Monday, March 26, 2007

Mind of Mansel: Marking the Past

[Editor's note: I've encountered difficulty posting. These should have been posted as written over the last two months. Fans of Mansel, you should check out the exchange posted on Jake Berry's site.]

Politicians and Fundraisers (It's A Dog's Life)

The campaign trail has inflated to include a ghastly sight that of mongrel dogs serving as waiters at all you can eat $1,000.00 a plate dinners in both sides of the aisle. Any dissident of the dog show circuit will tell you that a good hound will carry a rack of ribs to a good ol Texan contributor better than a poodle but there he is, a small poodle named Spike carrying, or dragging an order to a table of loud Texans at a John McCain luncheon. The dobermans are working the bar and reaping the biggest tips.

Over at the Obama brunch its the Collie's serving up tea sandwiches in an attempt to win over the delights of the Russian Tea Room crown with steaming orders of rock crab. An unusual order for this venue but these older citizens of wealth and power will do anything to rub shoulders or thighs with a true to life star of political power.

- Chris mansel 3/18/07

Undisputedly Theirs, Deprivation

"This is the horror that I see in politics today- a pack of self-righteous hyenas feeding on an unexpected carcass, and getting bloated too fast on all that sudden meat."

- Hunter S. Thompson, in a letter to Jerome Grossman October 20, 1973

Surely somewhere in the Koran there's a quotation than can cover the degradation that is occurring in the White House right now. Not in general mind you, but centered on a balding mama's boy welding a phallic septor in the president's ear (we hope) and speaking in tongues (we're not surprised) about having to testify and government oversight and Karen Hughes and potty talk.

Imagine being press secretary and taking your daily rubdown from non-West German karen hughes and fielding phone calls meanwhile from Ed Meese from his largely buttered compound somewhere in the well-littered but strongly fortified by conservative think tankers who washed out of the dot com craze and have shaved their pubes just in time to pack in for the long hard fight against the Clintons.

Roll call is at 4 a.m. the handout reads and at 3:45 a man weighing 475 pounds in a Keith Olbermann mask walks in the bunk house screaming and blaring on a radio the theme to Rawhide. The faithful assemble and begin kicking one another with sock feet and cursing the New York Times. All the way to breakfast they recite the talking points from the No Spin Zone of Bill O'Reilly and when they sit down to eat a modest repast of lard and boiled gun belt the television is tuned to Fox in the morning.

But the real problem are not these right wing training camps or the evangelical cults that operate under the guise of federal tax law, no it goes much deeper and the road to despair always leads to the middle. As Richard Nixon said that last night, "This last nail is driving me crazy, call the networks!"

As for Iraq it would appear that the Montagnards have returned in the form of terrorists and suicide bombers, fighters who when awakened do not so easily go away.

- Chris Mansel 3/16/07

The Wrong Crutch for the Miracle Mile

It was the first time in a long time that I left a restaurant in the nation's capitol without having to look over my shoulder for G. Gordon Liddy waving handgun and screaming about Scooter Libby and the dismantling of his crutches, the only reason he would be found guilty according to him. One man even tried to ask him about Tim Russert and his showing up to testify with a conveniently broken ankle leaning on some crutches and Liddy attacked the poor bastard like Oliver North straddling a G.I. in the Mekong Delta too passed out to to tell or ask.

It was the first time in a long time and I knew that if Liddy had gone back underground then maybe so had Karl Rove, but as i entered a well known health club I saw Rove doing the breast stroke across the kiddie pool dressed in a three piece suit, the Secret Service maintaining a perimeter, guns drawn. Vicodin and wheat germ for Rove it seems but the bills are torn up before they are even tallied.

- Chris Mansel 3/13/07

Ghost Riders In The Sky

The shots fired in salute over the graves of soldiers all over the world have begun to land. Even the deserters from battle, even the drug addict surgeon who stepped over bodies still breathing during the Civil War to the peace and quiet of the nearby farmhouse, even the politicians who have long since died and who were sworn to secret by defense contractors for their sexual deviant behavior can all come together and see that the war in iraq has spilled over its borders into the halls of Washington's elite circles and have only recently began to do what the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001 could not do. The american economy is under attack, the infrastructure that made the financing of the war possible, the situation that allows the United States to put itself into position to borrow money from its enemies to keep the government running could crumble if the first ever four front war were to occur.

Afghanistan, Iraq, Iran, Nigeria. Some came for hate others came for oil, others came for revenge. It's like a bad spaghetti western only the voices that are dubbed are from the screams of innocent families under fire. Picture the shopkeeper peering out from behind the curtain in the window as he watches Clint Eastwood walk down the middle of the street. But you don't hear Ennio Morricone's score, you hear the sound of helicopters and the recoil of weapons being fired against a concrete barrier. You hear the reviving of an engine and the sound of a woman calling her child into her house from the street. Surreal? Try war. Now try and and operate a functioning economy in the midst of this.

Disease is more than a colored wristband and war is more than a ribbon. War is veterans without arms and legs being told you cannot come here and you must stay here. War is not a stabling force to a troubled economy and war is not a decal or a reason to roll up your sleeves for a half hour and board a bus to the next town. War is not for profit and war, war is not any good for anyone, even those who believe in it.

- Chris Mansel 2/28/07

The Passage of Blood In The Water

They're pumping cold water into the grave of Ronald Reagan to keep the global warming readings down in the California. Even in the desert where Sinatra is buried it doesn't dip into the teens at night anymore. Strom Thurmond's cold night in hell isn't as cold as it used to be. So where do we go from here if the planet does warm up and the great cattle rancher in the sky turns to marsh land and all the lobbyists have to go offshore to warm up the leathers of the flatulent politicians who hold the votes hostage of all those welfare moms while they strum illegal aliens for profit aboard those yachts just off the Maryland Keys?

When the last tree that grows in Brooklyn has been cut down and used to pad the pet carrier of a billionaire's pooch and the last mugger in central park has had to steal a dingy and go pirate then will the Right Wing admit that just maybe they were wrong about the environment? Will the Glenn Beck's of the world have to gnaw off their own arms in regret when in the final turn they find they are seated next to Cindy Sheehan in the last lifeboat to dry land?

The blood in the water, what used to be blood will by then have become something else entirely. A new species perhaps? Roasted in the waste of our own ignorance? Danger, real danger is only as close as the penny slot my friend.

- Chris Mansel 2/27/07

Camelot or Carnival

It is understandable to be weary of politicians any politician. The apparent cause celeb being heaved upon Barak Obama and the comparison to Robert Kennedy in the new issue of Rolling Stone, the once staple of the counter culture, should draw ridicule but will only draw attention from those other publications and news outlets looking to join the hunt where to paraphrase Bob Dylan, "Where the swift don't win the race."

Any talk of Camelot and the Kennedy mystique is always shrouded by the fact that not many have dug into the true nature of that time and what brought about their success and their methods of maintaining their power. The Kennedy years are more than the missile crisis, a small boy saluting, and an assassination. Each event I just mentioned goes to the root and these roots stretch farther than the eye can see underground and collect alot of dirt.

Obama represents to some a new hope and a "piggy back" effect, a duel purpose of ideals and rhetoric both maligned and peace loving. He is the son of a Kenyan father who will no doubt be drawn into some nasty discussions as the campaign wages on about the oil troubles in Nigeria. Republicans will undoubtedly ask about race and make it an issue. The one thing the conservative crowd can depend upon is the racist vote it has coveted for years. Barak Obama will be an easy target. It is still yet to be seen if a Hispanic candidate will appear to polarize the electorate.

- Chris Mansel 2/9/07

The Non-Union of The State

An echo in a backbone, a shredding vertebrae in a human body exhausted by gunfire. As the bullet jumps from flesh to bone to flesh it's not important if the body belongs to a Sunni or a Shiite. Imagine running around with a stretcher on the morning of Sept. 11 and only looking to offer aid and comfort to those who were Catholic or Baptist. In this country that would be labeled as racist but in a country like Iraq we label it Sectarian.

Through the line of Generals that have eased in and out of the green zone there have been little success and more bodies than any one relief agency can count from a Human Rights standpoint. That echo I mentioned earlier is heard in the streets and playgrounds of the United States where more and more John Walker Lindh's are being recruited by the rhetoric of extremist evangelical groups who prey on the very same qualities a pedophile will look for and in some cases the evangelical will eventually turn out to be one in the same.

When you bear in mind that often times we are fighting those that we have armed and trained you can make the example of a nation like Iraq coming to the United States. Sending in arms and training to a gang like the Bowery Boys, could the Iraqi's have made a difference in Tammany Hall or the Know Nothing Party? Could the Iraqi's have played a role in shaping this relatively new country?

Could it be that we the citizens of the United States have been interred inside of our own Abu Ghraib since we invaded? To quote the film Mindwalk, "Is this some sort of Saint Vitus Dance of the mind?" Is this incapacitating and deadly condition our men and women are serving in just a delirium? The Nemesis of terror cannot be defined because you can't throw your arms around a ghost and explode a device, especially if you don't look for him.

I saw the best minds of my generation every night on CNN being shot and wounded. Their families shaken with fear crowded around the same channel hoping for a glimpse or am email to to see if they are still alive. It's just like when I was a child on the news with Walter Cronkite, except then it was Vietnam, a jungle war, but in this war the jungle is street to street not tunnel to tunnel. This is the time to speak up and not because it is a campaign year but because it is a time of lives being lost. Lives of civilians, which include children never forget. Never, ever forget.

- Chris Mansel 1/25/07

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