Friday, October 31, 2008

Sarah's Crusade

Dear George,

Let’s talk some more about Sarah, that jewel in the crown of right wing fringe thinking. I spoke, yesterday, of the need to increase her crossover appeal, and today I would like to address some specific strategies for making this a reality.

So, lean forward, put your elbows on your desk, knit your brow and concentrate, because we’re going round and round the barn, again.

Our politicians and leaders are fond of saying that America is a Christian nation. They are wrong. America is a Christianist nation. Christians are those who follow the Tao of Jesus of Nazareth and integrate his teachings into their daily life. This is why they are a splinter group that is rarely heard from.

Christianists, on the other hand, practice a Christianism that repositions faith as an ideology by leeching the faith of it mealy-mouth teachings. When a Christianist says turn the other cheek, he means turn the other’s cheek with a fistful of knuckles.

The bottom line is that the Sermon on the Mount makes for pretty hymns, but lousy politics. Christianism is the lusty singing of “Onward Christian Soldiers”; it is an army led by a Jesus pumped full of theological steroids. Christians preach; Christianists kick ass.

Christian love soothes and comforts. It feeds the hungry, clothes the naked and comforts the afflicted. Christianist love is a firestorm that burns away the chaff leaving only the grain. The inquisition had the stake; Christianist America has napalm.

The hands of the Christian heal; the hands of the Christianist are so caked with blood it is impossible to tell where the finger ends and the nail begins.

That, George, is the force that will put Sarah in the White House in 2012. Forget this “Country First” bullshit. It’s “God First” that will get America’s blood up. Let Sarah become the flag bearer for a mighty Crusade that will not rest until it has made the world safe for an American White Male Protestantism that purifies as it destroys.

We are balanced on the abyss of another Great Awakening when Christianism will roll across the world like the Black Death rolled across Medieval Europe. It is a force that will define freedom as ideological purity and will purge all that is not holy and pure.

Nothing redeems a sinner faster than an untimely death.

So, break out your Bible, Big Guy, take off your clothes and get ready to be beamed up to heaven. The End Times, they’re a coming.

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Quiet America

Dear George,

It looks like America is too broke to be scared into another Republican administration. You can’t complain, though, you got a good eight years and one reelection out of it. With only six days to go until the election, the chances of something breaking that would scare the shit out of the public are dim.

I blame bin Laden for this. Since 9/11 the guy has shilled for you and your neocons. Okay, he did come out and give McCain a rather tepid endorsement, but he didn’t back it up with any action. Hell, it wouldn’t have taken much—a well-placed pipe bomb would have done the trick.

The one bright spot in this dismal picture is Sarah. There’s some real potential there. She already has the meat-beating demographic tied up. All she needs is a little more crossover appeal and she’ll be a shoo-in in 2012. She’s the perfect candidate: great boobs, sexy smile and not an original thought is her well-coiffured head. She’ll be an easy sell in the land of the arrested adolescent.

I must say, though, her handlers bobbled it when they went on that $150,000 shopping spree in an effort to give her a well-dressed-candidate-of-the-people-whose-really-a-member-of-the-elite look. Put out a clip of her bargain-hunting in a Sears store for her “real” wardrobe.

I know some in your administration are worried about our hollowed out economy becoming a catalyst for social unrest. Not to worry. No red-blooded American is going to head for the barricades as long as an episode of “Dancing with the Stars” is airing. The flickering screens of tubes and computers have the public so fragmented and isolated that is it no longer a public. Rugged individualism has reached its final phase—total isolation and the inability of anyone to think of themselves as belonging to anything.

The chains that bind America are soft strands of multicolored gossamer that caress as they ensnare. The American psyche has been wiped clean of memory and history and is now a blank slate anxious to be inscribed with the runes of power and authority.

Congress is defanged; the left is fragmented and hobbled by the ideological prissiness of its assorted sects and factions. From whence shall the revolution come?

From nowhere, baby, and that’s the beauty of it all.

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Nonchange of Change

Dear George,

It’s drawing to a close, maybe. Come next Tuesday, you can start packing up, maybe. It sure looks like the “Other” will be moving into the neighborhood, maybe.

Of course, I’m sure you are aware that you still have an ace up your sleeve in the National Security Presidential Directive (NSPD) 51, which allows you to declare martial law in the event of a “catastrophic emergency.”

A catastrophic emergency is defined, among other things, as anything that adversely affects our economy, and the current meltdown is certainly doing that. Or, you could manufacture a justification for an attack on Iran. Hell, a manufactured justification got us into Iraq, so one more shouldn’t make any difference. Besides, you’ve got to burn up more money so you can spike Social Security.

Not that it’s that necessary that you do so. No matter who wins on Tuesday, the Beltway playpen will continue unchanged, and the bureaucratic momentum your administration has created will continue unabated. The spirit of the Big Dick will continue to occupy his catacomb, hatching its little schemes.

Nothing will change, nothing will be repealed. If anything, the screws will be continued to be tightened, Congress will be as impotent as ever and a hubric paranoia will continue to drive our foreign policy.

Just as you can’t suck a turd back up an asshole, so will it be impossible to undo all that you have done. Your legacy is secure.

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Let us not let history repeat itself.

I shall scarcely give my consent to exhaust still farther the finest country in the World in the prosecution of a War, from whence no reasonable man entertains any hope of success. It is better to be humbled than ruined.[1]

--Edward Gibbon

Dear George,

The above statement was made by the eighteenth century author of The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire when he was a Tory member of the British Parliament. He had been an avid supporter of the government’s effort to quash an insurrection in its British North American colony. Tragically, he lost his will and withdrew his support.

Though he is known best for his three volume history of Rome’s fall, he also occupies a footnote as history’s first appeaser. It was a tragic step. Here was the British army on the cusp of victory, only to be stabbed in the back by weak-kneed civilians.

Had the military been allowed to stay the course, they would have crushed the insurrection. The terrorists were bankrupt; they lacked public support. They were ill-trained and ill-equipped. There is no way in hell they could have prevailed against the eighteenth century’s sole superpower.

It was the loss of national will that did them in and planted the seeds for the eventual fall of the British Empire.

Let this be an object lesson for those who would have us slink out of Iraq and Afghanistan with our tail between our legs. When the martial will is loss, peace breaks out, and with peace comes the moral decay that frays our social fabric. War, continuous war, brings out the best in those who don’t have to fight it.

So, let us flip Gibbon’s dictum and declare that, “It is better to be ruined than humbled.”

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

[1] Quoted in Cullen Murphy’s “Are We Rome?”

Monday, October 27, 2008

Ther's no change like no change

Dear George,

You may not amount to much, but the one quality you do possess is the same one found in a lightening rod--you ground and neutralize the flashes of rebellion that light up the sky from time to time. Without you to draw off all this energy the peasants might have woken up and seen the seismic changes that have reconfigured America. Without you to focus their anger on, they might have demanded deep systemic changes in our corporatist state. Now they are convinced that once you leave office, the defiled statue of Miss Liberty will be restored to her former glory.

Such thinking is why they are peasants.

By personalizing the ills of the corporatist state in your person, the public remains blinded to the force that has driven America for the past sixty years, and that is a nomenklatura made up of mostly unelected officials from the private and public sectors. It’s not a grand conspiracy, but a blind momentum driven by ego, greed and stupidity.

Your contribution to our democracy is that you will be blamed for the sins of Harry, Dwight, John, Lyndon, Dick, Gerry, Jimmy, Ronnie, daddy and Billy. Every one of them served the nomenklatura and danced to its tune. But, it is you who will get the blame.

I mean hell, George, Billy set us up for the current meltdown with his compulsive deregulation disorder. Deregulation was the only thing he loved more than sex. The only difference between him and you is that he was a better bullshit artist.

Yes, they all fronted for the nomenklatura, but you were the perfect shill. Past presidents had a tendency to think too much, a problem you have never had. Your bland smile and good ol’ boy persona made you the perfect Judas goat leading Miss Liberty to the abattoir.

The world will never realize the greatness of your contribution because the nomenklatura will disown you as part of a public relations ploy to scam the peasants into believing democracy has been restored to America, though not one page of the onerous legislation you passed will be repealed. The Patriot Act and the Military Commissions Act will stand in all their glory. The finance sector will be the target of some token regulations, but will continue to bleed the country dry.

And the peasants will dance in the streets, even as their houses are being bugged and their email read.

There’s no change like no change.

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones


Sunday, October 26, 2008

Protecting America by Protecting our Indebtedness

Dear George,

How many ways can you describe the brain rot of the rich and powerful? Just about the time you think you have exhausted the possibilities, you turn a corner and there is another shining example of financial dementia.

Every age thinks it’s a new age when, in truth, it’s simply a rehash of a previous age. Hegel explained these repeated dips into disaster when he said that the only thing we learn from history is that we learn nothing from history.

According to one writer, our current economic crisis is simply a variation on one that has been around for centuries. He quotes economist Hyman Minsky who, were he still alive, would call the current meltdown the “Ponzi stage of the business cycle.” According to Minsky, the Ponzi stage is the last of three stages that lead up to a financial collapse. This is the stage “in which debtors no longer were able to pay off their loans out of current income.”

The writer sums up our predicament by pointing out that, “The banks and large swaths of the financial sector are broke from having made a bad gamble in the belief that money could be made to 'work' under conditions that shrink the underlying industrial economy and stifle wage gains, eroding the market for consumer goods.”

Now, the writer argues that when faced with such a crisis, the only sane policy is to wipe the slate clean and cancel the debts. The idea is so sane, it will never see the light of day. Then he takes us back to the Roman Republic of 110 BC, and tells us the stirring tale of a heroic defense of the free enterprise system.

In those days, the Roman Senate met in a building situated, like our economy, on the edge of a cliff. Rome was groaning under the yoke of debt peonage. So, some reformers in the Senate moved to cancel the debts. Well, don’t think for a moment the kleptocrats who had a vested interest in the debt were going to stand for that. They stormed the Senate and, using the very benches the senators sat on as ramrods, shoved the reformers off the edge of the cliff. Thus, was the term “backbencher” born.

In modern time, we are blessed to have civilized kleptocrats who discovered a long time ago that it is easier to buy a senator than to push him off a cliff. (Though, if we did a cost-benefit analysis...)

Speaking of Paulson’s Wall Street bailout, the writer notes that nobody, but nobody in Congress was able to come up with an alternative to Paulson’s scheme. There are two reasons for that: First, our democracy is dead and has been replaced by the Doctrine of Infallible Expertise in which “experts” have become our high priests and in which it is considered heresy to question their judgment. Second, the purpose of debt is debt so our kleptocrats can continue collecting their interest. Financial collapse is preferable to debt relief any day.

Besides, Congress is well aware that you don’t say “no” to your boss. So why regulate when you can capitulate?

Truly, we are living in a golden age.

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Spinning Fairy Tales for Fun and Profit

Dear George,

Power is all about generating nonsense for public consumption. In order to stay powerful, the powerful must create Alice in Wonderland fairy tales to keep the peasants from storming the castle. (Power has zero tolerance for demonstrations of discontent.)

It is, however, misleading to speak of this nonsense as a “fairy tale”. It is much more involved than that. What is needed is a complex narrative that is more than a simple press release or a sound bite. It must be a narrative chewed over by think tanks and academics, about which books are written, scholarly articles published and policies generated.

Once this narrative has been finalized, the trickle down begins as articles appear in newspapers and magazines, and cable pundits hold forth on the tube. Slowly, the narrative seeps into the public consciousness until what began as a conceptual droplet grows into a raging torrent.

A narrative succeeds when the public is unable to conceive of an alternative to it.

The gold standard for a successful narrative is, of course, the Soviet Union. Even before World War II had drawn to an end, our leading intellectuals were making plans to paint the Soviet Union as a hotbed of godless Communism whose sole ambition was to bury democratic capitalism.

It was an historical hoot, and one of the greatest scams ever perpetuated on the American public.

The truth is that the Soviet Union was not a Communist state; it was a post-capitalist corporate state, just like us. The only difference was that they had a single multinational that was run by the state, where we have a handful of multinationals that own the state. The Soviets didn’t collapse because our brand of pseudo-capitalism was so much better than theirs. It collapsed because it never built a viable consumer base and spent too much money on armaments and missiles. We are collapsing because we built too massive a consumer base and are spending too much on armaments.

All corporate states are, by nature, authoritarian while claiming to be democratic. The Soviets exercised naked power, while we drape our power in the white robe of virtue. Both need a compliant media to dance their dance and an apathetic public too zoned out to notice the authoritarian vice that is slowly crushing them. Dissent is reduced to attending rock concerts and making fashion statements.

Bloat is the identifying characteristic of the corporate state. It needs unbridled growth just as a vampire needs the blood of the innocent to survive. Bloat is what finally brings it down as it collapses under its own weight.

Tell me George, do you hear those corporate rafters starting to groan under the strain?

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Sordid, Inside Story of Creation

Dear George,

I am saddened to see the teaching of Intelligent Design losing ground in our nation’s schools, though it doesn’t surprise me. The theory has one fatal flaw: If the Intelligent Designer was so intelligent, how do you explain the creation of Man, with its all of his brutish nastiness and innate stupidity?

The reason for this flaw is that the biblical creation story is the censored version. It doesn’t tell the whole, sordid story of how we came into being. For the inside story, we have to turn to the Gnostic version.

According to the Gnostics, all of creation has evolved from Sophia, the Godess of Wisdom. She is the creator mother of the universe. And she was a busy little bee, flitting here and there in the cosmos creating 24/7.

On day, she was a little off her game. Who knows why; maybe she had PMS, or something. Whatever the cause, she screwed up and created a demigod who was long on power tripping and jealousy and short on compassion. She named her mistake Jehovah.

The first thing Jehovah did was to create his own little world in which He placed Adam as a little toy He could dump on whenever the mood struck him. This upset Sophia, so she sent Eve to talk some sense into Adam.

It didn’t work out. Eve mistook the Garden of Eden for the mall and started shopping.

So, Sophia sent the serpent to wake up Eve.

The rest, as they say, is history.

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Foreign Policy as Stand Up

Dear George,

The days they are a dwindling. Only 89 days before your fifteen minutes of fame come to an end. The only question is, can you get out before the entire structure comes crashing down around you.

You’re wise to stay holed up in the Oval Office while the grownups do the heavy lifting, though you might want to barricade the door. those scraping sounds you hear are the peasants sharpening their pitchforks. You don’t want to end up like Emperor Jones, running for your life through the jungle. Not that it matters. The country can’t afford silver bullets, anymore.

The one sputtering candle that still survives the darkness that is enveloping your presidency is the sick humor that comes out of the mouths of your flacks.

Take, for example, the security pact we’re trying to ink with Iraqis. All of a sudden the natives are getting testy and want some changes before they’ll agree to it. Meanwhile, your rogue officials are hot to trot because they want a pact in place before the Security Council Resolution that “justifies” our presence in Iraq expires on Dec. 31.

Enter, stage left, White House Press Secretary Dana Perino, who delivers a line that could have been torn out of a skit on “The Daily Show” when she says that without an agreement, “There will be no legal basis for us to continue operating there…”

That’s like a mugger saying that unless his victim signs a hold-harmless agreement, there would be no legal basis for the mugging to take place.

I’m going to miss you, Big Guy.

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Rebranding Sex

Dear George,

Let’s talk about sex. God knows, everyone else is! There’s sex here, sex there, sex as liberation and sex as decadence. Our obsession with it is downright puritanical. Even the sexual revolution of the sixties was priggish, where promiscuity became as obligatory as chastity had been in the fifties. If an individual wasn’t driven by a raging libido, it was considered symptomatic of a deep-seated character disorder. So books and manuals abounded, many of them recommending positions guaranteed to slip discs and cause concussions when one partner slipped and dropped the other.

But in all the yammering and all the published reams of paper, one characteristic of sex has remained carefully hidden, and that is its role as an instrument of political oppression.

Okay, George, this is where I get a little convoluted, so focus!

As empires grow in power, they become increasingly decadent. Now, note what your brain did when I said, “decadent.” Right away, you pictured a full-blown Roman orgy, with wine-soaked naked bodies writhing on the floor to the discordant notes of a lyre.

Well, zip up your pants, Big Guy. That’s not what I was talking about.

The decadence I am speaking of is an empire’s descent into slaughter and aggression. Decadence is bombing natives and savages into the next world; decadence is allowing children to starve to death (36,000 a day from food-challenged illnesses); decadence is a feral capitalism that spreads poverty and misery and calls it democracy; decadence is torture, black holes, Gitmo and Abu Ghraib.

This presents a problem for the masters of the universe. Were the public to clearly see the full decadence of these activities, the empire would collapse for lack of support. So, what they need is a sacrificial lamb that taketh away the sins of the world.

And that’s where sex comes in.

Have you ever noticed that the more authoritarian a regime is, the more puritanical it is. There’s a reason for this. In skillful hands, the condemnation of sex becomes the ultimate diversionary act that redirects the public’s attention away from the decadence necessary to achieve and maintain power.

Sex is a life force that can bring much beauty into a person’s world, and that is the problem. Those who have known beauty have little tolerance for the ugliness of power. Sex is moist in its fecundity, a damp forest in which sunlight is filtered through the green foliage. Power demands an arid desert, so the trees must be felled so the sun’s blinding glare can leech the nutrients from the soil.

So it was that Death doffed its black cloak, draped it around Sex and burned the mark of decadence into her forehead. It all began when men damned Eve for the Fall, and the vagina’s rose was transformed into the briar patch that became a portal to fires of Hell. (A close reading of God’s curse on Adam and Eve reveals that God has a sick sense of humor. In spite of the pain of childbirth, God gave women the stronger sex drive, which is why men tend to act like asses.)

It continues today as neocons and fundies blame sex for America’s descent into moral decadence, thus diverting the public’s attention away from the real decadence that is empire. The sixties were scary because sex broke out and threatened to bury death. I thank God sex is back in the pillory where she belongs.

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Stoned Angels sing Stoned Hymns


stoned again and sucking on shit, the broken hymns of the Heavenly Hosts did engulf me as they sang praises to our fall into idealized savagery in our battle against the forces of moral relativism; and in the spinning light I saw the incinerated face of a toddler raised up on high as a symbol of Columbia’s loving wrath while the Heavenly Hosts sung praises to the child’s raped and broken mother, praising her as our Virgin of Freedom while Virtue’s phosphorescent torch shone its glory on the mass graves and blood-begrimed prison cells; and the Heavenly Hosts proclaimed napalm empire’s Viagra without which its flaccidity would cower behind its alabaster codpiece; and the furred angels sang and enfolded me in their wings that reeked of the rotted dead and the acrid stench of rubble shattered and turned to dust as the angels rose heavenward singing your name and praising you as the Burning Bush that would spread its flame over the face of the earth even as they granted you remission of your sins through the intercession of Shock and Awe…

and I slept the sleep of the brain dead

…or whatever.


Monday, October 20, 2008

Our Brilliant Idiots

Dear George,

I see that Wall Street is looking for a bottom to the hole it’s dug for itself.

Good luck!

Financial wizards have no taste for realism. They analyze the markets past movements and use them as criteria to predict future movements. The Greeks tell us that we walk into the future backwards, which is exactly what the wizards are doing in their naïve belief that the future will replicate the past.

The same is true of our presidential candidates, one of whom will replace you, if you allow him to. One writer points out that:

Both McCain and Obama remain prisoners of the neoliberal Washington Consensus. Obama’s top economic advisor is Austan Goolsbee, a Friedmanite from the University of Chicago, not exactly someone capable of reasoning outside of the golden Goldman Sachs box.

The truth is that both they and Wall Street are so inside the box they don’t even know they’re inside a box.

Bin Laden, in one of his taped infomercials, said that al-Qaeda’s strategy was to bleed the empire dry until it collapsed in bankruptcy. The strategy is a no-brainer when fools are running the shop.

In all the media yammering about our financial “crisis”, very little is said about the elephant in the room: the credit-default swaps (CDS). Here we are with up to a quadrillion in toilet paper wadded here and there throughout the system, and nobody seems to notice.

A credit-default swap is an insurance policy against an entity defaulting on a bond it has issued. The beauty of this instrument is that a speculator can take out a credit-default swap on a bond he doesn’t own from a hedge fund that doesn’t have the money to cover the bond’s default.

The holder of the CDS then shorts the company that issued the bond, which increases the possibility that the company will default on the bond, and sells his CDS, at a profit, to a third party who is not a bond holder.

Someone has compared it to taking out an insurance policy on my neighbor’s house from a company than couldn’t pay the loss were the house destroyed. I then torch his house, and, while it is burning, sell the policy to my neighbor across the street at a profit.

Do we need any more proof that greed rots the brain?

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Power qua Power qua Power

Dear George,

Okay Big Guy, I’m going to thread a couple of needles, so pay attention. You know and I know that there has been but one force that has driven the Big Dick’s administration. No, it’s neither the GWOT, nor hegemony, nor economic domination, nor the doctrine of the unitary executive, even though those have all played their part. The force that drives the Big Dick is the accumulation of naked power. Nothing else matters.

Now, when trying to seize power, a leader never explicitly states that he is seeking power for power’s sake. He needs a rationale for public consumption. According to one writer, the stated reason for spiking our traditional balance of power is that, “America is called by history to create a better world based on universal principles.” (What nobody dares mention is that these universal principles are greed and exploitation.)

In effect, they want to put an end to evil, evil being defined as anything that might thwart our corporate interests, because they are on a holy mission to bring capitalism to the world. This gives rise to the paradox that putting an end to evil creates more evil than is ended.

But then, evil always wears the mask of virtue that whispers sweet platitudes as it destroys. It is the Thanatos singing its Siren’s song that draws the powerful further and further into the darkness until they become convinced that their survival depends solely on their ability to destroy. It is then that they experience the erotic rush that comes from watching others die so virtue may triumph, and why freedom eventually learns to sing Thantos’s song.

Again, the PR gloss on this effort is the claim that capitalism and democracy go together like a parasite and its host. (The truth, of course, is that capitalism can only emerge when protected by an authoritarian regime. Capitalism never would have thrived in America had not state governors been willing to call out their militias and police forces to club and gun down strikers.)

The philosopher Leo Strauss is St. Paul to the powerful, justifying and rationalizing acts polite society would consider criminal. He is a marvelous throwback to a dead philosophic tradition that reduced all phenomena to “the simple right”. This is the abstract reductionism that can justify the most heinous slaughter. It is Hegel’s World Spirit and Kant’s noumenon neatly packaged and marketed in all of its teleological glory. Who else but Hegel could have worshipped Napoleon’s killing machine.

Only if the powerful can convince their minions that they are spreading a “moral universality” will they bomb wedding parties and gun down children.

In order to conquer evil by spreading it, the state needs a powerful, unitary executive, and in the last eight years you have certainly become more and more unitary. This is part of the transition of the United States from a political entity into a corporate entity, in which the merger of business and politics has given us the Corporate State, headed up by a CEO. Thus, power must be consolidated in order to make the state a more efficient operating unit.

It follows that there is nothing like a crises to consolidate power, and there will be crises, whether we have them or not! That is why what we have a MSM for, to bleed and lead us from crisis to crises.

It makes no difference who wins in November. Once a man whiffs power his soul curdles and he begins his journey down the paranoid path of its consolidation until he comes up against another of power’s paradoxes: Power devours itself as it grows until it is so weakened it collapses. And the collapse comes at the moment of what appears its apogee.

Power on, George.

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Making Make Believe Real

Dear George,

Both our salvation and our damnation are grounded in our preference for myth over history. The glow of a halcyon past that never was shields and protects us from the harsh realities of the present.

It was the evocation of this make-believe past that swept Ronnie into office. The rage of the right-wing-nuts is fanned by memories of a land of the free that was never free. They see the black and white world of “Father Knows Best” under siege and their anger boils over. This is Sarah’s appeal. She is a woman of the 50s, which is why many refer to her as “Mama Conservative.” She is invokes the pioneer mother who could wipe the snot from a child’s nose with one hand while shooting a moose with the other.

One of the icons of the fifties was a grinning Alfred E. Neuman with his, “What me worry?” who made an age of potential nuclear holocaust a little easier to bear. Some has suggested that his appeal was so great that we elected him in 2000. Why worry when we have a past ordained by Providence that is moving us towards a future of salvation and godhood.

It was your administration that completed what Ronnie began, the reduction of the world to a Hollywood B Western. Under your stewardship, we embraced a simpleton’s world of white hats/black hats that marginalized nuance and critical thinking. The Cold War mentality had survived the ravages of the sixties.

Ours is now a macho world that worships a macho past in which square-jawed men fought for justice and morality with guns blazing and iron fists flailing. A revival of our fundamentalist Christian faith enables us to bomb and destroy with impunity, knowing that we are fulfilling God’s mission on earth.

We are so blessed that nothing bad ever happens to us. Thus, we are offended when confronted with little setbacks such as an economic meltdown. Because we are blessed, we are firm in our belief that misfortune is not real, but is an illusion, or the product of a conspiracy by illegal immigrants, Muslims and gays to fray our moral fiber. Wall Street isn’t shoring the market, Latinos and gays are, while Muslims are busily packing nuclear devices into their suitcases.

The nicest thing about a present bathed in the glow of a mythic past is that we don’t have to face reality. As one writer put it, “We are a nation of fantasists, and things have to get really bad before a politician has the right to trade in hard truth.”

Our strength and our salvation is that we never acknowledge that things have gotten that bad.

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

Friday, October 17, 2008

Blaming the Blameless

Dear George,

The best scapegoats are the blameless. The blameless are blameless because they aren’t paying attention and are simply passive participants in whatever activity they are being blamed for, rather than its perpetrator.

For example, Wingnut Land is now blaming poor blacks who took out mortgages underwritten by Freddie and Fannie for our economic meltdown. Such a charge conjures up a terrifying image of an elderly Black woman beating a banker into submission with her walker until he is forced to give her a mortgage he knows damn well she will never repay. This image could well replace the image of the welfare mother who collects her checks in a Cadillac packed with her illegitimate children. Such images feed the racism that is so integral to our greatness.

And the Palin-McCain ticket is doing its best to fan the flames of middle class discontent. The beauty of racism is that one can be a racist without espousing racism. All one need do is preach a doctrine of “personal responsibility” that blames the victim (as opposed to a doctrine of corporate responsibility which would be absurd because corporations, being extensions of the Divine Will, are covered under the Calvinist doctrine of supralapsarianism, which states that because corporations were predestined for salvation by God, it is virtually impossible for them lose this divine perk, no matter how felonious their behavior.)

But, I digress…

Getting back to the Palin-McCain ticket, one writer puts it very succinctly when he says:

In other times, Sarah Palin’s imitation of Father Charles Coughlin—the priest who preached an American Reich in the 1930s—in drag might be hilarious camp. But with the American way of life in sudden freefall, the specter of star-spangled fascism doesn’t seem quite so far-fetched.

It has been encouraging to see more and more cars speeding around sporting a set of brand-new American flags. Every Reich needs a symbol, and it is a telling sign that a flag that once stood for democracy and decency now stands for aggression and bigotry.

I’m telling you George, my blood boils every time I think of that old Black woman beating that banker. I wonder if I could find an American flag armband somewhere.

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Still Another Strategy to Spread a Dying System to the World

Dear George,

Is it true? I could hardly believe my eyes when I read it. Christmas has come early, and the Pentagon has given us the best present ever in its new National Defense Strategy. And, what an improvement it is over the old. Gone is the GWOT, replaced by an ambiguous and ill-defined “Long War”, two words that sing a happy tune of defense contracts spreading out into an infinite future.

Yes, George, America is committed to that ultimate defense oxymoron, “nation-building” in our fight against extremism, which we define as any act that runs contrary to our national corporate interests. Our new mission, one surely ordained by Providence, is to spread a dying capitalism across the face of the earth. Insanity is too sweet to keep to ourselves. We must share it with the world.

While we’re at it, we will not hesitate to “confront the rising military power of other states,” because we are the only nation on earth with the century-old tradition of missionary zeal necessary to spread the Gospel of Profit to natives and savages.

According to the document neither Communism nor terrorism are the threats by which we define ourselves. The new threat is “instability”, which could “threaten regions of interest to the United States, its allies and friends”. How bourgeois can you get? The middle class has always favored stability over freedom, because without conformity, there can be no liberty.

But the paragraph that really sings is the one that asserts we must:

Meet possible challenges from....’more powerful states (that) might actively seek to counter the United States in some or all domains of traditional warfare or to gain an advantage in developing capabilities that offset our own.

There it is, George, a new arms race. Once again, history echoes with the laughter of irony. The arms race bankrupted the Soviet Union. Here we are, bankrupt already, and we’re starting a new one. That’s a knee-slapper if I’ve ever heard one.

But, there’s more. We are determined to prevent our make-believe enemies from “making adversary use of traditional means of influence…by manipulating global opinion using mass communications venues…” From now on, it’s going to be all Fox News all the time.

The document goes on to say that it is imperative that, “The global commons (space, international waters, aerospace and cyberspace) must be secured and with them access to world markets and resources [oil] using military capabilities…” Screw democracy, the military’s only mission since the McKinley administration has been to keep foreign markets open and thriving. Just like malignant tumor, capitalism requires a constant supply of fresh blood to insure its growth.

The document concludes by affirming that the U.S. “shoulders additional responsibilities on behalf of the world…a beacon of light for those dark places.”

To paraphrase Tactics, “They created a smudge pot and called it a beacon.”

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Mutual Madness of the Mad

Dear George,

What would be madness in an individual is realpolitik in a policymaker. However, where madness froths and foams, realpolitik expresses its madness in measured tones and euphemisms.

Realpolitik differs from ideology even though it may be driven by it. Both slaughter, but ideology does so in a spittle-spray of hate while realpolitik does so with detachment.

Ideologues build utopias; policymakers pursue national interests. Neither is moved by a bombed baby. The ideologue sees the baby’s death as a small price to pay for the utopia he is building, while the policymaker sees the baby’s death as collateral damage.

The souls of both are so empty and barren that they can only define themselves by what they hate, though the policymaker’s hate is more refined than the ideologue’s. The ideologue sees an enemy while the policymaker sees an obstacle. In the end, it makes little difference which is which; both must be destroyed.

It is the madness of the ideologue and the policymaker that makes the world work. Their madness feeds on the certitude of moral relativism. Ends change as the means become bloodier, corrupting both the utopias and the national interests.

The ideologue spreads his gospel with the car bomb; the policymaker prefers bombs dropped from the air. Policymakers don’t like blood on their hands; to the ideologue the blood of the innocent splattered on his clothing signifies his dedication to a higher cause.

For both policymaker and ideologue, madness is greatness, which is why you are the greatest president ever to occupy the Oval Office, though I must warn you, Sarah could well eclipse your greatness when she takes over.

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Decapitalizing Capitalism

Dear George,

The reason Wall Street has its knickers in a knot is because nobody understands New Age Capitalism. They are all mired in a past when capitalism was anchored to reality. This lack of understanding was expressed by a writer who said:

The funny thing about capitalism is that you need capital to play. When the bank-vault is full of nothing but worthless mortgage-backed securities (MBS) and overvalued junk bonds, the whole thing goes belly up fast.

How naive.

The one salient fact about US capitalism is that no capital is required. All that is needed is reams of worthless paper and a big set of balls.

In the bad old days, a capitalist had to have real money, backed up by real gold, to play. The problem was that it was too risky since the capitalists of old had a tendency to go bust because the more money they accumulated, the greedier they became. As this greed rotted their brains, their investments became dumber until they invested themselves into a Great Depression and ended up selling apples on Wall Street.

That was when the government stepped in and tried to protect capitalists from their innate stupidity with rules and regulations.

However, the one characteristic of stupidity is that it believes itself to be intelligent. Prosperity is capitalists living by their wits; a recession is capitalists discovering they don’t have any.

Consequently, capitalists found the regulations onerous and oppressive. So, they bought themselves a Congress and deregulated the regulations, thus freeing the market to begin another march towards self destruction.

But there was one important difference between the go-go nineties and the roaring twenties: when Nixon backed out of Bretton Woods, money ceased to have any value and became a superstition. Its value depended on people believing in something that wasn’t there.

Under the new order it became possible for a firm to leverage itself 40:1 because nothing of value was at stake. The dirty little secret was that there were no assets supporting the series of asset bubbles that floated out of Wall Street.

The beauty of this arrangement was that when bubbles started popping, the capitalists simply ordered their congressional employees to dump public money into the system to keep it afloat. The fact that public money is as worthless and private money makes no difference since New Age Capitalism is more concerned with image and appearance than with reality.

This is how the system is able to perpetuate itself. Make believe is always easier than reality. Reality is the deadweight that keeps us earthbound. Fantasy soars and in doing so keeps alive the false prosperity without which our empire would collapse.

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

Monday, October 13, 2008

A New Project for the New American Century

Dear George,

I see in the papers that you plan no letup in your plunge over the abyss that is taking the country with you. You will not throttle back your destructive behavior one notch between now and January.

Way to go, Big Guy! It’s not every person who can bring down an empire. Who could have guessed that the neocon Project for the New American Century (PNAC) was a slow fuse that would ignite an implosion unlike any the world has ever seen.

What a stellar document it was. The product of William Kristol’s New Citizenship Project, the document proved that ultimate expression of black humor is a think tank blinded by hubris.

As our walls buckle and the roof collapses around us, we would do well to recall the documents guiding principle:

As the 20th century draws to a close, the United States stands as the world's pre-eminent power. Having led the West to victory in the Cold War, America faces an opportunity and a challenge: Does the United States have the vision to build upon the achievements of past decades? Does the United States have the resolve to shape a new century favorable to American principles and interests?

Hell, does the United States have any money left to carry out the project? The national debt clock in New York has run out of zeros, and the neocons want to increase defense spending and start a couple of new wars.

But it’s not just the neocons. Everyone has bought into the project. Both Obama and McCain want to expand the armed forces with the money we don’t have. McCain wants to spend another hundred years bogged down in Iraq while Obama wants to ramp things up in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

The lunatics managing America are still mired in to glory days of World War II. We are on our deathbed and they think we’ll be storming a new beachhead in the morning.

The only error worth erring is grandiose error.

Our future is being planned by arrested adolescents whose brains are encrusted with the barnacles of a dead ideology.

It looks like the new century is shaping us into a nondescript blob of Play-Doh.

Oh well, it was fun while it lasted. You done good, George. The frat boys took over the country, and all that is left is a truckload of empty kegs.

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

Sunday, October 12, 2008

A Giant among Giants

Dear George,

Three past presidents have cast a large shadow over America’s history (at least for those who are aware that America has a history). They are Washington, Lincoln and FDR. You are the fourth. However, your legacy is a closet legacy that can never be properly appreciated by future historians.

The creative ineptitude of your administration has made it a lightening rod that will be blamed for all of the sins of previous administrations.

The seeds of our White Elephant of a military-industrial-media-finance complex were sown in the closing days of World War II when our governing kleptocrats decided that the only way to insure America’s prosperity was to keep our economy on a permanent war footing. So, they created a Communist threat, which morphed into your GWOT after the Soviets fell. As a result, the Pentagon continues to suck us dry sixty-three years after World War II ended.

The Clinton administration sowed the seeds of our economic meltdown when it deregulated the banking industry and allowed greed to turn Wall Street’s financial wizards into village idiots.

Fortunately, you will probably be out of office when the real economic time bomb explodes: the collapse of the derivatives market.

Derivatives are difficult to wrap your brain around, even when stoned. One article compared derivatives to being allowed to take out an insurance policy on a house you don’t own from an insurance company that doesn’t have the money to pay the loss in case the house burns to the ground.

The article goes on to explain that:

They are difficult to understand, ignored by regulators and poorly reported on balance sheets. In simplest terms, CDS [Credit Default Swaps] are insurance policies on things like bonds, loans and corporate debts. But there are two big differences: the seller of a CDS doesn’t need to have the money to cover losses if the security defaults, and the buyer doesn’t need to own the asset it wants to protect.

Now, a rational person would ask why anyone would be insane enough to enter into such an arrangement, which goes to show that sanity is not a factor in the world of finance capitalism. The short answer is that the investment firms that traded in these derivatives collected a cool $2 billion in fees each and every quarter.

Madness pays.

Nobody is sure of the total value of these derivatives. Estimates range from a quadrillion to $54.6 trillion. What is certain is that the bulk of these derivatives are held by the few banking giants that are still standing. JP Morgan, Citigroup Inc and Bank of America hold 92 percent of the disclosed derivatives.

With luck, this market will collapse after you’ve returned to Crawford to clear some more brush.

So it is that your place in history as a giant among giants is assured. From McKinley on, our president wore a velvet glove over their iron fists. You took the glove off and showed the world an iron fist rotted through with corrosion.

The beauty of it all is that after you leave office, the country will assume that it will return to a golden age of rational sanity when, in fact, things will go on as they always have. The only difference being that the bullshit will be repackaged and rebranded.

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Hear my lamentation, O God!

Dear George,

The separation anxiety is starting already. What will I do when you leave office? What will America do? For eight years you have been our anchor, our dead weight. You have taught us to love quagmires and ruination. You have served as a role model for my psychosis and my self-destructive impulses.

Who could possibly replace you? The Palin-McCain ticket shows promise, and there is no doubt Palin would bring a splash of color to the Oval Office, but both of them are too articulate to scale your heights.

I drape my soul in black and scream my lamentations to the heavens! Whom shall I praise? Whom shall I worship? The God of Keystone Kop Power is fading, and the world darkens as his very light of very light fades.

I must build a shrine of depleted uranium whose glow will illuminate your smirking presence.

Hear my tears, O George! I sob the sob for the SOB who taught the world that power is simply a self-destructive implosion.

Never has martial law looked so inviting.

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

Friday, October 10, 2008

Touching our Inner Child

Dear George,

The reason you’re the kind of guy America would like to have a beer with is your eternal youth. We admire anyone who has managed to evade the constricting repression that comes with growth and maturity. You bring to the White House the very qualities that made you stand out as a boy.

In January of 2001, when you first took your seat in the Oval Office, you suddenly realized that America was your frog to do with as you pleased. So you stuffed a firecracker in her mouth, lit it and threw her as far as you could. Eight years later, the bloody remnants of America are scattered across the globe.

You are America’s black hole, and into it has been sucked our prosperity, our credibility, our prestige and our values.

What is so bracing about our makeover is that it has been a bipartisan effort. Thanks to you, we have eliminated the traditional balance of powers that have long been the source of so much tension and rancor. Nor is the country any longer rent by petty disputes between Republicans and Democrats. Blinded by the radiance of your eternal youth, congressional Democrats have bowed before you and acted on your every command.

America is now a lean, mean fighting machine that is so lean and mean we are shaking ourselves apart.

One writer caught your spirit when he remarked:

George Santayana once said that a fanatic is someone who redoubles his efforts as he loses sight of his goals, and, as George W. Bush proved when initiating the Iraq surge, no animal on earth is as fanatical as a politician looking for alternatives to having to admit he was wrong.

Power is never having to say, "Whoops!" or something like that.

The point is that every young boy, when caught standing over his mother’s shattered vase, instinctively says, “I didn’t do it!”

In short, you are the penultimate expression of the America’s youth culture. You have touched your inner child and we are a different country because of it.

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The battle won, victory is sweet.

Dear George,

Wails and lamentations fill the land over the demise of America’s middle class. Teeth are gnashed and garments rent as pundits and commentators take note of its decline, which simply confirms that, when you get down to it, most pundits and commentators are dumb fucks

What is happening to the middle class is exactly what should be happening to them. The truth is that a healthy middle class poses a potential threat to the well-ordered state. Just look at history (well, in your case, have someone explain it to you). Anytime there has been a period of social unrest, you find an aroused middle class at the barricades.

The Civil War never would have happened had not middle class abolitionists raised so much hell about slavery. The Progressive movement at the close of the nineteenth century was a middle class conspiracy, and look at all it did: child labor laws, the breaking up of the monopolies and trusts, public ownership of utilities and the end of the spoils system that had served America so well. Then came Great Depression I and, with it, the fetters of the New Deal that played havoc with the bottom line.

Finally, we had the nightmare of the Sixties. And, where did the flower children, with their unbridled sex and their toxic drugs, come from? They were the coddled brats of the middle class, raised on too much television and too much Dr. Spock.

From the moment Ronnie was anointed, a decision was made: defang the middle class! It was simply too dangerous to be tolerated.

Any new movement must climb a learning curve before it becomes truly effective. The destruction of the middle class was no different. There were peaks and valleys. A major victory was the crushing of the unions. (Actually, the unions committed suicide when they failed to call a general strike when Ronnie fired the air traffic controllers.) On the other hand, a major setback was the antinuclear movement that sprang up in the early eighties, goaded on by such television shows as “The Day After” that graphically portrayed the effects of a nuclear holocaust. (Believe me, in the environment of today’s corporate media, such a show would never see the light of day.)

However, it wasn’t until the Clinton administration that the dismantling of the middle class really took off. And the architect of the dismemberment was none other than that Sultan of Stodginess, Alan Greenspan. Al knew that the quickest way to weaken the middle class was cheap money. As one writer pointed out, “Cheap money is the rich man’s method of social engineering; swift and lethal.”

Thus did we enter the age of asset bubbles, housing bubbles and a profusion of readily available credit. It was the credit that did it. Plastic allowed the middle class to maintain the illusion of prosperity, even as its income was either flattening or in decline. It plunged them into an orgy of consumerism in which they jetted down to Mexico for the holidays, brought $400 razor sets and replaced the family sedan with a gas-sucking SUV. The flower children of the sixties morphed into the “gotta-have” children of the nineties.

Now, it is all collapsing and the middle class, who in the past would have rallied the country to demand relief and reform, finds its soul atrophied by too much consumption and too many distractions. With their minds numbed by multiple hours watching “reality” TV shows, such as CNN, they are unable to respond to the financial disaster that is breaking over them.

Your kleptrocracy has won its final victory. No more will a pain-in-the-ass middle class rise up to thwart its multiple schemes. The class is too pacified and too benumbed to pose any sort of threat. As America’s kleptocrat-in-chief, the Treasury is now yours to do with as you please.

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Moonbeams Dying


A vision fills me, sucked in on the sacred smoke that rots my lungs as the fanged hosts sing their death chants and the mountains rise up and roar their descants while the gods goad the Sun to sear the Moon to a burnt cinder, shriveling the dew-moist moonbeams until they are dusty streaks on a barren plain, for shadows of the Moon are soft and amorphous shades of ambiguity that gently stroke verdant glades where nude waifs dance in Her light as the gods strike their burnished shields and roar for the Sun to blind the moon-shadows in the sear of its glare until all fecundity is reduced to an Elysian desert where shadows are harsh and unyielding, and the break between the Sun’s glare and the black death is the blade-straight line that knows neither curve nor softness, and the Moon cracks as her blood turns to powder that falls to Earth, choking all that still has the temerity to breathe.

the profit

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Putting a Positive Spin on Greed

Dear George,

It happens every time! As soon as things get a little rocky, Piety sits up in her coffin and starts wagging her finger. This time, the object of her scorn is greed. Just because of a little economic meltdown, greed is being taken out to the woodshed for a good licking.

So what if the president of the World Bank is telling us that “the global financial system may have reached a ‘tipping point’ when a crisis cascades into a full-blown meltdown and becomes extremely difficult for government to contain.” This is not an occasion that calls for sack cloth and ashes. Rather, it is a time to take a deep breath and put things into perspective.

Quite frankly, the problem was not too much greed, it was too little. Bear in mind that capitalism has but one aim, and that is the maximization of profits at any cost, and the only way to do that is with a lean, mean greed that has been stripped of all of its excess baggage.

Greed only becomes a problem if it is wed to discernment, the ability to use the critical faculties to take a long-range view of the possible unintended consequences of a given action. Such a marriage inhibits growth. Once greed sheds discernment, it becomes pathological. Then, and only then, does it become an instrument of regressive growth.

As discernment wanes, the temporal frame of reference begins to shrink from decades to years to months to quarter, until it becomes a tiny pinprick that sees no further than the closing bell. It is at this point that greed is at its most dynamic and becomes an instrument of robust growth.

Of course, such a strategy requires that an endless series of bubbles be inflated. As soon as one pops, another must replace it. Naturally, there will be moments in history when the final bubble is popped and the economy goes into shrink mode. Not a problem. It’s not a meltdown; it’s a growth experience. Once the wheat is separated from the chaff, things begin to ramp up.


Piety starts wagging her finger and the government intervenes to abate the suffering, which, if left untouched, would strengthen character and lay the foundation for the next series of bubbles. This is what happened with the New Deal: piety spoke, the govenrment listened, and the results were World War II and a Cold War.

Fortunately, there is a crucial difference between Great Depression I and Great Depression II. When the first one hit, the Left was organized and ready. There a strong labor movement and a thriving Socialist Party. With this one, both are fragmented and ineffectual. The only coherent force remaining is capitalism, and we all know captialism has wax in its ears when it comes to piety’s rants.

What America needs at this point is more greed, not less. So get McCain on the phone and tell him to stop badmouthing the one force that will pull us out of our economic funk.

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

Monday, October 6, 2008

The Certainty of Make Believe

Dear George,

The successful passage of the bank bailout bill once again proves that you are more than the decider; you are the definer. You shape reality as it rolls off your tongue with the same fallaciousness as your eloquence. You speak, and it is; you cry threat, and the public quakes.

You reposition regression as progress, failure as success, madness as sanity, and a house of cards as a sound economy. You sold the public on a value system that rages against gay marriage but is quite at ease with the suffering and displacement created by a plant closing and moving overseas. You tell them indecency is a naked woman lewdly displayed, but not a child shredded by shrapnel.

The dead albatross of ideology gives your utterances a gravitas denied those foolish enough to speak the truth. Truth speakers know that the Truth is always beyond articulation, so they speak haltingly and with nuance.

The lie can afford to shout because it is not anchored by the dead weight of reality. It can float like a hot-air balloon cut loose from its mooring. The lie wears a youthful face uncreased by the cares of reality. It smiles readily and exudes a charm lacking in truth speakers. It is the lie’s certainty that makes it much more efficient than the truth.

Only the lie is capable of making definitive statements; the truth stutters.

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Our Civic Minded Thieves

Dear George,

To those who say you are dumb as dishwater I say, "Fah and be gone!" Your keen intelligence told you that your optimum strategy as our economy gave a new meaning to the China Syndrome, was to hide in your Oval Office and let Paulson take the heat for his bailout plan.

And, what a bailout plan it is! The plan shatters the fetters of crony capitalism to scale the heights of kleptocratic capitalism. The corruption of the nineteenth century’s Robber Barons pales beside Paulson’s Scam.

Paulson was a logical choice to engineer the heist. Under his direction, Treasury has completed its transformation into South Wall Street, so it was only natural that it be the one to come to the aid of its cronies on North Wall Street.

The bailout plan is pure incest. Just look at how it’s going to be implemented. The first thing Paulson does is hire two dozen of his buddies from North Wall Street to be responsible for the overall administration of the plan and to oversee the North Wall Street investment firms that will be hired to administer the plan.

It is a tribute to Congress’ corrupt incompetence that it has given the thieves leave to supervise the stolen property. If there is an icon for this incompetence, it has to be the photograph of Nancy Pelosi, standing at a podium with her Stepford Wife grin, to announce the plan’s passage.

There is but one step yet to take to transform the bailout into a total farce, and that is to hire Al “Don’t-Blame-Me” Greenspan to oversee the operation.


I just realized that I used a word you might not be familiar with—kleptrocracy. It means, rule by thieves. It pretty well sums up your legacy.

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Wall Street makes a fashion statement.

Dear George,

I see Paulson finally got his bailout bill passed, with an extra $100 billion thrown in, just as I suggested, yesterday. I guess that means every young hotshot on Wall Street will be shaving his head and buying a pair of Henry Paulson Flower-Child glasses, whether he needs them or not.

The bill is a stunning example of America’s “Can-do” spirit as first promulgated by the General George Armstrong Custer School of Management Efficiency.

Trust me, as soon as the global market sees that $800 billion charging down the hill with flags flying, bugles blaring and rifles blazing, they’ll lay down their arms and surrender, but not without some sour grapes. As one writer groused:

That the US is opting to bailout its bankers rather than allowing the market forces it championed during the Asian financial crisis to determine the value of its debt-ridden assets represents more than an extreme case of moral hazard. Rather, it undermines global faith in the capitalist model the US once promoted, and from a Southeast Asian perspective, marks the end of what now seems a highly hypocritical US-led era.

Someone should explain to this writer that hypocrisy is the cement that holds our democratic republic together.

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

Friday, October 3, 2008

Stylish Bankruptcy

Dear George,

It looks as if the House is going to pass the Banker Bail Out Bill just in time, because the Pentagon is getting ready to shell out $300 million “to produce news stories, entertainment programs and public service advertisements for the Iraqi media in an effort to ‘engage and inspire’ the local population to support U.S. objectives…”

That’s America for you: when we court bankruptcy, we court it in style.

It will be quite a challenge for whoever wins the contract. How do you put a positive spin on fecal matter in the water? On the other hand you can point out that having only two hours of electricity a day means a lower electric bill and a child blown apart by one of our stray “smart” bombs means one less mouth to feed. Best of all, being forced out of your home opens up a whole new world of opportunities.

But, fear not! “Defense officials maintain that strict rules are enforced against disseminating false information.” As one official put it, “Our enemies have the luxury of not having to tell the truth.”

Slipping the Pentagon’s bons mots into the Iraqi media without attribution is not subterfuge; it is a pragmatic requirement. As one official put it, “They don’t know that the originator of the content is the U.S. government. If they did, they would never run anything.”

The contracts are part of what the Pentagon calls its “information/psychological operations,” which involve the creation of media events designed to reshape and redefine reality by ignoring it. Of course, that phrase is not used in the specifications for the contract. The military erased information/psychological operations and wrote in “media events” in its place.

The brass complains, “We’re being out-communicated by a guy in a cave.” Granted, bin Laden has an advantage of communicating with people who despise us. The Pentagon’s challenge is to make them love us for destroying their country.

I do have one criticism of the program. It seems the Pentagon was considering producing an Iraqi version of “American Idol”, but scrapped the idea because it would have been too expensive. Big mistake, George. The American experience proves that third-rate “reality” programs distract the public from its misery. The challenge would be to find a time slot for the program when the power is on.

It is encouraging to see that the Pentagon is not only thinking outside the box, but they’ve blown the goddamn thing up. Maybe you should ask your lapdogs in Congress for a couple more billion just to cover more operations of this caliber.

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Taking Up the Cross

Dear George,

It looks like Harry Reid out wussed Pelosi by a nose. The Senate caved and passed your Bank Bailout Bill, as “credit freeze” replaced “WMDs” as the goad to force Congress to take a course of action that is both unnecessary and disastrous.

With all the sweeteners the Senate added, it now means we have to charge an additional $800 billion on our maxed out international credit card.

But enough of bailouts and economics, I say. Now that we know that America is the land of capitalist anarchy, we can move on to other more bracing subjects, such as the empire that is bankrupting us.

I just came across a statement by NATO Thinker of Big Thoughts, Julian Lindley-French, on why NATO should be allowed to exist even though it is useless in the wake of the Soviet Collapse. He contends that:

The center of gravity of power on this planet is moving inexorably eastward. As it does, the nature of power itself is changing. The Asia-Pacific region brings much that is dynamic and positive to this world, but as yet the rapid change therein is neither stable nor embedded in stable institutions. Until this is achieved, it is the strategic responsibility of Europeans and North Americans and the institution they have built to lead the way.

There it is: the Whitman’s Burden updated and brought into the twenty-first century. This is why we’re getting chewed up in Afghanistan. The West will not rest until the Taliban doff their robes and head rags, and start wearing God-fearing suits and ties (no dress-down Fridays for savages).

This also explains why the reemergence of a militant Evangelical Christianity is so crucial to our efforts to westernize the barbarians. It takes massive amounts of Christian love to change the world. Only the theological absolutism of doctrine has the backbone necessary to present the heathen with a choice between conversion or death.

Baby bombing sticks in the public's craw when done for oil, democracy or capitalism. But, when the bomb as an incentive to get them to accept Jesus Christ as their personal savior, then it is not only acceptable, but necessary.

Jesus told us to pick up the cross and follow him, and for America, the cross he was talking about was financial ruin and the death of our Democratic Republic. It’s all part of the big picture. The payoff will come in the twenty-second century, when the Pashtun who heads up the World Bank is looking over a loan application from an impoverished United States. Memories of how we brought civilization to his country will be stirred as he feeds the application into the shredder.

It’s a small price to pay for a world that is both capitalist and democratic.

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Turning a Lose-Lose into a Win-Win

Dear George,

The way I see it, the biggest problem you have when trying to ram unpopular legislation through Congress is deciding who the biggest wuss is, Pelosi or Reid. I’m not sure if you’re trying to force the Bankers’ Bailout Bill through the Senate because you think Reid is wussier, or whether it’s the only course of action open to you.

The Senate version of the bailout certainly reveals the core of your economic strategy: borrow $700 billion for the bailout, increase the FDIC exposure to failed banks from $100,000 to $250,000, throw in $78 billion in renewable energy incentives, and then cut taxes. Oh, I almost forgot, slip a sentence into the bill that extends the existing tax cuts that have done so much to swell the deficit.

Given Congress’ sweat-soaked panic, the bill is a win-win.

Just make sure that Congress doesn’t find out that the SEC has made a bailout unnecessary. One of the big reasons for the credit freeze is that banks are forced to value their toxic assets on a “mark to market” value, ie, a fire sale, price. The SEC has changed that rule by saying “that management’s internal assumptions can be used to measure fair value when relevant market evidence does not exist.”

This adds an element to the economy that is sure to save it: fiction. By allowing the banks to make up the value of their toilet paper, the banks will increase their assets, thus allowing them to lend even more money to heavily leveraged financial institutions. This will allow the credit bubble to continue unabated until it finally pops big time.

I can already hear a collective sigh of relief from our international creditors who will now fight for a place in line to lend us even more money, thus insuring that we will have the $5 trillion the bailout will eventually cost once the dust has settled.

It makes sense. What would any banker rather have: a fiat currency of questionable value or assets whose values are based on make-believe? That one’s a no-brainer.

The longer you are in office, George, the more your stature swells as you increase the temperature of the hot air that drives you. You are who Naomi Klein had in mind when she wrote “The Shock Doctrine”. Somewhere in heaven, Saint Milton of Friedman is smiling.

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones