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Location: Susquehanna Depot, Pennsylvania, United States

Well, if you got here via the bi-chromatic Universe and "Dez", thanks. Their being available means they can be rented out, so to say, to vendors. For example, they'd be great in promoting pastries. Kids love cookies, so do adults. As for that ascending numeral three, it came about by way of ignorance. More than once, I'd see that same numeral with wings or a halo or both even on this or that pickup truck. And, dumb me, I'd think they were like golden horse shoes or four-leaf clovers ... good luck charms. It wasn't until later, I found out those threes are meant to commemorate one posthumously charismatic NASCAR driver. To inspire all those signs of grief, that guy might've had the makings for ... well, that's likely better left to the intuition of NASCAR votaries.

Friday, November 04, 2005

"old glory" lost

"The cover-up worked," so vociferated some talking head on, I think it was, COUNTDOWN, a 24/7 cable channel broadcast for reporting news, and disseminating political commentary. Anyway, the talk head was referring to the stratagem he claims had been adopted by the Republican Party to safeguard their victory in the 2004 Presidential Election.

As an aside, I gotta admit. When I saw that one ad that featured partisan endorsements for the Republican candidate by bearers of the Congressional Medal of Honor, my heart sank. Even though election day was months away, I had a dreadful hunch that the candidate, for whom I was going to vote in opposition to "dum'ya botch", would lose. Oh, well, stick a fork in Kerry, the ostensibly Catholic scion of Jewish forbearers.

Here's a bit of history. Gotta hand it to Republican strategists, when they saw the opportunity to seize ownership of the American Flag, they grabbed it with a vengeance. The opening for them came in the last century's 60s, courtesy of the peaceniks' burning the flag for the benefit of the evening news. Exploiting the horror and disgust evoked by flag burning, Republican politicians fabricated a "wedge issue".

In a spectacle of patriotic devotion and fervor, those politicians advocated amending this nation's Constitution to make the "desecration" of the American flag a criminal offense. True enough, they failed to get the Constitution, the bedrock of our country's existence as a nation of laws, amended. But that wasn't their true goal, which they achieved.

At bottom, their goal was wrenching the ownership of the American Flag from our common cultural heritage. Prior to that, very few people considered "old glory" as belonging to any particular partisan political party.

Well, after the ostensible failure to amend the Constitution, the American Flag became the emotional property of the Republican Party. By the way, I should like to emphasize the word "emotional". Let's remember that, for several generations, American school children have been beginning their day with the Pledge of Allegiance ... "I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America ... " et cetera.

That continual repetition, so I've been informed by trustworthy authorities, has been impressing onto our common American gestalt, au Jung, a deeply embedded reverence for the flag. The way American patriotic emotions work, whoever owns the flag is owed the benefit of the doubt, whenever the flag's owners enact measures that are deleterious to the general American public.

Okay, the foregoing said, let's now animadvert to that "Bingo!" yell of the aforementioned talking head on COUNTDOWN. What follows is pretty much, oh, let's say, expedient narrative. I'm writing the way I'm now writing for the sake of ready intelligibility, plus economy of time and space.

By now, I'm known around my home town of Susquehanna Depot in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania as a cantankerous cuss, who has a lot of "measurable smarts" and stubbornly thinks for himself. Here's what's little known about me. I'm very amenable to comporting myself like "this gun for hire" ... "have laptop, will travel". Sometimes, when I look in the mirror during my morning shave, I see myself wearing a black Stetson with silver trim, like Paladin of that old teevee Western series ... swear by the vultures.

Now, let's suppose that a month or so, before the advent of the unholy mess that thus far has gotten a top White House aide indicted for lying to that grand jury, conducted by Special Prosecutor Patrick "Cap'n Ahab" Fitzgerald, there happens something wild. I mean. I get retained as as a "hired gun" by the Republican Party and for the Republican Party ... aaay, c'mon, whyz.ache.err, stranger things have happened, ya'known.

Maybe, a former classmate of mine from Broome Community College has connections with that political party's topmost echelon, and took pity on me.

For my part, as I'm conducting negotiations over my fee with some authorized representative, I figure this has got to be a joke. Why (?) would anybody in the Republican Party ever need to try on for size whatever sagacious pearls of wisdom I'm capable of stringing together!

So, what (?) do I go, and do. I decide to bring the joke to a conclusion by demanding monetary compensation that I'm sure will ignite outrage. Of course, I'm careful to keep my demands within constraints, established by other more, say, prestigious consultants. To my surprise, I get the check. So, I figure the joke extends to my discovering it's a rubber check ... aaay, I like practical jokes as much as the next guy. So, I cash the check, I almost swallow my cigarette, the sucker clears!

Now, please recall what I wrote earlier about "expedient narrative" ... ready intelligibility, plus economy of time and space.

Does anybody (?) care to guess what I do with this unexpected windfall, which I believe in my heart of hearts I completely and absolutely deserve. Well, much like Paladin of that old teevee Western series, I enjoy earthly pleasures. As hard as I work for my money, I work equally hard at spending it. And so, I spend every dime of that outrageous retainer on lap dances in the champagne room of my favorite gentleman's club ... aaaay, it's free money, nobody in the Republican Party will ever demand my honoring my commitment. That's the way, I'm seeing things at the moment.

So, what (?) happens a couple weeks later. What's his name, Robert "prince of darkness" Novak outs a covert intelligence operative.

For the moment, let's put the best possible face on the unholy mess that the prince of darkness has kicked off. The outing was
. . . . ."INADVERTENT"
plus it was done with the best of intentions. Although it's reasonable to believe that all the foregoing about what brought about the outing, it's still politically embarrassing. In fact, it's so embarrassing that, should those satanically vociferous Democrats succeed in tying it to the White House, wherein resides "dum'ya botch", the Republican Party would most likely lose the 2004 Presidential Election.

And the day I was sure would never come comes.

An agent, representing the interests of the topmost echelon of the Republican Party, demands that I honor my commitment. I don't have a dime to my name, so I'm completely incapable of slipping out of my commitment by returning the money.

Here's the situation, in which that aforementioned echelon find themselves. Thanks to the outing of a covert intelligence operative, albeit inadvertent but strictly with the best of intentions. they're facing a horrible choice, and it's lose-lose. Oh, for the sake of brevity, here it is, in the starkest terms.

The Republican Party can win the 2004 Presidential Election by means of a cover-up. Unfortunately, in so doing, they will run the risk that the cover-up will in time be exposed. And that exposure entails losing their party's emotional and ever so profitable ownership of the American Flag. A bit of history being repeated here, it came into their possession some forty years ago, when peaceniks were burning the flag for the benefit of the evening news.

The political party in question can retain this ownership but at a price. That being, "dum'ya botch" must then acknowledge the involvement of White House staff in the outing, albeit inadvertent but with the best of intentions, of a covert intelligence operative. After the acknowledgement, the President had better fire all the people involved. Likely enough, the President will have to go before the teevee cameras, and demand the resignation of his Vice President. After all that gets done, the Republican Party will then, most likely, lose the 2004 Presidential Election.

The way things work out. The Republican Party must sacrifice either their ownership of the American Flag or victory in the 2004 Presidential Election.

And this is what I hear on that dreaded day, dies irae,

"Mister Stella, Mister 'he who is known as sefton', the people, who forked over the retainer you demanded, are calling upon you to deliver. They want to know what you believe how the fate of the Republican Party will be affected by either of the above scenarios."

And here's the delivery, for which they paid the retainer, which I then spent on lap dances in the champagne room of my favorite gentleman's club. Why, oh, why (?) do I do such stupid things! Enough whining, here's where I honor my commitment.

"Let's suppose your political party loses the 2004 Presidential Election, but retains the ownership of the American Flag. Come the Presidential Election of 2008, 2012 tops, your political party will have recovered well enough to re-establish your current grip on power.

"Now, let's suppose your political party loses the ownership of the American Flag, but emerges victorious in the 2004 Presidential Election. Talk about Pyrrhic Victory! I'd love to offer you a wager of my five doughnuts to your three. But I doubt I'll be around to collect. By the end of this century, with any luck, the Republican Party will have recovered enough to vie for power, equivalent to that of their opposition.

"Oh, by the way, here's something that's on the house. I suspect it'll take about twenty years for your party's hierarchy to understand the import of this Pygmy 'bon mot', specifically, 'better a smart enemy than a stupid friend'. Here's what it means in the starkest terms. The damage that can be wrought by a smart enemy can be horrendous, but the damage that can be wrought by a stupid friend can be mind-boggling.


.he who is known as sefton


In the manner reasonable people should expect of a wild-eyed iconoclast cum "hired gun" such as yours truly am reputed to be, I'm contemplating something wild. By the entrance to Independence Hall in the City of Brotherly Love, id est, Philadelphia, I may expurgate "Old Glory", specifically, the American Flag.

Here's the plan. First off, the fabric of whatever flag I purchase shall be a blend of nylon and cotton. I'm going to make damn good and sure that the flag can be washed to be as whistle clean as the proverbial "hound pup's tooth". After I purchase the flag, I'll then inscribe on it the word "TREASON" in easily washable crayon.

Shortly thereafter, I will unfold this specific flag, somewhere by the entrance to Independence Hall in Philadelphia. Of course, I'll make sure the gathered crowd and whatever news media in attendance gets a gander of that "desecrated" flag. As swiftly as I can, before the cops get there, I will then wash the flag clean.

By so doing, I believe I will have restored the flag to our common American heritage, whence it had been wrenched, only to be mis-used for pernicious purpose. As the cops are talking me off to headquarters, I hope I'll be to shout something like so,

"Never again, shall our American Flag ever be the emotional property of any political party, nor even of a praise-worthy social movement. The flag belongs to all of us, whatever our individual merit. It is our common American heritage, our common legacy."

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