Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Happy Father’s (of Humanity) Day


Dear Adam,

How do you like that, huh?—me calling you by your first name, huh, dad?! Adam! Adam! Adam!

But I could just say, “man”, couldn’t I?? … since they mean the same thing ….

Yeah, it’s me, one of your children!! Oh, but you have so many you’ve probably forgotten about me!!


Yes, I know this is belated!!—because I feel belated BY YOU!!!

I am not HAPPY!! I have PROBLEMS!! ... ISSUES!!! … heavy, emotional ISSUES caused by your LACK OF LOVE!!!

All of your children, all four and a half BILLION of us, we have NEVER felt LOVED by YOU!!!


Me—and all your children—have trust and bonding ISSUES!!

And because of you being addicted to the fruit from that TREE!!! …we got kicked out of our home—the nice one with the garden, remember? And we’ve suffered ever since! That’s right! Because of you, all of your children came from a broken home!!

Do you know how it feels to be picked on and ridiculed at school by all the other kids as the progeny of the guy who brought about THE FALL OF MAN???!!!

I … was … TRAUMATIZED!!!

And all the fights with mom—blaming her for everything! How were we—especially me!—supposed to grow up emotionally stable??!!!

Fighting!! Fighting!! Fighting!! I don’t get along with any of my siblings!!! And it’s your fault—the way you raised my older brothers, Cain and Abel!! They hated each other! It’s no wonder Seth became a loner and left home early!

And now we all hate each other because you never raised us with love—only blame, blame, BLAME!!!!


Do you care that I’m … NEARLY SUICIDAL!!!!

WHY DIDN’T YOU LOVE ME???????????!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

OW!!! OW!!! OW!!!

Yeah, that’s what I thought …! No answer …!!

Well, tell that lizard king snake and that old alpha male—what’s his name?—Mahway, or something??—those buddies of yours!—tell them I blame them too …!

Yeah … happy father’s day …


The Jim Buck Blog Limited Time Offer

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Monday, June 29, 2009

Palin-Bachmann 2012 – The First Meeting


PALIN: Michele, it is nice to finally meet you.

BACHMANN: And you too, Sarah. I’m a big fan.

PALIN: I love your eyes. I love how they widen repeatedly when you’re staring at the camera—like you can shoot laser beams from them.

BACHMANN: That’s how I beat Tinklenberg last year…I shot laser eye beams at him, like Superman. (laughs)

PALIN: Tinklenberg? That’s his real name.

BACHMANN: Yes. And I beat the piss out of him. (laughs)

PALIN: (smiles politely) I see. Are those lenses or is blue your natural color?

BACHMANN: No, they’re my real eyes. And I love your glasses. Is that your normal eyesight or are they prescription?

PALIN: (slight confusion) …they’re prescription….


PALIN: Michele, you know, the way things are going there won’t be many good Republican men in 2012.

BACHMNN: You mean voters?

PALIN: No, I mean candidates.

BACHMANN: What about John McCain?

PALIN: John is a good man. But he’s old, and he’s a loser.

BACHMANN: That’s because losing is a natural by-product.

PALIN: A natural by-product of what?

BACHMANN: Witchcraft. Anti-American witchcraft. We or you or me or your husband Todd—someone should do a penetrating expose.

PALIN: I have a better idea.

BACHMANN: For what?

PALIN: For the White House.

BACHMANN: You want me to run with Gingrich?

PALIN: No! I want you to run with me.

BACHMANN: Yes, you’ve had vice-presidential campaign experience.

PALIN: No! I would be the presidential candidate. You would be the vice-presidential.

BACHMANN: But I’m the only one of use that won last year! Besides, I’m already in the federal government!

PALIN: Yes, but I have executive experience. I run a state. I’m the hockey mom. And I’m the pit bull with lipstick.

BACHMANN: I have something to offer too.

PALIN: What?

BACHMANN: No census.

PALIN: What do you mean, no sense?? (sudden realization) Oh, census! No, I’m talking about 2012. The census is over next year.

BACHMANN: But as president and vice-president we can have a new census in 2014—every four years—just so we can be against it. And we can hire lots of Japanese census takers and put them in internment camps and the public will have an outcry and we can abolish the census forever.

PALIN: Well I said thanks but no thanks to the Bridge to Nowhere, I can say thanks but no thanks to the census.

BACHMANN: Especially if it’s to nowhere. And we can say thanks but no thanks to global warming.

PALIN: I will tell the American people that I cannot see global warming from Alaska. And if there’s any place you should be able to see global warming, it’s Alaska. That will convince them.

BACHMANN: Oh, can I…can I see Alaska from Minnesota…? We’re right next to Canada, you know….

PALIN: And Canada’s right next to Alaska! So you have foreign policy experience too. That’s good for the campaign.

BACHMANN: I loved that interview you did with that French president.

PALIN: That was a fake.

BACHMANN: That's why I don't like socialism. Those who use it are untrustworthy.

PALIN: Now, I think I should campaign in the pro-America parts of this great nation of ours and you should campaign in the anti-American areas.

BACHMANN: I’m sorry to disagree, Sarah. But I don’t think there are anti-American areas, only anti-American people.

PALIN: New York is anti-American. It’s an area. That’s why they put the UN there, because the UN is anti-American too. That’s why Todd belonged to the secessionist group, so when the UN takes over—

BACHMANN: And changes our currency—

PALIN: Right. When that happens Alaska becomes independent.

BACHMANN: And Minnesota too.

PALIN: And don’t forget Texas.

BACHMANN: Governor Perry’s a good Republican man.

PALIN: But we don’t know if he’ll get re-elected.

BACHMANN: But if he secedes Texas from America, he can’t lose!

PALIN: That’s right! And if we can get enough of the pro-America parts to secede from America, we can win! We must appeal to the people with guns!


PALIN: And God! And money! We’re gonna need lots of money! And we can call it the Seceded States of America.

BACHMANN: Then maybe I can be president of some seceded states and you can be president of some!

PALIN: No, I have the executive experience, I should be president of all of them.

BACHMANN: That sounds like elitism.

PALIN: I have a son in Iraq. How many sons do you have in Iraq?


PALIN: I have a daughter who is a single mother. How many do you have?


PALIN: I have a husband doesn’t really work, but he’s a hunk, so America can idolize us better. What about your husband?

BACHMANN: He works. He’s a therapist who turns gay men into straight ones.

PALIN: Wow, he must be manly then…. Even more manly than Rick Perry!

BACHMANN: Yes, but please don’t tell Gretta Van Susteren. I don’t want her tryin’ to steal my Marcus like she was tryin’ to steal your Todd. Marcus likes her. He finds her attractive—says she has a cute, rugged-looking mouth.

PALIN: You need more confidence if we’re gonna win. We’re a couple of attractive women that all the men of this great country would secede and vote for in a heart beat!

BACHMANN: It’s our intelligence that makes us sexy.

PALIN: And I think we have a better chance of winning if we run on an anti-intellectual platform. Intellectuals are elitists. They ask too many questions. And they don’t secede as easily.

BACHMANN: But if our intelligence is sexy and we run as anti-intellectuals aren’t we running as anti-sexy and damaging our chances of men voting for us?

PALIN: Yeah…. I didn’t think of it that way.

BACHMANN: Wait! I got it! Bimbos are sexy and anti-intellectual!

PALIN: And they have lots of fun! Trust me. You need lots of fun on a campaign! If it wasn’t for speaking to so many pro-American crowds at all those rallies and stirring up all that near-violence, and talkin’ about Bill Ayers, and all that shopping!—I would have been bo-ored!

BACHMANN: Yeah, I guess you should be the president then.

PALIN: I’m glad you understand.

BACHMANN: We should run on a platform of feminist revenge.

PALIN: You mean, we are the ultimate in feminism—a two-woman ticket for the highest offices in the land---and, getting revenge against all those loser Republican men these days—

BACHMANN: You know, Ensign has not made one pass at me!

PALIN: Boy, Perry made one at me!! Whew!!

BACHMANN: I’m jealous!

PALIN: McCain made one too!

BACHMANN: Ooh, yuk! No, I mean getting revenge against feminists! They’re pagans and they’ve ruined this country!

PALIN: But feminists made it possible for us to be in politics!

BACHMANN: No being mothers got us into politics! Mothers have nothing to do with feminists.

PALIN: (sudden realization) That’s right! There are hockey moms, but whoever heard of a hockey feminist?! Besides, feminists are intellectuals—and witches! Like Katie Couric and Hillary Clinton.

BACHMANN: And Tina Fey.

PALIN: Please!!! Don’t - say - that - name!

BACHMANN: Sorry. Does that mean I can’t be your vice-president?

PALIN: Let me give you a little test. What is your answer when Katie Couric asks you what Supreme Court cases you read daily?

BACHMANN: I read all of them.

PALIN: And what important newspapers from the last fifty years can you cite?

BACHMANN: I’ll find a few and get them to you??



BACHMANN: Now all we need to do is think of a slogan...

PALIN: How about: “Anti-Washington, Anti-Witchcraft. Anti-Census. Palin and Bachmann, the Anti-Candidates 2012”?


To be continued….

Sunday, June 28, 2009

The Jim Buck Blog Special Independence Day Extravaganza

Join us on Saturday July 4th for the Jim Buck Blog Special Independence Day Extravaganza.

It’ll make the Bi-Centennial seem like the Grand Opening of a Van Nuys Car Wash.

Friday, June 26, 2009

The Jim Buck Blog Special Independence Day Extravaganza

Join us on Saturday July 4th for the Jim Buck Blog Special Independence Day Extravaganza.

You'll regret that I have but one blog to give for my country.

Peltier, Coler and Williams

John McCain said recently in the context of President Obama not pressing the Iranians enough on the rigged election and the violent crackdown on the protests in Tehran, that “America is the moral leader of the world”. Well, there are many, many examples to refute that piece of propaganda—or is bullshit a better word?

One of them is the case of imprisoned Native American activist Leonard Peltier. From the beginning of this blog two weeks ago, I decided to use it to make non-Indians aware of Indian issues past and present.

Thirty-four years ago today, one day after the 99th anniversary of the Battle of Little Bighorn and the death of Lieutenant Colonel George Armstrong Custer, FBI Special Agents Jack R. Coler and Ronald Williams were killed at point-blank range on the Jumping Bull Ranch on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. Two years before, AIM members Dennis Banks and Russell Means, along with many others, held the U.S. Government at bay in the town of Wounded Knee, made infamous in 1890 for the massacre of innocent Lakota elders, and men, women and children, and recounted in the Dee Brown book, “
Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee” and the 2007 HBO original production by the same name, starring Aidan Quinn, Anna Pacquin and Adam Beach, who I had planned to work with when producing the film I mentioned in my very first blog.

Pine Ridge was a war zone during that time thanks to then-Pine Ridge Tribal Chairman Dick Wilson and his Guardians of Oglala Nation, otherwise know as the “goon squad”. On many reservations, the FBI also serve as the police force, although Indian nations in America are supposed to have sovereign status, therefore, being legally entitled to have their own police force like the Navajo and others have. I guess that’s what happens when your reservation is very near to gold and uranium like Pine Ridge is.

This was back in the early 70s when J. Edgar Hoover’s FBI was running rampant, in part due to Hoover’s paranoia. Fred Hampton had been assassinated just a few years before. The Ward Churchill and Jim Vander Wall book,
Agents of Repression: The FBI's Secret Wars Against the Black Panther Party and the American Indian Movement, from South End Press is a thorough account of this dark chapter in American law enforcement.

AIM member Leonard Peltier was charged with being one of three AIM members, armed with AR-15 guns that killed the agents. Peltier fled to Canada, was apprehended and extradited back to the U.S. allegedly with fabricated evidence. The other two men charged with the murder, Dino Butler and Bob Robideaux, stood trial and were acquitted on the grounds of self-defense. Leonard’s fate would not be the same. For more on Peltier’s case, there is the Robert Redford-produced documentary
Incident at Oglala and there is much online. It’s been nearly twenty years since I did anything on Peltier. In fact, my last Sequoyah interview was with Peltier. But I have forgotten much of his case because it happened before I was even aware, whereas the Eddie Hatcher case happened before my eyes.

I had interviewed Peltier several times while producing Sequoyah. The first time I interviewed the legendary civil rights attorney William Kunstler was about Peltier. It was about 6:00 pm on a Tuesday, I trekked down to his office in the basement at 13 Gay Street and sat and waited. He was in court. And there was an elderly Chinese couple also waiting. Kunstler walked in and spoke with the Chinese couple for about twenty minutes and then summoned me. He let his secretary go home and I sat alone with Kunstler in his office, asking him questions about Peltier’s case that he must have answered a million times before without frustration or fatigue. He was a true gentleman.

Before first interviewing Kunstler, there was a Lakota man named Two Elk helping me produce Sequoyah. He had the tape recorder I used and I wanted it back to interview Kunstler. He tried to talk me out of it. I insisted. He brought the recorder back and gave it to me and I never saw or heard from him again. He was afraid of the FBI. Me? I was so naïve back then to any reprisals or surveillance.

I remember once when I wanted to interview Leonard (I realize I’m calling him Leonard now, which is how I used to refer to him) about his artwork. I called the prison official at Leavenworth as you always had to do because prisoners had to call you collect. I had interviewed Leonard a few times before about his case—the political stuff. This was about artwork. Suddenly, the prison official did not want to grant permission. I was perplexed. He thought Leonard would be making money. I assured him that I wasn’t making any money and certainly wasn’t paying Leonard. The official was afraid that because I was publicizing Leonard’s artwork, Leonard would be making money from the sales of his artwork. I told the official I had no control over that. Finally, the official relented and Leonard called. It’s been a long time since I’ve really listened to any of those reports.

Today, while looking up Leonard to prepare for this blog, I saw that he had been moved from Leavenworth to Canaan Federal Penitentiary in Waymart, Pennsylvania where, this January, he was attacked by a gang of youths and beaten severely, put in solitary and his diabetes dietary requirements were not met. It was, to my thinking, obviously a set-up by those who wanted Leonard dead and he was left to die.

Many consider Leonard to be America’s foremost political prisoner in the sense that the conditions under which Leonard was convicted, the allegedly falsified ballistics report that Kunstler referred to and what many believe to be essentially prosecutorial misconduct. Since Butler and Robideaux were found innocent for reasons of self-defense, someone was going to pay for the execution style killings of Coler and Williams, the U.S. Government was determined to make someone pay.

Throughout the years, Leonard has gotten the support of Nelson Mandela, Amnesty International, the U.N. High Commissioner on Human Rights, the Dalai Lama, the European, Belgian and Italian Parliaments, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and others.

The FBI hates Leonard, protesting outside the White House in 2000 to protest the possibility that Clinton would pardon him. When Clinton did not, it has been reported that David Geffen withdrew his support for Hillary Clinton’s campaign and turned his support to Barack Obama. Maybe Obama will pardon Leonard at the end of his presidency, whenever that will be.

I do not condone or celebrate the killing of Coler and Williams, which is why I included there names at the top of this piece. The FBI report states that Williams had a bullet wound in his hand as the bullet passed through his hand to his head, obviously held up in terror. Coler, the FBI said, had been incapacitated by bullet wounds and was shot twice in the head, execution style.

A few points: the FBI has obviously been known to lie, Pine Ridge was a war zone and many innocents died. The murder rate at Pine Ridge prior to Coler and Williams’ deaths was the highest per capita in the United States. The FBI was perceived to be on the side of Wilson’s goon squad, which terrorized traditional elders, if memory serves, resulting in many deaths and homicides which were not investigated. That does not mean Coler and Williams deserved to die, especially the way they seem to have. That also does not mean that Peltier did it. The ballistics evidence, I remember Kunstler saying in 1987, had been fabricated.

There are perhaps more questions than will ever be answered. One of those questions is, while Peltier’s supporters and anyone familiar with the case and the times can tell you the names of the two dead FBI agents, can anyone of Peltier’s enemies within law enforcement tell you the names of any of the 50 innocent victims of Dick Wilson’s goons who used intimidation, drive-by shootings and murder? No. It was a war zone. Reportedly, one member of the goon squads, Duane Brewer, stated that the FBI had assisted the goons, even giving them armor-piercing ammunition.

Is this an example of America’s moral example and leadership that McCain and Graham believe we exhibit around the world? Like I said, it’s bullshit, sick-making bullshit.

Regardless, Leonard is up for parole this coming July 27th. I’ll have more information about his case then.

“They Always Go in Threes”

I first remember hearing that phrase for the first time back in 1965 when my brother died, the boy next door died and the lady across the street died all in about a week.

I wrote about McMahon two days ago and I was not really that aware of Farrah Fawcett’s condition. I had heard she had cancer, but that was all. Although she will always be remembered for Charlie’s Angels, I will always remember her for a shaving cream commercial that I cannot find on YouTube. It is certainly not the one with Joe Namath. I did own the famous Farrah Fawcett poster. But perhaps the thing I will remember her for most is the Steve Martin line when hosting the opening show of the third season SNL, “Boy oh boy, I am so mad at Farrah Fawcett Majors. She is so conceited. She has never called me once. And after the hours I spent holding up her poster with one hand.”

“Thriller” came out right around the time I moved to New York. I listened to it constantly in the winter of ‘82-‘83, just like I did with Prince’s “Purple Rain” in the summer of ‘84. The openings of “Billy Jean” and “Beat It” will always fondly remind me of my early New York years.

I am one of the few who sees significant similarities between music and comedy. Comedy, when done right, has a mathematic precision, like music. Both occupy the highest parts of the brain. The writing of comedy can be very similar to music in setting up and paying off, different aspects of written and performed comedy and humor can have a melodic quality. Comedy and music can both have crescendos, fills, etc.

There is more I could write about that, but it was while listening to “Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’”, the first song on the album, that I first came to this realization. I would lie in bed with headphones so that I could hear it as closely as possible. And I was also a little under the influence, which enhanced these artistic exploratory sensibilities.

I did not follow Jackson. I didn’t buy “Bad” or the other albums. I remember watching him as a boy on Flip Wilson. His singing, dancing and entertaining was beyond exceptional. Too bad about the weirdness; he would obviously have had a much better career without it. But there is, as they say, a fine line between madness and genius. He certainly was a genius. But genius does not excuse child sexual abuse. He was acquitted but I believe there was something there. However, that’s not the first thing I think about when I think of Michael Jackson. He was powerful.

Would there be a president Obama without a Michael Jackson? Interesting question.

I know Iran would not have been able to get on MSNBC last night unless he had died in Tehran.

Is that the power of celebrity in America?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Minority Report

Tom Cruise played a policeman in the “precrime” division in Steven Spielberg’s film version of the Philip K. Dick short story, “The Minority Report”. At its core, the film and short story deal with the themes of our ability to affect our own future, to have control over our own lives through free will versus the own future being set and we being powerless to change it, like puppets on God’s strings, so to speak, or pushed along by the winds of First Cause.

The free will question has vexed philosophers and theologians for centuries. Recently, I believe, science has chosen determinism as the basis of our reality—that everything that happens cannot be changed because everything that will happen and has happened emanated from first cause. The short story and film also utilize characters called “precogs” that can see the future which is how arrests are made to prevent these future crimes.

Today I developed a technique that I believe makes me, at least, “precog-ish”. And I want to share it with you all. I do not expect to be paid and desire to make no money off of this, for the good of all humanity.

In 1998, then-Congressman and current Governor, Mark Sanford ranted that Bill Clinton should be impeached because of his affair with Monica Lewinski. “I think it would be much better for the country and for him personally (to resign)... I come from the business side,” Sanford said. “If you had a chairman or president in the business world facing these allegations, he'd be gone.” In one of Sanford’s gubernatorial campaign commercials he mentions his superior moral values as a qualification to be elected.

My pre-cog technique, which is very simple, is: when you hear a politician roundly and loudly condemn others from a morally-superior position that is pre-evidence that that politician will commit that very same or exceedingly similar type of crime—or scandal. At that moment it is our duty to alert those who can arrest (but not the police sense of the word) the pre-criminal and detain them so that do not commit the violation. In this case it would be Sanford’s wife—or the leaders of the Republican Party...whoever they may be....

Limbaugh should heed my word here and become the Republican Party’s pre-crime, pre-scandal Internal Affairs detective so as to keep the Republican Party from disappearing behind post-crime bars, or slipping into post-scandal oblivion.

Returning to the philosophical argument of free will versus determinism, Sanford’s scandal may shed more light on this question through the topic of Christian values. My question, using the above scandal and the philosophical argument, is this: did Sanford’s free will bring about the possible end of his political career or was it determinism; meaning that Sanford’s fall was pre-determined long before he was even born, which sort of makes him an example of hypocrisy that was pre-figured at First Cause, or the Big Bang, or, oops, Genesis.

This leads us to the third possible explanation for all of this— God’s will. Under this explanation, God would have caused Sanford’s fall because of his hypocrisy. As a Christian, Sanford believes in God’s will because he spoke about God’s law in his press conference yesterday.

This should teach these “morally superior” Republicans—and Democrats—not to point fingers and self-righteously condemn others because, even if the accuser is not engaged in hypocritical acts, there is the future to be wary of, which, by using my technique, seems to be very certain.

Oh shit, now I have to be careful because I’ve just pointed my morally-superior finger at Sanford and Ensign and the others. Okay, God, I’m not, uh….

Oh no, now suddenly the Jesus quote, “Let he who is without sin throw the first stone” just popped into my head. Uh oh, what’s God telling me?

Oh damn, I’m a pre-hypocrite!!!

Whew!! Thankfully, my free will can prevent me becoming a future hypocrite. I just have to make it really strong. I must be very vigilant and control my urges and desires. And when I start getting worried and begin thinking I’m about to screw up really bad, I have to have someone I trust to stop me, to arrest my behavior, so to speak, so I don’t become that hypocrite I am despising in politicians.

But maybe it’s already pre-determined that I will become that hypocrite! Shit!!

Okay, Sanford and Ensign and everybody I’ve ridiculed in my mind, I apologize. Republicans, I’m sorry!!!

Oh, but what about the rest of my life up to this point? I can’t remember everybody!

Foley, Nixon, Reagan, Bush, Helms, Cheney— [sighs heavily] I…. I…. I apologize!!!!!

God, what have you—I mean, what will you have—wrought upon me??!!

Nietzsche, help me!!!!!!

Eiiin!!! Steiiin!!!!!!!

Limbaauugghh, I looovve yooouuu!!!!!!!!

The Jim Buck Blog Special Independence Day Extravaganza

Join us on Saturday July 4th for the Jim Buck Blog Special Independence Day Extravaganza.

More Patriotism than you can shake an Act at.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Ed McMahon

As I mentioned in this space on Father’s Day, I used to lie in bed after my father would come home from work and hear him watching the Tonight Show in the next room of our small house. It was captivating and exciting, that late night adult world. Thinking back, it all seemed forbidden and lots of fun.

In a few short years, the forbidden part began to change. I watched it on Friday nights, since there was no school the next day. Since we didn’t change to Daylight Savings Time in the summer, the Tonight Show came on at 10:30 and I watched at least an hour until guests like authors and scientists would usually come on during the last half-hour to promote books or talk about boring things. But I watched every night I could. Soon, Johnny Carson became my idol. And McMahon was naturally a part of that fondness.

There was something magical to me about Carson during his monologues, the desk bits with McMahon, talking to his guests and in most of the sketches. Later, however, I thought many of the Mighty Carson Art Players sketches were not as funny as they could have been. There was also something comforting to me about the chemistry between Carson, McMahon and bandleader Doc Severinsen.

In the 70s and 80s many ridiculed McMahon for his laughter. It was distinct, and it was big, but I never thought it was fake. And I was puzzled by those who did. He became a target for satire, as did Carson, by SNL and others in the 70s and in the 80s. And I know others have ridiculed McMahon as a show biz hack for Star Search and other projects, perhaps because he did not have that edge or attitude, or a talent greater than announcer and pitchman, and perhaps because he was only a “second banana”. But to do what McMahon did in television, did take talent, but not an easily discernible talent. He had to know how to hold back. Watch some of his interviews on YouTube. Ask Hugh Downs or Regis Philbin, both of whom were sidekicks to great television talents.

I appeared on the Tonight Show, back in March 1984 in a video clip in a Robert Klein segment from New York for NBC’s Bloopers and Practical Jokes when Klein guested to promote his segment and the show. Carson laughed at my line, which thrilled me for months thereafter. Unfortunately, Mike Owens, the Kamakaze Radio partner of Dennis Perrin and myself, wanted to see it and I mailed it to him. It was the only video copy I had and I never got it back.

Regardless, McMahon was a steady presence and I understood the comic service he provided to Carson in the various bits and sketches, of which Carnac was always my favorite. In fact, when I was 13 I wrote some Carnac jokes and sent them to the Tonight Show for which I received a letter from them saying they could not accept unsolicited material. That letter was my most prized possession for a very long period of time. My young comic mind was legitimized and encouraged because I was recognized by the Tonight Show even though it was a rejection letter.

In those Carnac bits, and others, McMahon was a great straight man not for his comedy chops but for providing what the bits required, even if many times he was laughing for no reason other than silliness. He was neutral in his temperament, which meant many types of bits could be hung upon him, although he was usually always the interviewer to the character Carson was playing. And there was the on-air persona of his having a drinking problem, taken from the on-air relationship between Jack Benny and his bandleader Phil Harris. Also, he very rarely, if never, took any laughs for himself.

From a show biz perspective, McMahon came out of early television when covering up mistakes and faults was not emphasized and were even used to get laughs. One had to be “on” for live television rather than the overly-produced practice of today. There was something much more exciting about television back in those days. Maybe it was the pioneering spirit; knowing that almost everything that was broadcast had never been done before, especially on a five-night-a-week schedule like the Tonight Show. There was also more of an intimacy in early television, which relied as much, if not more, on interesting personalities instead of only material. Jack Paar, Groucho Marx, and Steve Allen and Ernie Kovacs (when not doing bits) are some of the more memorable icons of early TV capable of entertaining spontaneity.

McMahon was also sort of a man’s man from that era. He had a military background, which was the norm for the time since Korea and WWII was a mere nine and eighteen years respectively before the 1962 premiere of the Carson-McMahon Tonight Show. McMahon’s TV presence was also because of his size, his gentleness and a relative sense of urban sophistication. His demeanor was always pleasant and never “sarky”, as they say in Britain. He never expressed genuine displeasure, contempt or bitterness toward any guest or any bit. One thing I liked was he always had an appreciation for television as a medium and for the show biz greats that came before, with particular fondness for W.C. Fields, and Oliver Hardy and Stan Laurel.

Carson’s significance in television has been described by many, especially at the time of his death. Jackie Mason, I believe, said Carson would go down in history as “the most powerful personality in the whole history of that damned box”. That would have not been so easily the case had many other than McMahon sat across the desk from Carson.

And, it should be noted, the role McMahon created was never utilized by Leno or Letterman or O’Brien, although I think in the early days of his Late Night show he did have Andy Richter in the sidekick chair for bits and small talk, similar to Carson and McMahon.

McMahon’s passing, which occurred a little more than three weeks after the Tonight Show was passed to the second post-Carson host, underscores the passage of time. The comedy greats I grew up with like Bob Hope, Red Skelton, Jack Benny, et al, are all gone. Jerry Lewis is probably the only one left from that generation of American entertainers who I idolized as a kid.

Even the second generation of comedy greats like Carlin, Pryor, O’Donoghue—and another of my childhood comedy idols, Flip Wilson—and others are gone. Kaufman died a long time ago. Thankfully, Woody Allen is still around. Steve Martin is still around. While watching some recent Python material on YouTube over the weekend, and realizing how old those guys are getting, I thought when those guys start going, forget it. They were the last great development of anything new in comedy with a few exceptions. And when Letterman retires our connection to the greatest era in American television comedy will also end. It’s all up to you now, Stewart and Colbert.

Although many have done it, it’s simply too easy to dismiss or ridicule Ed McMahon. Those who understood and appreciated Carson’s greatness on the Tonight Show know what McMahon’s contribution to it was.

The only thing that is forbidden now is the excitement of discovery I had long ago because of Carson and McMahon.

I suddenly feel older.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Below is a link to a petition to Mr. Martin Ihoeghian Uhomoibhi, president of the United Nations Human Rights Council.


The goal of the petitioners is one million signatures. I signed and am number 10, 405. They have a long way to go. It remains to be seen whether it will do any good. With everything going on in Iran right now if the U.N. does not get involved, a petition certainly will not cause it to. And then again, what if anything can and will the U.N. do anyway? Pass a resolution?

There isn’t much point in rehashing the history of America’s sadistic involvement with Iran here; our joining with the British in 1953 to remove Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddeq from power in a coup because he had nationalized his country’s oil industry, the installing of the Shah, and the creation of Savak, the feared and brutal Iranian secret police headed by the father of the Persian Gulf War’s H. Norman Schwarzkopf. If you think terror is bad now, whew!!

So, you see, America has a history of creating its enemies by doing nasty things to innocents, going all the way back to the Indians and the first Thanksgiving (one day I’ll tell you the truth about that—maybe this coming Turkey Day). This generation of Iranians obviously sees something different in America in the form of Barack Obama. Could that something be hope for a better future between us and them?

What I find obviously hypocritical about the Ayatollah Khamenei is that the Quran says, “A Believer shall not kill another Believer” and yet here he is, a religious authority inciting the Basij, the secret goon squad, to kill the protesters. Expecting Khamenei to adhere to the Quran is like expecting Bush to adhere to the Constitution.

The most famous death caused by Khamenei’s hypocrisy is Neda Aghah Soltan, the young female music student who, it seems, happened to be on the fringe of the protest and was killed by either a sniper or a Basiji on a passing motorcycle, depending on which report you read.

To another topic in these events, I disagree with the popular analysis in the media about the remarks of some Republicans along the line that Obama needs to use harsher rhetoric toward Iran to lend our support for those in Iran who are doing more than simply protesting against the regime.

I have occasionally entertained the idea that idiots like Lindsey Graham, John McCain and Chuck Grassley (is it just me or does anyone else think he has lizard eyes?), and others, are not stupid, but rather, cunning, deceptive and agenda-based. I believe they want Obama more involved because they already know their stated goal will backfire and their secret goal, intensifying the status quo, i.e., solidifying Khamenei’s position and maintaining Iran as an enemy with an even greater hatred toward the U.S. is their secret goal for the benefit of the military-industrial complex lobby (the long-awaited war with Iran?) and the future of the Republican party.

Creating a situation where Iran is no longer an enemy is not in their interest, let’s face it. Graham, McCain and others are in lockstep with, and doing the bidding of, Da Fuhrer, Dick Cheney. If we can’t scare Americans, we can’t control them. The Obama-is-weak theme is very similar, and, in fact, compliments well, Cheney’s America-is-less-safe-under-Obama which everyone refutes.

The obvious and superfluous question here is: why are Republicans so intent on Obama getting so involved in a stolen election in Iran when the Republicans themselves didn’t get involved to protest and help those who charged voter fraud in 2000 and in 2004 here in the U.S.? The answer is obvious.

As Chris Hayes of The Nation said on Rachel Maddow last night, the Republicans seem to think they can cause others around the world to do what they want. He cited the example of Reagan imploring Gorbachev to tear down the Berlin Wall on June 12, 1987.

That moment and what followed with the Berlin Wall coming down on November 9, 1989 (so long after Ronnie’s speech, there is no direct link) has become part of the Reagan myth that Republicans have invoked over and over again in the presidential campaign last year, as if most didn’t already know that Reagan was the second worst president in the last thirty years.

The only other thing I can say to these Republicans is if you want Reagan, go watch his speeches on videotape with some comfort food and a pillow, especially the speeches to the American people about not knowing anything about Iran Contra or the Just Say No To Drugs campaign.

For those who want to stir things up, call Graham’s office at 202-224-5972, call McCain’s office at 202-224-2235 and call Grassley’s office at 202-224-3744 and tell all of them that these protests were in-part inspired by Obama’s Muslim ancestry and his outreach in Cairo, so let him handle it his way. They (Graham, Grassley and McCain) could not have created this with a speech so they get to say nothing about it—Obama bought the car, so to speak, so let Obama drive it.

The question I want answered is what is going through the minds of Egyptian youth who are watching this? 2005, anyone? And what would be Obama’s response if this happened again in Egypt?

Perhaps then, Graham, McCain, Grassley and others would be calling on Obama to lighten up in his criticism of the democracy activists? After all, Egypt is one of our strategic partners, isn’t it?

Further, what must be going on in the minds of youth in other Muslim countries that are able to see this? Saudi Arabia?

Thirty years ago this October the hostages were taken. However, this is a new generation in Iran, inspired and emboldened by Obama’s Cairo speech. Putting these events in the context of their relationship with 1979, the question is: what repercussions and changes will this current uprising cause in Iran and throughout the Muslim world thirty years from now in the generation recently and not yet born?

Monday, June 22, 2009

Is California’s Budget Crisis Schwarzenegger’s Raw Deal or Total Recall or True Lies or End of Days?

“Stop the protests or risk bloodshed!” he commanded.

No, I don’t mean Iranian Ayatollah Ali Khamenei last week—I’m talking about California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in about a month and a half.

California’s impending bankruptcy isn’t the same as the election in Iran, but it is extremely similar. Back in 2003 when the recall-Gray-Davis-election movement, which was started by Republican Congressman Darryl Issa, who, in his Wikipedia photo, at least, looks like he could play the part of the cross-dressing Corporal Klinger in a remake of M*A*S*H, resulted in action hero slash bad actor slash Kennedy aspirant slash Presidential hopelessful Arnold Schwarzenegger going on the Tonight Show with Jay Leno to announce his candidacy for the governorship where he joked, “It’s the most difficult [decision] I’ve made in my entire life, except the one I made in 1978 when I decided to get a bikini wax”.

Some jokes are simply jokes. However, the old adage is: many truths are spoken in jest. To me, he thought the job would be easier than it has been. I think Hollywood types—and obviously politicians in general—have such big egos and are surrounded by people who tell them what they want to hear that the phrase “completely out of touch with reality” is an understatement of undeterminable proportions.

Another thing Schwarzenegger reportedly told Leno was, “The politicians are fiddling, fumbling and failing. The man that is failing the people more than anyone is Gray Davis. He is failing them terribly, and this is why he needs to be recalled and this is why I am going to run for governor of the state of California.”

Obviously those words made him seem like John Wayne—the tough guy, the protector of the people, the great equalizer (not to be confused with the 80s TV show or the Clash song from side four of Sandinista).

In July 2003, Schwarzenegger told Esquire, “Yes, I would love to be governor of California ... If the state needs me, and if there’s no one I think is better, then I will run.” Anyone I believe who would be good for the job and would understand the job and what California needed and needs would never say they would “love to be governor”. Unless I’m wrong, that statement simply has too much ego at its base. My belief is backed up by the rest of the quote, which is, “if the state needs me”—yeah the state needed Schwarzenegger like an apple pie needs motor oil—continuing on “…if there is no one I think is better…”

He “thinks”???!! What the hell did Schwarzenegger know about what made a good governor??!! Obviously he would not think anyone else was better even if Stallone or Seagal or even Chuck Norris decided to run.

That’s like saying if he finds no Hummer he thinks is better then he will buy the gold one, or, if he finds no cigars he thinks are better then he will smoke the Dutch Masters. That doesn’t mean he could build a Hummer or be a Hummer mechanic. Nor does it mean he could plant, grow, cultivate, cure or roll cigars.

Schwarzenegger met with Karl Rove in April 2003 to discuss his possible run for governor. As everyone knows, Karl Rove was the architect of the worst presidency in U.S. history. That does not bode well for Schwarzenegger no matter whether he could have known what we all know now back then or not. What would Rove know about what made a good governor anyway? What did Rove really know about California’s problems? Schwarzenegger probably only met with him to get some slash and burn campaign tips.

Having Rove involved in your political career is like adding the entire contents of a lava lamp (my mini-trib to SNL) to your Cap’n Crunch. It doesn’t make for a healthy breakfast. Rove certainly didn’t know what made a better America no matter who was his candidate. These guys don’t care about what’s best, they only care about winning and controlling. Political operatives are like pirates and American politics is like a vast ocean. And we were held hostage for the past eight years—and they weren’t even Somalis.

Before Schwarzenegger, California was the seventh biggest economy in the world. After Schwarzenegger California will be like a third world country. And Schwarzenegger is Austrian. It would be different if Austria was a third world country, then we could understand that ruination was in his genes. But his father was a Nazi. Oh, wait, ruination is in his genes.

It seems both Bush and Schwarzenegger inherited governments that were better than they left them, although Schwarzenegger hasn’t left yet. Is that modern Republicanism at its best?

If I seem passionate about this without knowing Schwarzenegger’s record or the issue in depth, it’s because I am. I’m an American, damn it. Plus, in the real non-blog world, I manage an apartment building in Hollywood occupied by many senior citizens who have found their social security benefits cut twice in three months. Plus I have two commercial tenants who provide health care services to seniors who may be forced out of business when California goes bankrupt in August and cannot fund Medi-Cal.

Why are seniors suffering? Why is Schwarzenegger cutting firefighters, teachers and nurses? Does he really have to close state parks? And in 2004 didn’t he force Indians to give up more?—typical European.

I remember during the 2003 campaign, Schwarzenegger noted as one of his qualifications that he ran a business and signed paychecks. Well, California seniors sign checks too. They sign checks to pay the light bill, to pay for food and to pay for medicine. All that seems to qualify them for is to continue to suffer under his governorship.

On August 6th, the sixth anniversary of Schwarzenegger’s announcement on Leno, when you watch TV and see the streets filled with angry mobs, demanding what the government refused to provide, marching in defiance of the presence of the police and armed soldiers prepared to fire upon the citizens they were sworn to protect and serve, as overturned automobiles burn and shots are fired, remember it isn’t Teheran. It’s Sacramento, and San Francisco, and San Diego, and Los Angeles.

More about the current effort to recall Schwarzenegger, more about May’s special election to solve the budget crisis and more about Schwarzenegger’s dire non-scare tactics scare tactics (my mini trib to “All the President’s Men”), next week.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father’s Day

I had wanted a younger photo of my father, as a young boy, but with time constraints and wanting to maintain an element of surprise, I could not get it. The photo above is from 1958 when my father was 20 years old and I (that’s my head) was less than six months.

My father was born at the height of the Depression and grew up poor as the oldest of eight. He got his high school diploma from night school, if I remember correctly, because he started working, perhaps some three years before this photo was taken.

When my father was that age he certainly had no idea what his life would bring: at 28 his second son (my brother) would die at the age of six (I still remember when he came back from the hospital to tell my mother), sometime thereafter I think he would begin a short-lived bout with alcoholism, at 35 he would have a traffic accident for which he died three times on the operating table, at the age of 39 his daughter would have to have open-heart surgery, his younger brother (mine and my sisters’ favorite uncle) would die at the age of 49 and he himself would have open heart surgery at the age of 69. He went through it all with a quiet strength and humility. I hope he doesn't mind me mentioning these things.

There are also the positives: he held the same job (although it changed as the owners changed) all his life, he became a happy grandfather at 42, he and my mother are still married, he became sober at 37 and continues to be sober and recently became a great grandfather.

He faced his responsibilities from a very young age and never shirked them. He and my mother struggled and sacrificed to give my sisters and myself the best life they could, and provided us with as stable a home life as possible.

Although I have very many memories, some are special. I can remember lying in bed in the mid-60s when he would come home from work late at night and get a Pepsi and Cheezits or pretzels and watch Johnny Carson, I particularly remember him laughing at Peter Sellers in “A Shot in the Dark”. I remember him taking me to buy my first bicycle when I was ten and taking me to get my first pair of glasses when I was in sixth grade, carrying me along the Ohio River after I stepped on a nail, I remember sitting on his lap and steering the car down our street when I was about five.

He woke us up while sleeping in a motel in Tennessee on one vacation so we could watch Armstrong walk on the moon. I also remember the day he gave me permission to ride to Sears to buy a Starship Enterprise model when I was eleven. I thought I was on the top of the world.

He took us on vacations to places we found exciting: Florida, the Rockies, Yellowstone, the Grand Canyon and everything in between. That may be where I got the desire to live away from home, first in New York so long ago.

Because of his example I became sober at the age of 35 and still am. I have his basic work ethic, although I have had many jobs. His wit is always easy and precise, and he worked crossword puzzles all the time. We used to race to work the daily word puzzle in the newspaper. That may be where I learned my love for words.

For all the things my dad did for me, I haven’t done much in return. I left home at 24 and never lived there again. I’ve provided no grand children, nor have I become stable and secure. Maybe sometime soon.

I think one of the greatest things children can do for their parents is to recognize them as human beings instead of simply as the roles they fill. My father was young once and had no idea the difficulties life would throw at him. Through it all he survived.

My father never tried to dictate my life to me. He never tried to talk me out of doing what I have wanted with my life. He gave me the freedom to make my own mistakes and to learn on my own.

As I mentioned to him recently, he should be proud that his children love each other and are as close as we can be, unlike many siblings in many families these days. He and my mother instilled a strong sense of family in all of us. Because of that, and everything mentioned heretofore, my father did what a father is supposed to do without complaint. For that I should thank him forever and honor him.

Perhaps the second greatest thing children can do for their parents is to show appreciation and understanding of their hardship and sacrifice and say to them publicly: I love you very much.

Happy Father’s Day, dad.

Friday, June 19, 2009

The New “Tricky Dick”—Cheney: America’s Top Terrorist Cheerleader

Note to Obama: Although I disagree with the practice, for the good of the country, you should warrantless wiretap Dick Cheney—and his daughter Liz while you’re at it. If CIA Director Leon Panetta believes Cheney seems to want America to suffer another terrorist attack just to defend himself for past crimes and his anti-Obama rantings regarding torture, Guantanamo, et al., then it stands to reason, given Cheney’s past and his connections, that he may soon become desperate enough try to arrange an attack against America, blame it on terrorists and convince Americans to rise up against Obama, as Rush, Rove, Palin and Newt, in a collective Darryl Issa-like moment, call for a presidential recall election. While there cannot be a presidential recall election, it seems those on the radical right like Limbaugh, Palin, Cheney, the Tea Baggers, and all those who shouted “Kill him!” at Palin rallies during last year’s election, may try anyway. Regardless, Cheney arranging an attack would increase his chances of not being forced to eat frijoles negroes everyday in a high-security facility somewhere in Spain.

This must have any 9/11 conspiracy theorists out there nodding heavily in agreement. Let’s face it, Clinton left Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld (who is so pretty for a man his age he will quickly and easily wind up becoming someone’s puta) and Rice with a warning that bin Laden was “determined to strike”. Now, I’m no conspiracy theorist. I’m a conspiracy “factist” (please don’t confuse it with fascist). A conspiracy factist is different from a theorist because we have seen the apple fall from the tree, so we know for a fact that gravity exists. However, a theorist sees all the apples under the tree and believes an evil cabal like Skull and Bones or the Freemasons yanked them from the tree and threw them on the ground.

However, a conspiracy theorist is not to be confused with a conspiracy therapist, which is your shrink secretly plotting with other shrinks, and your boss and family, to make your life a living nightmare, usually with the help of the Bilderbergers, Illuminatis, G. Gordon Liddy and extra-terrestrials. Further, a conspiracy therapist is not the same as a conspiracy “theoloist” which is one who believes that some of the disciples schemed and colluded with the Known World Bank, the Ancient World Health Organization, Satan and a twenty-something G. Gordon Liddy—ba-doom boom—to ensure Jesus would only become the stepson of God.

But back to the matter at hand at the wrists. Two things make me make my initial point: Cheney has that glacial exterior, which, by virtue of the laws of glaciohydraulic supercooling, means he also has a glacial interior. He is a man devoid of fairness, empathy and compassionate and he is devious—planning things like man-size safes assassination rings and the war in Iraq using fake WMD evidence. The third thing of the two—you see, three follows two—is his manipulation during Iran Contra to avoid any committee scrutiny of drugs being brought into this country to fund Oliver North’s efforts. Yes, I said it, Cheney betrayed this country once before as an accomplice to drug traffickers helping to damage this country through cocaine sales.

Oh jeez, now I’ve pissed off the mainstream media by bringing up that sore spot again. I know they thought they drove that scandal deep underground by persecuting Gary Webb, but they haven’t. Why? Because that scandal was like a toxic waste dump—you can cover it over with dirt and housing developments, but the toxins will get into the ground water and sicken, deform and kill us. Remember Love Canal? Okay, sorry! That was the 80s and this is the 00s. I apologize! Anyway, it will all be in my upcoming book, so back to the Cheneys and their terror rooting.

Is it just me or is it not obvious Cheney doesn’t really care about America’s safety?

Right. He only cares about using this issue to leverage Republicans back into power and to save his ass through fear mongering. And to quote my thesaurus and paraphrase Kris Kristofferson at the same time, “Fear mongering’s just another word for striking terror because of nothing left to lose.”

But, who doesn’t believe Cheney would not be on the phone in a heartbeat to have someone plant a fake dirty bomb in a major city and have a fake Al Qaeda cell take responsibility just to save himself by using the resulting fear and terror—and Limbaugh’s mouth—to sway public opinion just like Palin is trying to use Letterman’s poor taste joke to exact revenge against her political enemy: Letterman, the man she probably thinks prevented her from becoming vice-president when Letterman continually ridiculed McCain for canceling an appearance on his show back in September for the sake of the country only to be seen being made up on the live feed from the CBS Evening News studios for his interview with Katie Couric, thereby making their campaign even more of a laughing stock (after Palin’s Couric interviews and her fake Sarkozy interview) which enabled Obama to rocket ahead and win.

Have I offered the distinction between conspiracy theorists and conspiracy paranoists? I haven’t??

Anyway, a conspiracy theorist is like a dog that’s been beaten too many times by its violent, drunken master so that when the dog’s dish has been pissed in, it suspects its master. A conspiracy paranoist is that same dog that becomes afraid when it hears its violent, drunken master begin to raise its voice and move to the screen door with a stick, so that the dog ambles off the porch and under it for safety as quickly as possible while its master stumbles and falls down the stairs and knocks himself unconscious.

Cheney is that drunken (with power), violent (with war) master (as he was with “W”), America is that dog (bad metaphor) and Liz (she’s just Liz) is the severely devoted, dangerously myopic and excessively defensive daughter who hears the police siren coming down the street and doesn’t want her father to go to jail for cruelty to animals.

If there is a terrorist attack in America, it won’t be because of Obama and closing Gitmo and releasing torture memos, it will be because of Cheney and the coming neo-Con conspiracies using a “terrorist attack” to re-take America and then take the Bush abuses to the next level, becoming like some South American socialist dictators of days gone by. Or days gone by very recently. That’s right. Cheney is almost like an American Hugo Chavez. He is “smelling the sulfur” of another terrorist attack and he will lie like Chavez to get his way.

That’s obviously hyperbole. But this isn’t: Dick Cheney served Nixon. He knew what Nixon wanted (unlimited power), he saw what Nixon did to get it and he saw how Nixon suffered due to his own paranoia and bad judgment. Cheney learned from Nixon’s mistakes on how to play the game. He succeeded in lying to get us into a war which our grandchildren’s grandchildren will pay for all for oil and Halliburton and KBR war profiteering, etc., etc., etc., and democracy in the Middle East.

In the old days America created and used dictators to control countries and their natural resources and to keep them from becoming Soviet tools. Now we create and use democracies (like in Iraq) to control people and their oil (which is why we wouldn’t allow the three-state solution in Iraq—too hard to control) and to keep them from becoming terrorist tools.

Cheney is the new “Tricky Dick”. But “Tricky” is almost cartoonish and mild compared to what he is capable of.

But on the other hand, to quote the Kinks, “Paranoia will destroy yaaaa….”

Thanks for reading, everybody! Good night!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Iran Contra’s Dark Secret Revisited With Activist’s Death, Part Four

Bunch’s theory as outlined in his Huffington Post article, is that Reagan, Bush, et al, getting away with Iran Contra inspired Bush, Cheney, et al to try to get away with torture, Iraq, wire tapping, etc. After all, Bush’s father pardoned Weinberger, Abrams, and others, and himself got away with Iran Contra. But perhaps more importantly, Cheney was already inspired and instructed, because, as the ranking Republican in the House Committee to investigate Iran Contra, he knew of the drugs and he and Hyde convinced House Chairman Lee Hamilton to ignore the issue so Reagan/Bush could get away with it because “no one wanted to take America through that kind of impeachment”—only the Clinton kind.

Cheney and Helms believed a president should not be hindered in making foreign policy. In fact, in Cheney’s opening statement at the hearings he stated, “Some will argue that these events justify the imposition of additional restrictions on presidents to prohibit the possibility of similar occurrences in the future,” he said, “In my opinion, this would be a mistake. In completing our task, we should seek above all to find ways to strengthen the capacity of future presidents and future Congresses to meet the often dangerous and difficult challenges that are bound to rise in the years ahead.” How ominous given what we know about Cheney’s role as de-facto president in the Bush Administration. This is something Helms echoed loudly on July 17, 1989, the ninth anniversary of the Cocaine Coup, from the Senate floor in railing against a post-Iran Contra Senator Moynihan bill to prohibit “soliciting or diverting funds to carry out activities for which United States assistance is prohibited”, during which Helms said, “Congress has the power of the purse, period. Congress has no Constitutional authority to prohibit, let alone criminalize, a foreign policy which any President wishes to pursue. If the policy can be implemented without the expenditure of funds, Congress can have no effect on the outcome in any manner under the Constitution of the United States.” Perhaps Cheney even wrote that speech for Helms. Cheney and Helms were probably very close, after all Cheney did pay his last respects at Helms’ funeral.

Cheney worked for Nixon during Watergate and for Ford during the pardon. As a Congressman on the Investigating Committee during Iran Contra he helped subvert Congress and the Constitution by fighting to control the damage Iran Contra could have done to Reagan and the power of the presidency. With knowledge of Iran Contra cocaine, Cheney, and Hyde, steered the hearings away from drugs which would have destroyed the careers of Reagan, Bush, North, Abram, and perhaps most Republicans for years to come. And now, after the end of eight years of lies from Bush-Cheney, et al about WMD, et al, Cheney is the link to Iran Contra that allowed Bush and he to get away with it.

Further, it seems Obama is helping by simply wanting to move forward. For that, Obama would probably have garnered Helms’ praise. Is Obama allowing another, more despicable whitewash now with even more sinister consequences in the near moving forward future?

With the current state of American politics, what illegal political deeds and gross subversions of the Constitution and “American values” will Bush, Cheney, et al, inspire in this generation of Republicans and Democrats? And when will a future “Eddie” be forced to take to the stage to act their part in the play now being written by them after watching how Bush, Cheney, etc., may have gotten away with it?

We may only know while it’s being covered up.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Iran Contra’s Dark Secret Revisited With Activist’s Death, Part Three of Four

In 1993 I began writing a screenplay from news reports I had produced about Eddie’s case. I wrote Eddie in prison and began working with his mother, Thelma, to write the screenplay and investigate the Iran-Contra cocaine which devastated Robeson County and led to Eddie taking the action he took. Eddie did not take hostages simply to draw attention to the issue, but also because he was afraid he was “next on the list” to be killed and wanted to draw attention to the drug issue in a way that would also put him in the custody of law enforcement outside Robeson County to protect him from the same fate as others. Eddie and Timmy never asked for amnesty. They were perfectly willing to stand trial and be punished for their crime in a way that Oliver North and the others thought they were above.

Eddie was released in 1995 because he had full-blown AIDS. He was gay. He was almost everything Helms had contempt for. In 2001, as Helms announced he would not seek re-election, Eddie was prosecuted and convicted for a murder he could not possibly have committed by a relative of the former world’s deadliest prosecutor who was the man behind the state’s double jeopardy charges against Eddie and who lost the judgeship election to Pierce even though Pierce had been dead six weeks. The stress must have been too much for Thelma because she died a year later in 2002. I was oblivious to all of this until 2006. I had gone to North Carolina in 1995 to try to make a movie based on the screenplay after being turned down by Oliver Stone, Robert Redford and other liberal Hollywood icons. They weren’t interested in political films and this was as political as they came. I had the best Native American cast ever assembled and was talking to heavyweight Hollywood actors until it all began falling apart. In 1996 however, before giving up, I held a press conference with the information I had uncovered to thwart Helms’ re-election, which did no good. No one cared. Eddie was not impressed either. In fact he was angry at me. He felt exploited. I came back to L.A. with another plan which did not materialize. In January 2006, when I discovered that Eddie was back in prison and that Thelma had died, I began writing a book to help Eddie because I thought his life was in danger again and the only way I could help was with something big and quick. However, even with 162 pages, I never finished the book because Eddie became angry at me again. He had lost faith in many people, feeling exploited (perhaps some did exploit him), and had become bitter about everyone around him.

In 1994, Eddie’s complaints caused Bill Clinton not to name the former sheriff to head the Eastern District of the U.S. Marshal Service in North Carolina. In 2007, nearly two dozen Robeson County deputies and the new sheriff pled guilty to charges resulting from an investigation named Operation Tarnished Badge that included drug trafficking. The judge who sentenced them was the same judge in Eddie’s federal trial. Was it more damage control? Could they not ignore sloppy Robeson County law enforcement again after Eddie’s claims? However, if Eddie could have succeeded in telling his story back in 1988 when America was busy electing George H.W. Bush and whitewashing Iran Contra, perhaps the conspirators would not have gotten away with it, and perhaps Bush/Cheney, etc., would not have been able to get away—so much more easily—with what we are currently suffering through.

Many people were traumatized by Eddie’s hostage taking incident—I do not condone it—and others, especially those in and around Robeson County, vilified Eddie as a madman and a common criminal. They never knew the real truth or the bigger story or believed it even if they glimpsed it. However, once the Robesonian’s editor heard Eddie’s story and saw the evidence, he wanted to escort Eddie and Timmy to the FBI car waiting outside because he, too, thought they would be killed to insure their silence. He even wrote an editorial several days later saying the ordeal could have been much worse.

For all Helms’ pro-Contra work, bravado and posturing, his presence in the Iran Contras hearings is almost as an insignificant footnote; referred to as simply “the Senator” during Singlaub’s testimony. Helms died on July 4th of last year. How ironic that the man who may have helped forever corrupt America with religious right and his brand of anti-communism, died on that day. Eddie and others may have described it as the day the U.S. declared its independence from Helms, but now Eddie is dead too and will never be able to tell what he knew. He said he was writing a book, but that was doubtful. He was too sick from AIDS and debilitated by all the HIV medication.

Part Four, tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Iran Contra’s Dark Secret Revisited With Activist’s Death, Part Two of Four

Later in 1987, after watching Robeson County deputies surround the house of another alleged drug dealer who was later found dead, Eddie tried to get the information he had to state and federal authorities. But some law enforcement in North Carolina, possibly knowing what evidence Eddie had, seemed to have decided to investigate Eddie for “passing bad checks” instead. Eddie never asked to participate in America’s greatest and most whitewashed scandal, but he did not shrink when asked for help. He told me once he liked to argue. I think he may have initially believed that was all he had to do. But Eddie also believed in justice, because, when he was fourteen, his father was killed by someone said to be a deputy in Richmond County, North Carolina and the death of Eddie’s father was ruled a “suicide”. The fourteen year old Eddie did his own investigation and approached the governor for an investigation.

At the end of the hostage siege, Eddie and Timmy surrendered to the FBI and were charged with taking hostages and making demands on the federal government—something they never did. It was to the governor’s aide they spoke to mostly about their evidence, Robeson County, the hostages and to whom they made their “demands”, which were no more than impassioned pleas for an investigation. In fact, the governor said after the hostage taking, “None of their demands were of an unreasonable quality. In fact, if every hostage situation could end up as successfully as this one, and if every hostage situation would involve requests of this sort, the world would’ve had a lot fewer tragedies over the last few years.”

Once in custody, the feds moved Eddie and Timmy from prison to prison to prison until their trial where the judge, conveniently enough, was the son-in-law of Helms’ political mentor. The U.S. Attorney for the trial was the wife of the U.S. Attorney who investigated the drug-running in 1985 and who also went on to become Helms’ re-election campaign manager in 1996 and, in 2007, was sentenced to seventy months in prison for money laundering. Fifteen people who had knowledge of drug running in Robeson County, and had agreed to talk to Eddie and Timmy’s lawyers, were killed. Timmy’s attorney was shot at in broad daylight in Lumberton, and during the trial, gunmen with semi-automatic weapons circled the hotel where Timmy’s attorneys were staying. Meanwhile, the judge refused to allow their trial to be delayed three weeks so that Eddie could have his constitutional right to counsel of choice: famed civil rights attorney, the legendary William Kunstler, and his partner Ron Kuby. Eddie was forced to represent himself. Timmy’s lawyers accused the judge of cooperating with the prosecution to deny evidence, which included indictments filed for forty small time drug dealers, but no kingpins. Despite all of that, Eddie and Timmy were acquitted on all charges. I interviewed Eddie for my then-WBAI radio show during his post-trial visit to New York at the Center for Constitutional Rights offices and we could barely get through the interview from laughing so much at the ineptitude of the judge and prosecutor. But things would soon not be so humorous for Eddie.

Eddie fled when North Carolina committed double jeopardy, prohibited by the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution, and decided to try he and Timmy for the same crime, but with kidnapping charges. Eddie fled to the perceived-sanctity of a western Indian nation where the FBI threatened to violate its sovereignty and go on the reservation to haul Eddie away. As Timmy was fighting extradition in upstate New York after being arrested for a school bus accident, Eddie fled to San Francisco to seek political asylum in the old Soviet Union until he was denied and surrendered to waiting U.S. Marshals. Eddie fought extradition with ex-Chicago Seven and Bobby Seale attorney, Charles Garry, and lost. Timmy lost as well and went back to North Carolina where he plea bargained and made public statements against Eddie, who was taken back to North Carolina and again denied his attorneys of choice. Kunstler and others sued North Carolina and local officials for intimidation of Eddie and Timmy’s support group and were sanctioned $120,000 each for filing a “frivolous lawsuit” for which Helms added two friend-of-the-court briefs, proving he was aware of Eddie’s case and perhaps even Eddie’s allegations of cocaine in North Carolina, but apparently Helms sided with the pro-cocaine forces when his public trust required him to do the opposite. North Carolina forced Eddie through a Soviet-style abuse-of-justice charade until they broke him. The judge for that was the son of a pro-segregation gubernatorial candidate who Helms campaigned for in the 60s. Eddie threw pencils at the judge, calling him a “racist son of a bitch”, before plea bargaining and going to prison where an attempt was made on his life. The failed assassin said he was put up to the task. While Eddie served time, Helms denied Costa Rica $80 million in loans because it took back land owned by Helms’ friend where a landing strip had been built which was allegedly used to fly out drugs and fly in guns.
Part Three, tomorrow.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Iran Contra’s Dark Secret Revisited With Activist’s Death, Part One

On February 18, 2009, “Tear Down This Myth” author Will Bunch wrote in the Huffington Post that if Reagan’s Iran-Contra scandal had not been whitewashed, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney would not have been able to devise torture tactics, illegally wiretap Americans and politicize the Justice Department because they would have witnessed Reagan’s illegal activities meet with punishment. Because Reagan/Bush got away with it, Bush/Cheney, et al, became inspired and instructed on how to get away with it.

A little-known man died last month who may have been able to help bring Reagan and his soldiers, like Poindexter, North, Jesse Helms—yes, Helms—and others, to answer for their actions had he not been mercilessly pursued by the United States and North Carolina. His name was Eddie Hatcher. Many thought Eddie was simply a psychopathic outlaw. But the real story is far more complex.

In these days of terrorism, Eddie was the first person charged with Reagan’s anti-terrorist, hostage-taking statute enacted on October 12, 1984 after becoming world-infamous on February 1, 1988 for holding nineteen people hostage for ten hours at The Robesonian newspaper in Robeson County (Lumberton), North Carolina, an experience he later described to me as a “steady constant fear”. He and partner Timmy Jacobs had considered taking over the courthouse but realized they would be outnumbered and outgunned. But the story that Eddie found himself taking to the stage to play his part in began long before that day and it began long before Eddie was even aware there was a play.

Reagan’s anti-communist strategy in Central America was impeded by the Boland Amendment which prevented the U.S. Government from providing military support to the Contras and forced the Reagan Administration to develop ways to circumvent the Boland Amendment, and subvert the Constitution in the process. One of the ways money was reportedly raised for Bolivian and Argentine militaries in the late-70s-early-80s was through cocaine sales. In fact, the Bolivian coup on July 17, 1980 was called the “Cocaine Coup” and an early American supporter of these regimes was now-deceased, former North Carolina Senator Jesse Helms. Coincidentally or not, in 1985 cocaine began appearing in Robeson County in sufficient quantities to warrant a federal investigation headed by the man who was once Helms’ legislative aide and who Helms had asked Reagan to name as U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of North Carolina. Some considered the investigation as nothing more than damage control while cocaine was flown into Homestead Air Force Base near Miami, Florida and trucked up I-95 to Robeson County reportedly in burlap bags with blue seals that said “Republica de Colombia”. Soon, the sudden and large amounts of cocaine in North Carolina generated too much attention.

By 1986, drug dealers from Miami were going to Roberson County because cocaine there was so pure, cheap and plentiful. Helms must have liked the death and devastation in Central America because cocaine soon created in Robeson County the atmosphere of 1980s El Salvador complete with death squads under the guise of local law enforcement. Once a month or more for about two years small-time drug dealers were found floating face down in the Lumbee River, cocaine was stolen from the sheriff’s evidence locker, and the sheriff’s son, himself a deputy, killed an unarmed man who some believed knew too much. Also, on March 26, 1988, Julian Pierce, an Indian lawyer who was running for a judgeship against the local prosecutor (who was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as “the world’s deadliest prosecutor”), was killed execution-style by a man said to have confessed to the murder then killed himself. The prosecutor headed the investigation into Pierce’s assassination until someone told him it gave the appearance of a cover up since Pierce also just happened to be conducting his own investigation into Robeson County’s cocaine trade after Eddie and Timmy blew the story wide open.

But, back to 1986. When Helms sent former World Anti-Communist Leaguer Major General John Singlaub to meet with Contra leader Eden Pastora to determine what supplies his band of “freedom fighters” needed, Eddie was beginning his investigation as a reporter for the Tuscarora Lightbearers newspaper (Eddie was part-Tuscarora) when he was asked for help by a small-time drug dealer who feared he would be killed in the Robseon County jail. The following year, on July 17, 1987 (the seventh anniversary of Bolivia’s Cocaine Coup), during Ollie North’s testimony before the Iran-Contra hearings, a protestor broke in to the hearings to demand the committee ask about drugs, before Senator Daniel Inouye banged his gavel and the whole drugs-for-guns aspect of the Iran-Contra scandal never seemed to be heard from again. Around this time, Dick Cheney was positioning himself in the Iran-Contra hearings to subvert the process, along with now-deceased and former Illinois Congressman Henry Hyde, and to alert the White House about what to be prepared for.

Part Two tomorrow.