Friday, April 02, 2004


Monday night, the Letterman show aired a clip of GWB making yet another nebulous speech in Florida. Among the anonymous deer-in-the-limelight folk who stand beside and behind political speakers during sound bite speech snatches was a fat kid, age thirteen or so, who, in terminal boredom, yawned, stretched, and all but fell asleep. I didn’t think he picked his nose, but he might have done. The spectacle went on so long that I was moved to discuss with Newton the cat whether the kid was real or morphed. The cat wasn’t sure but I though probably morphed. Later CNN picked up on the clip, and ran with it, until the White House started complaining. CNN copped out by claiming it was a Late Show fabrication, but, Letterman's people denied it. They morphed no morph. Then the White House denied they’d ever called CNN. Then they admitted they had and CNN apologized to Dave. Complicated? Sure, but whatever the ultimate outcome, one thing is clear, there are people in the White House who watch more TV than the unemployed, and then attempt to put the frighteners broadcasters who do things they don’t like. The American Ministry of Virtue in the making? Or are the Bush thralls way less confident of the peerless leader’s reelection than some or our own comrades? The fat kid is on Letterman tonight and will be a cyber phenom like the dancing baby and fat Jedi kid by next Tuesday.

Press release...
So what's new with the CNN/White House flap? Monday we showed a clip of a speech given by the President from March 20 at the Orange County Convention Center in Orlando, Florida. Directly behind the President stood a boy of 14 or so bored to tears. While the President spoke, the lad yawned, stretched, yawned some more, checked his watch, took a knee, yawned, and fell asleep standing up near the end. It was a very humorous actual clip we uncovered. Well, CNN played the clip the next day, Tuesday morning, stating that the White House had called and said the Late Show did some editing to the piece and it never happened. Two hours later, CNN showed the clip again and this anchor person said that the boy was at the speech, but was not standing behind the President as we had seen. Dave informs America that neither statement from CNN is true. The boy was at the rally and the boy was standing behind the President. Something strange is going on, and Dave smells a cover up. CNN is now saying the White House never called them. But why would CNN say the White House HAD called if the White House never did? Hmmm. And Dave reveals that our source, a very good source, confirms the White House DID call the CNN. Hoo boy, this is getting interesting. While Condoleeza Rice is testifying in front of the 9/11 Commission, perhaps she can shed some light on this as well.

And on the subject of weird broadcasting, who heard the Howard Stern April 1st parody Cross and Lopez, a perky “Fun Without Filth”, supposed replacement after Howard was pulled off the air? Had me for almost 45 minutes, and it was vx2 scary.


HC Beck writes...

Bob Dylan is the pitchman for the new Victoria's Secret commercial. Caught it on TV this evening. Bob sings ands looks menacing while girls cavort in their knickers. (No one will guide you, through Armagideon time)

CRYPTIQUEAn old bolshevik in search of a dentist meets the Buddha on the road. Who kills whom?

Thursday, April 01, 2004


A couple of days ago, up on the comments board, Boarg asked the strange but obvious question. Are all the people who visit, comment, and generally contribute to Doc40 real, or did I make them up? For my part, I can truthfully say I didn’t make anyone up, and if I had, I would freely admit it, proud of the diversity of my creation. On the other hand, Billy Oblivion, on the comments board, comes up with the perfect answer. “Of course we’re real...I think.” Almost a paraphrase of Descartes’ Cogito Ergo Sum. "I think, therefore I am." Like “I think...(therefore)...I am”, with the final reduction to “I think I am.” And that’s the joy of the web. The surfer – behind the pseudonym or screen name – can be whoever or whatever he or she desires. It’s worth thinking about. But the night is late and today is a deadline day and have to leave you with more action on the aforementioned comments board, and with two other things...

There’s a piece fine by me on the 9/11 hearings (and also a highly weird April 1st cover story) in the new LA CityBeat

And, from fidicen, an unpleasant tale from the Axis of Logic site...


During the Taliban rule of Afghanistan the world got a good look at what happens when religious zealots gain control of a government. Television images of women being beaten forced to wear burkas and banned from schools and the workplace helped build strong public support for the President's decision to invade Afghanistan in the wake of 9/11.

But even as President George W. Bush denounced the brutal Islamic fundamentalist regime in Kabul, he was quietly laying the foundations for his own fundamentalist regime at home. For the first time far right Christian fundamentalists had one of their own in the White House and the opportunity to begin rolling back decades of health and family planning programs they saw as un-Christian, if not downright sinful.

Since 2001 dozens of far-right Christian fundamentalists have been quietly installed in key positions within the Department of Health and Human Services, the Federal Drug Administration and on commissions and advisory committees where they have made serious progress. Three years later this administration has established one of the most rigid sexual health agendas in the Western world.

It began immediately. One of George W. Bush's first acts as president was to issue an executive memorandum reinstating a global abortion "gag rule." The rule was first implemented under Ronald Reagan but revoked during the two Clinton administrations. The rule prohibited federally funded family planning providers from even discussing abortion with their clients.

For the rest, click –

CRYPTIQUEI yam what I yam.

Wednesday, March 31, 2004


You may well have heard, or actually not heard, how, on last night’s Letterman show, the audio was dumped out when Janet Jackson said the word “Jesus”. During last week’s tech crisis I uttered the same word, and with considerably more emphasis, while on the phone to a corporate tech support thrall who was telling me that I should move my files to another computer and totally reinstall my entire system. I was immediately reproved. “Please don’t say that. It offends my religious beliefs.” Offending Christians is being rapidly elevated towards criminal status, as far as I can see, and we’ll soon have to leave the bar and curse in the street, for fear of giving offense by second-hand invective. Damn it to hell.

But the real problem in this is that a whole bunch of things offend me. And unfortunately one of them is computer tech support. I was already developing a theory that the tech supporters were making it up as they went along, and the only real object of the exercise was to get me and my problems off the phone as fast as possible. Then Henry C. Beck sent me the following first-hand account from Salon of life in a outsourced tech hell-hole. (Won’t link because they want money.)

Outsourcers are paid by the computer manufacturer based on the number of calls they handle. The more calls we take, the more the outsourcer is paid. So naturally everything that happens in this vast carpeted warehouse of cubicles is done with an eye toward speed. Our managers stress something called "average call time," which is simply the average amount of time a tech spends on each call. They want us to be under 12 minutes. Our phones monitor our ability to reach this magic number as well as the total number of calls we take, the number of times we ask for help, how much time we take between calls, even the amount of time we spend in the restroom. As long as we could answer the phones and provide records that we'd done so, the company would be paid every time we thanked someone for calling technical support...The most incompetent among us could have written a manual on how to answer calls and log them properly. As for how to actually troubleshoot and fix computers, we were largely on our own. Beyond a cursory overview of the computers we were in charge of healing, the closest thing to a troubleshooting tool we were taught was The Mantra. We repeated it over and over, the words seating themselves deep in the folds of our brains until the breakup of class began to feel more and more like the end of a cult meeting...The Mantra is simply, "We don't support that." On the face of it, it's completely logical. We're here to help with problems related to your computer hardware, but we don't pretend to know anything about your digital camera, or how to get the most out of Adobe Photoshop. Without The Mantra we'd waste precious time trying to answer questions beyond the scope of our expertise. Never mind that the scope of our expertise was largely limited to reciting The Mantra and logging calls. The important thing was that we understood our mission was to answer questions that fell within the limited margins outlined in the computer's warranty. Beyond that we didn't have to do anything.


But offending people seems to be the theme of the week, if not the era. Seems that I have sadly upset Jay Babcock with yesterday’s response to his email. He resents that I misrepresented him as a defeatist. I assume the mail he sent me today was not intended for publication, so I can’t exactly give you chapter and verse, but he did want his posts removed, and I have agreed to that, only I fear it won’t be tonight because I’m too deadline beat to do the tech brain-surgery on the archives. He was also pissed I didn’t provide a link to Arthur, so here it is. Read Jay on his own turf. I think that’s fair.

Meanwhile there’s a whole bunch of related stuff over on the anarchic comments board from A-B-C, nigelr and some charming practical suggestions from philosohoe. (Long posts can be mailed to, I’ll post ‘em.) And Beck (again) weighs in with...

“Look, it's *over for liberals in this country. Has been since Kennedy was killed -- possibly even earlier than that. It's a conservative nation and it's getting more that way with each year.”

I don't agree. I think the boomer generation went through a conservative phase in their thirties and forties, due to a kind of natural bio-sociological phase, and I think that same group will start to open up a few notches in their political waistbands as they get less nervous--one reason why Bush and his cronies are so determined to keep fear alive and ever present.

It's entirely possible that the success of movies like The Passion aren't about a movement towards religio-conservatism, but rather a reaction to an encroaching liberalism and the ever-greater slackening of religious bonds and beliefs. Dude, where's My God? Wasn't that a Bergman picture?

This doesn't make me any less cynical, because liberal or conservative we are and will remain a passive-aggressive people. But the hefty sales of books like Moore's, Clinton's, and Franken's seem to indicate there's a real shift out there--the new Silent Majority, maybe...


Our pal hipspinster blogs about jury service at

While fidicen draws our attention to the Washington serious, but highly informative


When you’re smashing the state, keep a song in your heart and a smile on your lips. – Skip Williamson

A liberal is a man who leaves the room before the fight starts. – Dorothy Parker

CRYPTIQUEbeep! beep!

Tuesday, March 30, 2004


Following yesterday’s exchange, Jay Babcock comes back with the following, (although it might be a plan to read ABC’s rant up on the comments board first.)

Look, it's *over for liberals in this country. Has been since Kennedy was killed -- possibly even earlier than that.It's a conservative nation and it's getting more that way with each year. Carter won cuz of a scandal and was promptly booted after one term. Clinton won cuz of a third party candidate -- he was the least-popular two-termer ever, and was almost removed from office. Gore *almost won because of the economy, the power of incumbency and because he ran with an essentially happy-faced Republican agenda. Republicans control the nation. Repeat: Republicans control the nation. It's a Republican nation. Not only do they own the media, they have the state governorships, the state legislatures, the House, the Senate and the White House. They've been building towards this for 50 years. We are in a period of Republican entrenchment, and it's not going to end any time soon. I'm not saying anything novel here. Did you not read the articles that ran on this in December in the New York Times and the New Yorker and the Weekly Standard???? (Lemme know and I'll send em right over.)
Bush is not "fumbling." Bush does not have to make a comeback. The only people following this day-to-day crap is a very small portion of the population: political junkies of all stripes, and died-in-the-wool liberals. The bast majority of the public DOES NOT KNOW, DOES NOT WANT TO KNOW and DOES NOT CARE TO KNOW. They tell this to pollsters -- don't you read the polls?
Bush has got this in the bag.

And even if he didn't: Kerry hasn't given even the slightest indication that he would alter America's imperialist ways. You've put an awful lot of what is charitably called 'misplaced faith' in this man, for some reason. Sure: I don't like Bush. He's irritating. He's an obvious smallbrain
and greedhead. I'd like to see him lose. The thought of a family of one-termers makes me cackle. But so what? I have no illusions about what a Kerry presidency could/would mean. I take him at his word: he won't withdraw US troops from anywhere; he'll continue the corporate agenda for the nation and planet; and he'll be able to construct complex sentences without squirming. Big fucking deal. The sooner this Empire falls, the better for the planet. I think another term of Bush would hasten that fall -- a Kerry administration would just prolong the demise, causing greater harm to the planet, on balance. Kerry is Eugene McCarthy redux. If he tries the RFK route, he'll get shot. That's what we do to insurgent liberals in this country. Can Nader win? Of course not. Should we make fun of him then? Should we denigrate him? No. If a man speaks Truth, you should applaud him.

Confronted with Jay’s total defeatism, I can only wonder, once we’ve finished applauding Ralph Nader, (and reading the Weekly Standard?) what do we do then? Hole up in the basement and shoot dope until they come for us? Join some outlaw militia unit in Montana? Move to Europe? Empires don’t usually collapse under their own inertia. Most times they need a few barbarians to kick in the gates. Those that do, like the USSR, tend to make a terrible mess, and the collapse of a monolithic superpower like USA21C would be catastrophic, to the point of famine, plague, and multiple civil wars. Even accepting the hugely elitist idea that Americans are too stupid for democracy (which I don’t, otherwise why bother?) there is the matter of post-McLuhan, under-the-radar cultural perception. If Bush can be turned from Peerless Leader to the demon Chuckie in the months we have left, we might have a fighting chance. Let the chimp miasma fall. It worked with Vietnam. Perception was turned with massively less communications tools. Strange bedfellowships will occure, though. Like Howard Stern. Most of you probably don’t like or don’t give a rat’s ass about Stern, but if Boy Powell’s FCC drives Stern off the air, you will have 18 million formerly Bush-worshiping Maxim readers extremely pissed off, and if only a percentage of them vote, it makes a difference.

And even if the defeat of Bush is a completely lost cause, I, for one, will continue to fight out of a sheer sense of romance and a need to keep my self respect. I believe I’ve already noted somewhere in past blogs that Spanish Civil War songs make me choke up.

(Comments can be posted on the board or sent to . Much more on media perception in the next LA CityBeat. I’ll post a link Thursday if the website is configured right. And, oh yeah, the Leno/Letterman column from last week can now be read at – )

QUOTE OF THE DAY – Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake. -- Napoleon Bonaparte

CRYPTIQUE Starvelings smell the coffee.

Monday, March 29, 2004


Yesterday I wrote...

"folks like Jay Babcock of Arthur mag telling me that I’m being essentially Stalinist in my unilateral insistence that backing Kerry is the only way to evict Bush from 1600 Penn"

Jay replied...

Never said or intimated any such thing -- please don't misrepresent me.

I simply said Ralph was right when he said both parties are bought and paid for by the same people. Kerry's courting of the corporation 'vote' this week was just the latest evidence. You get Bush out, and then what? THINK two steps ahead. What do you really think is going to happen? Come on. If you're lucky you get Clinton II -- and Clinton did plenty to set this world backwards. NAFTA, China Most Favored Nation status, 'welfare reform,' zero 'peace dividend,' etc. Empire with a more palatable face, but Empire all the same.

To this I can only respond...

Sure, maybe I did misrepresent you, but basically to trigger the debate that I hope will now ensue. I lack detachment in this. Mad as hell and not going to take Bush any more. At the end of last year, the given intelligence was that Bush was invincible, and four more years were inevitable. After a couple of obvious Bush fumbles, and a general moving out from under the evil smokescreen that criticism of the war leader is treason, we now see a glimmer of hope and some optimistic polls. Kerry is the only battering ram we have. And let’s not pretend that unseating Bush is going to require anything else than total effort, massive energy on all fronts, and some very strange and shakily pragmatic alliances. (Progressive feminists and Howard Stern?) We still face any number of horrendous scenarios by which Bush might stage a comeback. And horrendous can mean a lot with that bunch of crooks. This not to mention all the nasty little laws like the Clean Airwaves Act or the Lacy Peterson law that are currently being rushed through the legislature, the outrageous judicial appointments, plus the possibility of anything from a November state of emergency to mass polling fraud. I become quite emotional in my insistence that, right now, the entertainment of symbolic and unelectable third party candidates, and debates over whether Kerry will only be a less charismatic Clinton – but with his pants zipped – are a luxury we absolutely cannot afford. The only priority now is to save the bloody Empire from being turned into a totalitarian corporate theocracy with Clear Channel and the Ministry of Virtue eliminating though crime. Once that game's been thwarted, we can make a start on imperial destructuring

Let’s not forget that, if Kerry does make it to inauguration, he will be beholden to a lot of people including us thought criminals on the internet who have done so much to reveal Bush in his true light. He must be made aware that we’ll be looking to collect. Me, I want an immediate cease fire in the War on Drugs, funded stem cell research, and a decent space station. What does everyone else want?

Of course, my attitude may be genetic. We English are a tad blase about both the building and dismantling of Empires. And maybe the Doc40 brits should get in on this because the Blair dilemma is such an exact parallel.


Our pal Ellen Sander is teaching in China. She writes...

Expatriate life, and particularly the trip home makes me appreciate America more even as it has escalated my skepticism and anxiety. The current reprehensible (and hopefully soon to be revised) administration has degraded international credibility and respect and as John Kerry puts it, fueled anti-American sentiments. Things get worse in Iraq, not better, and this resonates in allied countries. I think the bombing in Madrid, and its political aftermath bottomed out my last hope that there might be a positive outcome to the war in Iraq and by most standards, I’m a latecomer to this conclusion. The pre-existing overseas envy and apprehension in place before the Bush coup has now coalesced into a dark cloud of suspicion and rancor. Hegemony is a word I hear often when America is the subject of conversation. I must admit that word was not an active part of my vocabulary before. With the American economy sagging, the notion that U.S. primacy may not be indestructible is a fairly widespread one overseas. Americans themselves exacerbate this by remaining ignorant of the natural dynamics of international trade as they eat up politicians’ promises to keep manufacturing and technical jobs from being exported. Defying even basic logic, much less basic economics, Americans believe other countries, primarily China are at fault for domestic job loss – hello, who gives that work to offshore facilities and why? It’s aggravating to see even my more world-aware friends and family regard China with a 50-year old sensibility when it’s growing and transforming before our eyes. This is not your father’s China.


nitroski writes reminding us of the important things in life...

Next time you happen to be alone and in a drinking mood...Erza Brooks black label.
Straight from the bottle, don't sully it with a glass,
might make you forget all about scotch for a while.
Myself, quit drinking 20+ years ago...curious side effects. i enjoyed my drinking, everybody I knew and some people I didn't all but insisted I stop.

CRYPTIQUEHow do ya spell Yalta?

Sunday, March 28, 2004


It’s short and there won’t be a test. (LEB OK?)

In the NY Times, David Kahn gives a fast historical perspective of how Bush and his WMD fantasy, while still mendacious and asinine, are hardly new in the chronicles of lost wars...

In 1941, Stalin disregarded reports that Hitler was about to attack Russia; millions of unnecessary deaths followed. In 1944, a Luftwaffe intelligence officer laid a photomosaic before Hitler showing that the Soviet Union had assembled the greatest artillery concentration of all time. Hitler swept it furiously from the desk. In 1973, Israeli intelligence believed that Egypt, having lost the 1967 war and having expelled Soviet advisers, would not attack. But on Yom Kippur it did. And during Vietnam intelligence reports that the conflict was unwinnable were rejected by President Richard M. Nixon. All these refusals to face facts cost gold and blood. Two centuries ago, Carl von Clausewitz concluded that "most intelligence is false." A century later, the chief of the German general staff, Alfred von Schlieffen, added a psychological explanation for this: “The higher commander generally makes himself a picture of friend and foe, in the painting of which personal wishes provide the main elements. If incoming reports appear to correspond with this picture, they are laid by with satisfaction. If they contradict it, they are discarded as entirely false.”


After Doc’s recent battle with the corporate Borg (TTC, OK?) there is much catching up to do. Where, you ask, are kaymo’s revelations on elk milk? Well, dearly beloved, that’s being edited, so just remember the old Lou Reed line – “First thing you learn is that you’ve always got to wait.” Of course Lou was talking about copping heroin, and all we have here is a weblog but the same applies.

Meanwhile, kaymo does suggest that if you have any complaints, the thing to do is to email the President. (LEB OK?) That’s what he’s there for. Here’s the addresses...

...or if you think Dick Cheney might be of more help.

and – with the note that Chernobyl is the Ukranian word for wormwood, the active ingredient of absinthe – kaymo also provides us with a link to kiddofspeed’s site that tells the true adventures of a very strange young woman who rides her high performance motorcycle around the ghost town left by the former-Soviet nuclear meltdown and takes photographs. (And if that ain’t sci-fi made flesh...)


The Third Page literary site has just been updated and if you follow the link and click the square on the left, you’ll find a newly published Mick Farren poem.


LEB = League of Extraordinary Bushwhackers (or Let’s Evict Bush)
TCC = Thwart The Corp

This are essentially half-formed concepts in cyber-anarcho punk agitprop. What we need is a manufacturer of secret decoder rings as a sponsor. (The revolution will not have sponsorship? Discuss?)


Since I wrote a piece in LA CityBeat (who still haven’t put their lame website to rights, dadnab it) trashing R. Nader as an egomaniac, I’ve been getting all this email from folks like Jay Babcock of Arthur mag telling me that I’m being essentially Stalinist in my unilateral insistence that backing Kerry is the only way to evict Bush from 1600 Penn. I stand by it. Chimp begone and then work it out. On the other hand, if Kerry wins and doesn’t halt the war on drugs tout fucking suit, there will be trouble, as in...

QUOTE OF THE DAY -- Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable. – John Fitzgerald Kennedy

CRYPTIQUE Netscape, schnetscape...


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