Sunday, June 28, 2009

Do the Wrong Thing: My experience watching Spike Lee's "Do the Right Thing"

Michiana--It was twenty years ago this summer that I first saw Spike Lee's "Do the Right Thing" at a local theater. At the time, I was a pretty big fan of his film, "She's Gotta Have It" (1986), which miraculously came to a local theater, and it was projected in its original 16mm format, a rarity!

I never got to see "School Daze" (1988), it never came to South Bend, and that's probably a good thing since it sucks and doesn't hold-up very well.

Now, it wasn't as though I thought Lee was a racially progressive director by any stretch of the imagination, but it wasn't yet clear that he was (and I assume still is) a dyed-in-the-wool bigot, possibly even a racist. I'm sure that he still is a borderline racist, but he has bills to pay, so he's shut his big mouth about it over the years and that's good since the largest proportion of his audience is white (as opposed to Tyler Perry).

I went to see Do the Right Thing at a theater I'd seen more than a few great films at, including another one dealing with race titled "Mississippi Burning," and it was a very unique experience indeed. There was an old black couple there who had most definitely lived through the horrors of Jim Crow, the lynchings, the terror of white hate, and all the rest, because in the first lynching they could no longer take it and had to leave. The wounds were still very deep indeed in the late-1980s and it had been less than twenty years since the Civil Rights era as we know it had ended. Talk of the Vietnam War was still common as well, and it was equally contentious.

And so, 1989 rolled-into-place and I was finally going to get to see another "Spike Lee Joint" (a phrasing I still find stupid). I was excited, and the movie didn't disappoint...until the ending. OK, it was bad enough that Lee sloppily copped the "good hand," "bad hand" metaphor from Charles Laughton's "Night of the Hunter" (1956)--that was pretty close to plaigiarism. And the bigotry of several of the black characters was certainly offensive, with much of it going either unpunished or without much or any comment at all. That wasn't Spike Lee's greatest sin, but it was equally as intellectually dishonest as the ending.

1989 was the very end of the Koch era in NYC, and the allegations of police brutality at that time were flying. Many of them were reasonable. As is often the case, one specific incident is usually enough to spark protests, even riots, in NYC's boroughs, and it's safe to assume that police brutality is an ongoing phenomena not only in the Big Apple, but throughout America at any given political moment. Towards the ending of the film, Lee portrays a choke-hold death that actually occurred in Brooklyn not long before it was written and produced, it's a horror to watch, and it's as ugly as it should be--no arguments here.

The problem rests with the fact that his character "Mookie" (played by Lee himself, the author & director of the film) then decides to throw a garbage can through the window of his employer's Pizza joint because he's thinks they're to blame for the entire mess when they clearly are not within his own narrative. Not only is this wrong, it's dishonest and poor craftsmanship, bad writing.

The reaction by my fellow moviegoers who happened to be African-American was resounding: they cheered-him-on. But it gets worse. A number of young black kids kept milling around as the credits rolled, giving me the evil eye. It gets even worse from there. Outside of the theater, in broad daylight, several of them made motions that they were going to move on me and commit an act of violence. It was clear that they had been emboldened by the message of the film, and there's no excuse for this. To put it bluntly, I looked at them with a stance of, "If you touch me, I'm going to seriously hurt you," and it worked...but barely.

These kids were simply wrong. I had been scapegoated as a child by our educational system and was swept into the same shoddy classes as the black kids. Lee suggested by his act in Do the Right Thing that indiscriminate, racially-based attacks on others in retaliation for acts in-kind by others was and is preposterous, and those kids took his cue.

I know what it's like to be discriminated against, you bet.

AP: "TV pitchman Billy Mays found dead at Florida home"

WWWhy--You know...who really gives-a-shit?
Now we hear that he got hit in the head in a minor incident involving a bad landing on a airliner in his home state of Florida. I would have assumed that Mays died because his head imploded or exploded from yelling so loud...

Why Just Her, by Montgomery Blair Sibley (review)

A s anyone can imagine, it’s difficult reviewing a book about an event that one was a part of, and especially one in which the main protagonist has died, but fellow participant and former counsel Montgomery Blair Sibley’s book offers a certain degree of closure in the matter of one Deborah Jeane Palfrey (dubbed the “DC Madam” by the mainstream press). Finding a coherent narrative in this tangled-mess was a difficult task, as I can attest to it myself. Palfrey was an enigmatic figure on the national stage from roughly late March 2007 until her untimely death by suicide on May 1, 2008, less than a month after she was found guilty of racketeering charges related to running a prostitution ring in the Washington D.C area from her Vallejo home. This isn’t to say that Sibley’s book is the final word (no book can be that) on the subject, but it’s a good start. There are questions to this story that will never be answered, and not merely because Jeane is no longer with us.
Sibley was very close indeed to the flames and brings us all (myself included) a viable and constructive narrative of what he witnessed and his interpretation of it as the longest serving counsel to Deborah Jeane Palfrey, now forever branded by a puritan media as the “DC Madam.” A great deal has been written about Montgomery Blair Sibley’s behavior inside and outside of the DC Madam scandal and the courts, and while I’ve only corresponded with him via email and spoken with him on the phone a few times, I’ve never felt truly misled by him outside of an attorney’s duties to a defendant or that his behavior or tone were bizarre.
I became a part of this narrative from the first week of June 2007 until very shortly before Palfrey’s death, and was brought into it by the main protagonist herself. Like many historical events, most participants involved only experienced a small-part of the story; but for a few, there was more than just a sliver and they bore witness to more of an event than any other single player. Sibley is the latter. The fact of the matter is: Montgomery Blair Sibley was there from almost the very beginning from October 2006, shortly after Palfrey’s home was raided by USPS inspectors and investigators from the Treasury Department, until very close to the bitter end. To be sure, Palfrey was guilty-as-charged, and whether anyone likes it or not, Mr. Sibley has seized the narrative de facto by being the first to document it in book form. Only time will tell us how solid his version of events is, as with any historical accounting.
Many of Sibley’s detractors in the press and the legal profession are in for a bit of a surprise (outside of their own prejudices, possibly earned by Sibley and his late client for various reasons). Yet, by all appearances, this is a solid primary historical document containing what Sibley feels he experienced representing Palfrey; what the information in his possession means; and what the case itself means within our general and political culture. If he’s wrong anywhere in his version of the narrative, it’s likely that any mistakes or omissions were accidental or simply beyond Sibley’s control and were unintentional. It should be noted here that many materials related to the legal proceedings are still under seal, if not classified under national security statutes. Also worth noting is that this isn’t just about Palfrey, but about the author himself.
To be sure, there is an advantage that comes out of proximity, and the Sibley’s self-deprecation is both refreshing and forthcoming in ways that go well beyond most “what happened” books of this type.
From the point-of-view of this participant, he seems to “get” the hypocrisy of the charges leveled against Palfrey within a very large judicial context, and I applaud him for it. The DC Madam’s former legal counselor notes ably how little justice is to be had for just about any criminal defendant at the federal level and places Palfrey appropriately within that very context in fairly graphic detail. As he accurately states in the text, over 90% of federal criminal defendants plea out, which should tell you something about the prospects for victory for nearly anyone accused of violating federal statutes.
But Sibley had bigger problems than simply taking on the District of Columbia’s prosecution team under the Bush/Gonzalez interim-appointed U.S. Attorney, Jeffrey A. Taylor, an eleventh hour appointment at that. The “lawyer with a good name” had a client who was part of that 10% that would never, under any circumstances, capitulate to a plea deal.
Palfrey told this writer in our first telephone conversation in early June 2007 of two very good plea deals (reported in much less detail by ABC in their May 20/20 special featuring Palfrey for scant few minutes):
…I would not take their offers. …The best offer I think we had was about a year total of jail time—about maybe half of that in a halfway house, about half of that in a prison…maybe four months in a halfway house, maybe four months in a prison. They would take 2/3d’s of my—uh—life savings. That was the best offer possible. I basically told them to go screw themselves….to go to hell. Now, when that last offer came down, that’s when they indicted me. [i]
Ask anyone, and they’ll tell you (even Sibley, though we might disagree on this and several other points) that those were extremely generous plea deals, better than the average. What was she thinking? What else? She was thinking about the money—her overall assets--and the fact that she was going back to jail, and that’s about it.
This writer can attest to Palfrey having a tendency towards making irrational demands of others (I rejected my share of them) and acting in ways that could only have hurt her. In other words, it’s my humble opinion that she was disturbed and that it was a long-term condition of some sort that was exacerbated by her legal ordeal. When it began, I cannot say, but it appears to have been present as early as 1991-1992 in the aftermath of her first conviction and incarceration. There is little reason to think that either the Court or the prosecution were unaware of this fact at any stage in the proceedings. This begs-the-question as to why there was no intervention to assess whether the defendant was a threat to herself.
Why Just Her is generally silent on this issue for what we can assume are very serious legal reasons of procedure, and likely more.
The origins for Palfrey’s irrational behavior have been widely speculated on. Taking the overall picture that Sibley paints of the DC Madam’s state of mind during the legal proceedings for what they are and were, it’s hard not to conclude that the defendant Deborah Jeane Palfrey was not merely unhinged by the charges against her, but that she had ongoing mental problems that were probably with her for the entirety of her short life. This jibes perfectly with my contact with her, which was generally through a few telephone calls and a very long correspondence via-email. Sibley reveals some of this mental state to us through some rather extraordinary emails between others (including myself) and Palfrey, court filings, transcripts, anecdotes, and so on. He astutely notes from Palfrey’s autopsy report that she had high levels of Zolpidem in her bloodstream and corroborates this himself that he believes she was abusing it during her legal battle.
From the toxicological report done for the Pinellas County Forensic Laboratory:
2483B Zolpidem, Blood…
Analysis by Gas Chromatography (GC)
Synonym(s): Ambien®
Peak plasma concentration following single oral 5 and 10 mg doses: 29 – 113 ng/mL (mean = 59 ng/mL) and 58 – 272 ng/mL (mean 121 ng/mL), respectively occurring at a mean time of 1.6 hours [before death]. [ii]
Sibley accurately states in his account that Palfrey took an overdose of generic Ambien roughly two hours before her death, so he’s not shaping the facts and his reading of this and other specific public documents appear to be on solid ground.
As a layman, I cannot comment to his interpretation of the laws and statutes invoked in Palfrey’s case. That’s what attorneys and judges are for. All that being said, I don’t think he was able to discuss the theme of suicide very expansively in Why Just Her because of court procedures regarding sealed documents as well as the Palfrey Estate’s invoking of attorney-client privilege over the last year. Some of these issues will probably be resolved before the end of 2009 (or not), but Sibley does drop a few bombshells:
Blanche subsequently told me that after writing the three notes on April 25, 2008, and taking an unknown quantity of [Z]olpidem, Jeane was unconscious for 30 hours. Upon waking up, she drove her [Jeane] to Blanche’s mobile home in Tarpon Springs, Florida. …Though conspiracy theories quickly populated the internet, the hard evidence was simply too overwhelming to permit any conclusion other than Jeane had taken her own life. [iii]
As evinced by the number of attorney firings (not including the then-recent U.S. Attorney firing scandal that brought Jeffrey A. Taylor into the equation) by Palfrey over the course of events, Montgomery Blair Sibley and the rest of her representation had their hands full. I don’t expect that either A.J. Kramer or Preston Burton will be writing their accounts anytime soon--if ever--and their reasons probably run-the-gamut. I can relate. They all had a nightmare client on their hands, possibly the worst kind one could represent in a criminal/civil case, and Sibley has represented some real “doosie” clients like Obama accuser Larry Sinclair in the aftermath, so it’s saying something. Sinclair was probably like a vacation compared to Jeane.
Palfrey was that impossible client who lied most of the time and kept her cards close-to-the-vest, as this book documents throughout, and therefore, there can never truly be a full portrait of who she was and what she did running Pamela Martin & Associates, generally unmolested for thirteen years within the greater Washington D.C. area. In many ways, she will remain an enigma. Such are the obstacles to all historical portraits, even when they’re coming from those who had a lot of contact with the subject, but Sibley does an exceptional job in reconstructing the timeline as well as his and Palfrey’s general state of mind over the course of her prolonged legal proceedings. People accused of criminal acts have their secrets and their reasons for harboring them, and Palfrey was no exception to this tendency.
Like everyone in this life, Palfrey took some of her secrets to the grave. But there are a few glaring mysteries including how much money she actually made over the years which contradict her and the government’s assertions, and there is smoke. For example, Sibley notes a very serious problem in the cross-examination by AUSA for the prosecution, Daniel Butler, at trial regarding the testimony of IRS agent Troy Burrus. Statements were made that pulled-back the veil, and the only explanation this writer can find is incredible incompetence. In short, they accidentally charged Palfrey with under-reporting her income at trial rather than beforehand. This is a major procedural error in any criminal trial.
But no worries, the presiding judge had their back in the end. A reasonable outcome would have been a mistrial, but Judge Robertson was no Judge Kessler (who was replaced in a predawn raid without explanation), and anything but reasonable. This exchange occurred during Palfrey’s trial on April 9, 2008:
…22 Q. Does Ms. Palfrey's return show gross receipts or net
23 receipts?
24 A. It shows gross receipts.
25 Q. And where does it show that?
1 A. On line one, under part one for the income, it shows the
2 gross receipts.
3 Q. And what is gross receipts, just to make sure?
4 A. Gross receipts in this instance would be all the income that
5 was received by the business during that year.
6 Q. So that would include Ms. Palfrey as well as her employees.
7 Is that correct?
8 A. Actually, it should include the monies that she actually
9 received, that was sent to her.
10 Q. And did you compare the tax returns to the bank records for
11 Ms. Palfrey?
12 A. Yes.
13 Q. And what did that show?
14 A. The comparison of the bank records for this year, 2002, show
15 that there was a greater amount of gross receipts than was
16 reported on this line.
17 MR. BURTON: Can we approach, Your Honor?
18 THE COURT: Yes.
20 MR. BURTON [Palfrey’s criminal counsel at trial]: I don't know where this is going.
21 MR. BUTLER: I'm not going to any tax discrepancy, or
22 anything to that effect.
23 THE COURT [Former FISA Judge James Robertson who resigned from the Court in December 2005 when the NSA’s warrantless wiretapping program was exposed]: You just saddled her with basically what is
24 false reporting.
25 MR. BUTLER: Well, I don't think it's gone that far.
1 yet, Your Honor. I'm not going any further with this line of
2 inquiry.
3 THE COURT: Well, now you've put the defense in the
4 position where they have to respond to this. How are they going
5 to do that?
6 MR. BUTLER: Well, Your Honor, that was not the intent
7 of my question, but I appreciate what the Court is saying.
8 THE COURT: What was the intent of the question?
9 MR. BUTLER: My intent of the question, Your Honor, was
10 directed at the gross receipts that were deposited into this and
11 comparing it with the bank records that we have. It was a
12 poorly phrased question. That's all I can say about it. I
13 don't know anything more than that.
14 THE COURT: Well, where are you going next?
15 MR. BUTLER: Your Honor, I'm going next with -- can I
16 just have a moment, Your Honor?
17 Your Honor, there's another chart in terms of -- I just
18 need to grab it, just to answer the question more explicitly, if
19 I can have a moment.
20 THE COURT: How much more do you have with this guy?
21 MR. BUTLER: Not very much at all, Your Honor.
22 MS. CONNELLY: I think there's a bunch more documents.
23 MR. BUTLER: Well, there's other documents we need to
24 admit through him, yes.
25 THE COURT: Can he come back in the morning? [iv.]
Palfrey’s final criminal counsel merely went through the motions, and weakly called for a mistrial, which Robertson rejected immediately. Burton didn’t press the issue, which was typical of this defense strategy during the trial. It appears that his defense wasn’t especially zealous. Yet, critics of Sibley would be hard-pressed in saying he didn’t represent Palfrey zealously enough--if anything it might have bordered on the overzealous (whatever that means), and I believe he did his best to save her from herself, including attempts to bring her suicidal behavior to the attention of the Court, and possibly even that of the prosecution.
But, again, I believe that he and they are not legally able to discuss or write about such things for procedural reasons.
This is the first place to start for the average person in beginning to understand a very convoluted and chimerical scandal that was inherently political. It is an honest effort at understanding what happened from someone who was intimately involved in it and it offers about as sincere a perspective as you’re going to get from someone in such a position. The press’s coverage of this event was superficial, lacking in substance, and even went so far as to intentionally obscure very important issues, never mind the real ones at hand in it. In other words, they missed the real stories, the core issues. That’s not very hard to believe given the state of investigative journalism these days.
That the prosecution was engaged in gross misbehavior is a given. That the Court failed to administer reasonable due process at trial is open to interpretation, but why then was Judge Kessler so abruptly removed and replaced by former FISA court Judge James Robertson if there really were no national security issues to the case? They’re not telling, but Montgomery Blair Sibley is, and as much as he’s allowed to under the law. That speaks volumes, and resoundingly.

[i] Phone conversation with the author, June 10, 2007.
[ii] “Toxicology Report,” NMS Labs, Work order 08165556, Palfrey, Deborah Jeane, May 31, 2008.
[iii] Sibley, Montgomery Blair, Why Just Her. (Full Court Press, 2009) P.581.
[iv] United States v. Deborah Palfrey, “TRANSCRIPT OF TRIAL RECORD VOLUME 3,” “Criminal No. 07-0046,” April 9, 2008.

Friday, June 26, 2009

AP: "Jackson death was twittered, texted and Facebooked"

WWW/NYC--My, my, my...where to begin? I'm trying to understand why in this day and age it's necessary for everyone to tell each other what's going to come their way inevitably, especially by word-of-mouth. All your new-fashioned applications and flashing-lights are frightening to this American primitive, and lately, I've been seeing colored-dots without the usual chemical refreshments, causing anxieties over whether I'm epileptic or not.

In addition, we now seem to have three--count them, three--new verbs added to the English-lexicon, and nobody, I mean nobody, consulted Oxford University. The gall (Google it).

But it gets worse: Michael Jackson actually died many years ago and his brain was cryogenically-frozen and stored at a Yoyodyne Propulsion Systems complex so that future generations could listen to banal droning coming from a cybernetic being other than a Philip K. Dick Cheney or a Walt Disney. Hey, they needed something to blot-out the news coming out of the Middle East, and women with large, fake breasts weren't cutting it anymore...

Where were you when Kennedy died? Fuck that man--pfft!--Jacko died, and through the magic of technology we never asked for or needed, we could find out that it was so just moments after the LAPD's announcement--faster than microwaving a pizza, and just about as satisfying.

But wait, it's not all bells-and-whistles, and quit annoying me, asshole:

"Once you knew the news, there wasn't so much more to know - the rest is all comment," said media critic Jeff Jarvis. So, he said, maybe you'd go to your friends instead of the news: "You might care more what your friends say than some analyst."

Jarvis himself tweeted the moment he heard of the death: He noted that Iran's spiritual leader should be grateful to Jackson because the story wiped Iran off the day's news agenda.

"That was re-tweeted a lot," Jarvis said.

("Jackson death was twittered, texted and Facebooked," AP, 06.27.2009)
Thanks Mr. Jarvis! Wow! Empathy is great, don't get me wrong, but we're making a generation of twittering "Otakus" ( おたく/オタク) which is Japanese for dorks who are a storehouse of worthless data and information (people who never, ever, get laid, like me).

Are there any Otakus out there who are political junkies? That seems impossible considering the qualifiers. Now spit.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Hollywood must die (soon come!): "Dahmer vs. Gacy (2010)

Hollywoodland--In our new economy, you just have to roll with the punches, kicks-to-the-genitals, and all the other body-blows that the consolidated mainstream media are going to ignore, therefore, making it go away.

But this was a new one on me: there is a movie in production with the aforementioned title, Dahmer vs. Gacy, no B.S.

In our new "Big Top communities" (tent cities--GOP elephants too!), we'll all be able to watch (speak for yourself) bootlegged DVDs of this movie that will surely make Ed Wood smile from his little nook in Hell.

At first I considered that this was one of the famous and most recent rulings (like her great ruling in Freddy vs. Jason several years ago, along with Alien vs. Predator) by Supreme Court nominee, Federal Judge Sonia Sotomayor, believe me when I write this. After all, our justice system is telling us that they can detect a crime before it happens when someone's Middle Eastern, but that didn't fit...or did it?

Calling Dr. Alex Jones! And so, as we move ahead into uncharted history, these rulings will be crucial in determining whether we should have Sotomayor as a Supreme Court Justice--well, that and whether she's menstruating or being human in another way and tripping and fracturing her ankle. I know, a bourgeois hoot!

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

"Radical Pirate Chic," a satire by an effete who wears ice cream colored suits (Matt Janovic)

“Queenie” was the first to saunter onto the aft deck, stepping insouciantly over the bodies of food and drink servers, piles of banned-in-the-USA flintlock AK-47s, broken unbreakable combs, and Bam-Bam’s toys. Her moves were getting the boys in the crew pretty hot, and they weren’t even over-hyped gangster rappers. The atmosphere was assuredly sultry, that was for sure. The armed Somalis running all over the place had boarded The Fountainhead several hundred miles off of the coast of Yemen, beating a flotilla of Babary Coast pirates to their quarry. Normally, it was “hands-up,” but something was amiss with the passengers of this particular vessel.

“Really, do any of you pirates have air-conditioning? I mean—really—it’s unacceptably balmy here in…where the hell are we? Who’s got a map? Not that I could find where we are on it, “exhaled the washed-up diva. Her face had seen better days, and so had her career, but she still had the gams and she was loaded in every sense. Perhaps this pirate fundraiser could get her more exposure in the mainstream media, she pondered. How that was going to happen off the coast of Somalia was anyone’s guess.

A teenage Somalia pirate angrily pointed his assault rifle at her and started yelling at the top of his lungs. Where were the canapés?! No, this GOP fundraiser wasn’t going as planned, let alone according to schedule, but at least the collapse of the voting base was still coming in on time (these were hard times for issue-baiters). If they couldn’t politically demonize these pirates, maybe they could bore them to death, or even join them. It seemed redundant. Who was responsible for this mess? Who did the booking? Who could they scapegoat when the usual victims were pointing guns at them without a nigger-beating cop or a gullible and bigoted public for thousands of miles?

Had Karl Rove planned it, or was it Bebe Rebozo? Nobody knew who Bebe Rebozo was, so it didn’t matter. A Republican junket had gone off-the-rails again (and again, and again…), and they were all looking like the ruthless, scurvy dogs they always were. At least they could glean their Vitamin C from some of the cocktails, but the food was rapidly running out, if not being looted or immediately consumed by the starving Somalis. But these good people were taking it in stride; they weren’t going to let anything ruffle their feathers, not even objective reality. Maybe a saber-or-two up against a throat might; or maybe a bullet in the arm, a leg, or the trunk, but not from a randy corsair or some buggery dog from the Spanish Main.

“Quick, quick,” many of them were thinking, “where is a copy of The Wealth of Nations for a Confucian-like consultation?” They couldn’t make a move without it--or a functioning nervous system--so it was going to be hard going for the foreseeable future. Were there ever Chinese pirates? Sure. But, after all, every fear hides a secret desire, and besides, the booze and grog were flowing, there were tons of Black teenagers (albeit training guns on them all), and the drugs were on the way. How was this different from a party at the Westin or Watergate? Right: the CIA wasn’t here.

“Those Somali pirates were just teenagers, and our Black Muslim president MURDERED them, that dirty racist mulatto—that tragic mulatto. I know, I know, it’s not as though I’ve ever shown much empathy for those Negroes—publicly--but I do have a yen for them black teenagers!” said a shaking, sweating Rush Limbaugh.

Withdrawal and the rhythm method weren’t part of the Republican lexicon, but the monkey on his back was getting vicious, barbaric, and it had to go. Rush called it “Joe,” but its real name was “Sam.” Hey, don’t ask me--I don’t write ‘em, ask the fat man. In a moment’s notice, the well-muscled simian sprang across the foredeck, gingerly and lovingly ripping the faces off of every suburbanite that motioned to pet him. Just as suddenly, he grabbed for a vegetable tray, but was violently rebuffed by violence. The chimp didn’t look very amused by this unacceptable state of affairs, and began effortlessly throwing pirates overboard. The “hosts” didn’t seem too amused either, pointing their flintlock AKs in Limbaugh’s undulating, porcine face, forming an aesthetically pleasing semi-circle that would’ve looked natural in a Fritz Lang film. One of the young pirates dropped his saber and started to dance in a delightful pirouette. This Republican Party wasn’t amounting to very much, but at least it had some camp value.

Limbaugh began shaking, pulled a microphone from nowhere, and spat out: “Look, look, we can do business…I’ve contributed greatly to your people in the Caribbean, I understand you people—as crazy as that sounds—I understand you. Wait exactly one minute and thirty-three seconds, and I’ll say something crazier.” The Somali pirates were not amused, and began rifling through his pockets, finding pornography depicting young black men in various states of undress, several bottles of Viagra™, Oxycontin™, and a key of heroin and some Havana cigars in a diplomatic attaché case affixed with the Seal of the Department of State. That was when the real party began. It was time to get fucked-up, and that’s exactly what the skeletal Somalis did (wouldn’t you?).

With superhuman swiftness, they began whipping-out their grubby shooting works, grabbing cafeteria trays and any flat, reflective surface that they could get their mitts on. Now the Republicans finally saw their quarry, and an opening; they knew how to play this game. The old divide-and-conquer routine was coming, and they all knew it. It was at that point that a doddering old country doctor from Dallas came forward, brandishing a flaming (Christopher) cross, speaking utter nonsense (the nomenclature of American politicians, Libertarians and businessmen). Everyone was seriously fuuuuuccccckkkkkkeeeddddd uuuuuuuuuuuuup--even Ted Nugent, who appeared to have become a switch hitter.

Ron Paul misspoke: “Ya’ll need to hire some more pirates to deal with these here pirates, it’s worked before! I’m a Medical Doctor, and as we all know, we’re experts in foreign policy,” he droned on. The Somalis began nodding-off, and it wasn’t from the heroin. “…But there’ll be MONEY in it.” At those words, the young, Black, and gifted Somali pirates began gathering around the doddering redneck from the failed and theocratic Republic of Texas, now occupied by federal troops after a failed insurrection. The Doc was right for once in his miserable life: the pirates began rifling through his pockets, and when they were done, he was unceremoniously thrown overboard with a volley of RPG and Kalashnikov rounds following him.

“You’ll never take me alive!” he said, frantically clutching and wrapping himself in an American flag as he took several dozen rounds in the trunk. Absolutely everyone on the ship applauded for ten-minutes-straight.

“He was right!” chuckled one of the bilingual pirates, and I don’t mean “bi” in that other respect.

The rest of the pirates thrust the RPGs and flintlock AK-47s into the air in a defiant cheer. It was time for MORE sailor’s pay, and there were plenty more passengers to loot and…you know. They all spread-out across the main deck and filtered down to every level of the luxury cruiser, it was a spectacle that Michael Bay or any number of kiss-ass Hollywood producers would have drooled over, and it didn’t require any set up or union guidelines. Had there been video cameras, it would have been a reality TV show. Once the press arrived, it would be, and the surviving passengers could snap-up the distribution rights in-perpetuity.

But Harvey Weinstein was all ears, and had been hiding in the engine room eating blintzes and snorting coke off of a starlet’s taint. He motioned from his new hiding place in a lifeboat from beneath the tarp-coverlet to one of the Somali sentries running past: “Hey—you—fuck nut! Get over here! Gonna make you a star, asshole [SNUFFLE!].” The sentry was interested, though mainly in the peculiarly positioned starlet and the cocaine.

Meanwhile, on the foredeck, Limbaugh and others were finding escape in watching one of the few operating television sets that had been left unplundered by those scurvy dogs. “Socialists!” yelled the pathetic gaggle still gathered around the sweating, porcine reincarnation of National Socialist Gauleiter, Herman Göring. George W. Bush was onscreen at that moment. In the end, anyone who tried to escape reality by watching television was shot by the pirates.

“Are there any real socialists left?” queried Chuck Norris. He didn’t have that dumb animal look most rednecks have, so his rank was higher, but not much.

What the fuck is that supposed to mean, Chuck?!” chortled Limbaugh.

“Well…I don’t know. We just keep calling everyone who isn’t an actual socialist a socialist. I mean, how times have any us referred to Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders as one? He actually is one, y’know? Don’t you think red-baiting is over? If only I had the martial arts abilities that I do in my movies, we’d be out of this mess in no more than seven edits or wipe-dissolves!” Like the still-decaying Queen Victoria, Limbaugh was not amused.

“I decide who’s what—either a Republican or a socialist!” exploded Limbaugh. Food was flowing out of his mouth as he said it, and his pupils were dilated, as always. Finally, belatedly, he too was thrown overboard with the same treatment Ron Paul got from the angry Somalis. More were to follow, with the end result being the entire decimation of the original passengers and crew. In short order, the Somali pirates had commandeered the ship and set the navigation computers for New York City. A midshipman was perplexed and asked their ostensible leader, “Why New York City?”

“That’s easy,” said the pirate captain, “We’re all going to work on Wall Street with the phony credentials we’ve gotten off of these dead assholes. Soon, we’ll all be embedded permanently in several key lending-firms, with little-or-no accountability. That’s where the money is….”

The End