from anywhere in New Jersey without seeing The Hole. The Hole mean “Where the Towers Should Be.” No building, no matter how fantastic, can ever fill The Hole. You would have to build the Towers up again – perhaps, this time, in gold cladding, rather than silver.

The Towers were more than a landmark – they were a marking of the land, a talisman, a promontory used to align one’s travels to and on the island. Now that negative space is the monument. The only fitting occupier of that space is the Tribute In Light, beams of light, shooting up into the heavens.

The best part about the Towers was the ride up to the top, in those elevators that had a pressure differential as you entered them, because of the vacuum of air being pulled from the top. The Windows on The World, especially when it held Cellar in the Sky, was also a truly magical place. The food was great in Windows; in Cellars, it was extraordinary at times. But the view from that restaurant! To dine on top of the WTC was truly a magical experience, one of the great reasons to visit NYC in the late 20th Century.

Actually visiting the *offices* in the WTC was a different story. Unless you were in an office with a window, you might as well have been in any corporate rabbit warren – with the difference that you would have to walk down dozens of flights in case of a fire alarm.

The Towers seemed to be show up in every movie shot in Manhattan during that period, as well – the visual proof that the film was set in New York. When they were built, they were supposed to be the Rockefeller Brothers’ Great Pyramids. (Anyone else remember when we called the Towers “David” and “Nelson”?)

They were not attractive, but became almost beloved *because* of their stark, blunt, preposterous bland monumentality. (It certainly look like the new “Freedom Tower” is going to be the Ugly Tower.) And, yes, Phillip Petit bore them aloft into the realm of transcendence. The film, “Man on Wire” is a wonderful documentary of the event. But the children’s book, “The Man Who Walked Between the Towers,” captures the true spirit of the feat …especially the last illustration, which shows Petit walking on a tightrope suspended between the memories of the Towers, nothing more.

I don’t think America will ever build their like again, not in my lifetime.

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I’m going to give my Facebook friends a break

I must publish 3 or 4 links a day to my FB page: videos I find interesting, music I’m listening to, newspaper article or facts I wish to comment upon. It’s certainly a much greater volume than anything my friends engage in, with the exception of Doug Sharp.

There is also the heavy posting routine used by news sites or the politically aware: TPM and Abbey Arletto also publish as many links to stories. But they are using FB in a political sense – to keep in touch with readers as news developments occur during the day, or to simply motivate people to action.

Well, today is the day that I will begin to use my blog, instead of my FB page, as the way to broadcast all the *stuff* that I have been encumbering my FB page with. If my friends wish to hear what I am saying on a variety of issues, or to keep up with the links I find worth the time to enjoy, they can follow me here. If not, then I have done them to favor of decluttering their lives.

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This summer, it’s New Order on my iPod

This is the song that was playing over the theater’s sound system just before I walked down the aisle at my wedding – completely by accident. I remember standing in the back of the Forum,looking at the stage, as my sisters arranged my dress’s train. I had been feeling very calm and determined, with a “Let’s get this show started” sense – the same purpose and certainty about the part i was to play that I’d felt before walking onto the stage in any successful production I’ve been in.

Then “Touched by the Hand of God” began to play. New Order had been my favorite band since the day I’d first hear “Power, Corruption and Lies” on a tape deck in Adam’s room when I crashed with Jamie back when I was becoming a broker. All through the ’80s, New Order was my touchstone. They still weren’t well-known here in the States, so I would always be excited when I heard them on MTV, or find them on a jukebox, or in the DJ’s box of singles at a wedding. I listened to them continuously during the period when Jack and I broke up; they kept me upbeat with their music, and their depressed and slightly cynical lyrics matched my mood. Joy Division was the choice of the *truly* indie and hip, but i couldn’t listen much to them, because I was actually clinically depressed, and Joy Division made it worse. (Ian Curtis’s suicide was the warning sign on the door of the room that was their oeuvre: “Danger! Fatal if swallowed when under the influence of depression.”

New Order took the same lyrics and embedded them in a far more danceable beat and up-beat sounds. Their first single, “Ceremony” was actually a remake of a song written by Curtis. When you compare the two, you see the difference. It appeared to me that Sumner, Hook and Morris had the same intellectual insights and attitudes about the difficulties of living and finding love in the modern Anglo-American world that I and Curtis and millions of other did. However, they also had a strong will to live in spite of all the misery. It was exemplified by the desire to dance and feel the joy of the moving body. Since I share that basic impulse of never, truly at the bottom of everything, never giving up, I found that combination to match my own experience identically. For me, their music was a lifesaver many nights. I remember listening to “Shellshock” over and over: “Hold on! It’s never enough – it’s never enough until your heart stops beating. . Don’t give up the game until your heart stops beating.” It’s impossible to kill yourself when you’re dancing.

When George and I began hanging out with the crew from the Frog and The Peach – a lot of them gay and in their early 20s, thus at least five tears younger than I. (When I was in my 20s, age differences seemed much larger than they do now.) There was a lot of what was called “alternative music. A party at James’ house was the first time I heard “Meat Is Murder” by the Smiths, for instance. I actually would brings new music by New Order to the events, since I was the greatest devotee of the band that you could find outside of Manchester – well, at least in NJ, it seemed. There was “Brotherhood” and Low-Life.”

Then, when Jack and I started up again, “Bizarre Love Triangle” seemed especially apt. “Every time I see you falling, I get down on my knees and pray…” The videofor it was by the artist Robert Longo, and showed clips of besuited yuppies falling out of a clear blue sky, twisting against gravity. It became the song we always requested at parties, and would always get up to dance to… but to me, it also spoke of the “falling” that happened as one capitulated not only to love, but to the exigencies of life.

“Touched By the Hand of God” was the song that accompanied me throughout the entire engagement, through all the long hours working, all the plans and work for a wedding that I could actually afford, and yet make memorable. The lyric “I’d never looked at you in a sexual way in my life before…” always made me think of that moment in 1980 when I watched Jack – playing pinball back when it was a full-contact sport, using body English – and suddenly felt a surge of desire for him. It was shocking. because I’d known him for at least three years, and had actually categorized him as “not my physical type.” That moment of recognition – and then the moment when I decided to accept it – had always struck me as fateful.

I stood there in my wedding dress – the heavy silk satin with its own story – and looked down the red carpeted aisle, past all the movie-seat rows filled with our guests. I saw the baskets of beautiful home grown bouquets of various colors, the helium-filled balloons in gold and crimson and a translucent pearl tiede to the backs of the chairs. I saw the Unitarian Reverand, standing next to Jack in his tuxedo, and Kevin, his best man. The snes of calm remaniend, but sudeenly I realized that this moment was not one that I could control. It hadn’t happened because I had willed it, or planned it, or worked for it. It had happened because I was acting out an intention that came not from me or from Jack, but from that higher power I identified as God. God had touched me, saying “This step is the way that you have the experiences I desire, for you and for Myself.”

“I was touched by the hand of God … I never knew it, but of course I was.”

It still gives me the same chills it did then – 23 years later.

When I’m really angry or frustrated being married, I play this song, and remember why I made the choice. It helps put all the daily shit into perspective.

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Donald Trump says he is “the least racist person there is”

In this one little clip is everything that I cannot stand about the way the topic of race – specifically, racism against black citizens – is being discussed in this election season. It’s obvious that the a certain breed of Republican feels absolutely no compunction about making pronouncements about racism and racial issues. They are even proud and eager to do so, in order to demonstrate how “non-PC” they are. Trump’s a major player in this movement, because of his cynical embrace of the birther issue. Trump is the perfect example of the publicly permissible GOP racism. It’s based on his natural inclinations, but it’s ultimately deployed as a marketing tool. It feels good, and makes him money – what’s not to like, as Trump would put it?

Trump is racist in the way that many white Republicans are racist. They believe that most black people are lazy welfare cheats, who do drugs, live in the projects, and have a lot of kids out of wedlock. They’re violent, rather stupid, and “lower the quality of our schools.” They can’t govern themselves; just look at Detroit and DC. As far as the Republicans are concerned, these are the *facts.* All you have to do is look around to see the proof!

This virulent set of beliefs has been around since the invention of American chattel slavery at least. I don’t need to recite the history of American racism here, or the many permutations it has taken.This election season is going to be one of the most emotionally draining ever, because there will simply be so much more of it on display. But Jack says this is actually a good thing, because finally it will be out in the open. Rather than purely coded language and policy positions that do not directly state their reasoning, we’ll have outright NeoConfederates happy to defend their beliefs in blunt language. I thought that the behaviors common in my childhood – the time of ax handles and barring the schoolhouse doors – were permanently gone with Lester Maddox and George Wallace. But it looks like I was wrong. If the GOP is eager to do away with Social Security and the entire 20th Century, they include civil rights legislation in their dustbin.

Of course, these Republicans will also tell you that they are not the racists – the “Libs” are. The libs, you see, notice things like the GOP attitude towards blacks and Hispanics, and actually point to race as the cause for the GOP’s treatment of these groups. “The libs are always playing the race card! We don’t treat these groups the way we do because of their race – we treat them that way because of the truth.”

These Republicans always prove their openness by pointing to the “outliers” among black people they’ve trumpeted. These exceptions demonstrate GOP non-racism. Alan West, Herman Cain, Randal Pinkett – these are the “good ones,” who are clean-cut and Conservative. All they have to prove their open-mindedness are the few anomalies, which become anecdotal proof, such as the one Trump employs. The entire black middle and working class doesn’t exist in this field of reference.

There will be a strong push for the Republican GOP candidate to have a black running mate, such as Cain or West. In the GOP’s eyes, this is a strategy that will “make the libs’ heads explode! How can the GOP, which is supposed to be so racist, actually have a black VP candidate? They won’t know which black man to vote for!” Herman Cain may have originally come to public notice because he was opposed to Democratic policies – specifically, Clinton’s health care proposal – but he stayed in public notice because he was the anecdotal proof. Cain may even believe some of the positions he argues. But he’s made a lot of money as a Right Wing radio personality because he was cynical enough to knowingly exploit his condition as the anomaly.

In the long run, none of it really matters for the Republicans’ political chances, either in 2012 or thereafter. The majority of Americans can see the truth about GOP racial attitudes, because they are on display and put into action everyday. The demographics of this country, as demonstrated in the last census, shows that the GOP will be a rump party by 2020, if not before. The only hope they have is to employ voter caging and other voter barriers to keep all “those people” from voting.

If the Dems want to really kick the GOP to the curb, they should be doing tons of outreach to voting groups the GOP disdains. Economic populism really speaks to all of us. After all, the GOP strategists employ popular racism as a tactic to further their real strategy: picking the pockets of every taxpayer in the nation, and turning all the commons into privately-held, for-profit assets.

It’s the modern Enclosure Movement. But that’s another post.

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How unexpectedly moving…in so many ways

Total, utter game changer. And they *have his body.* They’re bringing it back to Obama like the ancient warriors delivering the head of an enemy to Caesar. But it’s the world that is truly Caesar – the ultimate power that demands proof of the enemy’s defeat. What a legendary battle this has been over the past ten or more years… Osama’s death does not make it over, and we still have so much to correct. But I had not realized what a *personal* struggle, what a burden, this has been, ever since that September day …

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What Trump Hath Wrought

Rep. Sally Kern, R-Oklahoma City said minorities earn less than white people because they don’t work as hard and have less initiative.

“We have a high percentage of blacks in prison, and that’s tragic, but are they in prison just because they are black or because they don’t want to study as hard in school? I’ve taught school, and I saw a lot of people of color who didn’t study hard because they said the government would take care of them.”

Kern said women earn less than men because “they tend to spend more time at home with their families.”

Read more from this Tulsa World article at http://www.tulsaworld.com/news/article.aspx?subjectid=11&articleid=20110427_11_0_TheOkl298226

This is actually *great* news. For at least ten years, we’ve seen similar comments – and much worse – from Freepers and Red Staters. *Finally* the true racism that is the basis of the modern Conservative Republican party has been liberated into the common political discourse!

It’s Trump that has done this. with his attack of Obama’s educational background and his actual speculation that Obama is an unqualified “Affirmative Action Baby” of no account. Wonderful! Next, he’ll be calling the President “Odumbo” and saying that he thinks that Obama is a Kenyan Muslim Socialist, whose goal is to destroy America.

The rest of the GOP are now liberated to actually spew their vile racist bullpucky all over the airwaves. They will attack the rest of the country for being the *true* racists, because they “don’t want to face the truth.”

The faster we can get these nasty knuckleheads to admit their true beliefs out loud, the faster the GOP loses even more of the Independents and fiscal Conservatives who are appalled by such beliefs. Not only that, but the party’s corporate overlords are going to see a tremendous backlash from consumers of any other color than white. *The NAACP should call for an immediate boycott of every product produced by companies that give money to the GOP.*

Not only will GOP elected officials now use the N-word, but will defend it. “We all know that there are certain African-Americans that are just ‘n-ggers.’ They don’t have jobs, collect welfare for their six kids with six different mothers, and hanfg out all day drinking Night Train and insulting white women. These shiftless no-accounts are exactly what the Democrats’ system of entitlement were designed to create – helpless people who would always vote for the gravy train.”

They finally feel free to express themselves. Some of them will even be elected, from southern states. Florida will produce at least one. The treatment they receive, in the very different world of DC, will make them feel even more embattled. What will the ethnic backgrounds of the people who will be attracted to the Loud and Proud “Non-PC” Republican party? What will be their educational levels, or their incomes? This isn’t what you’d call an “inclusive” marketing tactic – although it will certainly shore up the base.

Yet these are the same people that will expect the Federal Government to come to their rescue as their states are decimated by the rapidly-occurring climate change. Tornadoes and wildfires are the least of it. States like Oklahoma will be losing population in another decade. All those snowbirds, who moved to South Carolina or Florida for the lower taxes, aren’t going to be enamored of living in geographical regions hit by fires, drought, tornadoes, and hurricanes. Combine that with lower levels of services at all levels, and the bloom will definitely be off the Sun Belt States. Migration can flow both ways. About the biggest reason that Floridians wouldn’t be pulling up stakes anytime soon is that their housing market has collapsed so steeply that homeowners are financially stuck where they are.

These population shifts – the shrinking GOP base, and the shrinking populations of the states themselves – are obvious to anyone that does even a cursory demographic analysis. Certainly, they are apparent to the Overlords of the modern GOP. That party is beginning to resemble nothing more than Potemkin Village of partisan support. It is kept alive purely by the millions of dollars in donations that come from corporate sources. It exists purely to enact legislation that will better those Corporate Overlords. Its propaganda arms exist only to sell those policies to the lower 98%, who have no idea what the resulting legislation is doing to them.

The Overlords have to wrap up their control of the American political system *now*, with the 2012 election. Any further delay will mean that their sockpuppet party won’t be able to gather even a minimal number of voters, and will become a true rump party. In order to fire up their base this upcoming election year, the GOP will have to double down on the “PC Backlash” approach they’ve been perfecting since 1990 They’ll have to, essentially, come out of the closet. “We’re present, intolerant, and suck on it.”

They may even drop the pretense that the Confederate treason they so admire was about “States’ Rights”, and admit – nay, defend – the fact that it was about the right to own Negroes.

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The Kochs’ Parallel Primary for the GOP Nomination

Good news! The 2012 Republican nominee certainly appears to be a loser, no matter who it is. Palin? Romney? Huckabee? Gingrich? Bachmann? Pawlenty? None of them could win against Obama. The field is so lackluster that the “Reagan Centennial GOP Presidential Primary Candidates Debate” – the first of the electoral season – has been moved from May 2 to Sept. 14, 2012. (“to accommodate candidates’ announcement schedules.”) It’s enough to lull a good Democrat into complacency – which is, perhaps, exactly what the GOP intends.

The conventional wisdom is that the GOP voters will chose from that lackluster field. In primaries that will start on February 6, 2012, in Iowa. However, the truth may be very different: the GOP primary is *already occurring.*. It’s been running since January 1. The GOP governors are in their “Celebrity Apprentice” tryouts for the Kochs and the Rove cabals. It’s a criminal conspiracy, as well as a strategy, which is why you haven’t heard about it.

Each GOP governor with the ambition of becoming President of the United States has been given a challenge, which is also their opportunity. All they have to do is demonstrate to the Kochs that it is he or she is the person will be the best at completing the Conservative takeover of the United States of America. They do this by showing their prowess at accomplishing several tasks:1.) Destroying the public unions that support Obama 2.) Privatizing most government functions, especially education 3.) Eliminating as many traditional Democratic centers of power as possible – from the lowliest civil-service commission, to the largest in-state organization.

The Kochs will decide who does the best job, and throw all of their financial and organizational support behind that candidate. The winner will get the full might of the estimated $900 million dollars that will be raised in 504(c)3 money. They will get the mighty Koch organization chart, from Americans For Prosperity and Freedomworks, to the lowliest Tea Partier. They will get the media spotlight that only a fawning Fox News, complemented by Breitbart and Conservative bloggers and columnists, can lavish. They will be lauded on every Sunday morning show as a cross between George Washington and Ronald Reagan.
We’ve already seen the results of the governors’ progress on these “assignments,” in every one of their 34 states. Walker, Snyder, Perry, Christie, Kasich, Daniels, Brewer, Scott, LePage, Deal, Haslam – they are all ramming through legislation designed to achieve these three goals. What is most striking is that their proposals are essentially the same, even as they are individually finessed for each state – almost identical legislation and agendas, as if they were all coordinated.

No amount of prior research could have uncovered or shown that these guys and gals were going down this route. Their new political positions and tactics are a complete surprise to their state’s voters. Read the Letters to the Editors of local papers in these states. The shock of the citizens is revealed: “This is not what this candidate ran on! We were hoodwinked! There was nothing like this in his platform!” Many of them are being accused of staging coup d’états. The approval ratings of some of these governors have flipped as much as 20 percentage points since January – but these guys don’t seem to care at all. Why should they? They aren’t running for the public’s approval. *They are running for the Kochs’ approval.*

Each candidate campaigned for months, if not years, on detailed platforms that that were nothing akin to what they are actually doing now. These governors either deceived the voters by not being honest about what they intended, in state after state – or they conspired together after the election.

It would be a conspiracy entered into after the 2010 elections, but which was begun up to two years prior. It is funded by Koch money, and organized by the Koch front groups Americans for Prosperity and ALEC. We *do* know the date that the plot would have been finalized: Nov. 4, 2010, at a meeting of conservative leaders held at the home of Brent Bozell, President of the Far Right organization, Media Research Center. Joining Bozell at his mountain retreat in Stanley, Va. that day were Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council; Tim Phillips, president of Americans for Prosperity, one of the most active conservative groups of 2010 election cycle; Becky Norton Dunlop, vice president at the Heritage Foundation; Frank Gaffney, founder and president of the Center for Security Policy; Al Regnery, publisher of the American Spectator magazine; and Leonard Leo, executive vice president of The Federalist Society.

This was essentially a board meeting of the heads of Koch-funded Conservative groups. The Heritage Foundation and Americans for Progress are two of the largest recipients of Koch largesse, receiving $5.6 million and $4.1 million, respectively, in 2010. The Federalist Society received $2 million. Even The American Spectator receives a grant from the Kochs. The Media Research Center itself receives large grants from three Koch-controlled Foundations .

One of the main reasons that the group met was to identify “some of the rising-star candidates” who had the best chance to defeat President Obama. As an article about it said at the time , “To pass muster among members of this group, the activist who outlined the meeting’s agenda said, potential 2012 candidates will have to be ‘full-throttle, across-the-board conservatives.’ ” This “challenge to the governors” appears to have been the mechanism they settled upon.

The challenge would have been presented to the Republican Governors and Governors-Elect at the Republican Governors Association, which took place two weeks after the elections and the Bozell meeting, on November, 16-19, 2010. All 34 Republican Governors and Governors-elect attended this huge event, which drew lobbyists and advocacy groups from across the nation to sunny San Diego. The Koch Brothers PAC had given $1 million to the RGA last year; they probably even had a Hospitality Suite at the event.

Let’s say that all of them were invited to a private meeting. After the doors were closed, perhaps it was Tim Phillips, President of AFP, who spoke:

“The next President of the United States is sitting in this very room. Look around – one of you will take the Oath of Office on Jan 21, 2013. One of you will prove that he or she is confident enough, is committed enough, is determined enough to accomplish what we all know must be done in order to guarantee the ascendancy of Republican policies for foreseeable generations.

“We must eliminate the government entitlement programs of the New Deal and the Great Society, the ones that have pulled trillions of dollars out of private hands and put their control into the hands of government. We must put private interests back in charge of all the public assets that have been accumulated since the establishment of National Parks. It is the weakened Democratic Party that is the last barrier to the accomplishment of this dream, one that we have all been pursuing.

“Prove to us that *you* are the person who can finally accomplish the task that we have all been since the inauguration of Ronald Reagan. Destroy the power of Democratic Party in your state. Get rid of the public unions, where the last of the Democrats’ organizing power lies. Privatize as much of your state’s functions as possible, especially education. Give, lease or cheaply sell state responsibilities and assets to private corporations. Steamroll over the opposition; shock the populace. Do whatever it takes, legally or otherwise. What counts is results. Show us what you can do. ”

“The governor that does the best job of accomplishing the goals we’ve outlined gets our complete support for GOP candidate for President in 2012. We will throw all our organizations, money and power behind you. We will create a juggernaut that will steamroll you into the Oval Office. Just prove to us that you are that man.”

The governors were all given what was essentially their assignment “packet”. This probably included both their assignments, as well as information on the support network that they could count upon. Their assigned tasks are well-known by now:

1. The most important order of business is to immediately destroy the public unions in his or her state. These unions *must* be eliminated before the 2012 election cycle, because they are the Democrats’ big source of donations and volunteer workers, and they are the Democrat’s sole competition to AFP, the US Chamber of Commerce and Conservative 527s and 504(c)3s.

2. Privatize as many state functions as possible. Tax money should removed from civil-service controlled agencies, and funneled to GOP-connected private enterprises. Tax money then becomes a guaranteed source of personal enrichment for Conservatives – enabling them to make more “donations” to the GOP, revenue both for our people personally, and, thus, for the Party as a whole. The lucrative education sector is especially crucial for takeover. It’s a captive $600 billion market every year, money which to required of all the homeowners across the nation by virtue of their states’ constitutions. GOP business interests want that money for their own.

3. Eradicate the Democratic infrastructure in his or her state. Abolish as many democratically-elected oversight committees, civil-service jobs or agencies as possible. Weaken regulatory agencies. Eliminate the public’s ability to influence government decisions. Eliminate them by fiat or Executive decision.

This packet obviously included model legislation drafted by ALEC. We have already detected ALEC’s legislative DNA in all of the anti-union legislation that has been introduced in various state legislatures. They would also have been given support from ALEC’s teams of lawyers, who could help them craft bills that would be specific to their specific state.

The governors were also told that they could expect unlimited organizational support from AFP to accomplish these goals – advertising campaigns and boots on the ground. AFP has acknowledged that it has been working with the governors, state officials, and right-wing activists in Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania. AFP bussed in “supporters” from out of state to stage counter-rallies at the Wisconsin State House, for instance. Tim Phillips revealed in a New York Times interview that executives with the Koch-backed group worked behind the scenes to encourage a union showdown, even before the new Republican governor was sworn in last month.” Phillips also said that AFP was working with state officials and right-wing activists in Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania to curtail public employee benefits or union rights.

Finally, the governors were probably told that they only have a limited amount of time
to impress the Kochs. The competition would have to begin on January 1st, when the new terms began, and would run for a set period of time – perhaps till the Fourth of July. (This would give the AFP and media wizards time to prepare the candidate roll-out after Labor Day.) This deadline would explain why the governors come out of the starting gate running hard and fast. If they were interested in competing, he or she would have begun drafting legislation as quickly as possible, so that the bills could be submitted as soon as they were sworn in. For instance, Walker’s budget bill was introduced on Feb, 11 and ran to 114 pages. It was obviously being prepared long before the governor-elect was sworn in and certainly before he found out about the extent of Wisconsin’s “budget crisis,” the ostensible reason for its draconian cuts.

This is an ideal strategy for the GOP. They play “rope-a-dope” with the easily-distracted press and the Democrats for half a year, keeping them excited and concentrated on losers like Palin and Bachmann. Then they can burst out with the new Leader of the Pack, someone who is supposed to generate enormous excitement. This is actually one of the scenarios that Matthew Dowd, the GOP consultant, identified in his Mar. 31 National Journal article, “Can Obama Lose?”: “a Republican nominee has to emerge who is charismatic; is a very good communicator; is in touch with the country’s economic and social needs; and is a new brand of GOP leader whom many younger voters can connect with.” The governor who wins the Koch contest, be he Christie, Walker, Snyder or Scott, will be packaged and thunderously sold as the hero candidate, the one who can return “morning to America”. Now we see the reason behind moving the “Reagan Centennial GOP Presidential Primary Debate” to the fall of 2012; the Republican Nominee won’t have been chosen by the Koch organization until sometime late this fall, and needs that additional time to be transformed into the “New Reagan.”

Of course, as great for the GOP as this strategy is, there is one major problem with it: it is illegal. It constitutes bribery and misprision of a felony. Every governor who has advanced ALEC-based legislation with the hope of receiving some benefit is liable for impeachment under his state’s constitution. The meetings of the governors, the ALEC and AFP junkets, every time that legislation and campaign strategy were discussed simultaneously – all of these meetings violated Open Meeting Laws and are criminal actions.

That is why this collusion must be kept as secret as possible. It is also why every avenue that might lead back to the originating event has to be sealed as rapidly as possible. All that would be needed to reveal the plot is one leaker, one person who is willing, or who is compelled, to testify under oath. The whole criminal conspiracy to seize the public’s assets for private enrichment will be revealed.

This premise of this Koch Brothers’ “challenge” to the GOP governors is pure speculation on my part. But everything that has occurred in domestic politics since January – everything that has seemed mystifying or perplexing – is understood perfectly if this thesis is considered as accurate.

For instance:
We all know what a very peculiar reaction to “David Koch” Scott Walker had on the famous prank phone call Walker may not have recognized “Koch’s” voice, but he did understand that this was a man he needed to impress. Walker sounded just like a job applicant, or a junior executive giving his boss an update on a job assignment. He reported diligently on the attack

We can see also see evidence of their attempts to erase or distract from any connections that might lead back to the original plan.

For instance:
The rushed Committee vote on the Walker budget bill was done in such panicky haste that it wasn’t even legal under Wisconsin’s Sunshine Law. Why did they feel compelled do it in such a big cocked-up rush? Look at the timeline: Fitzgerald had just appeared on Megyn Kelly’s show on Fox that afternoon, and said: 1.) that the reason for the bill *was* to break the union, not to balance the budget; 2.) that the reason they wanted to break the union was to hurt Obama’s re-election chances in Wisconsin. Immediately after that interview aired, the Special Committee meeting was hastily called. Why? First of all, there was no reason to keep the sham up any longer. Once the public got word that it was nothing but union-busting, the top would blow off the Capitol.

But most importantly, they had to distract everyone in the country and the media from the greater cabal that had been revealed: that Wisconsin’s budget bill was only *one part a country-wide strategy* to destroy public unions. The plot was to destroy the army of campaign foot-soldiers that Obama had counted on for GOTV in 2008, and that had put him over the top. But a country-wide plot means organization and origination. Who was coordinating the conspiracy? That’s the one question that the Kochs cannot afford to have asked. Thus, there had to be an immediate distraction to steer the press away from asking that question. The Committee vote provided that. Examination of the collusion that Fitzgerald revealed has never occurred.

Another instance: the Mackinac Center’s FOIA requests on Professor Cronon. What raised the Center’s curiosity in Prof. Cronon to begin with? How did they stumble upon his little blog? It’s not like he was advertising it. He’s well-known in the academic historian’s world, but not outside of that. He’s not a prominent political figure. So how did they even find the blog post to begin with – and only two days after it was posted?

Mackinac Center’s interest in Cronon’s blog post, and in his possible correspondents, makes little sense unless you realize that his post was detailed about ALEC and its model legislation. Did he trip some sort of early-warning signal for them, a “Paranoia Meter”-like program such as the one HPGary has created for the Department of Defense? Were they just doing a blanket search for all references to ALEC? Since ALEC has previously been under the radar, and is completely central to this possible conspiracy, Koch forces are working hard to keep track of references and revelations about it. Republican Representatives who are questioned about their connection to the group respond defensively, with accusations of McCarthyism when citizens question their connections.

The FOIA requests for Cronon’s correspondents are more than just a fishing expedition. They are nervous about leaks; they just cannot believe that this history professor would have found ALEC all by himself. How did Cronon get his information? Did it come from someone who had knowledge of whatever offer was made to the Governors? Finding that out is the entire reason for the FOIA requests. If there is the possibility of a leaker, that person must be discovered and silenced.

Now we can look back and see how all the pieces of the Republican strategy fall into place.. Because of the success of the Tea Party, Haley Barbour had been predicting, from Feb 2010, that the GOP could win a crucial number of statehouses. Those wins were being forecast as the key to Republican dominance over national politics for decades to come. The Kochs, Scaifes, and other treasonous billionaires, with no allegiance but to great wealth,are using the states as the laboratories to produce both an systematic approach, and a candidate, who will finally finish their long coup d’etat.

Imagine an evil cabal of incredibly wealthy men, who decided thirty years ago that there was too much wealth held not just by the middle class, but in the assets of the Federal Government. They systematically plotted to take over the entire political system of United States, and steer all of the taxes collected into their pockets. As the years progressed, and their propaganda was successful, they were increasingly able to corrupt legislators into privatizing all government functions and assets, such as the Social Security Trust Fund, the American military, and public lands.

For thirty years, the Kochs have been part of a criminal conspiracy to loot the people of the United States of their commonly-held Federal assets. They are close to its completion – but they need to find the guy who can finish the takeover for them. The candidate who does the best job of accomplishing a similar looting on the state level wins the nod. There will be no countervailing force. Whatever Governor wins the Koch Brothers’ vote will be propelled into the nomination. He may very well be swept into the Presidency.

Yes. This is a conspiracy theory. But is it any more unlikely than what we have seen this year? What we see before us is the plot to deliver the coup de grace to American Democracy. The Governor that wins the Presidency in 2012 will have been selected to perform the final conversion: to do to entire nation what he or she did to their state: run it like FitzWalkerstan.

We can still prevent it. We still have time to use FOIA to our advantage. We can FOIA every governors’ office, all of their emails, for any reference to ALEC, to Americans for Prosperity, for the 2012 nomination for President, for the Republicans Governors’ Association, for public unions, and to legislative references, for a start .

We can file lawsuits against the governors and the Koch front groups for violation of Open Meetings Act, for collusion, for conspiracy to defraud the citizens of the states they represent. We can subpoena witnesses and compel them to testify under oath or file affidavits. We can force people to testify under oath and in affidavits, If these governors are performing these actions in expectation of receiving some benefit, they are all liable for impeachment. We can pressure our state legislatures to investigate. These actions, begun in state after state on a national basis, would enable us to use whatever legal power we still possess to fight back.

By coordinating our research and our actions, and by organizing all of our various advocacy and interest groups on a state and national basis, we can stop them. We can learn to resist the “bright shiny objects” that are dangled in front of us by the Republican propaganda arm of Fox News, such as Sarah Palin or Donald Trump; those only sap our energy and time. We can bring forth the truth about the Koch plot to seize America from its citizens. We can raise tremendous scandal for the national GOP this year, and throw them back on their pins before the 2012 election.

We will defeat these traitors, if we stay on target.

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The GOP Play Dems For Suckers – Again

What a riveting spectacle – the slow and horrid march to potential government shutdown. John Boehner looks haggard as he runs between the White House and the Tea Party Caucus. He knows what they are writing about him on Politico – that he is the creature of the Tea Party now. The Speaker has no real power anymore; it’s all in the hands of these new, uncompromising hotheads.

At first, the Tea Party Caucus insists that there must be drastic cuts to pay down the deficit – $100 billion, at the very least. “Impossible!” cry the Democrats. So for weeks they bicker, as the shutdown deadline looms closer. But then, we hear rumors of progress. They’ve agreed to a figure – $33 billion. It’s much less than the original 100, but still so much that it angers many Obama supporters. Still, they are making progress.

Suddenly, a new snag. Riders! The Tea Party insists on riders involving social issues. They want to eliminate Planned Parenthood. They want to stop the Federal Government from measuring greenhouse gasses. “No!” cry the Democrats. “These are core principles. We will not budge on these.” The deadline for the government shutdown is mere days away.

The President, the Senate Leader, and the Speaker huddle together in the early Spring evenings. But the Speaker explains that he cannot get the Tea Party to budge. They are adamant. They insist on these terms.

There is less than 24 hours now before the government shuts down. The president addresses the nation. He says that he expects an answer from the Republicans by the morning. He believes that there may still be a compromise possible.

But the GOP is not going to compromise. They want the government shut down. It has nothing to do with the deficit. It doesn’t even have that much to do with the social issues. It’s all politics – Presidential politics. They’ve calculated the odds. The odds are that this shutdown has put Obama in a political nutcracker. It can crush his hopes of re-election next year.

The GOP doesn’t even care if they get blamed for the shutdown – they want to hurt Obama that much more. Making him small is the only way they can beat him. Here is the way it works:

If the shutdown continues long enough, the country falls deeper into recession. Obama laid it all out for us tonight. Housing sales, weak already, slow even more as loans are delayed and mortgages can’t get processed. Small business loan processing is halted. All sorts of services cease.

Even worse, 800,000 people are suddenly out of work, and have no income. Talk about a drag on the economy! They can’t even qualify for the pittance that unemployment would give them. Spending is contracted, and that has a ripple effect. Obama is deprived off even the modest recovery he had. Soon, his polls drop below 40%.

But what if Obama realizes that he can’t let the economy collapse? He’s the one to give in, to compromise. The Tea Party makes him their bitch. He gives up Planned Parenthood – and betrays women. He gives up testing for greenhouse gases – and betrays environmentalists and believers in global warming. His support groups are furious. Obama has behaved treacherously, giving in to the Republicans like he always does. He has played them for the fool the last time! They won’t vote for him. They certainly won’t campaign for, or work work for him. There won’t be any great “people-powered” surge to defeat the Right’s advertising juggernaut in 2012.

Either way, Obama is screwed.

To top it off, look at the political hay the Republican leaders, and the Tea Party Caucus in the House, make within their own base. They are the guys who shut down the hated government, who schooled the Democrats. The Kochs love them, because they have fought for, and perhaps delivered, on continued improved regulatory conditions for their business interests. Conservative global warming deniers love them. Anti-environmentalists love them. Anti-abortionists love them. Evangelical Christians love them. They’ve delighted a huge swath of their base – AND achieved their boss’s goals. They get money and happy foot soldiers, which will both come in mighty handy now that election season has really started. It’s even turned out positively for John Boehner, who played his part of beleaguered errand boy perfectly. The base knows Boehner came through for them, and now he has their trust.

This is a win-win from GOP point of view. They won’t budge on the budge – not unless public opinion turns against the entire Republican Party, and fiercely.

This government shutdown is a crass and shallow political trick on the part of the GOP, who are cynically hiding behind their “useful idiots” of the Tea Party. It goes without saying the the Republicans don’t care about hurting people; of course, they have no qualms about misery this shutdown will create. But this incident reveals even more: they do not care about their supporters, either. All they truly focus on is the long-term plan to win politically.

The long-term political win is, of course, nothing more than the subjugation of the entire American populace beneath the “iron heel”.

“The gulf between employers and the employed is constantly widening, and classes are rapidly forming, one comprising the very rich and powerful, while in another are found the toiling poor. As we view the achievements of aggregated capital, we discover the existence of trusts, combinations, and monopolies, while the citizen is struggling far in the rear or is trampled to death beneath an iron heel. Corporations, which should be the carefully-restrained creatures of the law and the servants of the people, are fast becoming the people’s masters.”. – Grover Cleveland, 1889

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