Sunday, July 06, 2014

Truest statement of the week

On Sept. 1, 2010, Vice President Biden was in Baghdad for the change-of-command ceremony that would see the departure of Gen. Ray Odierno and the arrival of Gen. Lloyd Austin as commander of U.S. forces. That night, at a dinner at the ambassador’s residence that included Biden, his staff, the generals and senior embassy officials, I made a brief but impassioned argument against Maliki and for the need to respect the constitutional process. But the vice president said Maliki was the only option. Indeed, the following month he would tell top U.S. officials, “I’ll bet you my vice presidency Maliki will extend the SOFA,” referring to the status-of-forces agreement that would allow U.S. troops to remain in Iraq past 2011.

-- Ali Khedery,  "Why we stuck with Maliki -- and lost Iraq" (Washington Post).

Truest statement of the week II

In a meeting in Baghdad with a Petraeus-hosted delegation of Council on Foreign Relations members shortly after the 2010 elections, Maliki insisted that the vote had been rigged by the United States, Britain, the United Nations and Saudi Arabia. As we shuffled out of the prime minister’s suite, one stunned executive, the father of an American Marine, turned to me and asked, “American troops are dying to keep that son of a b---- in power?”

-- Ali Khedery, "Why we stuck with Maliki -- and lost Iraq" (Washington Post).

A note to our readers

Hey --

Another Sunday.  And look how early we are!  We've never been this early since our first year all those years ago.

First up, we thank all who participated this edition which includes Dallas and the following:

The Third Estate Sunday Review's Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess and Ava,
Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude,
Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man,
C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review,
Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills),
Mike of Mikey Likes It!,
Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz),
Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix,
Ruth of Ruth's Report,
Wally of The Daily Jot,
Trina of Trina's Kitchen,
Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends,
Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts,
and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub.


And what did we come up with?

Ali Khedery.
And Ali Khedery.  (Yes, he got both truest.)
It's amazing how little care and concern there is about the lies Barack's told about Iraq.
Ava and C.I. hate this.  They wrote it.  This is our summer fiction edition.  In the past, the rule has been, they can go creative or just do a regular TV piece.  They wanted regular.  And I (Jim) asked them, begged them to go creative.  I happen to love this.  They hate it.  Decided for yourself.
I love this.  I love our 'book cover,' I love it all.  It's funny.  Ava and C.I. brought the basic frame of this to the edition.  We knew we'd be able to pull something off this week just from the basics of this piece.

Marcia came with the plot to this story.  It's Sci-fi which she loves.  We had fun writing this.  Dona wanted the image to repeat -- the same image -- throughout.  I didn't get it but I do now that I see it published. 
Tom Hayden, the Anus Nin of his time.  This is one of the parody pieces we wrote and I'm sure it will go over well.
Betty asked who wanted to work on a poem and she went off with a group to work on this.

This is basically a video game as I assume many will grasp.  I was playing this game during a break and Ava and C.I. shouted, "We're busting our ass on a piece we don't want to write and you're playing video games?"  Everything in this story is in the video game.
Halle Berry's new show starts this week.
What we listened to.
I had no idea we'd sworn off the summer edition until Jess told me we had and we'd posted that last summer.  I forgot.  If you've forgotten the point of this, it's like the point of the site, DIY.  We were part of that movement that's now pretty much dead.  And our point was to spend one summer edition writing fiction.  It didn't have to be great (and it's not), it just had to be an honest DIY effort.

Mike and the gang wrote this and we thank them for it.

This edition took forever to write.  I'm amazed we finished it.  I do understand now why we said last summer would be our last summer edition.

See you next week.


-- Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava and C.I.

Editorial: Yeah, Barack lied again (and again)


Around 300 is what US President Barack Obama said.

Around 300 US troops would be sent to Iraq.

And they'd be non-combat troops.

Apparently the gang from F-Troop was still around and Barack would be sending them to Iraq.

How quickly the lies became obvious.

Around 300?

At the Pentagon last Tuesday, Rear Adm John Kirby gave a press briefing and went through the Iraq numbers:

I want to walk you through sort of what we're doing here and how. So we'll start going through time, but it's important as we go through this that I -- I clearly delineate there are two separate and distinct mission sets, the troops that are being sent to Iraq. First one is security assistance, and the second one is assessment teams and the joint operations center. This is the advisory -- eventually what will become the advisory mission, two distinct tracks here.
So the first order was the on the 16th of June for 270 -- actually, it was up to 275, is what the War Powers Resolution letter said, but roughly 270 is what we ordered up inside the military channels. A hundred and seventy of them got on the ground that same day -- actually, as you know, they kind of flowed in a little bit before the war powers letter went to Congress. So back then, we had a total of 270 authorized, 170 in country.
Next slide. The second order, the second War Powers Resolution letter went on the 26th of June. That authorized up to 300 advise and assess troops, advisers. And on the 27th of June, 180 had been in country. That's -- so you have 90 supporting the joint operations center in Baghdad and another 90 that comprised our assessment and advise teams. That brought the total to 570 authorized, but 350 actually on the ground. Everybody tracking on this so far? I figured if I use slides, I won't get the math wrong.
Next slide. The third order came on the 30th of June yesterday. That was for an additional 200 in the security assistance mission, separate and distinct from the assessment mission, an additional 200, and all 200 of them are now in and around Baghdad.
Additionally, you'll see the 100 up there in the top under the first order. Remember, the first order on the 16th of June was up to 275, but 270 is what we ordered. And we didn't put them all in country. You might remember, we told you that we were going to leave 100 of them or so outside the country in case they needed to be put in. We did put them in yesterday. So that other 100 came from the first order on the 16th of June.
And then so all that comes down to the bottom there, a total of 770 authorized, 650 on the ground. And that's where we are right now. Okay?

Around 300?  There's already twice that amount on the ground.

As for non-combat?

Thursday, at the Pentagon, General Martin Dempsey, the Chair of the Joint Chiefs, was asked if US troops in Iraq might end up engaged in "direct action"?  He replied,  "We may get to that point if our national interests drive us there; if ISIL becomes such a threat to the homeland that -- that the president of the United States, with our advice, decides that we have to take direct action. I'm just suggesting to you we're not there yet."

Dempsey also stated, "We haven't made -- right now as we sit here, the advisers are categorically not involved in combat operations. They're literally assessing. That's their task. If the assessment comes back and reveals that it would be beneficial to this effort and to our national security interests to put the advisers in a different role, I will first consult with the secretary. We will consult with the president. We'll provide that option and we'll move ahead. But that's where we are today."

So 'non-combat,' such as it is, isn't a concrete promise from Barack after all.

Craig Whitlock (Washington Post) and Lolita C. Baldor (AP) could report reality.

Tom Hayden?

The old sloppy, floppy disc, stretched out and worn out?

Tom Hayden couldn't say a word.

We're used to that from the old whore.

Check our archives.

In March 2008, we were calling Barack out when Samantha Power told the BBC Barack's 'promise' to the American people to pull all US troops out of Iraq within 16 months of being sworn in wasn't really a promise.

Tom Hayden called it out too.

Months and months later.

July in fact.

For one day, the old sloppy, floppy disc that you could drive a Buick into was upset for one day.

And whining about what Power had said in March.

So maybe next November we'll see Tom Hayden covering (briefly) what we have now.

You need to understand, with his poor health, advanced age and heavy drinking, it's not easy for the old floppy to get around quickly.

TV: Overt Affairs

Some live for recap.  Some get lost in it.  We just  move forward and supply what's needed as it's needed.

Annie Walker didn't spend a lot of time on the farm.  Neither did we but we had common sense while Annie was pulled from the farm and tossed in the field just because of who she'd slept with.

It made sense, in its own stupid way.   Annie's the type of woman who will claim to be a natural blond -- and bask in the claim being repeated -- while never grasping that once the Toms River High School North photos get published (thank you, Life & Style magazine), that little lie will be exposed.

Annie has so many lies.

Her entire life -- not just her hair color -- is, in fact a lie.

Right now, she's trying to continue as a spy despite a heart condition she's failed to disclose to the CIA and despite the fact that the head of a mercenary contractor corporation knows about her heart condition.

Some people just aren't made for spying.

We thought about that last week as we went on our mission.

Unlike Annie Walker, our cover didn't include going down to Venezuela to terrorize Muslims (again, she's not very bright) or pretending we were there to get breast implants.

Unlike Annie Walker, we also don't fly-by-the-seat-of-our-pants.  We realize that's the sort of thing you leave to a Julia Roberts movie.  When you have an actual mission, you do recon.

Our recon informed us that Campps Americana was popular with both General Martin Dempsey (Chair of the Joint-Chiefs) and Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel.  We further learned that Dempsey preferred the Walnut Crusted Chicken while Hagel enjoyed the Bourbon Salmon.

So we were all set to 'enhance' their lunch July 3rd right before they held their joint-press conference.

The group we work for believes the American people have a right to know.

That's how we reconnected with Annie, in fact.

We'd been asked to infiltrate the CIA's Domestic Protection Division because, if something went wrong, our bosses wanted to be sure our mission hadn't been for naught.  If things went screwy and we got taken out, they wanted to be sure it could be blamed on the CIA.

The first thing we noticed as we grabbed our desks in DPD was just how sexist the division was.  It was so bad that our joining up had doubled the number of women in the division.  Yes, other than us it was just Annie and Joan Campbell who'd been a power player at some point, heading the division, but was now reduced to glorified office manager.  She couldn't get you a new assignment but she could get you a stapler or pair of scissors from the locked supply closet.

While Joan and Calder Michaels spent every day sparring, we focused on an elaborate scheme whereby we took over Campps Americana with a team of others.

As a cover story, we told Joan our operation's target was Fidel Castro, that he'd be in town July 3rd and we'd need to assemble a small team.

Joan looked genuinely happy as she explained she'd worked on a good portion of the CIA's 638 previous attempts on the former Cuban leader's life and she was just pleased to know that the CIA hadn't given up, even at this late date, on taking out Castro.

However, Joan made clear that the most she could spare for our team was Auggie Anderson, so we dropped to a much smaller scale operation.  We'd be waitresses and dope the food when they arrived for lunch Thursday, July 3rd.

The drug we'd be using?  Clonazepam.  75 mg for each man should do the trick.  It would produce confusion and euphoria putting Hagel and Demsey just where we wanted for the press conference.

See, US President Barack Obama has been sending hundreds of US troops into Iraq over the last weeks.  He's stated to the American people that these troops will not be combat troops.

And a gullible country swallowed that nonsense -- as if the Green Berets were trained in both combat and hospital candy striping and the group Barack was sending would be working the children's ward, delivering crosswords and jumbles.

We knew better and we knew the Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Secretary of Defense had to know what's what as well.

So drugging them before their afternoon press conference on Iraq seemed the best way to get the information out to the American people.

Things were going smoothly up until the point Auggie started hitting on us.  It wasn't even flattering.  We'd seen him flirt with two different women from outside the division in our first two days.  He was trying really hard to pretend he was over Annie when it was so clear that he wasn't over her and probably never would be.

We found it puzzling.  She was a frothy creation when she emerged on the scene -- even pretty except for that greenish tint in her bleached blond hair.  But that was many years ago and the years -- and her hair dresser -- had not been kind.  The smiling optimist had been replaced by a secretive scold who was forever down in the dumps.  Even her wardrobe looked borrowed from Ally Sheedy's Breakfast Club character.

Auggie was pining over Annie.  As we've already explained, she wanted to bully some Muslims -- something the CIA always approves of -- so she'd gone to Venezuela -- in part because she's just not very bright.  From there, she was calling Auggie constantly, using their past relationship to get various favors while pretending  they had a strictly business relationship now.

Considering all the problems Joan and her husband Arthur had caused the agency, we found it telling that no one objected to former lovers Annie and Auggie working together.

Then again, considering a crook, John Brennan, now heads the CIA despite his role in torture and extraordinary rendition. it's not like ethics are overflowing at the CIA.

We did see dowdy and dumpy Fran, the old whore for the CIA.  She worked in countries where she was considered a blond (just like Annie!) because her hair was light brown.  She was also considered attractive -- in those third world countries.

In the US, she couldn't have bought a cup of coffee selling her tired and worn out goods.

But, with a Ford Foundation cover, Fran spread her legs all over Indonesia, Pakistan, Jakarta, India and elsewhere -- she did it for country, you understand.

We were surprised to see her because she spends most of her time today pretending to be part of the left --  a visionary, even --  all the while taking notes on various left figures which then turns over to her former (or is that 'former') bosses at the CIA.

Grasping that she'd out us in an instant, we dashed out of the office, taking great care to ensure she didn't see us.

It was for the best because any information that makes it into Langley is either useless due to being out of date or due to being distorted.

In an out of the way coffee shop was where we'd learn that the afternoon press conference had been switched to Thursday morning.

We'd get a slightly less than 18 hour lead on that.

Screw elaborate plans, we'll just drug their morning coffees.

Which we do Thursday morning about 57 minutes before they go into the press conference.

It was obvious the drug was kicking in as Martin Dempsey began to get silly, "So the questions get more and more complex as we go. [. . .]  Yeah, I know you haven't. Well, you know, it's impossible to wrestle the podium away from John Kirby."

While Dempsey was cracking up in public, Hagel had a deathly smile on his face and a vacant expression as though he were watching Finn and Jake on Adventure Time.

While Hagel zoned out, the telling exchange took place.

Q: Mr. Secretary, you said the advisers would not be involved in combat. General Dempsey, you have raised the possibility that those advisers could be used as forward air controllers in the event that you called in air strikes, which I think most people would regard as being involved in combat. So, which is it on that?
And second, you mentioned that the Iraqis, to go on the offensive, would most likely to need help in logistics, which sounds like a prescription for sending in more U.S. advisers, troops, opening up supply depots. Is that on the table?

GEN. DEMPSEY: You know, there's a tendency to think of this as kind of industrial-strength, you know, where we're going to put a mountain of supplies someplace, and then that's going to require us to protect it, and then we've got to move it forward into the hands of the Iraqis to ensure that they use it and use it responsibly and effectively.
And that's -- that's obviously one possibility, but it's not one that personally I think the situation demands. I think the situation demands first and foremost that the Iraqi political system find a way to separate the Sunnis who have partnered now with ISIL, because they have zero confidence in the ability of Iraq's politicians to govern.
If you can separate those groups, then the problem becomes manageable and understandable and allows us to be in a position to enable Iraq, not with a huge industrial-strength effort, but rather with the special skills, leadership and niche capabilities that we possess uniquely. And there's no daylight between what an adviser will do.

  We haven't made -- right now as we sit here, the advisers are categorically not involved in combat operations. They're literally assessing. That's their task. If the assessment comes back and reveals that it would be beneficial to this effort and to our national security interests to put the advisers in a different role, I will first consult with the secretary. We will consult with the president. We'll provide that option and we'll move ahead. But that's where we are today.

That's what we'd been waiting for.  That's what we'd been hoping for.

Barack's claim of the troops not doing "combat operations"?  His June 19th declaration that, "American forces will not be returning to combat in Iraq, but we will help Iraqis as they take the fight to terrorists who threaten the Iraqi people, the region, and American interests as well"?  The Joint Chiefs of Staff had just made clear that all options were on the table and if the advisors felt the best move would be US forces in combat, then Dempsey would gladly address that with Hagel and with Barack.

We hurried back to Langley where Auggie was on the phone with Annie, giving her information on a Muslim woman, on what the woman had been Googling and other information Annie could use to strong-arm and intimidate the woman.

She'd snidely put down the woman, declaring, "I know, right now, this must seem like the most exciting thing that's ever happened in your life."

Then she'd be spilling secrets to a mercenary who'd tell her, "Everyone's entitled to a secret or two, right?"

Apparently so.

Provided you worked for the US government as an employee or contracted labor.

Otherwise, you weren't a person, you were a pawn to be used, to be blackmailed or bullied.

Everyone had a target painted on their back by the CIA.

Not really all that shocking.  Hadn't that, after all, been the real point of NSA whistle-blower Ed Snowden's revelations?

What surprised us was that Annie's Covert Affairs still hadn't been shut down.

She'd physically become as ugly as the shenanigans she and her co-workers attempted to white-wash. In 2010, she was a frothy confection, a cup cake.  These days, she's tired, stale and likely to cause vomiting and/or diarrhea.

The summer's self-help book

As so many begin to realize Barack Obama is just another corporatist War Hawk and grow disenchanted, Peggy Noonan shows up with the summer's self-help book How To Stop Loving That Man.  Using her usual mixture of personal stories and shoddy research, Peggy explains how you can walk away from a political crush.  This is the second chapter of her new book.


Sure things seem tough but there are tougher moments.  Take it from me, the Honey Boo Boo of the 90s,  there are tougher moments.

Admitting the orgiastic moments are over really is a first and easy step. Especially compared to all the heartache and pain that awaits.

Sure, kids today in The Cult of St. Barack think they invented something new.

They didn't.

We were worshiping George Dubs from the moment he swaggered across the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln and drooling over that mounded package while Barack Obama was still dreaming of one day becoming a US senator.

It was years later when I grasped that if you put tight straps on either side of any small object, the tightening will make it protrude.

Obama might be able to pull of something similar -- even in his Mom jeans.

And before George Dubs there was Abe Lincoln himself who campaigned shaking his impressive rail splitter and with the slogan, "Come up and see me sometime."

The key here is to remember that you are in a political marriage.

This candidate showed up and caught your eye while promising so much.

And when the fireworks no longer go off, when the passion has fled, you should as well.

As the noblewoman and avant-garde artiste Kim Kardashian once put it, "My decision to end my marriage was such a risk to lose ratings and lose my fan base.  I had to take that risk for my inner peace and to be happy with myself."

Because it's one thing to be trapped in a bad real life marriage but why be trapped in a bad political marriage?

Ditch that man, ditch him.

That's the great thing about this country, every four years we have a presidential election.

I can almost be faithful for four years.

Well, I can almost pay attention for four years, anyway.

Okay, more like two.

 But I can fake it for one so that adds up to three.

That's good enough because the fourth year is all about selecting the new man.

After the great HW and his thousand points, I flirted at length with Bob Dole, George Dubs, John McCain and Mitt Romney.

Heck, for one drunken night in July of 2007, I flirted with Dennis Kucinich after mistaking him for Ron Paul


It's all about hormones, as Thomas Hobbes explained in Leviathan as he outlined the social contract theory.

If there's anything I've learned from my many years of writing social commentary and political analysis, it's that Hobbes was correct, it is all about hormones.

We vote on hormones, we feed on hormones, we live on hormones.

And we always need that new rush.

Obama's tired and you deserve better.

And you will find it once you are willing to admit that it's over.

You need to be firm but loving with yourself.  Remember that it was Socrates who first popularized the phrase, "Did I do that?"

The really good thing about making this decision in 2014 is that it gives you all of 2015 to get in better shape.  (See my third chapter  "Fiscal Restraints and Bondage, Tighter Thighs and Autoerotic Asphyxia.")

While all the others come off like a herd of Monica Lewinskys, you'll be the Jennifer Fitzgerald of the bunch.

The deal too good to be true

Ben Scott grinned madly as he carried the last of his belongings out of the ratty corner home across from campus, stuffed the belongings in the trunk of his Lotus Sport 240 and hopped behind the wheel.

Life was good, damn good.

Six months ago, he was on academic probation, struggling in every class, a social loser living in dump that could have been called a flop house in the thirties when it was new and spiffy.

Today it was little more than a bed bug breeder and every tenant knew the sorry electrical wiring might mean they return after class only to learn the whole place burned down.


His former neighbors were stuck there but he was moving out.

He was moving on.

Osmosis:  Learning Doesn't Have To Be Hard.

That's what the business card he found in a study cubicle in the library basement said.

Osmosis: Learning Doesn't Have To Be Hard.

He called the number on the card -- mainly because he had no other options.

A man answered.  A man with a deep, velvety voice.  He explained he had an office on the opposite side of campus, behind his home.

Ben attempted to raise the issue of cost but the man dismissed him.

The way Ginger, the hot redhead, had dismissed him.

Now he was headed off to a condo, his condo.

Life had gotten better.

And it really wasn't that hard.

Not hard at all.

Like the card said.


Osmoso was a man whose skin the sun seemed never to have touched.

A man whose deep set, blue-black eyes grabbed you, pulled you in, commanded you.


Riches would flow to Ben.

And he didn't have to open his wallet.

It was that way at the new condo too.  No sooner had he carried his belongings into the unfurnished space then couches, chairs, all the necessary items began to show up.

And Ben showered and shaved then sauntered into the bedroom sleek and wet wearing a towel.

He gave his newly muscled bod a lingering once over in the full-length mirror as he spiked the hair on his head with hair product.  Then gave a look of dismay.

Osmoso lounged across the water bed, studying his protege.

He raised an eyebrow in question as Ben looked at him via the mirror.

"Thing is," Ben explained, "Ginger said all of her other boyfriends had chest hair."

Osmoso twitched his lips and a forest of hair fanned out across Ben's previously smooth pecs.

"Nice," nodded Ben as he tugged on a few strands while staring at his chest in the mirror.


Osmoso made things happen.

Like the tutoring.

It was so easy.

Sitting across from Osmoso, Ben had just suddenly known things, suddenly understood courses which had previously confused him.

And the cost?

There was no negotiation, no figures dickered over.

Ben just suddenly knew the man wanted to hear "yes."

Yes, for everything.

Yes, to everything.

In exchange for what he wanted, yes, he would give up something as unnecessary and unneeded as a soul.

"I will have what I want."

That is the reply Ben felt after he gave Osmoso his "yes."

"Yes," Ben had thought, "I will have what I want."

And he did.

He was acing classes, he was left a condo by a stranger he'd never met, his old boss had not only accepted his resignation but given him the Lotos Sport as a going away gift.

And Ginger?

Just as he'd sprouted hair across his chest today, he'd sprouted four inches earlier because he knew Ginger loved tall men and his sunken chest and thin arms had swelled and swollen leaving him big and beefy.


"You're so good to me," Ginger said, taking the flowers from Ben and kissing him on the cheek.

"Why are you so good to me?" she wondered.

Ben just laughed.

A deep throaty laugh.

And, thanks to the gifts of Osmoso, this counted as foreplay.

They were quickly on her bed.

He was in her, pumping away, sweat soaking their bodies, moans filling the room, her fingernails scratching his down his back, up his butt cheeks.

He was so close . . .

He grabbed her face with both hands and planted a kiss.

His hands slid down the sides of her face to her neck.

He began choking.

She looked startled.

He felt a chill running down his spine.

His hands tightened around her neck.

He shook his head "no" and tried to pull his hands away.

He couldn't.

Ginger was making choking sounds and beating her hands against him.

His grip just tightened

"No!" Ben screamed as he was unable to stop choking and as Ginger's eyes bulged.

He kept screaming.

While she died.

After she died.


When the police arrived, after a disturbing the peace call over the noisy screaming, Ben was found still naked, still on top of her and his hands still gripped around Ginger's neck.

They told him to remove his hands.

He said he couldn't.

Between the two of them, the officers pulled him off Ginger.

He was tossed his pair of boxers, he was put in cuffs, he was put in the back of the car, he was finger printed and had his mug shot only to then be tossed in a cell.

He'd kept screaming "no" throughout most of it.

Finally, the "no" became a whispered cry.

Then there was nothing but silence.

Around four in the morning, outside his cell, Osmoso appeared.

Osmoso was here!

Osmoso would fix everything.

The way he always did.

"I will have what I want."

Ben knew that.  He'd heard it.  And now, thanks to Osmoso, Ben would have what he wanted and what he wanted most of all was to be free.

"Free to do what?"  Osmoso asked him, eyes twinkling.  "Free to leave?  For you will leave."

Ben felt confused which only made a grin spread across Osmoso's face.  As the lips twitched, Ben saw the bars on the cell wiggle and then vanish.

He wanted to step out, to step to freedom.  But he was immobilized, unable to move his feet or any other part of his body.

His eyes were locked with Osmoso's eyes.

"Did you think you got all you wanted because you deserved it?"  Osmoso asked in a mocking voice.  "Because you were special?  You got what you wanted because I wanted it."

Osmoso's eyes began to glow and an orange glint appeared in the corners.

Black wings sprouted on Osmoso's shoulders.

"I am the demon who feeds on the euphoria of dreams and desires."


Already stunned by Osmoso sprouting wings, Ben gasped as Osmoso's hands became claws.

"You were so close to all you wanted and the rush was to be mine."

The middle finger -- or what would have been fingers -- the middle claw on each of Osmoso's hands had a pronounced dagger-like claw.

Ben tried to scream, tried to force a scream.

But no sound would come forth.

Osmoso claws came closer.

"When you heard 'I will have what I want,' you heard me, not yourself."

Osmoso's claws began ripping into Ben's chest, tearing off first the hairy skin, then removing organs.

Two hours later, a guard would pass by Ben's cell and discover what appeared to be a de-boned carcass rotting on the floor.

The Diaries of Tom Hayden

In the 20th century, Tom Hayden was briefly a celebrity.  By the 21st century, he was a nobody. Following his 2019 death at a men's group meeting on how to tap out your ex-wives (his refusal to yield to others in the circle led them to bludgeon him to death with various phallic devices), it was discovered that Tom Hayden had been a life long diarist.  Below, we provide excerpts from Diary IV: The Dildo Homilies -- a volume best described as Manscaping For Those Too Lazy To Try.

November 3, 2008
Dear Diary,

Last night I dreamt a horse race.  In one lane was an old, white nag, destined for the glue factory.  It's name was McCaine.  In the other lane, a sleek and shiny black horse named Obama.  I rode this horse.  I was the jockey.  I dug my heels into Obama's side and yelled at the top of my lungs, "Oh-bama! Oh-bama!"  I bounced up and down as Oh-bama took the lead and maintained it.  When Oh-bama crossed the finish line, I woke up gasping, covered in sweat and other things.  I have not had a wet dream since a concert during the year of our country's bicentennial.  When Hall and Oates sang "Sarah Smile," I lost it.   I felt like that when Oh-bama crossed the finish line.
I hope this is a sign.  Dear Lord Che, please let it be a sign.

February 5, 2009
Dear Diary,
I have been far too busy to write of late.
Most of January was spent making purchases for the end of the month.  I bought my Obama commemorative platters, my commemorative t-shirt, poster and BVDs.  The BVDs are so cute!!!! On the back, next to a little elephant, is says "Kiss it."  :D  I just love them and wish I could show them off.  Of course, the last half of the month was me watching the inauguration.  First live, then over and over.  I Tivoed it.  A part of me wishes I had been invited but then I would not have had my vivid dreams of the various balls.  I was a hit at every one in my dreams.  I was repeatedly asked to dance and told how smart I looked in my new Billie Jean King hair do.  I did look smart.  Yes, they are only dreams but I was looking good.
My joy was interrupted by this gift.


It came in a box and I don't remember ordering it.  My first thought was: Dick Goodwin!
He's always been such a prankster and such a drunk.  I haven't seen Dick in years.  The last time we were together we got into a bitter argument over who was the bigger drunk.  I insisted I was.  Doris tried to smooth it over by suggesting that, historically, President Ulysses S. Grant could probably outdrink us both.  I was in a particularly nasty mood so I shot back, "Oh, good one, Doris! Who'd you rip off for that insight?  Lynne McTaggart or Hank Searl?"  Well Doris never could take a joke so it was no surprise that she and Dick stormed out.
And now this gift.
I didn't want to be rude, so when I saw it had a wall mount feature I put it in the shower.  Figured I could hang a towel on it or something.  I'm calling it "The Obama."

February 11, 2009
Dear Diary,
I was doing an interview with People You Forgot And Why magazine.  I thought it was going very well.  And then the reporter needed to use the bathroom.  He came out with a curious look on his face, grabbed his iPhone and went back to the bathroom.  Then he left.  I walked out after him saying I had scheduled a full hour for him. "That won't be necessary," he replied, "I have everything I need."
I don't get it.
Did I fart during the interview?

Febrary 22, 2009
Dear Diary,
I am hopping mad and pissed.  I made the cover of People You Forgot And Why -- but the article is all about my bathroom.  Here, let me quote the article:

Why does Tom Hayden, former radical and part-time astrologist, have a dildo in his bathroom?  Specifically, why does he have one mounted on the shower wall?  And does he have a name for it?

Of course I do.   And if he'd bothered to ask me, he would known that.
Instead, the article is a vile and tawdry look at rumors of my past affairs, attempting to hook me up even going so far as to suggest I had a three-way with Bayard Rustin and Langston Hughes. Please. Those two couldn't stand each other.  I had to see them both on the sly.  A three-way would have been soooooooooooo much easier, soooooooooooooooooo much easier.

February 25, 2009.
Dear Diary,
Everyone has seen the cover of this week's People You Forgot And Why.  My phone won't stop ringing.  It's so bad that even I'm starting to get sick of my ring tone (Falco's "Der Kommissar").  I am loving the attention and thinking this could finally be my comeback.  I've even dusted off my notes for The Port Hueneme Statement -- my long planned sequel to The Port Huron Statement. And if it's a success, I could do additional Port statements, be sort of the Anthony Bourdain of the semi-political set, you know?
But I've got to get rid of the dildo.  Everyone asks.  Every phone call brings it up.

March 19, 2009
Dear Diary,
It's true what they say.  If you name an animal, you will keep it.  So if you find a stray, don't name it while you look for its rightful owner.
I learned that the hard way.
For weeks, I tried to get rid of the dildo.  I'd grip it firmly in my left hand, lightly running my thumb along the glans, and prepared to pull it off the shower wall.
But then I couldn't bring myself to do it.
Not to The Obama.
If only I hadn't named it.
If only.

April 7, 2009
Dear Diary,
I am consumed by The Obama.
I go into the shower at regular intervals throughout the day to ask The Obama what I should do. Sometimes, I'm already in the bathroom.  But I'll still seek out the wisdom of The Obama.
"Oh Great and Might Obama," I will says, "please tell me, should I flush or leave it be?"
Some days, I feel it feeds me an answer.
Most days, I feel it mocks me.
Staring back at me in silence with it's single eye, it mocks me.
It is at those moments that I sob, "Yes, yes!  I am a Tom Hayden Democrat!"
And, knowing I repulse The Obama, I feel strangely turned on.

May 14, 2009
Dear Diary,
I dreamt last night that I was riding The Oh-Bama.
We were in a meadow and I was gripping The Oh-Bama tightly as he whinnied and threw his head back.  I then slipped off his sweaty back.  From the ground, I looked up and saw The Oh-Bama aim a hoof at my chest.  Repeatedly, he struck me.
I moaned.
I groaned.
I shivered.
And I shrunk and continued shrinking as I called out his name.
I awoke in the shower, my butt cheeks parted, The Obama firmly inside me.
And I had only one question: What did my dream mean?







Where is stupid Sven?

With a mortar, you grind your potion.

"They say he's been trying to get in touch with the Dark Brotherhood."

You grab some cabbage soup.

"Hey, wanna play tag?"

Some glow dust.

"I don't buy fancy clothes, but you look like you might."

Some honeycomb.

"It's good to see a fresh face.  You wouldn't have happened to have come from Whiterun?"

Some lavender and nightshade.

"Don't forget me next time you need herbs and potions."

Thistle branch and slaughterfish egg.

"Oh well. Thanks anyway, I suppose."

Tundra cotton.

"Drink for the thirsty, food for the hungry."

For dragons, power equals truth.

"Great.  Get back to me when you're done and I'll give you something for your time."

Mud crab.

"The Divine saved me from the streets."

Gormlaith Golden-Hilt.

"Cross the bridge at your own peril and the gate will not open.  You shall not gain entry."


Halle Berry's TV show Extant debuts Wednesday night on CBS.

This edition's playlist

joanna newsom

1) Joanna Newsom's Have One On Me.

2) Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon.

3) Judy Henske and Jerry Yester's Farewell Alderbaran.

4) Free Design's Kites Are Fun.

5) Tori Amos' Boys for Pele.

6) Manic Street Preachers' This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours.

7) Animal Collective's Centipede HZ.

8) Prince's Around The World In A Day.

9) Judy Collins' In My Life.

10) The Jimi Hendrix Experience's Are You Experienced?

The Summer Read Edition

Yes, it's back.


The summer read edition.

Where we offer attempts at good writing and bad writing.

Most of us had forgotten last summer's edition:

Specifically, most had forgotten that we had announced we were done with the summer edition.

2013 was awful.  The worst ever.

But we're back.

With another summer read edition.

For those who'd like to look at previous editions, we'll note them below.  In all these years, we think we've probably done enough to pull together one solid edition.  Not great, but solid.

The June 26, 2005 edition was our first summer read. Those who worked on that edition were:

Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess and Ava of The Third Estate Sunday Review;
Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude;
Betty of Thomas Friedman is a Great Man;
Kat of Kat's Korner;
and C.I. of The Common Ills

You can also be sure Dallas worked on it as well. The short story content was:

A Fractured Life (the Wally Lamb style book) K-Boy Tries To Get Back Home (a horrific parable) The Gleeful Boy (the Sue Miller type read) Summer poetry: "Filling the Well" Peek (the summer page turner) Kooky Cokie Roberts offers up advice

and rounding out that summer read edition:

Five Books, Five Minutes, Editorial: Mainstream Press Do Your Homework on the pre-invasion bombings and TV Review OC: The arm pit of body wash operettas

The June 4, 2006 edition was our second summer read. Working on that edition (along with Dallas) were:

The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Jess, Ty, Ava and Jim;
Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude;
Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man;
C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review;
Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills);
Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix;
Mike of Mikey Likes It!;
Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz;
and Wally of The Daily Jot.

The fiction offered:

Song of the War Hawks Super Laura?
Once upon a time there were plenty of Baby Dumbasses
Sherman's Story
From a diary found in the Mayflower Hotel
The ones we never know
TV: TESR Investigates

June 24, 2007 was our third edition. Along with Dallas, the following helped:

The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Jess, Ty, Ava and Jim,
Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude,
Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man,
C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review,
Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills),
Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix,
Mike of Mikey Likes It!,
Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz,
and Wally of The Daily Jot

And we produced:

TV: Hidden Yawns
Base Is Hell
The Tired Tryst
The Asbury Park Murder
Creation Theory
Samantha Power Between Her Knees
Cut The Fat! Newt Takes It Off!

June 22, 2008 was our fourth edition and along with Dallas, the following worked on it:

The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Jess, Ty, Ava and Jim,
Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude,
Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man,
C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review,
Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills),
Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix,
Mike of Mikey Likes It!,
Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz,
Ruth of Ruth's Report,
Wally of The Daily Jot,

And our summer reads included:

TV: Breaking what?
New York Times, Early Edition
The non-whistle blower
Bee-bees and cockle bugs

June 21, 2009 was our summer read last year, worked on by Dallas and:

The Third Estate Sunday Review's Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess, and Ava,
Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude,
Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man,
C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review,
Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills),
Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix,
Mike of Mikey Likes It!,
Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz,
Ann who's filling in for Ruth at Ruth's Report,
Wally of The Daily Jot,
and Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends.

And our efforts were:

TV: Fiction

The curse

Hey there! Marilyn Monroe is using Twitter.

Clooney's Dark Secrets

Summer reads

The Dumb Ass Hour every Saturday morning

The wedding day

The house

The literary ranter

In summer 2011, the following worked on the July 17th edition:

The Third Estate Sunday Review's Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess and Ava,
Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude,
Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man,
C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review,
Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills),
Mike of Mikey Likes It!,
Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz),
Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix,
Ruth of Ruth's Report,
Wally of The Daily Jot,
Trina of Trina's Kitchen,
Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends,
Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts,
and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub.

 And we came up with:

In the summer of 2012, the following worked on the edition (the following plus Dallas):

The Third Estate Sunday Review's Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess and Ava,
Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude,
Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man,
C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review,
Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills),
Mike of Mikey Likes It!,
Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz),
Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix,
Ruth of Ruth's Report,
Wally of The Daily Jot,
Trina of Trina's Kitchen,
Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends,
Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts,
and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub.

And the edition included:


This piece is written by Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude, Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix, Kat of Kat's Korner, Betty of Thomas Friedman is a Great Man, Mike of Mikey Likes It!, Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz, Ruth of Ruth's Report, Marcia of SICKOFITRADLZ, Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends, Ann of Ann's Mega Dub, Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts and Wally of The Daily Jot. Unless otherwise noted, we picked all highlights.

Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Barack Explore..." -- Isaiah on Barack's decision to be a bear in the gay community.

"Tammy," "A movie plea,"  "Begin Again," "Maleficent," "A film," "Begin Again," "Tammy" and "Paul Mazursky passes away" -- Stan, Betty, Ruth, Elaine and Trina go to the movies.

"Reading assignment for Joel Wing and other nut jobs," "and f**k you, tom hayden," "The idiot Chris Hill,"Joe Biden, another politician of broken promises,"  "Barack's betrayal of Iraq," "Barack backed Nouri, remember that," "As C.I. told you, Barack is prepping for possible combat in Iraq "Despot Nouri," "Thug Nouri," "Why does the press whore?," "kurds and the krg,"  "Even more troops into Iraq" and "Iraq" -- Iraq coverage in the community. 

"Pig boy Barack" and "THIS JUST IN! BARRY O'S WAR ON WOMEN!" -- fair wages.

"Son of a Bush" -- Isaiah dips into the archives.

"A few thoughs on Hillary," "Hillary's chances don't look good to me," "Hillary and Benghazi" and "The greed of Hillary" -- Ruth, Ann and Kat look at the 'front runner.'

"Mistresses (Karen gets a pick up)," "Some thoughts on True Blood," "salem and community" and "Meshach Taylor" -- Rebecca, Stan, Ruth, Marcia and Ann cover TV. 

"Why I hate fan bois and girls" -- Mike's post on those who gush over Glenn but ignore Ed.
"The bloom is off the rose, Barack" -- Betty on Barack.
"A special investigator is needed" and "IRS scandal" -- Marcia on the IRS scandal.

"Jewel and privacy" and "Diana Ross" -- Kat and Betty cover music.

"Barry O takes it hard!" and "THIS JUST IN! HE'S THE WORST!" -- The American people have spoken.

"Ivan Eland's Outrageous Statements" -- Ann calls it out.
"US involvement in Pinochet crimes" -- Trina on a court verdict.


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