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Member since: Tue Jul 10, 2012, 05:40 AM
Number of posts: 532

About Me

I write a blog of dark humor - Goblinbooks.com

Journal Archives

Dick Cheney: American Songwriter

How can u just leave me standing?
Alone in a world that's so cold?
Maybe I'm just 2 demanding.
Maybe I'm just like my father, 2 bold.
Maybe you're just like my mother.
She's never satisfied.
Why do we scream at each other?
This is what it sounds like
When doves cry.

Very few people realize these words were written about the Ford administration.

Their author, a 39 year-old Congressman from Wyoming, scribbled them down on a napkin in a DC-area bar as he reminisced about his time serving as White House Chief of Staff during the political turmoil of the Nixon pardon and the race against Jimmy Carter. A young musician from Minneapolis, MN would reach out to this statesman in the years that followed. Richard B. Cheney would find his talent nurtured in the company of people like Sheila E., Morris Day, and Carmen Electra. And his words would touch a generation. Most people know Cheney as the Secretary of Defense, and for his later work in subsequent presidential administrations. They don't appreciate him as a musical force, a hitmaker, an artist of depth and power.

"That guy just blows me out of the water," says London-area composer Elvis Costello. "He's written for everyone. I mean, everyone. He's done country. He has worked with classical acts. I'm pretty good. But Cheney's balls are just bigger than mine. There's nothing he wouldn't do."

Indeed, in a career as rich and varied as Cheney's he's found plenty of opportunity to showcase his nerve and audacity. Some of his songs have become controversial, even infamous. And he's attracted the attention of those in power.

"Tipper tried to shut him down for years," says Al Gore in an exclusive interview at his Antarctic biodome. "She just knew he was the guy behind some of the filthiest stuff out there. Shit, 2 Live Crew never wrote a single one of their songs. That was all stuff Dick was writing under an assumed name back during the first Bush administration."

"They say 'Sugar Walls' was really about Lynne," Gore adds, "but that's just a rumor. And quite frankly, I'd rather not think about it."

"Don't get me wrong," music fan and political staffer Paul Wolfowitz says. "He did soulful, romantic songs as well. I actually think he had too much talent to be going dirty like that. It was a gimmick from his earlier career. The real Dick Cheney waits out the grunge movement and reappears in the mid-1990's. He works at Halliburton and collaborates with Radiohead on Pablo Honey. That was what he really wanted to do. That and screwing Saddam out of the Kuwaiti oil we promised him."

Much of his catalog, is of course, a closely-guarded secret. Many artists who have worked with him are coy about his involvement.

"I'm not going to shit you and say Cheney had nothing to do with it," says Thom Yorke, about the creative process that went into Honey. "But it's easy to just say he was everywhere during that time, you know? He's like a fuckin' bogeyman. Everyone sees him in everywhere. But no one can do that much."

"I disagree. I completely disagree," Ryan Schreiber of Pitchfork says flatly when told of Thom Yorke's assessment. "If you look at the songs we know Dick Cheney produced during that time they consistently garnered commercial and critical success. We've given him at least seven ratings of 9.5 or more. Cheney's the real thing. Yorke's probably pissed off people are realizing he did some of the band's best work."

"You know what 'Stop Whispering' was called before Cheney got to it?" he adds. "It was called 'Feelin' Dandy.'"

"Dude is an artistic chameleon," adds Rick Rubin, a longtime Cheney supporter, who also produces music. "That's why people doubt how wide his influence is. You don't think the same guy who writes Benatar's 'We Belong' and dedicates it to Ronald Reagan can turn around, gather a group of Jennifer Love Hewitt's session musicians and transform them into The National."

"He does something behind the scenes, it changes the whole world, and you don't realize it was him until years later. Pure Cheney."

He's just as famous -- or perhaps notorious -- for the small private concerts he's given over the years, showcasing his own work.

"His riders were crazy," remembers one club owner. "Thumbprint scanners, guards from Xe everywhere, and no one could be in the building without a background check. Only Mariah Carey was that paranoid about human rights groups."

But this, like many other aspects of the reclusive artists life, is unconfirmed. Cheney himself declined an interview request with a terse statement through his lawyer. We'll let the man have the last words:

"My work speaks for itself."

NOTE: Read "I'll Either Shoot Myself In The Face Or Take Some Computer Classes"

We're Not Destroying Your Privacy. We're Just Holding It For You.

There's been a lot of crazy talk out there. Maybe it's got you concerned. We understand that: These new revelations about the NSA violating the law sure seem troubling. Even the head of that secret court that's supposed to keep them in check is worried they're out of control.

Deep down, you know we're spying on you. The only thing you don't know is how bad it is.

Well, stop worrying, okay? Your government values your privacy more than ever before. We are not going to destroy it. We're just going to hold it for you.

And believe us, right now we really need that stuff.

In 21st century America, privacy has become one of our most precious natural resources. That's why every time you lose some of it, be certain countless federal employees are working to collect it and squirrel it away so it can be used.


Emergency Broadcast

This is a test. This is only a test. In the event of an actual emergency people in authority would be lying to you right now. They would be giving you incomplete, inconsistent, probably useless, and possibly dangerous instructions. They would be telling you to wait for aid that isn't coming. They'd claim to know the proper escape routes, the path of the hurricane, flood, or fire; or the next move of the terrorist organization which has so far eluded them. They'd claim to be prepared. Above all they would be telling you to trust your survival to the very people responsible for this life-threatening situation.

If this had been an actual emergency you would see infrastructure collapsing and teams of first responders with inadequate equipment and ineffective training die in an effort to save you. They would be supplemented by mediocre bureaucrats, incompetent political appointees, and contractors who delivered the lowest bid. Extreme chaos and a string of needless tragedies would be guaranteed. Disasters would feed on each other -- the attack causing the blackout causing the accidents which cause the looting which leads to more accidents, deaths and injuries. Any large, complicated system which has not been the subject of at least one scathing documentary or congressional hearing would disintegrate as soon as you relied upon it. You could count on discovering new and exciting -- very exciting -- flaws in our nation's streets, electrical grid, building codes, and emergency procedures. If this had been an actual emergency you would probably not survive.

Your death would cause very few people to lose their jobs or to be otherwise inconvenienced. Those who did would then acquire book deals and appear on talk shows, where they would shamelessly pretend to be blameless, or even more shamelessly pretend to feel crushed with guilt and responsibility. Journalists, politicians, and government contractors would receive promotions, bonuses, and lucrative projects because of your death. They would then help modify the system which failed to prevent or outright caused the terrible calamity which ended your life. This new system would then guarantee the next disaster, a larger disaster, which would expand opportunities for them and their kind even more. No one ever gets a book deal or a promotion or an invitation to a talk show for preventing the preventable, but there are innumerable chances for advancement for someone who made a great speech or shot a gripping bit of video afterwards.

If this had been an actual emergency you yourself might have felt some kind of guilty excitement as it started. That would be the product of seeing too many movies and TV shows where people survived terribly dramatic ordeals.

And of course this phenomenon might be both cause and effect of a system that obviously feeds on disaster itself.

But even you, soon to be dead in the center of all of this, wouldn’t ever learn.

A Message From The President About Tomorrow's Terrorist Attack

My fellow Americans:

As you probably know, intelligence indicates the high probability of a mass-casualty terrorist attack on the US homeland tomorrow morning. Your government is working tirelessly to mitigate loss of life. While we can't share the location of the event with you, rest assured we have gathered a great deal of useful information.

In addition, we are almost certain about the identity of the militants behind this attack. Unfortunately, they are members of a Classified Terrorist Organization we are currently fighting, whose identity must be withheld, because it is an enemy combatant in an ongoing US intervention, whose nature, purpose, and force composition have been declared state secrets.

I wish I could tell you more. I really do.

Here's what I can reveal:

At approximately 10:05 AM tomorrow morning, following the initial strike by these criminals, I will declare a state of emergency throughout the affected metro-area, followed by a security assessment of the surrounding region. We will support all fire and safety personnel in their heroic task. By early afternoon, I will have issued a statement and taken appropriate steps to retaliate and insure domestic security. Both houses of Congress have already passed a classified resolution authorizing these measures, and the Supreme Branch of the Foreign Intelligence and Surveillance Court has affirmed it on a provisional basis.

You may be asked to stay indoors and avoid communicating by phone or internet for several days. A week at most. It's for your safety.

Naturally, our thoughts are with tomorrow's victims, and with the brave members of our military and security forces, who do a difficult and dangerous job -- more difficult and dangerous than many of you realize.

You do know this, however:

In secret locations all over the world, they are defending our liberty.

Of Course Fox News Is Bad For Christianity

Obviously Fox News is terrible for this country. Obviously it's a disgrace even to the elaborate grift that is television journalism. Yes, it encourages every xenophobic, bigoted, and anti-intellectual impulse among the less bethumbed of our citizenry. It showcases the talents of Ann Coulter, whose charm is like that of a praying mantis stuck to a windshield. It features Sean Hannity, who always looks as if he's just about to cause a fraternity hazing death. It's completely uncontroversial to say it is one of the nastier cultural transgressions of a man who has much to answer for - an execrable and sociopathic plutocrat with the skin of a lizard and a voice like the suffering of children.

And the network is, let us never ever forget, largely responsible for Glenn Beck.

But it's also important to point out - whether you wish that religion well or ill - Fox News is a great enemy of Christianity. You've no doubt already heard about the above clip - the ugly Muslim-baiting Lauren Green attempts while interviewing Reza Aslan about his biography of Jesus Christ. Green embarrasses herself, as all who work for that company inevitably must, in her efforts to disparage Islam. But she manages to profoundly slander Christianity as well. She suggests very stridently that people who are not of the faith have no business critiquing Jesus. That academics who happen to be non-Christian don't have the right to focus their attention on his life. Nothing could be worse for this church than for people like her to gain influence. Nothing.

The day that Muslims, Jews, atheists, and agnostics stop talking about Jesus is the day that Christianity itself shrivels. Whether you believe he is God or not, it is a mark of his power that historians and philosophers of all backgrounds are still arguing over him and the astonishing things he said. Many of them criticize him and doubt the religious traditions surrounding him? That means he remains relevant.

By contrast, Lauren Green and her employer want to turn Jesus into L. Ron Hubbard. The sort of cheap cult leader whose memory can rally the faithful for political or commercial gain. But someone who just doesn't matter to the wider world. They do much to pander to the particularly ovine of the Nazarene's church.

But they are no friends of it.


Hi, I'm That Syrian War That's Going To Kill Thousands Of Americans

Can you believe the news? Wild stuff happening in that New York race. It's insane that Weiner is still running! WTF people! And why is his wife with him, anyway? I mean, can we please talk about that?

The other thing, obviously, is how good Kate's looking. She walks out of that hospital like she's ready for a photo shoot. I know she's rich, and she has a staff - but that can't be easy at all. I really like her.

Me? Oh, don't mind me. I'm just that Syrian conflict that's going to kill a few thousand US troops. Don't worry about it. I'm not really news yet. I won't probably be news any time during this administration, actually. Right now, all the president is doing is arming some rebels. You figure we launched some covert actions with the kind of special forces that don't officially exist - I mean, big whoop. It's not like we're really involved.

This is the part where we go for a decade or so, gradually escalating the involvement in some country we don't care about, and not talking about it. We'll set up a no-fly zone, maybe send some advisors. Every once in a blue, you'll see some article in the Christian Science Monitor or one of those newspapers you wouldn't read on a dare. Our spies and special operators will be killing people and blowing up stuff on the sly, of course - I mean, more and more of our foreign policy seems to be completely classified, making it easier to have these kinds of secret wars without Wolf Blitzer getting anywhere near this crap. And each president will be boxed in by all the little steps the last guy took which seemed reasonable at the time. Iraq took a decade to boil over like that. Vietnam spent even longer simmering away on low. The point is, it's not going to be real news until it ramps up enough so that a president has to give that speech and drop a couple hundred thousand guys in green on the problem. That's going to be a couple of elections from now, okay?


A Man With A Gun Just Wants To Ask You Some Questions


Is there something I can help you with? You look lost. I don't recognize you from around here.

No, I'm not a cop or anything. I'm just an ordinary citizen trying to look out for his neighbors. I like to drive these streets at night and make sure everything's okay. I do regular patrols, observe people, ask questions. That's the way you keep a neighborhood safe. I wish more people did this. What are you doing out this late anyway? You have some kind of ID on you?

No, you don't have to answer that. Heck, you don't have to talk to me at all. But why not? You've got nothing to hide, right? I'm only trying to make sure we don't get robbed. I'm only trying to be a good citizen. Where are you from?

A lot of crime out there. And the police can't control it anymore. Too many rules about what they can and can't do. Too many controls. They need to take the restraints off them, if they want results. I tried to be a cop once, but it's crazy what they have to go through. That's why I'm happy doing what I do now. Just an ordinary guy on my own. No one to answer to. Nothing but this scanner, a cell phone, and a 9mm handgun for company.

It's a great country for guys like me. People let you be yourself, you know? I get a real kick out of being out here. Doing my part. Prowling around in the dark and making sure everything looks just the way it should. Just like I want it.

You never told me your name. What's your name?


This Internship Is Teaching Me All About Not Making Money!

Lucky? Yeah, I think so. Look, I landed a spot as an intern at one of the top media companies in the country. This place is introducing me to a whole new world of not making money.

The workload is intense, and they're very demanding here. The editors have incredibly high standards, and not every unpaid worker is ready to meet them. Most give up within a couple of days.

"This is not just a job - this is a passion," my supervisor told me. "This is for people who live to be in the new world of media. They don't mind working late to be the first to post on a major story. They don't mind lying about their age to stay on their parents' health insurance. Maybe even collecting some cans on weekends."

"This is also not just a job, because we're not paying you," he added. And I can't sleep in the room with the coffee pot, or steal condiment packets - they've had a problem with that, and they're cracking down.

I never forgot those lessons. They inspired me to throw myself into this. And when the company cut a third of the staff, it totally paid off. They gave me new responsibilities - writing, editing, finding content we can run for free, and finding new ways we can use Kickstarter. And the benefits are pretty solid. I have internet and access to social media practically all the time. It's mandatory, actually, but that's fine with me, because I don't have anything else to do. Plus, we get a lot of music, movies, and gift baskets, unless the owner sees something he wants. Most importantly, I'm gaining real world skills - interviewing techniques, line editing, different ways to cook ramen, and basic food service for when the owner caters at his home in Connecticut.


America: The Andy Kaufman Of Nations

America is not a nation founded on an idea. America is a nation founded on the idea that America is a nation founded on an idea.

A simpler way to say this: America is a nation founded on a prank.

A prank that went way, way too far.

More than two hundred years ago, a group of some of the richest, most powerful people gathered in Philadelphia to address a little spat over taxes that they were having with another, similar group of people with almost identical privileges. And in the course of these very human events, as this thoroughly unlikeable group was compiling a list of grievances, they happened to make some ridiculous claims: About how all men are created equal, and that they have rights - inalienable rights, mind you. And that states derive their power from citizens and not the other way around.

They didn't mean it. Not really. How could they - the kind of people they were - how could they have meant any of that?

Of course it was a joke. You can almost hear them snickering malevolently as they wrote those words. Would the Crown, would the English, would anyone at all actually be stupid enough to take them seriously?

The rest of American history is a story of that prank unfolding like an elaborate Andy Kaufman bit. No one in the audience believes what's happening, but the performers refuse to break character. And the only way to keep it going is to follow these stupid, ridiculous statements to their logical conclusion. All men are created equal? Yes. Even if they're our enemies? Our slaves? Our outsiders? What if they're women? What if they're the kind of people who've been denied respect by us? Denied rights for so long it seems like just to acknowledge the injustice would be cultural suicide?

Yes and yes. The humor comes from the performers stumbling around, trying to do the impossible and failing miserably, trying to hide their failings and failing at that, but never stopping until they've torn down everything on the stage. Everything they counted on. The basis for all their power and influence and comfort. The humor comes from the fact that anyone can use this formula to attack us... to demand their rights, to demand justice. The only proper response is to let them.


"Drop Dead, NSA" By Nathan Hale

The reason the title is funny is I am literally about to do just that. Ha! Okay, these limeys have to get on with my neck extension, so I'm going to keep this brief.

This Independence Day, while you NSA employees and other members of the intelligence community are relaxing on your patios with a cool drink and some munchies... I hope you think of me, your patron saint. And then I hope you all choke on your friggin' hot dogs and code out, you losers.

People have already pointed out how many of you are betraying this country. I'd like to add that you're also betraying everything US spies are supposed to stand for as well. You ought to be ashamed of yourselves.

Remember the ugly days of the Cold War? Remember how they did nasty stuff, and we did nasty stuff, and there was a point when people really wondered how we could call ourselves the good guys? What was the only thing that made you feel better? That made it clear? The Securitate. The KGB. The Stasi. The other side were the bad guys, because they had creepy secret police agencies which targeted their own people. I'm sure you're going to say that those guys were worse. How would any American citizen know that? How do you even know that? Everything is classified, the top officials lie to Congress, they lie to the American people, and when they don't lie, they release information through carefully controlled leaks to friendly journalists, so no one knows the information they're missing. And when some real solid truth gets through, you go after the leaker and pretend that leaks aren't something you do all the time. I haven't even mentioned hiring retired generals to go on news programs and engage in propaganda efforts. Or letting politicians use you to sell bad wars to the public.

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