World Domination Update
“Venus di Milo Flytrap*
vol. VIII, iss. iv

“The voice of one crying in the wilderness”
                                          —Matthew 3:3


Quote of the Moment:  “Are you growing that nail out on purpose?” — The Singularity
Secret Word of the Day:  Schoolmarm
Site of the Week: Hubert the Holy Beaver [further confirmation of my “pet” theory that beavers are taking over the world!]
Barbecue Sauce of the Month:  Cactus Jack’s sun-dried quill and tomato paste tickler

In this issue:

·  The Wear on Terror 
·  Kerry Feedback 
·  The Kinniggits of Malta
·  Misremembering Reagan
·  The Grating Communicator
·  Ask Evil Matt
·  A Novel Approach to Hedgehog Domiciles
   and, of course,
·  shade’s rambling salutation:


Hi, Kids!

    We’ve a hefty WDU this go-round; there are important things afoot, and we’ve much to discuss.  And for once, some of it is even interesting.  Who knew paranoia could be informative and fun?  Go figure, then go put on a pot of coffee for this issue; you might even want to preemptively empty your ashtrays, cuz it’ll probably take a pack plus to get through and grok it all.  So, soon as you’re ready, strap on a happy hat, and set your pineal chip implant to open exposure, cuz here we go...

First off, no, I have not seen Fahrenheit 911.  I’m not sure I want to, either—not because of the controversial content as much as the fact that I find I just don’t like going out to movie theatres any more.  I’ve already ranted that the movie industry sucks, but beyond the product is the actual viewing experience, which I find equally unpleasant.  I seem to be a distraction magnet when I go to a cinema: all the people who make noise gravitate toward my seat.  There’s invariably at least one couple within earshot, talking and chatting, and half of it isn’t even movie-related.  Otherwise, it’s thick whispers of “whaddya bet she’s the murderer” or “does he die?”  Shut The Phuq Up And Just Watch It!  And popcorn: why is one of the loudest foods out there the traditional theatre snack?  I always seem to sit right in front of a couple sharing a tubful who haven’t learned to chew with their mouths closed.  Without a doubt, however, the nail in the abominable audience coffin is that  at least one nut shows up who is very zealous about the film, actually talking back at the screen or cheering at certain key scenes—like the closing credits.  MST3K or Rocky Horror are one thing for that, and I might even tolerate some idiots dressed like Darth Vader having a light saber fight, but I’ve seen this hyper-enthusiastic screen zeal at such unlikely films as Apocalypse Now Redux, fer Chris’sake!  I can’t be coincidence that these fiends are at every show I go to, so this is clearly a Brain Police campaign to have agents hidden in the audience of every film in America and influence viewing opinion.

So perhaps that is why I have shied away from F-911: I don’t want to deal with the fans.  Admittedly, the worst I heard was that some left-leaning on-line group called had encouraged its members to attend the premiere wearing a blue shirt, presumably so they would recognize each other as such and afterwards could, oh I dunno, discuss the movie or burn a Bush effigy in the theatre parking lot or something.

Blue shirt, huh; how very conformist.  Reminded me of a comment Zappa made during a show in the ’60s on Burnt Weenie Sandwich:

“Everybody in this room is wearing a uniform, and don’t kid yourself.”

But I digress, so back to the point: if I ever do see F-911, it’ll be without any outside distractions: at home on dvd (which I have a hunch will be out right before the election.)  However, my main resistance to seeing it is a suspicion I have that was pretty much confirmed by friends who have already gone: the film doesn’t really tell you anything new.  I think I’m pretty well read on all this, and so are my friends.  They said they pretty much knew the majority to most of what was in it already, though they admitted it was nice to see it concretely screened out as a continuity reminder.  But I already knew Double-Ewe was beyond incompetent and that there was some shenanigans going on, so I don’t need this film to reinforce my beliefs.

But apparently many on the political left do, which may help explain the film’s popularity.  It serves as a sort of cinematic confirmation and affirmation for them.  Plus it has the possibility and potential to persuade swing voters.   I suspect the intended demographic Moore aimed at were democrats and disillusioned independents—the type of plebeian scum lion bait who knew nothing about JFK until they saw Oliver Stone.  But let’s face it: most Bush supporters are not going to go see this.  I’ve heard a few “the friend of a friend of mine saw it and there was this one hard-core Republican in the audience who left in tears....”-type stories, but I equate these with Bigfoot or Sasquach sightings.  The polarized politicizing is painfully partisan.  Liberals obviously love the movie, and treat it as gospel truth without checking the facts on their own.  Conservatives are obviously horrified, and yet without having seen it themselves still manage to charge that it is all lies, half-truths, critical omissions, and other bunk debuggings. 

Out of context, response to this movie is a sick cultural litmus.  

I don’t doubt that several cottage industries will spring up, defending or deconstructing this film the same way certain people do with the Zapruder film or the Warren Report.

But what I do doubt is if this film will make any type of difference.  Granted, it’s too early to tell, but my cynical side says this film will not actually change anybody’s opinion; it’ll just reinforce it.

However, talking to my few friends who actually have seen the F-911 did reinforce in me a feeling of deja vú I have been having regarding the so-called War on Terror.  This is the second set of deja vú conversations I have had in a compact time frame, the other being about the Epistle of Philemon.  Now, when I have the same dialogue with several different people in such a short span of time, it tells me that I need to discuss it in the Update.  I’ll be cool (and shave this Issue’s size down a few kilobytes) by leaving the Philemon Peshar to saint in the next Update, but for now I feel the need to share and reinforce a few thoughts on the War on Terror.  Granted, I’ve been saying all this for a while; indeed one infamous incident became Branch Floridian lore and won 3rd place for Obtusity last year.  But like I said, there’s this deja vú juju going on, so once more with the obvious:

Schlock & Ha! — Terror Style

Most people in the know groaned when they heard a war declared on “terror,” as it is one of those abstract, fungible concepts like “the war on drugs” which will technically go on forever, or at least as long as certain key people want it to.  Now I am not denying that such wars need to be waged: both cocaine and Al Qaida are “bad” and “dangerous,” and I’d be happier and safer if neither existed.  However, lets be realistic in our outcome expectations.

I think our approach has been and continues to be wrong in both cases, but for now let’s stick specifically to the War on Terror.  I don’t think anyone would deny there is a terrorist threat to this country, and they have declared jihad on us.  However, how we are handling this war—our overall approach—is half-assed at best, and the problem lies at the top.  Bush is making two crucial mistakes:

First of all, Bush is only attacking the symptoms, not the causes.

This is because of the second problem: Bush doesn’t understand the nature of what he’s up against.

Dubya always offers up some sad variation of “They hate our freedom!” as the same lame-ass excuse to paint the enemy as “evildoers.”  If hes pitching that as their motive, I see two possibilities here, and suspect a combination:

  1. our President truly does not understand why the terrorists don’t like us

  2. he is using this excuse as intentional misinformation, because he hopes every red-blooded American will rally around the “F” word

If you would like to know why Al Qaida hates us, don’t listen to Bush, ask Al Qaida themselves.  In November, 2002, Osama bin Laden himself actually published an open letter to America, though not surprisingly the American press never ran it because they (correctly) considered it propaganda.  Although there is some debate as to its authenticity, it is generally accepted to be real.  If nothing else, it is internally consistent with Al Qaida’s take on Islam and with statements they’ve made elsewhere.

The short version is that they do not hate our freedom, they hate our gaudy opulence, hypocrisy, and irreverence.  They see us as spoiled bullies.  Their attacks are merely responding to what they perceive as previous attacks on them.  All of their hatred and rage ultimately hinges on one opinion: they claim we have turned from the true ways of Allah, and rather than embrace Islam we embrace all the anti-virtues they see as evil.  They view us as the real evildoers, hypocrites who have abandoned the ways of Allah.  

Only in that sense is Bush correct: Islam as an Arabic word literally means “submission,” so since we have not submitted to Allah, we could be seen to be “free.”  But I don’t think that’s what Dubya meant—I don’t credit the man with that much metaphorical insight—and I don’t think Al Qaida would consider non-submission to Allah to be “freedom.”

The letter tells how to end the war on their terms: they will stop terrorizing us if we convert to Islam and change our ways. 

The bin Laden letter is worth reading, because it is important to understand what you are fighting.  KNOW YOUR ENEMY!

Unfortunately, Bush doesn’t.

Because of this, he is dooming the War on Terror to be at best a stalemate, a prolonged and protracted of a game of “I hit you last!”  This will go on forever at the current rate, because Bush is only attacking the short-term symptoms, not the long term causes.  And I do not see any far-sighted strategies in either the Bush or Kerry camp to alter that aspect.

To me, it’s a no-brainer: if America would more visibly and productively spread the wealth around, the worlds people would have less to grumble about, and might actually like us enough to stop trying to kill us and maybe even start listening to us.  Granted we give out billions of dollars in foreign aid to other nations, but how much of that actually sees the people versus lines administrative pockets?

Although cynics would—and do—see this as just a thin attempt at us to buy friends, it can run deeper if the intentions and efforts are properly focused.  This is more than just spending money and effort to build these people bridges, power plants, and roads; we should build schools, and begin a massive education campaign to present alternative views to the ones these people know.  [I like the idea of a subversive schoolmarm J ]  We should buy radio and tv stations in the Middle East, and run Arabic programming like Radio Free Europe used to.  This will have the greatest long-term effect, because it has a chance to effect the next generation of terrorists.  Most of the people that become the problem only know what they are told, and they are being told bad things by radical sheikhs and imams.  Osama bin Laden represents Islam about as much as David Koresh represents Christianity, but we are doing nothing to alter this view.

Hell, Bush has inadvertently strengthened and reinforced this view of the Ugly American and the Crusading Christian.  He is playing right into their hands by proving what they have been saying is true.

Al Qaida centers its political doctrine on religion; as a word, Al Qaida is Arabic for “the base,” like what a pillar rests upon.  That base is Islam, and the cornerstone of that foundation is the Quar’an—or at least their skewed view of it.  No effort has been made to undermine that aspect of Al Qaida, or any of the other tentacles of this Islamic octopus.

To truly win the war on Terror, we must fight and defeat the ideas and ideology that are behind the actions.  Al Qaida is as much an attitude as a physical group

I am convinced a few good scholars with accurate knowledge of the Quar’an could talk circles around any Al Qaida minister when it came to Islamic scriptural interpretation, yet no one has stepped forth to do this.   A defeat of this type would be huge to Al Qaida: it undermines their basic premise.  Plus you’re just arguing words, not throwing stones or shooting bullets, so nobody gets physically hurt.  But the impact of a theological victory would be as great as any defeat on the battlefield. At the very least, it would be a monster morale sap.  So why is this being ignored?  It is a very subtle yet very valid way to win the War on Terror, because it defeats them in terms they can understand.

Unfortunately, on that front we are losing, because we are doing nothing in this all-important area.  In one of the deja vú conversations on all this, Gumbo Variation said it best:


America's response to radical Islam is radical Christianity?  How pathetic.


Granted, for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, but this is channeling it in the worst possible way.  Our responses are repelling people, not drawing them together.

Obviously, the War on Terror is more than just a battle of ideas; September Eleventh moved beyond words and physically took three thousand lives.  Killing 3K infidels was just icing on the cake to Al Qaida, though; that was just collateral damage.  The choice of targets those planes flew into was very intentional and highly symbolic.  That shows the mind of what we are up against.  Disgusted as I am by the attack, I appreciate it for style.  It was a surgically sculpted fuck you to America.  

Bush’s responses have had the subtlety of carving marble with a sledgehammer.  No finesse, but admittedly Bush is trying more for results than style.

Here is an example of how he could have gotten both results and style.  My modest proposal:

At one point, we knew Osama bin Laden was in a 20-mile area of Afghanistan called Tora Bora.  Rather than run the half-assed Operation Anaconda that actually let Al Qaida escape, we should have carpet bombed the area with 911 cruise missiles, each with a 1 kiloton warhead.  Nuke the snot out of Tora Bora: 911 kilotons is roughly 70 times Hiroshima, but it is less than one-tenth of the standard 10 megaton warhead on one ICBM.  There’s no denying that anything in the area—like Osama bin Laden—will get vaporized.  The place is a desolate wasteland anyway; there’s nothing out there, and Plowshare fallout is intentionally low, so it should cool down after a decade or so.  That’s nothing, geologically.  Hand out some iodine tablets, and get on with it.  My point is, if we had done that—nuke Al Qaida with 911 bombs—it would not only have solved the Osama Problem, but sent a message in symbolism they would understand: this is what you get when you fuck with America.

I know Al Qaida would have understood that.

However, Bush (and thus America collectively) has a problem sending messages.  America and Al Qaida are just not on the same page.  The communication barrier here is appalling.

It should be pointed out that there is a bit of a conundrum in this.  America does not do things like chop kidnapped victims’ heads off, and for us to start doing similar things in an effort to get on the same page with those barbarians who do shit like that would be to sink to their level.  If we can win the war on terror without going that route, there is as much a moral victory as any other.  If we can win by playing “nice,” it shows that we are better, and thus actually does win on the level of ideology.  Victory with honor.   However, and unfortunately, I am not convinced the terrorists out there appreciate the distinction, or at the very least view it as a sign of weakness and validation that their system is better (and stronger) than ours.  Perhaps this was the mentality behind the Abu Ghraib debasements.  If so, it is the wrong idea in the right direction.  Personally, I don’t credit the people who started the silly prison picture campaign with enough creativity to have thought of that as an intentional effect, and even then, they were doing it wrong on so many levels.

But perhaps it was an attempt to send a message, an attempt at demoralization among the enemy.  If I were Al Qaida or Iraqi resistance and were to read into it, the message I would get would be “you’re our bitch.”

That’s the wrong message to send, as well as the wrong way to send it, and it merely strengthens terrorist resolve.

Not that I condone the following methods, but I will at least mention them: if Bush is trying to send a message along those lines and have it actually understood, he would do well to study the past at some successful attempts.  Russia is a great example.  Recent problems with Chechnyan rebels taking over a Moscow opera house were resolved by sleep gassing the whole place and capping terrorists in the back of the head while they were knocked out.  Even though I suspect Janet Reno’s involvement, it did sent a message to Chechnya: dont be that guy.

But there is an even better example of Russia’s relationship with and against terrorists, dating back to the Soviet Union days.


     [CIA Director William] Casey read with fascination a report that three Soviet diplomats who had been kidnapped in Beirut that fall had been released after a month.  A fourth had been murdered soon after the kidnapping, but these three had been freed unharmed.  Reliable intelligence soon reached him from the Israelis that this feat had been achieved after the KGB in Lebanon had seized a relative of the radical Muslim Hizbollah, had castrated him, stuffed his testicles in his mouth, shot him in the head, and sent the body back to Hizbollah.  The KGB included a message that other members of the Party of God would die in a similar manner if the three Soviets were not released. Shortly afterward the three—an attaché, a commercial representative and the embassy physician—were let out a few blocks from their embassy.  A statement telephoned to news Agencies said the release was a gesture of “goodwill.”
     Casey was persuaded that the Soviets knew the language of Hizbollah.

—Bob Woodward
VEIL: The Secret Wars of the CIA 1981-1987


Damn; that’s harsh.  As saint would say, “Jeezuz, cutting a man’s sac off.  What kind of sick savages are we dealing with here?!?”

Then again, dude, you can’t deny the results.

Makes ya think... which is, of course, the whole point here.

But enough of that; let’s turn from the cheery subjects of War on Terror and testicular castration to the darker topics of the War on Thinking and cerebral expansion.  There have been some relevant developments closer to home here at Badass, omens and events to let us know that the Brain Police know who we are and don’t like us..., looking now to local news... 


Latin in the Valley


For the first time in the Phoenix diocese’s comparatively short history, a Latin Mass was held on the morning of Sunday, June 6th at St. Thomas the Apostle Church in Phoenix.  Granted, the Vatican has been pimping the Latin Mass in one form or another for close to fifteen hundred years, but we need to remember that it wasn’t until the Reformation that Protestants began performing the service differently, such as in whatever the native vernacular was.  The Catholic Church was much slower to catch on, and it wasn’t until the 1960s that they gave up and gave in.  Catholic Masses in non-Latin languages are currently permitted and encouraged.  Here in near-by Phoenix, the Catholic diocese currently offers masses in a fair range of tongues: English, Spanish, Polish, Vietnamese, even Tongan.  And now, Latin.  

That’s right, you read right: Latin is back.

[cue movie scene:

The little girl from Poltergeist, looking at the tv.  Snow on the screen, but Latin instead of static comes from the speaker.

Girl turns to camera, grins maniacally, and says, “It’s baaa-aaack.”]

This isn’t a coincidence, and can’t be an accident.  My Spidey senses be tingling too much!  This smacks of being a classic scenario aimed directly at Branch Floridians, and even saint and myself personally.  After all, they chose to do this fiendish thing at a church dedicated in name to my favorite apostle: Thomas.  That’s a fuck you from them to myself.  Okay, boys, I get the message.  But clearly, this is the latest salvo in a Brain Police campaign designed to do a rollback on the theological clock, regressing to when they had more power and less people thought for themselves.  And the Latin Mass is a classic metaphor for that yearning mentality.

Technically, it is properly called the Tridentine Mass because it was officially approved and decided upon at the Council of Trent (called ‘Tridentum’ on Latin Maps).  This ritual became codified as the standard Catholic service.  Deviation was prohibited and punished in painful ways.  This type of mass came about in response to the Protestant Reformation of the 16th Century.  Luther held masses in German, Calvin in French, Wesley in English... the Popes made a point by sticking with Latin as a traditional rejection of these new ways—rather than embrace living languages, they clung to a dead one.  The Tridentine Mass had a 400 year run, until Pope John XXIII phased it out at the Vatican II council in the early ’60s.  In 1970 the New Order Mass officially replaced it.  Many groups within the Church, noticeably Opus Dei, viewed the cancellation of the Latin Mass with Fear & Loathing in Las Vatican.

I’m more than a shade suspicious of the type of person who would find a Latin Mass not only appealing but preferable.  Sorry, but Latin is not the Language of God.  Abraham, Moses, and Jesus did not speak it, nor was any of the Bible originally written in it.  Near as I can tell, old school Catholics like Latin because of association: it is a reminder of the glory days when they actually ruled Europe.  I suspect this is the real appeal: it hearkens to some sick sense akin to nostalgia.

Personally, I have a problem with any type of service being deliberately performed in a language the listeners don’t know.  Makes it seem like they’re hiding something by disguising the language, secretly sniggering “if these people knew what we were actually saying, they’d be outta here!” You might even say that there would be a “mass” defection, nyuk nyuk nyuk.  Luther, Calvin, Wesley, et al. were all correct in that aspect: vernacular is where it’s at.  Nobody speaks Latin any more, so the meaning and message of the Mass will likely be lost on all but the few fluent in the pews.  Otherwise, the words of the Mass just become background noise.  saint suspects that is the intent, because if it is delivered in a dry, droning tone, it has a trance-like effect after a while. 

Of course, there’s more to the Tridentine Mass than just the gothic vocabulary it employs.  Another distinguishing feature is that the altar faces the back of the church, so that priest performs with his back on the congregation.  Communion is given on the tongue while kneeling, as opposed to in the hand while standing.  {that’s the fact, folks: at a Latin Mass, you’re on your knees and get it in the mouth.}  And, in an exceedingly old throwback to a quasi-Pauline/Apostolic control atmosphere, women are required to cover their head (1st Corinthians 11:10) and refrain from talking (1st Timothy 2:14).

I haven’t been able to get figures on how many attended the opening performance and any subsequent Latin Masses at St. Thomas.  It might be an interesting cultural barometer to see how many people secretly yearn for the Dark Ages.


...and speaking of Catholics returning us to the Dark Ages...


Scary Kerry II:
the return of reader feedback


List issue’s Anti-Kerry Rant seems to have struck a nerve among readers, which of course was the whole point.  Some interesting feedback on the subject, which is worth sharing—and commenting upon.

rant reply #1


I agree, I don't trust Kerry either. Personally, I find him shady. He'll do one thing say another or vice versa. At least I know the worst Bush will do....LOL. Although, even I was shaking my head right when I found out that Bush was going into Iraq. Strong negative reprocussions was the thought. Although, for a non-catholic, Bush does put a lot of Christianity into everything?

Besides, I know catholics, who claim they are catholics, but they really are not catholic. They just think they are because their family taught them that they were born that way? but if Kerry really is actively catholic, then that is another story. It is hypocritical to be catholic, and support the right for abortion to name a single example. He either thinks he is catholic, or he's a catholic. No need to say anymore.



shade’s peshar

Stiner echoes a thought common among Republicans: Kerry waffles, Bush is consistent.

Consistently an idiot, but consistent.

Of course, for some good Waffles a la Kerry, check this out.

Still, Stiner does make three comments which I feel are worth singling out to address:

1) Although, for a non-catholic, Bush does put a lot of Christianity into everything

This is nothing new, and was given lip service in my previous piece.  Although there has never been a Catholic president besides JFK, many presidents have been heavily Christian, and they did allow this to influence their foreign policy.  However, the Republican Party as a whole sold its soul to the Christian Right in the late ’70s.  The Christian Right is predominantly Phundamentalist Protestant, not Roman Catholic.  They have much in common, but enough distinctions to rightly classify as separate groups. 

2) I know catholics, who claim they are catholics, but they really are not catholic. They just think they are because their family taught them that they were born that way?

This seems to be a pretty common phenomenon among Catholics, though to be fair it occurs in most religions.  I think it’s both sad and tragic that many people don’t know their own belief system.  That attitude strikes me as some bastard hybrid child between Blind Faith and Ignorance.  I have many interconnected theories as to why these people are like this, but nothing concrete yet.  Still, your statement applies to all religions, and another denomination can be substituted for “Catholic” and it will still be true.  That said, I agree because I seem to have encountered this “going through the motions of the name” mentality among Catholics a lot.  The worst example I ever ran into was some girl that Burn Deck was once putting the moves on, who told me “I am a Catholic, but I have my own religion.”  The contradictions in that boggle my brain.  I also frequently encounter a variation of that mentality among Jewish people, who tell me “I am Jewish, but I don’t believe in God.”  Personally, I classify that more as bad semantics, where they fail to grasp the distinction between “Jew” and “Semite.”  That’s slightly more forgivable, but admittedly, and back to the point, the lack of ignorance about ones’ own faith that occurs among practicing Catholics I have encountered seems to be higher than the norm.  Whatever “the norm” is.  This is begging for a tangent rant, but I’ll be nice and spare ya.  For now...

3)  It is hypocritical to be catholic, and support the right for abortion to name a single example. 

Like Bush, Kerry is pro-life, but blaming either for not doing anything about the abortion issue is not fair.  The Supreme Court ruled in Roe vs. Wade that abortion was covered under the 14th Amendment’s ‘right to privacy’ umbrella, so any anti-abortion hostility should be directed that way.  Which is what usually happens: it amuses me to no end the number of Right Wing Christian Pro-Life Groups who invoke Matthew 18:19 (“If two of you on earth agree about anything you ask for, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven”) and pray in groups for the death of the Supreme Court.

rant reply #2


After reading the response to your John Kerry question by gene-ius, I couldn't help but wonder if he is related to (or actually is) Chris Popazit.

I read his response three times trying to make sense out of it. My only thought was,"Gene-ius? Insert Joke Here!" I hadn't had my morning coffee yet, but that didn't stop me from understanding the rest of the site. That "fact" indicated his response was gibberish. (A fourth reading confirmed it.)

If a person votes for Nader and nobody sees him do it, is it really as evil as voting for Kerry or Bush? Is it better to vote for Kerry, not because he's not GWB, but because he's no Al Gore?

I'd better go get some coffee or I might suspect that I'm related to "gene-ius" too.


My spellcheck suggested the possible alternatives to "Popazit".


Insert Joke Here



shade’s peshar

Although it would be easy enough to point out that someone (such as yourself) who voted for Ralph Nader wouldn’t be expected to understand much of anything, let alone something as complex and convoluted as a Gene-ius E-pistle, I won’t be that guy nor go that route.  I’m cool with how both of y’all are, and willing to cut both you and Gene-ius some slack [praise “Bob”!].  But I’ve known ol’ boy 18 years, so I gotta jump up and defend his honour by proxy to your heinous charge that he is Chris PpAaPpAaSsAaDdEeRrOo.

I’ve known Gene-ius for close to twenty years.  Went to high school and college with him, worked with him, partied with him, talked with him.

Senator, he is no Chris PpAaPpAaSsAaDdEeRrOo.

Or, perhaps I should say, Chris PpAaPpAaSsAaDdEeRrOo is no Gene-ius.

But the rest of us already knew that.

Still, re: Gene-ius...  subjective political confusion on his part aside, I will point out that at least he has seemingly thought about the issues and appears to genuinely believe them in his heart.  With me, that counts for a lot.

Besides, Gene-ius is the one who first turned me on to Zappa.  So I gotta stick up for him.

That said, perhaps it is necessary to put Gene-ius in full-picture context.  Maybe this will help explain why he enthusiastically stands by his Texan President.  A few of his previous comments and observations should suffice, quoted exactly wherever possible:

  • Gene-ius on language: back around 1990, ol’ boy accepted an invite to play french horn for an orchestra in Graz, Austria.  I received a post-card from him, still in my possession, which included the comment “I wish I had a chance to learn some Austrian.”

  • Gene-ius on Waco:  he had it on inside authority that “...David Koresh was an ex-Delta Force ops captain, and almost all of the Branch Davidians who died inside Waco had been Delta Force, too.  The religion was just a cover story.  They went rogue, and had to be taken out.”

  • Gene-ius on Catholicism: “...the most ‘think for yourself’ religion out there is the Catholic Church.”  [he actually gave me a short explanation defending this, which unfortunately I neither understood or remembered.]

  • Gene-ius on the War on Terror: “...treat terrorism like the tumor on humanity that it is.  It needs to be cut out like cancer tumor, taking good tissue with it then nuke the patient to an inch of its life. 

So, seeing as how a few pages ago I was advocating a 911-kiloton atomic holocaust in Tora Bora all in the name of style points, I guess I’m inclined to leniently give Gene-ius some maneuvering room and even kick in an occasional ‘benefit of the doubt’ card.  Remember Rule #4 of Branch Floridianism: all things are subjective.  Besides, deep down I believe he’s good peoples; I may not always agree with him, but I consider him my friend.  Even if he does love Bush.


rant reply #3


I was surprised to read that "I actually emailed several friends of mine who still support Bush, and asked them this simple question: “what don’t you like about Kerry?” " If you sent this questionnaire to me, the Brain Police intercepted it.

I'm a life-long Republican, and have a 100% track record voting G.O.P. starting with Reagan in 84. I voted for Junior 4 years ago because I don't like Gore, which was confirmed when Tipper's worse half turned into a whiney crybaby after the election.  I don't think Wjr. was that bad of a governor here, and I actually liked his dad as prez, and figured PapaBush would have a silent hand helping his son craft a cabinet. Although I don't think Junior is the political anti-Christ you've painted him, I think 9-11 really shook him, and he hasn't been thinking straight since.

I'll admit it - if a better republican were running, I'd probably vote for him or her, but that's not the case here. Not that it would matter, as it's safe to say Texas will vote for him so one protest vote won't make a difference. Such is the electoral college. But I'm not voting for Kerry.  You touched on a few of the reasons why, though your harangue about him Catholic is the least of my fears.

He is ultraliberal, and that's why he was on the Dem ticket, as a backlash against Bush.  You touch on his issue-waffling and massively inconsistent voting record, but I don't think you explored that enough.  Do some digging and you'll probably find that his shifting opinion on issues has to do with whatever PAC is paying his bills. True most politicians tend to be lapdogs for whoever is funding them, but Kerry has a velvet leash around his neck.

Love him or hate him, at least I know where Bush stands and he's consistent.

ps-you made a comment about Allen Dulles being a practicing Catholic and Knight of Malta.  News to me, and I thought I was up on al that but I could be wrong.  Do me a favor & ask evil Matt to check your facts on that.  Ton of flax says you're wrong.



shade’s peshar

For those who don’t know or couldn’t read between the lines, Smoking Gun lives in Texas, so again it’s a bit understandable if his opinion is skewed against Kerry.

So, since I’ve known him almost as long as I’ve known Gene-ius, and Smoking Gun’s another Mothers aficionado, I’m cool with his views, too.  I guess I blotted out that he was a life-long Republican; mea culpa, dude.  Yeah, we’ll blame the Brain Police for your not getting the Kerry questionnaire... ...that’s it...

The comment about tracking the money was interesting.  I passed that on to Flaming Faggot, who recommended checking out open secrets.  It lists candidate campaign contributions by dollar, but information about who the donations are by is harder to find.

Interesting stuff, and I am still looking into it.  So while I do some digging, I’ll turn this over to Evil Matt, who wants to have a word with you about some flax...


Evil Matt’s post script Malta peshar

Smoking Gun’s comment about ‘was Allen Dulles a Knight of Malta?’ sent me scrambling back through my notes.

If memory serves right, my original indication of Dulles’s membership came from a few years ago, when I was researching a piece on General Reinhard Gehlen and his spy network.  There is no question that Gehlen was a Knight of Malta, and an article I read at the time mentioned and made some ado about the fact that the person Gehlen “surrendered” to, John Foster Dulles, was also a member, as was his younger brother Allen.  Admittedly, I don’t remember exactly what it said.   I have since attempted to locate that article on line, but have not been able to do so.  I did, however, find numerous other sites that said substantially the same thing: Dulles was a knight of Malta.  I can send you the list if you are interested, so you can confirm the sources’ reliability.

Otherwise, cough up the flax, jack!

Whatever the case, the Knights of Malta are an interesting group, and worth knowing a little about.  Therefore, I turn things back over to shade for his little exposé...


The Knights of Malta


Although most people probably consider the Knights of Malta to be at best a chapter, paragraph, or even just a footnote in some ancient history of the Crusades, the truth is they are still around to this day, and their objectives and influence have always been broader than just fighting heathens in a Crusade context.  What’s more, they are still major players behind the scenes of things.

The Knights of Malta make the of a lot of religious conspiracy indexes, especially those that focus on Catholic shenanigans.  Given their history it’s easy to see why.  Worth a look, so let me slip into Schoolmarm mode and let’s take one.  Besides, even if you don’t buy the conspiracies, it’s still interesting history.  Think of it as story time, except all this shit actually happened, and this isn’t the half of it.

According to legend—to which most agree there is at least some truth—just after the Christians conquered the Holy Land, around 1100AD someone named Gerald or Gerard (sources vary) built a hospital in Jerusalem near the Church of the Holy Sepulcher.  He dedicated it to Saint John the Baptist, and opened its doors to help the sick.  There were lots of sick back then, so the hospital was a success of sorts: a great many people went there to die of illness.  The hospital, and the members of Gerard’s team who staffed it, gained a type of acclaim.  But for somewhat unclear reasons, it was decided by Gerard’s successor (Raymond of Provence) that the Hospital of St. John also needed a small army as well as the physicians and Benedictine monks it already had to minister to the sick.  The cover story claimed that this militia would to protect and escort pilgrims coming and/or going to the hospital or near-by Sepulcher.  Anyway, this small army allegedly designed to protect the Hospital became known as the Knights of the Hospital of Saint John, or more commonly just the Hospitallers.  Slowly but subtly, the Order shifted from a humanitarian hospice to a fighting force.  Pope Pascal II officially gave his consent and blessing to them in 1113.  Pascal’s bull recognizing the Hospitallers as a military order had granted them quasi-autonomous status, with the conditional understanding that they still swore allegiance directly to him and his successors.  As problems with Moslems increased, the Knights were called upon more and more for battle.  They were pretty good, and made a reputation for themselves deserved of that chapter or paragraph in history books.

Unfortunately, the Moslems were both better and luckier on the battlefield. When Jerusalem fell to Saladin in 1187, the Knights of the Hospital quickly skipped out of town and bounced around the Mediterranean, looking for a new place of operations.  First Acre, then Cyprus, but in each place their stay was not long: the Muslim Juggernaut seemed to follow them and forced them off.  Invoking the autonomous sovereignty that Pascal II had bestowed, they petitioned the Pope for a home base, a place to call their own.  In 1309, with Pope Clement V’s consent and blessing, they invaded the island of Rhodes, once known for its wonder-of-the-world Colossus.  The Hospitallers quickly conquered the island and called it their own.Knights who say Ni

Since they no longer had the hospital home base in Jerusalem, they changed their names, becoming The Knights of Rhodes.  With the name-change came some revisions in attitude and intentions.  From their island stronghold, they developed a decent navy and dabbled in piracy.  Ostensibly they were fighting the Moslem Barbary pirates, but fact is they delved into theft themselves.  The subsequent Popes smiled on the plan to harass Muslim shipping, and turned a blind eye (allegedly due to a kickback cut of the take) when Knights of Rhodes ships also plundered the occasional Christian merchant.  The Knights of Rhodes ran the equivalent of a crude protection racket among the merchant Mediterraneans: people would pay tribute to them so an not to be raided.

The shipping piracy was their most overtly noticeable action on the surface, so to speak, but down out of sight they were becoming major players in political development.  They recruited heavily from European nobility, and in effect had agents who reported a court’s doings back to the Grand Master.  Remember: they had sworn allegiance to the Pope, not their own King or Queen, so in effect they were the Pope’s private army.  As important, they were also in large part his spy network.  A good comparison for them would be a Nixonesque CIA.  But more on that in a minute.

Unfortunately for the Knights, Islam was still spreading, and on Christmas Eve 1522, Ottomans under King Suleiman the Magnificent attacked Rhodes with a 400-ship navy and 200,000 ground troops.  The Knights of Rhodes put up an impressive fight, but were hopelessly outnumbered 28:1.  Surprisingly, the siege lasted six months. At that point, King Suleiman, impressed with their valor and tenacity, said that if the Knights surrendered, their lives would be spared and they could leave.  The knights accepted this, and King Suleiman kept his word.  He even loaned them the boats to return them to Italy. 

Once again dispossessed, the Knight’s Grand Master Philippe Villiers de l’Isle-Adam begged Pope Clement VIII for a base of operations.  Under papal pressure,  Charles V of Spain turned over the island of Malta to the Knights.  Technically, he was “renting” it to them, at a rate of one falcon a year.  The Knights of Rhodes took over the island in 1530, and again changed their name.  They were now The Sovereign Military Order of Malta.

Of course, everyone called them the Knights of Malta for convenience, and the name sticks to this day.

It was no accident that wherever the Knights went, the Moslem armies followed: there was bad blood left over from the Crusades.  When the Turks learned the Hospitalars had moved to Malta, they prepared an army and invaded.  The Great Siege of 1565 became the stuff of military mythology and famous paintings; Im surprised an opera or two hasn’t been written about it.  The fighting was truly brutal, but favored the Turks.  After the fall of Fort St. Elmo, Turks turned to psychological warfare: they tied the bodies of dead Knights to crosses and floated them up the harbor to where the remaining Knights prepared their last stand.  Fortunately for them, Christian assistance from the mainland (Spain, mostly) arrived just in time, pulling the Knights’ ass out of the fire and saving the day.  The Knights held their home, successfully fending of any other attack for the next 200 years.

The party on Malta ended on June 12th, 1798, when Napoleon Bonaparte stopped off on the island while on his way to play in Egypt.  The Knights of Malta surrendered to the plucky Corsican, and again went scampering back to Rome.  Within Vatican City itself they took over the former Convent of St. Maria del Priorato on the Aventine, overlooking the Tiber.

They remain there to this day.  They are no longer knights in the medieval sense of when they were founded: no more long swords and chain mail for these boys.  But they do still serve the Throne of Peter.

Anyway, that’s their public history.  Their private, behind-the-scenes history is even weirder, but best saved for another time.

Still, it’s interesting to note that referring to themselves as the Sovereign Military order of Malta, they are invoking sovereign status for themselves, which has been in part recognized by the United Nations.  The Knights of Malta have a permanent observer status there; basically they can participate in debate and discussion, but not vote.  Most experts in international law do not recognize the validity of their claim, instead treating it as some sort of medieval holdover joke.  Far from it; the Knights of Malta mint their own money and issue their own postage stamps.

Now that’s serious.

Smoking Gun had asked if Allen Dulles was a member of the Knights of Malta.  He owes me some flax for doubting me.  The Knights of Malta have had a knack for landing members in what I will call the Intelligence Net.  A recent sampling from just the past 100 years:

  • Alexander de Marenches, the head of French Intelligence during the ’70s and ’80s.  According to one story, it was de Marenches who first referred to the Soviet Union as an “Evil Empire” in a private strategy meeting with Reagan on the Afghanistan situation, and Reagan liked the term so much that he adopted it as his own.

  • Reinhard Gehlen, a master spy first for Hitler and then Allen Dulles.  Gehlen fed the U.S. a crock of Communist threats, and helped kick-start the Cold War so he could divert attention from the hunt of some of his Nazi buddies.  I’ve dealt with him previously.

  • William “Wild Bill” Donovan, founder of the OSS, which was the predecessor to the CIA.  They didn’t call him “Wild Bill” for nothing; his legend is well-deserved.  Pope Pius XII awarded Donovan the Grand Cross of the Order of St. Sylvester; less than 100 of these have been given out throughout history.

  • Allen Dulles, who cut his teeth as Wild Bill’s right hand man during World War II, ran the CIA for Ike and JFK.  After getting sacked by Kennedy for bungling the Bay of Pigs, he would serve on the Warren Commission.  Dulless influence was so powerful that even 35 years after his death, he would be the reason Smoking Gun would owe me a ton of flax. J

  • John McCone, served as head of the CIA after Dulles.  Subcontracted some dirty jobs to the mafia, including the ZR-RIFLE program to kill Castro.

  • James Jesus Angleton, legendary CIA über-spook, head of CI/SIG (Counter Intelligence/Special Investigations Group; aka mole hunting) and arch-villain of The Weberman Job.  For his work in the American OSS liberating Rome, Angleton was awarded the Croci Al Merito Seconda Classe by the Maltese Grand Master on December 27th, 1946.

  • Richard Helms, head of the CIA during the Johnson and Nixon administrations.  When Congress found out about—and stopped—the CIA’s MK-ULTRA mind control program, Helms himself shredded all the documents.  He was later convicted of perjury for lying to Congress about various covert operations the CIA was running, especially the assassination coup in Chile that put fellow Knight Augusto Pinochet into power.

  • William Casey, Director of Central Intelligence during the Reagan years, and secret architect of much of our anti-Communist policies.  A devout Catholic, Casey saw to it that the Vatican received the same world-event DPBs (Daily Presidential Briefings) that Ron got.

If we expand beyond the Intelligence Net, the list of notable Knights of Malta includes these unusual people:

  • Franz von Papen, who was often called The Devil in the Top Hat behind his back, was the one persuaded Paul von Hindenburg to resign as Weimar President and make Adolph Hitler the Chancellor.  Relations with the Catholic Church and Germany would rise to an all-time high shortly thereafter.  Curiously, von Papen was one of the few to be acquitted at Nuremberg.

  • Augusto Pinochet, the infamous Chilean dictator who was brought to power when the CIA assassinated the legally elected but left-leaning president Allende in 1973.  Human rights abuses and violations during Pinochet’s reign belong in a Clive Barker novel.  

  • Otto von Hapsburg, the remaining patriarch and head of the remnant Hapsburg dynasty.  Still active with the Bilderbergers, he also served on the European Parliament until 1999.  Not bad for a dude who’s 92.

  • Licio Gelli, the founder of the Shadowy and quasi-Masonic Propaganda Due.  I remember I once started an article on all this, and it got messy enough that I had to abort it...

  • Roberto Calvi, an affluent, influential banker and associate of Gelli who helped launder mob money through the Vatican Bank to support P2.

  • Michele “The Shark” Sindona, who you’d think had stepped out of a Puzo novel or Scorsese flick.  Mr. Mafia Personified was yet another friend of Gelli and Calvi.  Aside from all three being in Knights of Malta, they were all involved in P2.  A lot of researchers don’t think it’s a coincidence that there was a cross-over at the top levels of both organizations, though disagree if it is cooperation or infiltration.

  • Alexander Haig, a major player in the Nixon and Reagan cabinets in terms of setting foreign policy.  Served on Kissinger’s NSC staff and later as Nixon’s Chief of Staff.  Briefly Secretary of State for Reagan, until he got confused on how the Constitution worked after Reagan got popped by a lovesick John Hinkley.

  • William Sessions, head of the FBI during the Clinton administration, including during the Branch Davidian fiasco.  Aside from Waco, his other great social contribution was having the slogan “winners don’t do drugs” appearing under the FBI seal on arcade video game screens.

Probably the most intriguing inventory of alleged membership I found was this one.  Although many of the names on there I already knew, it had quite a few surprises, including some (such as the conspicuously non-Catholic Ronald Reagan) that make me question it.  Read at your own risk.

Obviously, the Knights of Malta are still active—the current Grand Master, in charge since 1988, is Andrew Willoughby Ninian Bertie. Although Bertie is obviously Englishhe is a direct descendant of Mary Stuart (Queen of Scots)it’s interesting to note that of the 78 Grand Masters who have served since Gerard in 1113, 54 of them have been French.

One other observation may be in order, with the understanding that this is unsupported hearsay.

Up to now, I’ve managed to avoid any discussion on the Knights Templar, who with the Knights of Malta were allies against the Moslems but rivals against each other.  The Knights Templar effectively came to an and on Friday the 13th of October, 1309, when Pope Clement V (puppeteered by French King Philip the Fair) outlawed them, and French police did a damned snazzy job of arresting almost all of them in one swoop.  The last Templar Grand Master, Jacques de Molay, was burned at the stake for “heresy.”  During his death, he called down a curse on both Clement and Philip.  Curiously, [cue creepy music] both Pope and King died within the year.

That much is true and undisputed; now here’s the rumor.

 I have heard it alleged from several sources that in Freemasonry, initiation into the 32nd Degree involves a reenactment of the death of Jacques de Molay.  

This is with something of a morbid precedent: initial initiation into the Craft (1° Entered Apprentice) is an odd reenactment of the death of the architect of Solomon’s Temple, Hiram Abiff (2nd Chronicles 2:11-14).  But just as the story of Hiram is retold with a Masonic lilt during initiation, apparently the death of de Molay gets a similar skewed treatment.

Specifically, the initiate, in the guise of the dying Grand Master, would be told that the real power behind the betrayal and downfall of the Knights Templar was not the Pope or the King, but the Knights of Malta.  The most controversial (and disputed) rumor of all this is that the Masonic initiate is then told one of the greatest secrets about his group: that the Freemasons are the remnant leftovers of the Knights Templar, and they are to devote themselves to fighting the “tyranny and superstition” which the Knights of Malta exemplify.

I honestly don’t know if that’s true, even though I’ve heard it before from a couple of sources who usually know what theyre talking about.  But what I’m actually interested in here is the claim that it was the Knights of Malta behind the Templar’s downfall.  That I’d never heard, and certainly puts a new spin on history if its true.


...and speaking of putting a new spin on history...

Reagan Revisionism


Well, former president Ronald Reagan’s body finally passed on—joining his mind, which had been dead since the mid-’90s.  

apologetic disclaimer: That’s the only Alzheimer’s joke I’ll make.  My grandfather suffered from it, and spent the last few years of his life thinking he was in a New England train station, so I know how tragic and unfunny Alzheimer’s is.

Anyway, as one can expect, the inevitable has happened: with his moving on to do some Great Communicating with the Cosmos, back on Earth there has been a mad scramble by Republicans to rewrite history books so as to portray Reagan as the greatest President ever.  Even back in the mid-’90s, Rush Limbaugh was calling for him to be added to Mount Rushmore—proof he’s been hooked on painkillers a lot longer than we thought—and currently there is a groundswell to have Reagan’s face replace the current one on either the $10 or $20-dollar bill.

Personally, I would have thought that Bush Jr. would have created a million-dollar bill specifically for him, as Reagan’s greatest benefit was to the elite 1%, and they would be the only ones who would ever see such a bill anyway.

Reagan once said something to the effect that “trees cause more pollution than automobiles.”  In a eulogistic case I suspect that to be true, as I don’t doubt a lot of lumber will be pulped for a plethora of fawning, hero-worshiping books that glamorize what is quickly becoming Saint Reagan.  History is already in the process of being rewritten, and by people who you’d think should know better.  In the myriad of romantic biographies and commentaries that ensued in the days after his death, one of the most sickening myths perpetuated was that Reagan ended Communism, and that this specifically happened on his watch.  Bullshit.  I’ll discuss his contribution to the Cold War in detail later, but for now a simple timeline can serve as the obituary for this bit of fiction: Reagan was out of office in 1988, and Communism collapsed in 1990.  ’Nuff said?  Apparently not, because in the rosy appraisals choking the airwaves in the weeks since he died, people seemed to think that the Berlin Wall came down and the Kremlin collapsed some time during his Oval Office tenure, and I actually heard some so-called historians say this on NPR and in the Arizona Republic.

Fortunately, folks, shade is on the case!  No need to “set the record straight” on this one; all I need to do is recap actual fact before certain sinister “historians” rewrite the textbook and edit out or redact facts to suit their own agenda.

The most cynical of us see the Reagan years as proof that the American Presidency is just a Brain Police figurehead.  The orders still came from Secret Meeting Room at 22A Baker Street, and they had an actor present them palatably to the plebes.  Like in that old commercial: “I’m not a real doctor, but I play one on tv...”  The Brain Police weren’t even trying to hide this one...

Still, I will admit it: I liked Reagan.  I think it is pretty much universally accepted that as a person he was a nice guy; friendly, avuncular, a genuine sense of humor... kind of like your own grandpa.  Although much of this had to do with his professional training as an actor to project himself palatably to the audience, I believe the base beneath it was sincere.

Of course, it is important to distinguish between Reagan-the-Person and Reagan-the-Politician.  Sacred Cows are best barbecued in Branch Floridian fashion, so let’s take a look at Ron in Office.Reagan reveals his 'soylent green' plan to eliminate hunger and homelessness

When Reagan ran for office in 1980, the American economy was in a pretty bad recession, and had been for several years.  Reagan’s plan to kick-start domestic prosperity: a huge round of tax cuts (mostly for the rich) and increased government spending on pork-barrel projects.  Sound familiar?  The general idea was to increase the supply of money available, theoretically to everyone but in practice it was the top 1%ers that saw the most of it.  I think the plan was that rich people would leave bigger tips to the plebes.  Several terms came about to describe this: Supply-Side Economics, Trickle-Down Theory... it is best-remembered today as Reaganomics.

During the Republican primaries, rival candidate George Bush had his own moniker for it: “Voodoo Economics.”  Of course, we all witnessed his overnight epiphany when Reagan tapped him to be his vice president, and he 180’d to whole-heartedly embrace the Reagan economic gameplan.

By cutting taxes, Reagan decreased the amount of money the government was making, but curiously he increased the amount that it was spending on various projects.  To help bankroll this, he would skim money out of other areas, such as budgets for public school lunches.  When someone pointed out that by doing so the next generation wouldn’t have a balanced diet, his infamous reply was, “Well, the lunches still have ketchup.  Ketchup is a vegetable.”


“A prune is not a vegetable.
Cabbage is a vegetable.”



It would be one thing if he had pumped money into domestic projects that benefited everyone, such as  improving our transportation system, education, or the environment.  However, most of the money went into dubious military contracts.  Two examples of pet projects Ron adopted should serve:

  • The MX Missile.  Even though we had tons of ICBMs that worked just fine, Reagan decided that we needed more, because the Soviet Union knew where most of ours were.  The solution was to be the MX Missile system, dubbed the “Peacekeeper” by Ron, which would have been a huge underground complex about the size of Montana where missiles would be rotated on trains, so the Russians never knew exactly where they were.  Of course, in the event of war, they could miraculously pop up above ground and fire.  The idea was to get the Russians to waste valuable rockets of their own carpet-bombing the United States in hopes of taking out the MX system.  Fortunately, the idea never got off the ground, but we did spend $20 billion researching it, and even built a few, which sat in silos without guidance systems.

  • SDI.  Universally known as “Star Wars,” the Strategic Defense Initiative was another scheme to defend the U.S. from incoming missile attack by somehow having satellites shoot down attacking rockets before they reached us.  There were so many problems with this that it was universally acknowledged by the people assigned to develop it that there was no way to make it work, at least with 1980s technology, but that did not deter Reagan from dropping a wad on the project.  Depending on which source you believe, the bill ran either $36 billion or $70 billion.

So those were the types of things Reagan spent money on.  The end result should be obvious, but if not, here are the figures:

When Reagan took office in 1980, the Federal deficit was $930 billion.  When he left, it was $2.6 trillion.  At the time, and even adjusting for inflation, that was record debt spending of money that the government did not have, though that record has been shattered by the current president.

Reagan’s take on the national deficit was true Ron: “I am not worried about the deficit; it is big enough to take care of itself.”

Still, proponents of Reaganomics gleefully claim, “but it worked!  The economy was great!”

To answer that, I quote Reagan himself (out of context): “Well, yes and maybe no.”  The illusion of prosperity under Reaganomics was just that: largely false, and the bubble did burst during his tenure.  On October 19, 1987, the stock market crashed.  The Dow-Jones dropped 23%—worse that the ‘Great Crash’ of 1929—and a recession began that would last about five years.

Of course, the Reagan years were more than just questionable economics.  Let’s look at his foreign policy.

The first myth attributed to the Reagan Legacy is that he freed the hostages held in Iran.  In a word, BULLSHIT.  True, the hostages were freed within an hour of Reagan’s taking his oath of office, but I defy anyone to demonstrate how Reagan orchestrated their release.  Indeed, there is compelling (if questionable) evidence that the exact opposite happened: Reagan cronies (specifically George Bush) met with Iranian leaders in Paris to ask them to hold on to the hostages until after the election.  For those unfamiliar with the “October Surprise” scenario, it’s a hefty topic and major digression, one that probably cost investigator Danny Casolaro his life.  However, we still have the fact that, shortly after taking office, Reagan quietly unfroze Iranian assets.

Monetary deals with Iran would crop up later in his administration, when it became known that the Reagan Administration was secretly selling weapons such as 4,000 anti-tank TOW missiles to them in exchange for Tehran using its influence to get American hostages in Lebanon released.  And, in the true spirit of capitalism, Reagan cronies were actually overcharging the Iranians and using the surplus money to bankroll anti-communist rebels in Nicaragua.  Both acts were specifically prohibited by laws that Reagan himself had signed into being.  Technically, this scheme was the brainchild of CIA director William Casey, who essentially ran a rogue Agency, but Reagan knew and approved.  Whats more, he lied about it: when investigators asked Reagan under oath what happened, his reply was “The simple truth is, I don’t remember—period.”  This despite his own diary having entries like “I agreed to sell TOWS to Iran” (January 1, 1986) and a signed executive order from 15 days later authorizing the sales.

I have to wonder: if a president lying under oath about getting a blowjob is an impeachable offense, how about lying under oath about selling weapons to an enemy of state and funding an illegal covert war?

Aside from Iran, the whole handling of Nicaragua was a dark chapter of the Reagan Legacy.  Reagan called the Contras “...the moral equivalents of our Founding Fathers.”  It was known even then by the likes of Oliver North that the Contras were raising funds by raising cocaine.  Granted, George Washington grew hemp at Mount Vernon, but I think this is a bit different.  Reagan upped the ante against Nicaragua by authorizing CIA director William Casey to mine the Managua harbor.  When Senator Barry Goldwater learned of this, he sent a terse memo to Casey saying “This is an act violating international law.  It is an act of war” and privately told people “It was the dumbest fucking idea I have ever heard.”

Reagan’s ability to escape unscathed from these impeachable offenses earned him the nickname “the Teflon President.”

Obviously, the Iran/Contra scandal wasn’t the only blemish in his foreign policy; he made a mess all over the globe.  For a particularly bad example, we only need to remember how Reagan committed 1,200 troops to Lebanon as part of a U.N. “peacekeeper” mission, with the result that a suicide bomber blew up 300 of them.  When Reagan removed the troops and put them off-shore on battleships, he called it taking decisive new steps to victory; White House spokesman Larry Speakes described it as  We dont consider this a withdrawal but more of a redeployment.

When Reagan did have an unquestionable military victory, it was in 1983 when he invaded the tiny island of Grenada.  The U.S. army soundly defeated a small company of Cuban construction workers.

Of course, the major victory granted to the Reagan regime was the winning of the Cold War.  Now, I’ve already pointed out the timeline flaw in that faulty thinking, but to be honest, there is a kernel of truth to the legend.  Under Reagan, the United States was spending about 6.5% of its GDP on the military, which we realistically could not afford.  By comparison, the U.S.S.R. was spending about 15%, and they could afford that even less.  The claim is that Reagan forced the Russians to bankrupt themselves doing this, or at the very least heavily contributed to the collapse of the communist system.  However, if you’re going to force the Soviets to spend themselves to death, is it wise to make them spend on the one thing they produce both in quantity and quality: weapons?  That was the one sector of the Soviet economy that actually prospered during the Reagan years.  Most people who know the situation will tell you that the collapse came about more from social reforms by Gorbechov than economic pressure from Reagan.  However, even if it were true that Reagan’s actions were the dominant factor in winning the Cold War, economically this is about as close to a pyrric victory as you can come.  It also diminishes the contributions made by every other president from Truman to on the matter.

In all fairness, though, Reagans greatest contribution as President was one that you never hear about: he helped restore pride in this country.  After the disastrous incumbencies of Nixon and Carter in the ’70s, American morale was at a low point, and Reagan helped restore pride to a nation that needed it.  I think that is why he is so popular in the public’s mind.

So, if we as a people need to feel good about ourselves by selectively remembering Reagan, what does this say about our current morale and level of self-confidence?  To me, this is eerily similar of the conundrum offered up by the Book of Jonah: which is better — a lie that saves, or a truth that destroys?

*   *   *

Reagan’s death reinforces the fact that people tend to remember selectively, and one of the things people seem to recall most fondly about him was his smooth speaking style.  Admittedly, he wrote many of his own speeches, and sometimes they were great stuff with impeccable delivery.  

Sometimes, they weren’t.

In fact, it’s interesting to study just that aspect of...


The “Great” Communicator

Reagan realizes the stupidity of what he just said

Obviously, Bush made an effort to milk Reagan Mania for all it is worth, attempting to link himself as the intellectual heir to Reagan.  It also must be admitted that Reagan’s death was certainly well-timed for Dubya, because it distracted everyone from the Inquiry into how much Bush and Ashcroft were attempting to do away with the Bill of Rights.

Although Dubya did his best to pick up the mantle, its obvious that he won’t inherit Ron’s title as “The Great communicator.”  One of Reagan’s great strengths as a speaker was his ability to improvise.  When Bush departs from a heavily memorized and rehearsed speech, he flounders and flubs up the stuff that has become legend.

I have only found a few instances where Reagan did the same and made a statement that would be the equivalent to a Bushism:

Ronald Reagan: (at a prep school commencement address): “My name is Ronald Reagan. What’s yours?”
Michael Reagan: “I’m your son, Mike.”
Ronald Reagan: “Oh, I didn’t recognize you.”

“We spend weeks and hours every day preparing the Budget.”

“The state of California has no business subsidizing intellectual curiosity.”

“The United Sates has much to offer the third world war.”

Compared with Bush, he gets off easy.  When Reagan would fumble a statement, it was more a case where the words made sense, but the conclusion was absurd.  I would actually classify these more as misinformation based on ignorance.  Let’s take a look:

“All the waste in a year from a nuclear power plant can be stored under a desk.”

“Approximately 80 percent of our air pollution stems from hydrocarbons released by vegetation, so let’s not go overboard in setting and enforcing tough emission standards from man-made sources.”

“There is today in the United States as much forest as there was when Washington was at Valley Forge.”

“If you’ve seen one redwood, you’ve seen them all.  A tree is a tree. How many more do you have to look at?”—in 1966, opposing expansion of Redwood National Park.

I have flown twice over Mount Saint Helens out on our west coast.  I’m not a scientist and I don’t know the figures, but I have a suspicion that that one little mountain has probably released more sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere of the world than has been released in the last ten years of automobile driving or things of that kind that people are so concerned about.”—comparing the  2,000 tons of sulfur dioxide emitted per day by Mount St. Helens with the 81,000 tons per day by cars.

“They (Nazi soldiers) were victims, just as sure as the victims in the concentration camps.”—at the Bitberg cemetery, where SS guards are buried.



Reader Feedback


I was reading the 'sugar-coated sheep-u-mentary' on Phillipians and found an interesting stand-off:

Murmuring against the Lord

The people of God, who accept Him as their Guide and Leader, should never complain, and Paul reminds us that the murmuring of the Israelites on that occasion carries a lesson for us. Their complaint was on account of the manna, for which they had at first been so thankful. This divinely provided bread from heaven (Ex. 16: 4) had become their staple diet. It could be crushed into flour, boiled or baked, made into pancakes with a honey-like flavour and a suggestion of olive oil. Inventive and resource­ful as the women might have been in varying the manna-based diet for their families, it was inevitable that many would weary of it and hanker after the flesh pots of Egypt.

Does this give rise to an early version of the Atkins-friendly diet? Are low-carb-mongers actually waving a defiant finger at the carbohydrate enriched manna diet that includes the mouth watering 'honey-like flavour pancakes', and thus defying those tennets laid before Dr. Atkins and the rest of the world making them all disobedient demon-spawn soldiers for the devil(or Natas as he is reffered to by Powell-Peralta)?

The rebellious generation that died in the wilderness, never seeing the promised land, were succeeded by a somewhat humbler people who, under the leadership of Joshua, took possession of their rightful inheritance. The progress of Israel from conditions of slavery to the status of full nationhood, while divinely ordained, owed much to the vision of the few among them who trusted in the promises of God, desired their freedom and their dignity, and stirred themselves to respond to His leadings.

This states that people who follow the low carb diet craze will obviously die as slaves in the wilderness, while the rest of us get fat eating pancakes (honey-flavoured, of course) in our brand new nation of 'yes-men', never again to question the grand leadership of god and his appointed cabinet of governments. This also means that god appointed GWB, and if this is the case, and god is actually real, then it proves that he has a sick and sadistic sense of humor, which I would think goes against something somewhere in the bible, probably one of those pesky 'quotables' jesus was always coming up with like, 'treat others as you would like to be treated', or something like that...



shade’s peshar

Leave it to the Ignition Missionary to come up with this one.  

God foresaw the Atkins craze—and knew the people would get sick of manna after 40 years—so he also provided Atkins-friendly quail to the menu (Exodus 16:11-13).  So they had a choice; no sympathy from me for their bitching.  I take the overall injunction against grumbling to be “shut up and count your blessings, because it could be a lot worse.”

As to your comment that “...this proves that God has a sick and sadistic sense of humor...” well hell, I’ve been saying that all along.  The Gnostics excelled at that exegetical conclusion 1,500 years ago.  But yeah, God has a sense of humor.  Even if it isn’t so much sick and sadistic, it certainly is bizarre.  

Just look at the platypus.

Nice, happy platypus.



Ask Evil Matt

 The Evil One fields your queries, as channeled by Sister Ob’dewlla ‘X’.


Q:  What it the etymology of the 'marm' in 'schoolmarm'?

A:  19th Century New England colloquial variation of ma’am (itself a variant on madam).  New England accents are notorious for this mystery R appearing in words, and mangling “schoolma’am” into “schoolmarm” is a classic example of one that actually caught on nationally.

Q:  What does the Arabic mean on the Saudi Arabian and Iraqi flags? 

A:  The Arabic on the Saudi flag, “Ashhadu Alla Ilaha Illa Allah Wa Ashhadu Anna Muhammad Rasulu Allah” means “There is no God but Allah, and Muhammed is His messenger.”  That statement is known as the shahada, or profession of faith, and is the foundation of Islamic theology.  By the way, Saudi Arabia is not the only national flag to have the shahada embroidered on it: Somalia includes it, as did Afghanistan under the Taliban.

The Arabic on the Iraqi flag is “Allah Achbar” or “God is Great.”  That is Saddam Hussein’s own handwriting, by the way.  The post-Saddam ruling council has since changed the Iraqi flag twice, with the most recent adoption being the same basic design with just a calligraphy change: the phrase was kept, but Saddam’s sloppy scrawl was replaced with a more generic font.

Saudi Arabia flag

Iraqi Flag

Got a question?  .


    And finally,,,

The Hedgehog Corner

By Harriet the Hedgehog



Domum Dulce Dumb’em


Like felines, many hedgehogs consent to have human pets cohabitate with them.  Hedgehogs, being ever-generous, even allow their homo sapien companions to pick out the houses and occupy the larger of the living quarters.  Alas, some humans with ass-backward priorities and an overly-inflated sense of self-worth forget that it’s us ’hogs in charge of the household, and end up putting their poor hedgies in some sort of habitrail habitat.  I myself once lived in a glass aquarium before Sisbooomba rescued me from the horrors of a pet store.

Granted, it was great having run of the Octopus Garden, where Sis’ and shade let me rove free-range about the house, and I happily set up base camp under the sofa in the mineral room.  However, I also recognize that this was an exceptional situation and is far from the norm for most humans who are under the mistaken impression that they “own” a hedgehog.

So what should you do?

Simple: give us an Ayn Rand novel to live in!

Now normally I would recommend against a human having one of these wretched tomes around the house: you might drop it and break a toe bone, or worse, actually read the damned thing, and the resulting mental trauma and vomiting would be horrific.  However, some of her books, especially The Fountainhead or Atlas Shrugged, can at last be put to some sort of productive use other than lining bird cages.  Just hollow it out, or better yet, let us do the shredding (we’re experts at it) and you have an instant hedgehog condo!

Here are but a few of the many reasons why Ayn Rand books would make an excellent hedgehog homestead:

  • They’re roomy as hell.  At 800+ pages a pop, even the plumpest hedgehog can squeeze in with plenty of room to spare.

  • They’re amazingly comfortable.  Anyone who has had the misfortune of suffering through one of her works knows that she is more unnecessarily verbose than a Senator in the midst of a hundred-hour filibuster.  shade called it “diarrhea of the typewriter.”  99% of her verbiage is redundant and unnecessary; in other words, it’s all “fluff,” and “fluff” is quite cozy to sleep in.

  • They’re moisture absorbent.  Sad to say, but not all hedgehogs are housebroken, and even though shade trained me to use a frisbee full of cat litter, I acknowledge that not all ’hogs have caught on.  Solve this problem with your incontinent ’hog by giving him or her a healthy dose of Rand to bed down on.   Your ’hog will be guaranteed to shit all over it—not an uncommon reaction when one has the misfortune of coming in contact with that wretched, pretentious bilge.  Fortunately, any waste matter would fit right in with the rest of the crap that makes up the prose paragraphs.  What’s even better, and back to the moisture absorbency, her writing style is so dry that any urine will be disposed of instantly and sanitarily.  Lewis Carroll posited a similar solution in Alice in Wonderland when, to dry off, the Dodo bird read Alice some British history.

I think you all will agree, this is the simplest solution, not only for housing your hedgehog, but also for uncluttering library shelves with needless literature that might actually qualify for a hazmat sticker.  

Your hedgehog will thank you.

    That’s it for now, folks; and y’all know the drill:


      Trust no one
      Deny Everything
      and Always keep your lighter handy!


© 2004 (VIII, iv)



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