Friday, November 30, 2007

Rudy's Latest Scandals

Today is Friday, 30 November 2007.

“Sex scandals sell sardines” is one of the oldest rules of capitalist media. Thus it’s no wonder that Anderson Cooper, at the CNN/YouTube Republican presidential candidates “debate”, asked a question about the more minor of the two scandals Rudy Giuliani is confronting.

When Rudy was NYC mayor, he began an adulterous affair with Judy (Nathan), initially concealing it, and then later making it so public as to have her at his side at the St. Patrick’s Day Parade. In the summers of 1999, 2000, and 2001, Rudy made 11 trips to The Hamptons, where Judy has a condo; 8 were not listed on his public schedule, and may be safely assumed to have been trysts with Judy. (At least one other trip combined fundraising with fun raising.)

By law, the Mayor of the City of New York (the actual legal name of what’s known as “New York City”) must accept 24 hour security, provided by the NYPD. During the Hamptons visits, such items for the security detail as gasoline, lodging, and food were charged to credit cards issued to the Mayor’s office. In every other instance of Rudy’s travels, these charges were then paid from NYPD accounts. Only in the Hamptons case were the charges hidden in the accounts of mayoral agencies, including the Loft Board, an agency dealing with the disabled, and an agency coordinating legal aid for the indigent, incidentally defrauding these agencies of some $500,000.

When auditors discovered these irregularities, the NYPD and mayor’s office refused to explain on grounds of “security” (whether national, mayoral, or sexual was not disclosed). Rudy is now claiming he knew nothing of this, since others did the accounting, and it’s all a “political hit job”.

The impropriety here is not the fact of the security, which is mandated by law. The improprieties are covering-up the purpose of the expenditures, and misappropriating taxpayer monies in furtherance of Rudy and Judy’s adulterous sexual misconduct.

But that’s small potatoes compared with the business relationship, after Rudy left office, of his consulting group, Giuliani Partners, with the al Qaeda-friendly dictatorship of Qatar.

Rather than summarize the article which broke the story, I believe it’s important enough to cite it, and suggest it as necessary reading for every American. The article is written by Wayne Barrett, veteran senior editor of The Village Voice, and author of Rudy! An Investigative Biography of Rudolph Giuliani, and co-author of Grand Illusion: The Untold Story of 9/11, which investigates Rudy’s conduct before, during, and after the attacks.


(Full disclosure: I know Wayne to say “Hey!” to, having worked on a number of occasions with his wife, an eminent nonprofit executive in NYC.)

Rudy’s conduct with Qatar raises the most serious questions about his ethics and his judgment. In the Rudy/Judy/Hamptons affair, Rudy revealed he was willing and eager to divert taxpayer funds to finance adultery. In the matter of Qatar, Rudy was, for the sake of lucrative consulting contracts, willing and eager to make common cause with a nation whose rulers often act directly against American security interests.

Can a person of such elastic ethics ever be fit to be President?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Musharraf Does Mufti

Today is Wednesday, 28 November 2007.

And so this day a weepy General Musharraf has retired from the Pakistani army and doffed his uniform for the last time. Pakistan is again ruled by a civilian president!



And military service has been very good to him. I have on order a new scholarly study of the Pakistani army (Military Inc. by Ayesha Siddiqa), which documents Musharraf’s self-admitted ownership of more than $10 million worth of real estate, accumulated on a general’s salary. Not only a military and political genius, but a Master of the Universe in investing as well.

(To put this in context: the same study demonstrates that the Pakistani army owns some $20 billion worth of civilian businesses and real estate, including luxury housing for officers, hotels, malls, insurance companies, banks, farms, and an airline. Note that the American taxpayer has showered, thanks to Bush-Cheney, more than $10 billion on the Pakistani army to fight “terrorism”, a task at which it does not excel, unlike its performance in picking civilian pockets.)

The new Army Chief of Staff is General Ashfaq P. Kayani, once a military advisor to Benazir Bhutto, the former prime minister, and recent head of Inter-Services Intelligence. ISI is a sinister gang whose greatest accomplishment was serving as the pipeline for hundreds of millions of American taxpayer dollars which flowed to the mujahadin fighting the Soviets in Afghanistan. (One assumes a great sum of money leaked from or got stuck in the pipeline.) ISI was also the greatest foreign supporter of the Taliban regime, and many ISI officers remain deeply sympathtic to it.

General Kayani is a graduate of the Command and General Staff College (Fort Leavenworth, Kansas) and is “said” to be pro-American and more interested in military affairs than in politics, which, of course, hasn’t stopped him from loyally serving an army which is mediocre in battle but brilliant at oppression and fleecing civilians. (But perhaps he was only “following orders”, ja?)

Kayani is a loyal lackey of the Musharraf faction. Even were Kayani to overthrow his wicked master, there is no reason to imagine that he and the rest of the military high command would reverse half a century of rapacity and return their ill-gotten gains, restore civilian rule, and retreat docilely to their barracks.

One likely scenario is that either Bhutto or Nawaz Sharif, another former prime minister, would accept the office again, with strictly circumscribed powers, hoping to scheme for enlarged powers, while again indulging their bloodsucking leech natures at the public expense. Or perhaps a new civilian would be willing to serve as the public face of the dictatorship.

The chances of a popular upraising overthrowing the dictatorship seem slender. There is no evidence that so-called “Islamist extremists” have the numbers and organization necessary to overcome the army. While the middle class has grown substantially as the Pakistani economy has doubled in size over the past ten to fifteen years, there is again no evidence to suggest it has the means to challenge the guns of the army.

Most likely outcome to the crisis: no matter the identity of the authors of their misfortunes, the Pakistani people can expect to continue suffering them.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Ionesco Meets W. Bush

Today is Monday, 26 November 20007.

The great playwright Ionesco, a Surrealist and the founder of the Theatre of the Absurd, was born on this day in 1912.

How appropriate: today, W. Bush, having refused to take any part in ameliorating the Middle East Crisis, since 2001, is convening a meeting to attempt to do same.

I particularly liked W’s statement today as his machinations began: “While I have little known, nor-didactically long remembered, those who fought here, heh heh, and have failed in all I have tired ... tried, I’m goin’ for the last, main chance, and history will always commemoratize those then meeting there, on this hollowed grounds, of the Islomaniacs, and the Non-Believing Hebrowicists, who will here concord peace, or something like it. And sure, maybe I got it wrong about Putin of Russka bein' democratic, when I looked it his eyes, and said, "I like what I saw", but, I've got over that crush, and you can rest assured: all these little brown or yellow people will trust me, because they know: I AM the confider. Now everbody, let’s do lunch: it’s a Texas pork rib barbacue with all the trim!”

Now, I know the following from Ionesco’s Exit the King has very bad sound, but isn’t that deliciously Absurd, particularly considering The Madness of King George, who would assist everyone by an early exit, and a return to an at least vague constitutionality, by restoring power to Al Gore, whom latter could hardly do worse?

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Labour Sweeps Austrailia!

Today is Saturday, 24 November 2007.

And here the hit parade, in honour of the Labour Party beating the pants off the right wing in Australia:

Friday, November 23, 2007

Boy Howdy, Howdy Boy

Today remains Friday, 23 November 2007.

Well, I'm almost in a good mood this AM, since I didn't have a stroke last PM.

When we left for the ER, I grabbed a couple of books, just in case it was serious and I had to stay over. Minority Report, a short story collection by Philip K. Dick, and The History of the Siege of Lisbon, by Portuguese Nobelist Jose Saramago.

So, for your amusement, The Simpsons (sorry you must cut and paste; embedding disabled):

And, writing completely without irony, I'm a big fan of both Mama Cass Eiliot and Julie Andrews, and here they are, singing Simon and Garfunkel:

And how about a duet of Julie Andrews and Perry Como?

And, for hardcore TV fans, and you know whom you are:

And G. Ailaird S. Artain:

Mrs. HH was just looking at this column, and said, "You're so sappy". True. So:

Speaking of sappy, Mrs. HH just requested some Andy Williams. As a child of the Fifties, I actually like this stuff:

And, of course, Der Bingle:

Another Tribute to Jerry Orbach

Today is Friday, 23 2007.

Mrs. HH rushed HH to the ER, and it wasn't, according to the brainscan, a stroke, just a garden variety Type Two diabetes thing when his left arm went all cold.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Too Many Losses to Remember on This Day, and I Remember Them Alll

Today remains Thursday, 22 November 2007.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Happy Birthday to N

Today is Thursday, 22 November 2007.

Happy birthday to N.

HH goes mushy: Sandy Duncan sings to Kermit:

Once upon a time, HH in NYC, produced a concert with Harry Belafonte, and a more gracious person one could not wish.


Happy Birthday to My Mother

Today is Wednesday, 21 November 2007.

HH's Mother was born on this date in 1923. Harpo Marx was born on this date in 1888.


And an original Harpo composition:

And OK, OK, before HH gets a couple thousand phone calls:

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Save Arecibo!

Today is Tuesday, 20 November 2007.

“I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore”.

I’m ready to go all postal Lou Dobbs.

Pity the fools (now I’m going Mr. T) at the National Science Foundation, who have gutted the budget for the Arecibo radio telescope, the finest scientific instrument of its kind ever created, by cutting the budget by 25%, from a backbreaking [irony included] $10.5 million to $8 million. And maybe shut it down entirely.

Any fool out there who thinks the USA Department of War doesn’t spend far more than $10.5 million a year on toilet paper?

What next? Rid ourselves of all the optical microscopes, because they’re so 1650?

Here's the Arecibo homepage, so you can have some info to judge its value for itself:

And here's The New York Times article this morning that lit my fuse:

The following is from a space probe, not Arecibo, but it's fascinating and beautiful, and information far more wondrous and valuable will be lost if Arecibo is crippled or closed:

Don't touch that dial: HH is looking into the various campaigns to save Arecibo, and will be getting back to you, same time, same station!

Monday, November 19, 2007

W Back to the Future?

Today is Monday, 19 November 2007.

Why am I reminded of November 1963?

Back in that day: a country with multiple on-going civil conflicts, an army featuring a corrupt officer corps and frequently-demoralized “other ranks”, a president concerned above all, and at any cost, with the preservation of his personal power, all fueled by American dollars and other support.

And elements within the US government convince President Kennedy to throw his support to generals plotting against the president of the Republic of Vietnam (“South Vietnam”).

Sound familiar?

In Pakistan, the struggle of the central government to bring to heel the tribes of the Northwest Frontier is, to be charitable, bogged down. (There is a reason the imperial Brits ignored these tribes: there was little of value to be had, and subjugation would have been too costly in lives and treasure, compared to the return.) The corrupt officer corps of the Pakistani military controls the single largest collection of businesses in the country. President Musharaff (who has amassed at least $10 million in real estate holdings alone, on a general’s salary) has again overthrown the constitution to maintain himself in power. The Pakistani military has received at least $10 billion since 9-11 to fight the “Global War on Terror”.

And, last week, Bush-Cheney regime sources leaked the news to The New York Times that they wouldn’t mind if the #2 in the Pakistani military, the Vice Chief of Staff, overthrew Musharaff and installed Benazir Bhutto as figurehead civilian prime minister and [ANY NAME HERE] as figurehead civilian president.

And what happened in South Vietnam? It joined the coup-of-the-month club for several years, until a new strongman emerged, who brutally assaulted the country for several years before fleeing in 1975 with suitcases filled with gold bars.

And so it goes: the Bush-Cheney regime continues its mad descent into even greater levels of hubris, desparately imagining now that an attempt to dominate Pakistan and Iran will reverse its failure to subdue Afghanistan and Iraq.

Comic relief. Found this gem by an artist from Upstate New York. I presume the song was originally used in the 1960 presidential campaign. It's based on "Buckle Down Winsocki", from the 1941 Broadway musical, Best Foot Forward, with June Allyson, which was the Broadway debut of the great songwriting team of Ralph Blane and Hugh Martin, also the writers of the great Liza Manelli vehicle, Meet Me in St. Louis. Ralph was born and raised in Broken Arrow, Oklahoma, and retired in Tulsa, where in the early 1980s he would drop by the bookstore HH managed, full of wonderful stories.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

O-K-L-A-H-O-M-A: Not OK

Today is Friday, 17 November 2007.

On this day in 1907, 100 years ago, O-k-l-a-h-o-m-a became a state of the Union.

Native Americans marched at the seat of government with a banner: “Why Celebrate 100 Years of Theft?”

Never trust an agreement with an American president, for Oklahoma was given to Native Americans for “as long as the rivers shall flow”.


In the context it fits, one of my favourite songs, "Pack Up Your Sorrows", here performed by Mimi and Richard Farina, with Pete Seeger sitting in:

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Dogs and Horses

Today is Thursday, 15 November 2007.

Sometime, I dig The Randomizer.

I don't slot some movie into the media portal, I go with what's on the corporate-dictated channel and write my own scrip.

Right now, Pulp Fiction.

But I suddenly seize control and it's Reservoir Dogs:

Now, this version takes a while to chug-a-lug, but I love the ending:

So, howzabout, vee-dee-o of A Clockwork Orange mash up with Reservoir Dogs dialog?:

Or, Reservoir Dogs w/Jim Morrison:

And now, station LEFT presents one of the most heartbreaking songs ever, by The Rolling Stones, "Wild Horses":

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

The Walter Benjamin Show

Today is Wednesday, 14 November 2007.

While the scripts of Lost in Space went downhill very quickly (I blame the change from black-and-white to colour), for those of us, of the 60s Generation, it was great fun while it lasted.

With which character did you identify?

Dr. Smith here.

And, Synchronicity: by accident, I just discovered that, on this date in 1971, Mariner 9 arrived at Mars, and became the first human spacecraft to orbit another planet.

So, let's cut to The Police:

Most excellent: A Friend of MoB just sent this Neil Young classic covered by the Cowboy Junkies. Word on the street is that this song, as sung by Neil, was featured on the famous "Lost Episode" of Lost in Space, the one which was meant to be aired before the penultimate episode titled (And I Kid You Not), "The Great Vegetable Rebellion":

And welcome. You're listening to "Notes After Nine", here on radio LEFT, comin' at ya from Moscow on the Arkansas, and simulcast from Del Rio, Texas, where the hits just keep on comin', and the old turntable is spinnin' a Golden Oldie from The Mike Curb Congregation, from JD DJ HH's fav Donald Sutherland-Clint Eastwood-Telly Savalas flick, Kelly's Heroes:

And, for those of us of a certain tender age, who can forget, the immortal Mantovani and His Orchestra, playing "Misty" for YOU:

And, while I don't want to bring you down and break your groove, even JD DJ HH has got to pay the bills to The Man:

And here's a message from your local Depairtment of Impossible Defense, and remember to wear a white blouse or shirt to reflect atomic radiation:

I see by the old sundial on the studio wall that we have time to spin one more platter before the warden pulls the plug, so let's drop that needle in the Same Old Place:

If you've enjoyed tonight's programming, want to settle an old score with parents, siblings, or anyone else who failed you, or have a Message From Mars of Vital Importance for All Humanity, you can write us at Box 666, General Post Office, New York, New York 10001. All entries MUST be postmarked, unless you live in an interesting place, and can provide transportation, plus room and board, in which case I'll be glad to deliver it personally. All offers invalid except where prohibited by law.

And now, the Canadian national anthem:

Signing off for all of us here at Rebel Indie Pirate Radio Station and Soup Kitchen LEFT: Good night, and good luck.

On Robert Lowell

Today is Tuesday, 13 November 2007.

I got up in the middle of the night, and was re-reading poems by Robert Lowell, from Life Studies, and realized I should have paired this one with the Madama Butterfly finale yesterday.

I think often of poor manic Lowell, dying swiftly and alone of a heart attack, in the back seat of a taxi transporting him from JFK airport to Manhattan.

This one is for Miss S-----, my great high school English teacher.

"Fall 1961"

Back and forth, back and forth
goes the tock, tock, tock
of the orange, bland, ambassadorrial
face of the moon
on the grandfather clock.

All autumn, the chafe and jar
of nuclear war;
we have talked our extinction to death.
I swim like a minnow
behind my studio window.

Our end drifts nearer,
the moon lifts,
radiant with terror.
The state
is a diver under a glass bell.

A father's no shield
for his child.
We are like a lot of wild
spiders crying together,
but without tears.

Nature holds up a mirror.
One swallow makes a summer.
It's easy to tick
off the minutes,
but the clock hands stick.

Back and forth!
Back and forth, back and forth ---
my one point of rest
is the orange and black
oriole's swinging nest!

Monday, November 12, 2007

"Butterfly! Butterfly!"

Today remains Monday, 12 November 2007.

Neil Young

Today remains Monday, 12 November 2007.

Truth be told, Norman Mailer became irrelevant years ago.

Not the musician born on this day in 1945.

In Memory: Norman Mailer

Today is Monday, 12 November 2007.


At the end of the day, unless you’re hopelessly wicked or psychotic, nothing is about yourself. Everything is about your self in relationship to others.


HH knew this day would come, when Norman Mailer had just died (Saturday last), and at last HH would have to begin psychologically settling accounts with a writer who, though a consummate asshole, pardon moi French, had been an important influence.

As profound an empty space and anger this has left, HH shudders to think of the deaths of J. G. Ballard, Gore Vidal, etc. (Influences, not assholes.)


HH greatly admires The Armies of the Night (1968), concerning the Vietnam genocide.

HH, perhaps over-reacting to Mailer’s rampant public sexism of the Seventies, has never read (he will rectify this omission) what many regard as Mailer’s masterpiece, The Executioner’s Song (1979), although HH, as a bookseller, received a copy of the promotional poster, which he carefully framed by hand, and has dragged about the nation with himself ever since.


Mailer and HH had their brains fine-tuned by The Cold War, herewith. Note to those plus-30: soundtrack is hard-core intense.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

In Memory: Armistice Day

Today is Sunday, 11 November 2007.

Armistice Day.

The eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month.

The end of "the War to end wars".


And, Faure's Pavane:

And Callas, singing the immortal Puccini, "Un bel di, vedromo":

And, George Winston:

In Memory: Ken Saro-Wiwa

Today is Saturday, 10 November 2007.

On this date in 1995, was murdered, by the Nigerian military dictatorship, Ken Saro-Wiwa.

Saro-Wiwa was a playwright, novelist, television producer, and advocate for the people of the Niger Delta, where he was born. (The Wikipedia article is reliable for details.) The Delta is from whence the oil comes, and to which only a tiny fraction of the proceeds return. In 1995, Saro-Wiwa and eight comrades in their nonviolent struggle for justice were falsely convicted by a military court and sentenced to death. It was widely assumed the sentences would be commuted to life imprisonment.

Instead, eight defendants were hanged before Saro-Wiwa’s eyes, before he was slowly hanged.

All honor to his memory.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Bush & Musharraf: Partners in Terror

Today is Friday, 9 November 2007.

Poor Pakistan: So far from God and so close to England.

When the British Empire came to what is now India and Pakistan, it came with the one interest of all colonial regimes: to loot. To this end, they created a civil administration composed of relatively thin layers of Brits supervising thicker layers of corrupt locals willing to betray their comrades. The same system obtained in the military. When the British abandoned India and Pakistan in 1947, the corrupted local elites assumed much power in politics, the bureaucracies, and the military.

In contrast to Pakistan, India’s military has never played a significant role in politics, due mainly to a wealthier economy, more vigorous political parties, stronger civil administrations, and lack of need for it to function in a police role. In Pakistan, a poorer, more restive population and relatively weak political parties gave its military more of a policing function, and, in 1958, building on widespread public dissatisfaction with corrupt political elites, General Muhammed Ayub Khan seized power.

Of course, given the origin of Pakistan’s military as an instrument of British corruption, the coup merely gave the officer cadre a turn at lining their pockets. And so it would go to the present time, with corrupt military and civilian elites exchanging pride of place at the trough.

It is hard to see how the history of Pakistan could have turned out differently. Wherever European colonial regimes sufficiently distorted and degraded conquered societies, the same pattern obtained (cf. France in South Vietnam and Chad, the USA/USE in the Philippines, etc.). And, of course, the core instrument of colonial conquest and rule was terror, implied or executed, a strategy eagerly adopted by the succeeding local elites.

In the grand American tradition, when General Perez Musharraf seized power in 1999, the Clinton regime paid lip service to democracy but real service to muscular stability. After 11 September, the Bush-Cheney regime eagerly adopted the Musharraf state terror dictatorship as a full partner in the chimerical “global war on terror”. As W. Bush likes to say: If you support a terrorist, you are a terrorist.

It is hard to imagine a way forward for Pakistan. The distortions and dysfunctionalities imposed by the British Empire on Pakistan are seemingly intractable, and the country thus seems fated to suffer from continued alternating military and civilian rule, with the people always condemned to exploitation and terror.

The British built well.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Happy Great October Socialist Revolution or Why My Dog is Named Emma Goldman

Today is Thursday, 7 November 2007.

90th anniversary of the Bolshevik Revolution in Russia; so many hopes created and betrayed ...

And now, for your listening pleasure, station LEFT, beamin' down across the lonely wavelengths, direct to you from Moscow on the Arkansas, (AKA Tulsa, OK) presents our new planetary revolutionary anthem:


Coincidentally, on this date in 1962, Eleanor Roosevelt died, for whom my cat is named.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Talkin' About My Generation, or Why I Forgive Charlton Heston

Today is Tuesday, 6 November 2007.

Sorry for the absence; blame my arthritis. The spirit is willing; the flesh is weak.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Salvador Allende: Presente!

Today is Saturday, 3 November 2007.

On this day in 1970, Salvador Allende was inaugurated as freely-elected President of Chile.

On 11 September 1973, he was victim of a CIA-Chile Army coup, directed by Nixon and Kissinger. It remains unclear if Allende was murdered or killed himself, before he could be murdered.

From Chile: Obstinate Memory, a film by Patricio Guzman:

Chile: Obstinate Memory, Part 2:

Allende was a medical doctor and a Socialist. In a time when most poorer children in Chile had no access to milk, part of his program as president was free milk for all.

That was his great crime: at the end of the day, Allende believed even the poorest child deserves milk.

Friday, November 02, 2007

If This Isn't Torture ...

Today remains Friday, 2 November 2007.

News arrives that Senator Patrick Leahy (D-VT,) blessed be he, {and Chuck Schumer, please go there now,] will oppose the nomination of Michael Mukasey as Attorney General, as the latter refuses to denounce torture, such as waterboarding.

As a public service, the Museum of the Bourgeois presents the following amusement. Mad Mike isn't sure if the following is torture.

Kids, don't try this at home.

Let Me Teach You A Song

Today is Friday, 2 November 2007.

A tribute to a great music teacher, Miss Gray, back in the day, a couple years before this song was recorded:

Thursday, November 01, 2007

More Muertas

Today remains Thursday, 1 November 2007, The Day of The Dead.

A cold drink of water from Edwin Starr:

Dia de Los Muertes

Today is Thursday, 1 November 2007.

“Hear that lonesome whistle blow … “

Ain’t that a caution: HH lives in earshot of that archetypical American icon, a railroad line, and just heard, at 5.43 AM CDT, a couple of toots.

Which is HH’s way of sidling up edgewise to a great sorrow, which he discovered a few minutes ago, when he retrieved the local newspaper from the porch: Washoe is dead.

From Nicholas K. Geranios, AP-Spokane, Wash. this date: “Washoe, a female chimpanzee believed to be the first non-human to acquire human language, has died of natural causes at the research institute where she was kept”.

Ferocious editorial comment: AP copy-editor, everlasting shame upon thee, for allowing “kept”, rather than “lived”.

Washoe was about 40.

Pity the fools, such as S--- P---, whose name I will not write, who, in their species bigotry, deny possibility and fact that, if consciousness is deemed to reside in Dick Cheney, consciousness is not also in my dog, Chopin.

Sorrow also for Tulsa, OK, chef, Paul Caplinger, of The Chalkboard, passed in his sleep the past Sunday morning, aged 48.