Sunday, December 30, 2007

Putting Nation back in National Defense

Dear George,

The authoritarian regime controls an issue when it is properly framed by pungent sound bites that make both thought and discussion unnecessary. A sound bite is a sound bite when it is not a sound bite, when it is so integrated into the mind that questioning exactly what it means never arises.

When you speak of our “national” security or our “national” defense, nobody, but nobody, stops to ask exactly what the fuck you mean by “national.” They simply assume national defense is what defends all the mom and pop stores on Main Street that are now boarded up because a Wal-Mart opened just outside of town. To other, it conjures up images of America’s youth discovering the joy of oral sex in their abstinence classes.

The truth is that national is simply a synonym for “corporate.” War is that snarky institution in which laid-off drones get their asses shot up to defend our corporate interests overseas. Nothing shores up a king’s strength like a bunch of peasants getting hacked to pieces on a battlefield, a battlefield that will be used as glorious icon to attract future peasants to their death. “National” casts such a spell that it is considered heresy to question it. The kiss of death for a politician is to appear weak on national defense and national security.

A robust defense bubble is a must if we are to keep our economy afloat. We need more wars because we are about to lose the consumer spending that makes up 71 percent of our GDP. Right now, defense spending makes up a pathetic 3.7 percent of our GDP. That is a 67.3 percent gap war must close.

You touched on a solution when you said a nuclear Iran would start World War III. Well, I say God bless them for it, and the sooner the better. Once you get a good world war fired up, you can ration everything and solve the problem of reduced consumer spending by eliminating it altogether.

Invoke national pride and national security as you send more peasants out to die for their king, even though there is no king in a democracy, only a corporate oligarchy. But, the idea is still the same.

We must preserve the sanctity of their vacation villas in the south of France. The waterways must be made secure for their corporate yachts. The oligarchy is our nationhood, our pride and joy, the source of our meager pay.

Where peasants once died for the flag, they now die for a logo.

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Loving Hank Kissinger

Dear George,

God, how I lust after power! I was born to it. I have the perfect mindset to exercise it, to attach my signature to a document that would unleash death and suffering upon the multitudes. My soul is crippled, my mind is twisted; I feel not a whit of compassion for my fellow animals; I see life through a cracked and darkened lens that reduces all of creation to a quantifiable abstraction that can be negated without a single twinge of regret.

If only I weren’t stoned all the time.

This is why I idolize Hank Kissinger. There was a man who understood. Only a deformed psyche can produce a realist like Hank. If his realism required the death of millions and the suffering of millions more, he would set it into motion with a flick of his wrist. Here was no namby-pamby moralizing or wimpy hand wringing. Women or children, it made no difference if they stood between Hank and the execution of his grand scheme of U.S. dominance.

Who else but Hank could have said, “Depopulation should be the highest priority of foreign policy towards the third world because the U.S. economy will require large and increasing amounts of minerals from abroad, especially from less developed countries.”

Doesn’t that just make your heart soar, George? Hank exemplified the penultimate male, adolescent fantasy of bloodless brutality. To intellectualize this retarded development was his finest accomplishment.

Tom Lehrer got it right when he said that political satire died the day Hank won the Nobel Peace Prize.

Someday, George, maybe someday I’ll put the pipe down and begin my rise towards the corridors of power. Until then, I am content to dream dreams of power and chicks.

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

Friday, December 28, 2007

The Science of Scientific Scientism

Dear George,

There is nothing like a rousing culture war to distract the proles while our Corporatists plunder their jobs, their wages, their benefits and their overall quality of life. Abortion and gay marriage fill this bill quite nicely, but the culture war that really brings home the bacon is the struggle between evolution and creationism. That one has a particular bite to it because it involves the corruption of our nation’s youth by the heathen forces of secularism.

Pundits like to characterize the Darwinian battle as one between science and religion, and it is important that it be framed in this manner because it helps your campaign to discredit science. Science is a threat to the Corporatist State because it deals with objective realities thus making it more difficult for your administration to create its own reality.

However, if we are to control delusion, we must understand its dynamic. So, it is necessary to point out that the evolution/creationism debate has nothing to do with either science or religion. Rather, it is a struggle between secular fundamentalists (Secfunds) and religious fundamentalists (Refunds). Both commit the error of literalizing the opening chapters of the Book of Genesis.

Both buy into the quizzled quackery of cosmic materialism. The Secfunds believe we are the product of a random series of accidents while the Refunds dress God is greasy work clothes, hand him a tool box, and set him to work constructing a world. Secfunds deny God while Refunds rob him of his omnipotence by reducing him to an itinerant tinkerer.

One warning: under no circumstances must pure science be allowed to participate in this war. Always remember the distinction between science and scientism. All science can say is that a given phenomenon cannot be confirmed scientifically, at this time. Scientism carries this a step further and states that because a given phenomenon cannot be proved scientifically, it does not exist.

Neither Secfunds nor Refunds have any understanding of the metaphor as a tool with which we understand that which is beyond scientific articulation. The reason America has such tasty culture wars over religion is that we are raised to be technicians. The technician demands a language that is explicit in its expression. “Say what you mean,” is the mantra of the technician. Consequently, they have no tolerance for metaphor. Their dogma is one word, one meaning. Poetry is a foreign language and the qualitative little more than a superstition.

I might also add that scientism is an invaluable tool in the growing debate over global warning. Because no definitive proof exists that human activity is speeding up global warming, scientism can say, with confidence, that melting polar caps are part of a natural cycle and that we can continue to befoul the earth with impunity.

Our technocratic society has given us a sterility of thought that makes the mindless dispute between Adam and Eve or Adam and Steve possible. It keeps the proles distracted while you continue to pick their pockets to pay for your foreign and domestic misadventures.

Once again, giants are roaming the earth.

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

Thursday, December 27, 2007

The Classlessness of Classless Classes

Dear George,

The day will come, far off in the foggy future, when you will be heralded as the man who brought to completion America’s democratic revolution. Currently, you are reviled as a destroyer of democracy by those who do not understand what contemporary democracy is all about. Your critics still cling to the idea that in a democracy, the government reflects and responds to the will of the people.

That is wrong, wrong, wrong!

The democracy we practice is one that celebrates our freedom of consumption. We are a land where people are free to acquire as many goods as their lines of credit will allow. Bathed in the light of this most perfect freedom, the public has neither the need nor the desire for political freedom. Civic participation cuts into the public’s mall time and is actually counterproductive because the time spent at town meetings and working on campaigns adversely affects retail sales.

The classless classes of a consumer society are what give it its democratic gloss even though the classless classes are as stratified as ever. Console lights blink equally for the rich and the poor, and each console is uniformly worthless, regardless of individual income. This is why the classes in a consumptive society are classless and why such a society is a perfect democracy no matter how authoritarian it is.

Besides, there are no classes in America, only diverse levels of income. Roughly speaking, there are three. Those with a deficit income can barely keep food on their tables or roofs over their heads. Those with a sufficient income are able to do so provided nobody gets sick. Those with a surplus income have more than enough.

There you have it, George, a numb-nutted outline of America’s classless system created by a numb-nutted simpleton for other numb-nutted simpletons. With a stroke of the pen, poverty in America is no more. Now there are only those who are able to get by on a deficit income. It is all in the numbers.

Besides, what meaning can class have in a society where every man, no matter how deficit his income, can have his toy. Our freedom is defined by our consumer debt. It doesn’t get much freer than that.

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christianism Ascending

Dear George,

Thank God that accursed holiday is over along with all its prissy prattle about Peace on Earth! It is time to put Christianity back in the cupboard until next Christmas and get back to business.

I suppose these annual binges of “love and peace” have their place. They give your Beltway minions a chance to spend one day wallowing in decency before reverting back to the refined brutishness that is the wellspring of all progress and civilization.

We must never forget that we are a nation that worships the parochial god of the tribe and not the universal God of love. Universal love is doomed to failure because everyone associates it with a euphoric skipping through la-la land whilst wearing a beatific smile on their faces. They are unwilling to face the harsh reality that Christian Love requires a descent into the deepest pit of Hell and the willingness to love every low-life son of a bitch one finds there even though one’s knee-jerk reaction is to tear their fucking throats out. This unwillingness to make the descent transforms Christian Love into Christian Bile.

Above all, Christians must be kept away from Jesus. Nothing would ruin the faith faster than a public that actually bought into his teachings. Your minions must encourage the unwashed to practice Christianism rather than Christianity. Christianism is simply Christianity without Jesus. Under Christianism’s guidance a dynamic faith is reduced to a fossilized ideology.

Jesus broke bread with sinners; Christianism marginalizes them by making them agents of Satan as it prays for their annihilation. Jesus taught love; Christianism teaches a hate born of fear. Jesus taught salvation; Christianism teaches destruction. These differences must be preserved at all costs.

Chris Hedges points out that Mike Huckabee personifies the ideal Christianist candidate. The man’s belief comes straight out of Leviticus: stone all them who ain’t American and ain’t Christianist.

Unfortunately, the man is also raging against the twin pillars that support the Corporatist State: greed and exploitation. To make matters worse, he supports a government grounded in the Ten Commandments. This is dangerous because the commandments are downright anticorporatist. They tell us don’t kill, don’t steal, don’t lie and don’t exploit. How in the hell do you run a multinational with an albatross like that around your neck?

Hedges worries about Huckabee ushering in an era of fascism if he is elected. Hedges goes on to quote Robert O. Paxton’s definition of fascism as ”a form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation, or victimhood and by compensatory cultures of unity, energy, and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraits goals of internal cleansing and external expansion.”

I don’t know what Hedges is worried about. Thanks to your wisdom and vision, we’re already there. Huckabee’s threat is not his nascent fascism; it is his threat to reform the Corporatist State that is dangerous.

It is time to fire up the old smear machine, Big Guy. Slip on the rubber gloves and start slinging some acidic mud. You excel at sinking dangerous candidates.

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas

Instead of celebrating Christmas Day with one of Belacqua’s screeds, I decided to post this poem instead.

The Oxen
By Thomas Hardy

Christmas Eve, and twelve of the clock.
“Now they are all on their knees,”
An elder said as we sat in a flock
By the embers in hearthside ease.

We pictured the meek mild creatures where
They dwelt in their strawy pen,
Nor did it occur to one of us there
To doubt they were kneeling then.

So fair a fancy few would weave
In these years! Yet, I feel,
If someone said on Christmas Eve,
“Come; see the oxen kneel

“In the lonely barton[i] by yonder coomb[ii]
Our childhood used to know,”
I should go with him in the gloom,
Hoping it might be so.

A Merry Christmas and a Happy Holiday to one and all.
Case Wagenvoord

[i] Meadow
[ii] Small valley

Monday, December 24, 2007

Your Dishonest Integrity

Dear George,

When future historians sift through the rubble that was your administration, they will discover that your tenure in office was one of the highest integrity. Oh sure, you floated a couple of white lies to advance our international standing, but other than that, yours was an oval office in which truth shone like a hissing flame.

It was you, and you alone, who freed corruption from the woodshed of dishonor in which it had been locked. For too long corruptions had been reviled and despised as if it were a lethal virus spreading its disease into every nook and cranny of society.

You had the vision to recognize corruption for what it was: an instrument of productivity. Both business and politics move with greater efficiency when corruption greases the skids upon which they slide. (Properly, I should say, “…upon which ‘it’ slides,” since the two are now one thanks to the efforts of Ronnie and his successors.)

It is progressives and reformers who try to muck up the works with layer upon layer of repressive regulations that attempt to fit the Corporatists State into a matrix of integrity for which it is ill suited. Corruption is part of its DNA. Modify that and you endanger the whole structure.

Our entire consumptive society is grounded on the lie that happiness is only possible by owning more stuff. It is imperative that we throw junk away as fast as we buy it. Today’s “must-have” is tomorrow’s flotsam. Landfills heaped high with our discards are enduring symbols of our prosperity.

Where would Wall Street be without corruption? How else could it have floated all of the SIVs, CDOs, and other instruments that magically transformed liabilities into assets? Our economy grows only if it is allowed an occasional orgy of self-destruction. Trying to regulate against these flameouts is like refusing to flush a toilet. After a while, it becomes downright unhealthy.

So, I salute you, Big Guy. You have shown America the painful price honesty demands. As their homes slip into foreclosure and as they sink slowly towards the poverty line, they will have the satisfaction of knowing all of this happened because you refused to compromise you principles by trying to reform the system.

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Jump Starting Ideology

Dear George,

Oppression rests on a bedrock of ideology. Without a dynamic ideology, the best a leader could hope for is a tepid authoritarianism that becomes an object of bawdy humor and a target for lowlife satirists. A war driven by ideology takes on a nasty brutishness not found in wars fought for political or economic reasons. Slaughter rocks when driven by ideology.

The question is how do you spin an ideology out of the raw material of life? What switch to you throw, what screw do you tighten in order to build a jackbooted ideology that will crush the proles?

You can take your clue from the early days of sociology. The discipline arose in nineteenth-century Europe with thinkers like Weber, Comte and Durkheim. These early thinkers were literate and well read and in many cases their writing approached poetry.

One of the tools these early thinkers used to understand the workings of society was the “ideal type”. This was an abstract construct that represented a social phenomenon in its pure form. Examples of ideal types are democracy, capitalism, freedom and socialism.

It was understood by these thinkers that the ideal type was not reality. It was simply a tool with which one could analyze reality. Human beings are too contradictory, difficult, disorganized and undisciplined to ever achieve an ideal type—unless they are forced to.

Here now, we have the key to creating an ideology: Treat an ideal type as if it is real. Place this new reality on a mountain top, and drive the people up the slope with whips and cudgels. Lenin did this with socialism and the end result was Communism, which was simple a mutant form of state-run capitalism.

A potential hotbed of ideology is the United States where every word is literalized and every ideal type is treated as a reality to be achieved. St Milton of Friedman is our patron saint of ideology. He took an “ideal type”, free enterprise, and attempted to turn it into a reality. The result has been a cauldron of poverty, misery, oppression and disenfranchisement. Just as Lenin gave us Communism, St. Milton has given us the “Washington Consensus.”

The Washington Consensus was rather wimpy as ideologies go. True, it caused its share of misery, but it simply couldn’t achieve the same body count as earlier ideologies.

That is, until you came along and decided to bring free enterprise and democracy to the Middle East. With that decision, the Washington Consensus started earning its chops as a grim reaper. We have a way to go before we catch up with the twentieth century ideologies, but this is America and we excel at all we do. This is why your invasion of Iran is so crucial. We simply cannot allow this carcass gap to continue. We must show the Europeans that when it comes to body counts, we are number one.

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

Saturday, December 22, 2007

A Brave New Vision

Dear George,

The biblical prophets roared; today’s prophits whisper. The ancient prophets spoke poetry; our prophets speak in sterile words sucked dry of passion. The early prophets liberated; today’s prophets enslave. Old prophets raged against authority; contemporary prophets serve it.

And we do have a gaggle of prophets busily at work like a swarm of termites gnawing away at democracy’s support beams.

All prophets, both old and new, foresaw the eminent collapse of a way of life. The prophets of the Bible saw the fall of Israel because she had strayed from God. Our prophets see the collapse of the United States because of corporatism’s multiple excesses. Where old prophets demanded change, our demand that we stay the course.

Our prophets whispered in 1974, and nobody heard. That was when the SRI Center for the Study of Social Policy issued their report, Changing Images of Man. The document was spurred by the knowledge among our elite that our economic system was headed for an eventual collapse. Warnings about peak oil had surfaced, we were busily making enemies around the world by funding coups, death squads and torture chambers, and capital’s need to consolidate and increase its wealth was beginning to widen the gap between rich and poor.

The report was grounded on the fallacy that makes the term “social science” one of history’s great oxymorons: that man is a passive lump of soft clay that can be molded into any shape that best serves the elite.

In its brilliance, the report argued that those best suited to do the molding were the very people who had piloted our pending economic breakdown, our corporate elite. It would be like a dog eating its own shit.

Thus, were the creators of chaos to continue the chaos by teaching man to love and embrace it. The new freedom was the freedom to thrive on economic instability.

The report outlines five steps for the implementation of this great transformation:

1. Promote awareness of the unavoidability of the transformation
2. Foster construction of a guiding vision of a workable society built around the new image of man and new social paradigm.
3. Foster a period of experimentation and tolerance for diverse alternatives.
4. Encourage a politics of righteousness and a heightened sense of public of public responsibilities of the private sector…A politics of righteousness might have been laudable in any generation; it may be indispensable for safe passage through the times ahead.
5. Promote systematic exploration of and foster education regarding man’s inner life, his subjective experience.
6. Plan adequate social controls for the transition period safeguarding against longer-term losses of freedom (as in untrammeled free enterprise. bj) Regulation and restraint of behavior will be necessary in order to hold the society (of proles—bj) together while it goes around a difficult corner.

So there it is, George, the master plan for your administration that explains why your every policy further weakens the United States until the day comes when she will be but a cog in a worldwide network of a unified corporatist world.

And what will the new man be? Our prophets envision a passive drone that counts his every misery as a blessing and who bows and pulls at his forelock whenever one of the corporatist elites enters the room. It will truly be a brave new world. The thought of it really turns me on.

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

Friday, December 21, 2007

The Law of Positive Negative Utility

Dear George,

America has a problem. Thankfully, it is one that can be easily solved with a little bullshit. We have an economy that is being propped up by the frenzied consumption of useless and unnecessary commodities and services. This consumption constitutes 72 percent of our GDP.

The problem is that our consumption is starting to tank. It seems that when people have trouble meeting their mortgage payments, they wimp out and stop buying all the stuff they don’t need.

(Okay, Big Guy, it is time to put on your running shoes, we are going to take a couple of laps around the barn.)

A solution to this predicament is found in a dogma called the “Law” of Diminishing Marginal Utility. Basically, this dogma states that the utility a person experiences from the consumption of one unit of a given product declines with each additional unit consumed.

For example, consider a glass of water and a thirsty man. If we measure utility on a scale of one to ten, the utility of the first glass of water would be ten, the second glass a seven, and the third glass a three.

The situation we face in out consumptive society is that when someone buys a useless or unnecessary item, the Diminishing Marginal Utility is a zero as soon as it is taken out of its package. The high-end facial moisturizer an individual buys for big bucks has a zero Marginal Utility because everybody knows bear grease works just as well and all it costs you is the bullet with which you kill the bear.

With the moisturizer, we have an example of “subjective” utility as opposed to the “objective” utility of the glass of water quaffed by the thirsty man.

In order to keep our economy propped up, we must look to the Dogma of the Negative Marginal Utility, or consumption in which the subjective utility is high and the objective utility is in the pits. A good example of negative utility is the alcoholic who takes a drink. The drink provides him with a massive subjective utility along with an equally massive negative utility as it continues to eat away at his liver.

We already practice this dogma Negative Marginal Utility in our obsession with economic growth. We pursue growth even though there is a massive negative utility in our trashing of people and the earth.

George, we must sell America on Negative Marginal Utility. We must convince people to buy even though every purchase knocks them down a rung on the economic ladder. To do this, we must reposition misery, and we do this by marketing the concept of Ascetic Consumption in which economic security is painted as a form of selfish indulgence. Indebtedness becomes a badge of honor; dunning letters and nasty collection phone call are symbols of one’s patriotism. Bankruptcy, homelessness and ruin mean one has made the ultimate sacrifice for one’s country.

We are a nation of go-getters who seize the day and go for the gold. Our GDP is bleeding. She is crying out to us, and it is the duty of every red-blooded American citizen to do their part and plunge further into debt so she may be saved by an infusion of consumptive cash.

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

Thursday, December 20, 2007



Stoned, stoned, stoned, flying with the vultures buoyed by the thermals of bombs bursting in air by the dawn’s early light, puking the flesh of the child, banking and turning in a corkscrewed descent to tear the flesh of the unread and unwashed in a cultured and measured voice of reassurance that their torn flesh shall rise again on the third millennium in a fit-fuck of pro-pro-productivity amidst the cries of a hungry baby dying the tiny death of diseased redemption to the greater glory of the commoditized trash pit that sings its broken song of metastasized growth to the clatter of skeletons scavenging metal and glass from its fiery furnace to build altars upon which burnt offerings of the dazed and confused are sent heavenward on a spiraling cloud of grease-besmucked smoke to masturbate the holy nostrils in three-quarter time while in the distant the cries and moans of the starving are soothed by the swish of paper coated with the wisdom words of the bean counters as they send their perfumed stench over the land proclaiming that all is well and the world is happy and at peace as shrapnel tears its flesh and anoints the desert sands with it blood, and, oh fuck, georgee, ain’t it great being half-dead and not giving a shit about tomorrow because we’ve got ours today…

your ad-d-mirer
whomever the fuck I chose to be today

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

The New Totalism

Dear George,

The twentieth century saw the birth pangs of a dynamic movement that was to reach its maturity in the twenty-first: methodological totality and its child, social engineering. As is so often the case, it was a difficult birth. The totalized methods set into motion by Lenin, Stalin and Hitler were crude affairs whose lack of sophistication and marketing acumen guaranteed their self destruction.

Despite their clumsiness, these early experiments shared one thing in common with the more sophisticated ideological totality of the twenty-first century, and that was the belief that ideological implementation was possible only through the complete destruction of a nation, a system or an individual. Out of this blood and rubble of the old would emerge a “new nation,” a “new system” or a “new man”.

These earlier efforts failed because they equated destruction with actual destruction. You shot all the dissidents and beat the survivors into submission. Out of this, they believed they could reconstruct the individual into a passive pawn who would willingly submit to the dictates of the State or the ruling clique. Through social engineering they thought they could completely renovate the human psyche and sap it of its individuality and will.

You can't rebuild the human psyche, you must corrupt it through its virtual destruction. Instead of active support, the sole goal of the State is to induce passive apathy. Once it turns citizens into spectators, the State is free to do as it pleases as long continues to entertain the proles. So forget the parades and rallies, the mass gymnastics and all of the trappings of the old totalistic societies. As long as Britney keeps shaving her head and political coverage continues to obsess on fashion and fund raising, there is little chance of the masses rebelling.

Where others failed, Corporatism is scaling heights undreamed of by the totalistic regimes of old. Be proud that you are the midwife of this movement, even though you can’t tell the difference between forceps and follicles.

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Deregulating Chaos

Dear George,

Do you remember the Peanuts character Pig Pen? He was the little boy who left a cloud of dust and dirt in his wake. He reminds me of you, Big Guy, except that instead of dirt, you leave a cloud of chaos and disaster in your wake, and I love you for it.

You record is perfect: you have trashed our foreign policy, our social safety net, and now, in your greatest coup, you are trashing our economy. Though, I have to say you can’t take all the credit for the economy. There are others who share that honor with you, like Ronnie and Bill and your pappy and, of course, that master of economic anarchy, Alan.

You are all craftsmen of disaster, spinning your magic like it was a golden garment.

Let’s go to the video tape and look at all you have accomplished.[1]

Basically, our consumptive bubble is popping with a roar that will shatter glass and knock buildings off their foundations. Since July, financial institutions have seen twenty-five percent of their capitalization vanish into thin air.

The last time there was a shakeup like this was when the bubble popped. However, that only involved thirteen percent of our GDP. The explosion you hear now is the American consumer being vaporized. Consumption accounts for seventy-two percent of our GDP. So, this one will be even more fun.

The economy is splayed out on the rack, and the snap, crackle and pop you hear is its bones breaking. There are two problems. First, the housing bubble is collapsing. The traditional fix for that is to lower interest rates. Second, the dollar is in a free fall. You deal with that by raising interest rates which will only exacerbate the housing bust, though if the Fed lowers rates the dollar goes into a Kamikaze dive.

So the Fed decided to lower rates, and in doing so they were apparently guided by Lenin’s suggestion that, “The best way to destroy capitalism is to debase the currency.”

What we are facing today are the fruits of deregulation. Letting the Invisible Hand of the Market drive the economy is like letting a two-year-old take the family car out for a spin. There is no doubt what the ultimate outcome will be.

Freed of the onerous burden of the regulations that had kept them honest since the First Great Depression, the banks discovered that if they took their loans and hawked them to nonbanking institution in the form collateralized debt obligations (CDOs), they could move the loans off their books and escape the need to keep capital reserves adequate for the loans they were giving because these loans were no longer on their books but were busily undermining our economy. But now that nobody wants to touch the damn things as they expire, the banks all find themselves undercapitalized. Now they are acting like the teenager who cowed his parents into deregulating his social life and then comes crying to them to bail him out when he is busted for smoking a joint.

Meanwhile, that great American ATM, the house, is losing value leaving many homeowners who leveraged their homes to the hilt so they could consume, consume, consume up to their asses in debt. As housing prices fall, the negative equity in their home increases. Now we are faced with 3.5 million foreclosures and an eleven month inventory of unsold houses.

You are brilliant, George. You have set the country up for what Naomi Klein has described as Milton Friedman’s “Shock Therapy.” You’ve always wanted to junk Social Security, and now that our economic house of cards is collapsing you will have your chance. And you will do so in the name of getting the economic train back on the tracks. Granted, the freight cars are so twisted and bent they will no longer run. But, hell, when has truth ever played a role in your administration.

My hat is off to you, Big Guy. You have hit the trifecta: our foreign policy, our social safety net and our economy are all in the dumpster.

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

[1] All that follows is taken from an excellent and readable article by Mark Whitney, “The Collapse Of The Modern Day Banking System posted at

Monday, December 17, 2007

The Numbness that Passeth All Understanding

Astride of a grave and a difficult birth. Down in the hole, lingeringly, the grave-digger puts on the forceps. We have time to grow old. The air is full of our cries. (He listens.) But habit is a great deadener.
Samuel Beckett
waiting for godot

Dear George,

Old Sam really nailed it. Repetition dulls. It dulls the senses, it dulls the mind and it dulls the will. The same pattern, day in and day out, the same grey corridors, the same movements ingrained until they are a choreographed shuffle, all of this soothes the spirit and gives to it the peace that numbs.

Repetition is a security blanket that relieves the stress that would arise should a man have to recreate each day anew. The man mired in sameness knows the happiness of the dead because his days are a series of easy passages from dawn to dusk, and no matter how oppressive the bosses, or meager the pay, or dangerous the working conditions, his is a life of certitude. To shuffle in lockstep with his brethren is float gently down a meandering stream

And yet, George, with all the serenity habit has to offer, man remains cursed by that fucking apple Eve gave to Adam. It is that stubborn refusal to accept the natural order of things and to insist on living a life peppered with rebellion that keeps the peace that can only come from conformity out of mankind’s grasp.

Chronic disobedience is what makes leadership so challenging. Traditional leaders compensated for this with an oppressive terror that included the stake, the rack and the cross.

External oppression is simply not cost effective. Too much manpower is wasted staging an efficient crucifixion. Racks are expensive, and the stake is an environmentally unsound method given all the wood that is wasted. Stoning is a little more cost effective, but crowd control can be a problem.

The traditional methods of oppression were grounded on a shaky premise: that the objective of terror is to force the masses into a state of obedience. The problem is that a thin line separates obedience from disobedience. Let the leader show the slightest weakness and he has a rebellion on his hands.

The proper objective is not obedience, but numbness. The person who wanders through life in a cloud of apathetic dullness is far more malleable than the person beaten into obedience. Nothing generate this apathy like a dancing screen, be it the tube, a computer monitor, a cell phone, or the multiple large screens that are increasingly dotting our public spaces.

The moment the eye settles on it, the brain goes dead as it is pumped full of the mundane and the innocuous. Life is trivialized and reality is reduced to an inaudible sound echoing just out of range. The mind is made fertile for the obedient shuffle because it is totally unaware of the multiple chains that are binding it. The chains sing, perform and gossip. The chains say, “There, there. Don’t make trouble. Go along. It is easier.” And in a trance-like state man follows without a whimper.

Unless he finds the on-off button on the remote...

Eve was a bitch!

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

"I did the right thing."

Dear George,

Divine Providence is your administration what a chef’s knife was to Jack the Ripper, an instrument of policy. The beauty of providence is its long-term vision. No matter how disastrous the consequences of a given decision, providence promises that all will be well in the end as long as we put events in the context of a geological timeline.

Providence allows the leader who is up to his neck in shit to declare, “I did the right thing.” Alan Hart says of that statement, “In discourse analysis it’s known as the false dilemma. You can’t argue with somebody, particularly a leader who insists that he was doing what was right because, implicitly you invite yourself to be seen as arguing for what is morally wrong.”

The leader who makes a fetish of Divine Providence lobotomizes the brain’s feel for decency. As soon as he is convinced that God is behind him, the leader will not shrink from wading through a waist-high lake of blood and viscera because the slaughter his decision causes is justified by the noble end his policy is pursuing.

From whence does this divine providence come? It is really quite simple: The ego farts and the soul is convinced the breath of the Spirit is upon it.

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

Saturday, December 15, 2007

New Age Aging Anew

Dear George

The old leaders of old controlled their subjects by wielding fear like a cudgel. New Age leaders control their subjects by wielding fear like a scalpel. This new-age fear reaches its peak efficiency when the subjects believe they are not afraid when they really are, but they are loathe to admit it because they have internalized the belief that their leader is so benign and so compassionate that he would do nothing to frighten his subjects when he is doing all in his power to scare the shit out of them without their realizing that their shit is being scared out of them.

(I’m still a little stoned from last night, George, so bear with my syntax)

The key to utilizing this new-age benign fear is to encourage a sense of isolation in your subjects. In a situation of real fear, such as a physical attack or a holdup, the first thing that happens is that the victim immediately erects an impregnable wall that encloses only him and the perpetrator to the exclusion of all else, which makes the perpetrator’s job all that easier. There ain’t nobody what’s going to yell “Help!” with a gun shoved in their face.

One of life’s little paradoxes is that the more imaginary the fear, the more the wannabe victim’s sense of isolation increases. Conversely, the more isolate an individual is, the more prone he is to imaginary fears.

Hoc est ergo propter non illigimati carborundum, the mission of the New Age Leader must be to increase his subjects sense of isolation through which their need for imaginary fears grows because how the fuck else to you hold back the boredom of being pretty damn much isolated other than scaring yourself shitless which can only be done if you are so unconnected that you are totally devoid of a soothing breast to rest you head on while a cooing voice assures you that God is in his heaven, George Bush is in the White House and all is well in the kingdom.

For that matter, I must say that your total incompetence has been absolutely sterling in making both America and the world terrified of what your next grandiose scheme might be, not to mention your bullying of the congress which has them so cowed that they have become isolated and alienated from the constituents who elected them in the first place.

George, you are truly the model for the new-age leader of the future. Those who are waiting in the wings to govern will surely study your every move and will hone and perfect the one skill necessary for the leader of today: a sociopathic ineptitude.

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

Friday, December 14, 2007

In God We Trust

Dear George,

I see the Europeans are in a hissy-fit again. This time, it is global warming. You call a conference on global warming, everyone descends on Bali, and then the Euros try to jettison the whole think by insisting on a concrete commitment to reduce emissions. The trouble is that the effete continentals are still mired in the reality-based community and don’t recognize theater when they see it.

They actually expect a 25 percent to 40 percent cut by 2020. Then they have the temerity to bring science into it. Their claim is that this is the amount scientists say we must cut to avoid global warming.

For Christ’s sake, George, what does science matter to a faith-based administration? God is the invisible hand of the market that will make everything come out right. He may do so my rendering us extinct, but extinction is simply a secular take on the Rapture. The bottom line is that Christians need have no fear of it.

You certainly set them straight when you pointed out that such draconian cuts in greenhouse emissions would hurt the U.S. economy.

What a magical expression is “U.S. economy.” It is the “economy” that does it. As soon as people hear the word they think science, what with all the numbers and formulas and charts and Technicolor computer screens and statistical formulas that make numbers dance to the makers tune.

The truth is that economics is not a science. It is a superstition as surely as was animism. The only difference is that instead of charms, spells and talismans, it uses numbers and formulas.

A superstition is working when nobody knows it is a superstition.

So stay the course, George. Our economy is in enough trouble. We don’t need any of this global warming nonsense to make it worse. The invisible hand will take care of us, even if it does so by impaling us on its middle finger.

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

Thursday, December 13, 2007

A Change of Pace

I felt like something different today, so I thought I would share with you and the National Security Agency (NSA) this piece by Wendell Berry. –cw

"DO NOT BE ASHAMED"by Wendell Berry

You will be walking some night in the comfortable dark of your yard and suddenly a great light will shine round about you, and behind you will be a wall you never saw before. It will be clear to you suddenly that you were about to escape and that you are guilty: you misread the complex instructions, you are not a member, you lost your card or never had one. And you will know that they have been there all along, their eyes on your letters and books, their hands in your pockets, their ears wired to your bed. Though you have done nothing shameful, they will want you to be ashamed. They will want you to kneel and weep and say you should have been like them. And once you say you are ashamed, reading the page they hold out to you, then such light as you have made in your history will leave you. They will no longer need to pursue you. You will pursue them, begging forgiveness. They will not forgive you. There is no power against them. It is only candor that is aloof from them, only an inward clarity, unashamed, that they cannot reach. Be ready. When their light has picked you out and their questions are asked, say to them: "I am not ashamed." A sure horizon will come around you. The heron will begin his evening flight from the hilltop.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

In Praise of Deviant Growth

Dear George,

There is a belief among the indigenous peoples of Siberia that lice are a sign of good health. Their presence is proof that one’s blood is disease free. This is folk wisdom at its best because it shows how a positive attitude can take what most people would consider a curse and turn it into a benefit.

Our corporatists show a similar ability when they treat cancerous economic growth as a sign of strength even though it is bleeding the world dry. A talent like this works best with a refracted worldview in which bad is good and down is up.

A positive attitude makes all things possible, and our Corporatists secrete it. Just as the world is entering the Age of Peak Oil, our Corporatists are planning to build two superhighways that will stretch from Ontario and Montana down through Mexico. It is a plan that shows great courage in the face of a pending calamity. Only a visionary could spit on disaster by daring it to show its face.

They plan to give us an asphalt monster four football fields wide. Dubbed the Super Corridor, the highway will be a clogged artery allowing the free flow of useless goods across the decimated face of North America and Mexico.

There are political benefits to its construction. All along its route, the public is opposed to it. Construction will be a stimulating lesson is the futility of public opinion. In Mexico, it will displace the poor who have been so troublesome to the orderly administration of that company (I mean “country”).

The Super Corridor a classic example of the dynamic that has allowed the Corporatist State to displace popular democracy by treating deviant behavior as an historical imperative. Actions considered sociopathic by the sane are treated as “economic development” by our Corporatists. That is why they are rich and the proles are poor.

Our Corporatists greatest contribution to the world has been the legitimization of madness. For that, we owe them our deepest gratitude.

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Merry Christmas, George.

Note: I first posted this letter in a slightly different form last Christmas and have decided to make an instant tradition out of it. So, welcome to the second annual posting of Belacqua’s Christmas Letter. c.w.

Dear George,

Here we are again, up to our asses in Christmas, that wonderful time of year when everyone is stressed out because they are unable to attain the mandatory Hallmarkian joy the season demands.

What I really love about Christmas is how it reeks of irony. Organized religion’s greatest accomplishment is the reduction of Jesus to a plastic statue that glows in the dark. Thanks to the efforts of our clergy, we worship a reified icon and not his teachings. The deft manner in which the church has taken a rebel who railed against the society of his age and turned him into a symbol of meek obedience is awe inspiring.

Look at how they have upgraded him:

· Because Jesus said only those who become as children shall enter heaven, we are taught to obey our surrogate parent, the State.
· Where Jesus called the establishment of his time “hypocrites and vipers,” we are taught to say “yes sir” and “no sir”.
· Where Jesus trashed the temple, we are taught to make a fetish of private property.
· Where Jesus healed, we cancel health benefits.
· Where Jesus taught us to feed the hungry, we underfund food stamps.
· Where Jesus taught us to clothe the naked, we head for the Gap.
· Where Jesus preached peace, we bomb children.
· Where Jesus taught us to comfort the afflicted, we tell them their afflictions are their own fault.
· Where Jesus preached the humility that liberates, we practice the hubris that enslaves.

The manger sits in the shadow of the cross, but we are so blinded by the gaudy lights dancing across our multiple screens we see only a plastic crèche.

So, Merry Christmas, George. Keep praying to your plastic Jesus and let the madness roll on.

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

Monday, December 10, 2007

The Poetry of Paranoia

Dear George,

Who would expect to find poetry in a House bill? These bills don’t soar, they don’t inspire, and they don’t lift the spirits. They are mundane vehicles cluttered with language that is as mundane as it is legalistic. If anything, they employ language that conceals the bill’s true intent.

Well, let me tell you, George, I just read one whose language was so moving I wet my pants.

I am speaking of none other than HR 1955, The Violent Radicalization Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act of 2007. God, how it sings!

This is truly a bill for all seasons and one of the most monumental pieces of legislation ever to enter the Halls of Congress. It is a bill that will remake America and provide a bridge into the twenty-first century.

The bill is a masterpiece of corrupted language. Instead of twisting words, it deflates their meaning, leaving only a vague and elastic shell. Words no longer mean what they once did. Their meaning is ambigious, allowing them to cover any situation. At the same time, the words are not allowed to have any depth or nuance. The bill uses the language of the technician in which a word is allowed but one meaning, and that meaning is whatever the user says it is.

Ever since the Cold War, America has been playing at paranoia. Finally we have a bill that gives it the poetic expression that will peak its efficiency.

The bill begins with a finding that states, “The development and implementation of methods and processes that can be utilized to prevent violent radicalization, homegrown terrorism and ideologically based violence in the United States is critical to combating domestic terrorism.”

Ah, Omission, how sweet is thy name! The word “violence” peppers the bill like little droplets of piss. But nowhere is the adjective “physical” attached to the word. No sir, this bill addresses violence in all of its multiple manifestations. Firebrands, pulpit pounders, demagogues and radicals, take notice. Be careful of what you say and how you say it. Under this bill, the government will take notice.

HR 1955 creates a commission to be called the National Commission on the Prevention of Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism. America finally has her Star Chamber, and we will be all the safer for it.

The purpose of the Commission will be to “investigate and report upon the facts and causes of violent radicalization in the United States.” It is authorized to hold hearings, issue subpoenas and swear in witnesses.

The poetess of this magnificent work is none other than Rep. Jane Harman (D-California). The woman doesn’t speak, she sings when she says, “Free speech, espousing even very radical beliefs is protected by our Constitution-but violent behavior is not. (Note the absence of “physical”.) Our plan must be to intervene before (emphasis mine) a person crosses that line separating radical views from violent behavior; to understand the forces at work on the individual and the community, to create an environment that discourages disillusionment and alienation, that instills in young people (emphasis mine) a sense of belonging and faith in the future.”

Of course, you must see what is happening here. It is all part of your reform of our archaic legal system that is transitioning it from reactive justice to proactive justice. Why in the hell should we wait until a crime is committed before we act? The damage is done, it is expensive to gather evidence and mount a prosecution, and with our cluttered law books it is too easy for a criminal to slip through a legal loophole and walk free. Harman is right, screw the First Amendment to the Bill of Rights and let’s nail radicals while they are speaking before they cause any harm. Violent speech is the midwife for violent “physical” violence.

When I hear her speak of creating an environment for alienated young people, I see a string of reeducation camps spread across the land. Camps work wonders. They are especially important because the alienated are the sane ones, and it is important that they be made as barking mad as the rest of us. Incarceration is good for the soul.

Harman doesn’t stop there. She goes on to target a major thorn in your side, the internet. “Combine that personal adolescent upheaval with the explosion of information technologies and communication tools which American kids are using to broadcast messages from al-Qaeda-and there is a road map to terror, a ‘retail outlet’ for anger and warped aspirations. Link that intent with a trained terrorist operative who has actual capacity, and a ‘Made in the USA suicide bomber is born.”

I never knew paranoia could have such a beautiful ring to it. The congresswoman knows full well that people are scared shitless of teenagers and she play that fear like a concert piano. (Anyone who thinks America’s young people are passive lumps of clay has never taught eighth-graders.)

One of the finding in the bill states, “The Internet (Blame Al Gore for that-bj) has aided in facilitating violent radicalization, ideologically based violence, and the homegrown terrorist process in the United States by providing access to broad and constant streams of terrorist-related propaganda to United States citizens.”

When Tail-Gunner Joe McCarthy died, he tore a hole in the American psyche. That hole is about to be filled by the Commission. But, unlike McCarthy, its hearings will be secret, not only because they touch on issues of National Security, but because they must prevent the location of radical websites from going public. The only time they would hold public hearings is when they wanted to trash a reluctant witness’s reputation.

To be effective, oppression must be arbitrary. To be arbitrary, it must be vague and diffuse, sucking in those who believe themselves to be free of the taint of terroristic thoughts and beliefs. HR 1955 makes this possible. Give Harmon the Medal of Freedom. She is certainly doing her part to preserve it.

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Our New Age Made New Again

Dear George,

Without the rebellion of the Sixties, you would not be what you are today. It was the spirit of “do your own thing” that began the fragmentation of community that made it so malleable and easy to manipulate. The flower children sought a new consciousness but all they found was a drug addled incoherence that could only express itself in the screams of acid rock.

In the beginning, they were on to something as they kicked against the suffocating conformity of the fifties. Unfortunately, they forgot that freedom comes only through solidarity. Like lemmings they turned on and dropped out and in doing so prepared the way for Ronnie’s ascension and all that followed, including you.

Their dream of an Aquarian Age congealed and hardened into an age of self-gratification and greed. In the process, their ability to read and comprehend atrophied and with that their ability to reason and articulate died. Self-absorbed, functional illiterates are seldom outraged over injustice and tend to marginalize those who are. This makes you the perfect role model for the our new Age of Aquarius.

This intellectual paralysis even corrupted the critics of our modern age, the Neocons, who bewail our moral softness. Such are their reduced faculties of reasoning that the only antidote they can come up is an endless war. The naked exercise of power has replaced reason as society’s driving force. In this, the Neocons are children of the sixties in that their vision goes no further than their belly buttons. They give the outward appearance of internationalists, but their world is a paper one that has no relation to the real. They draw lines here and there on paper and convince themselves that the lines are actually changing the world while the world laughs back and detonates another IED.

In the end, the Sixties birthed a hyper consumerism that is slowly stripping the earth of her resources. Its corruption seeped into the corridors of corporate power and gave rise to a craving for undisciplined growth so intense that it is sinking the world into poverty and want, just to feed this corporate addiction.

In the end, all rebellion curdles into its opposite.

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

Saturday, December 8, 2007

Heresy Abounds

Dear George,

Thanks to the hysteria over peak oil and global warming, the new buzz words are now “sustainability” and “proportion”. Both terms are part of a tree hugging plot to weaken our rock-solid economy and spread poverty and want among our corporatist elites.

I am particularly disturbed by an article, “The Cancer of Growth” by Gustavo Esteva. His argument is that in nature, growth is finite and controlled. An organ grows until it reaches what he calls its “correct proportion” and then it stops.

George, it is enough to make a grown man cry. Let’s face it; cancer had gotten some pretty bad press so the public fails to appreciate its contribution. Cancer culls the herd by neutralizing those who are too weakened by the disease to lead productive lives. Besides, who wants to work next to an emaciated wreck with no hair?

Capital, however, is a bird of another feather. Like the cancer cell it is capable of unlimited growth no matter how limited the environment. Capital is a furry shrew that must eat eighty to ninety percent of its weight each day to survive. Once one food source is exhausted, it moves on to another. Some species are venomous and all species attack anything that moves.
To prohibit unfettered growth is to destroy capital. This idea of “correct proportion” is for the weak and the fastidious who dab their lips with a napkin after every bite. Capital gorges itself on the raw flesh of the dead as it ignores the red fluid coating its chin and chest. Such is its appetite that it doesn’t even bother to kill its prey before it starts tearing off slabs of flesh.
That is why capital is such a turn-on.

Capital has always been about sucking wealth to the top of the pyramid. This need is all the more intense as the glob warms and oil peaks (even though they really aren’t, but they are great excuses for increased exploitation and socially acceptable theft.) Capital must act as if the world is an overcrowded lifeboat. Survival requires throwing most of the passengers overboard while saving a few who will be used as food to keep the strongest in the boat alive.
Esteva is a heretic when he argues that, "We need to recover a sense of proportion that is simply another form of common sense (emphasis mine) that exists in community. To struggle against a culture of waste, disposability, destruction and injustice, and the culture that has produced global warming to which disasters caused by irresponsibility are now attributed, we can reclaim the sensible and responsible rejection of what is unnecessary in the name of socially viable goals, and discard forever the idolatry of economic growth."

His heresy is not in his condemnation of “the idolatry of economic growth” but in his appeal to common sense. We live by the cult of the expert whom we worship just as the ancients worshiped their priests and seers. This is made possible by marginalizing common sense. We have reduced common sense to a subset of our perceptual senses. These, we are told are totally unreliable because they habitually deceive us. Were we to rely on our senses alone, we would be quite correct in assuming that the earth sits at the center of the universe. This is one of those charming little scams that keep the proles in their place. It is a true half truth. Perception exists on a spectrum, and our senses do indeed deceive us at the polar ends of the spectrum, the micro and the macro. The earth does not sit at the center of the universe, and a rock is not static, but is a conglomeration of molecules moving with such speed that they give the illusion of solidity. Between these poles, our senses are more than adequate.

Common sense works which is why we need experts to discredit it.

The economy lives to grow, and in its insatiable growth it transcends the limitations of the biological by destroying it. Our elites do not take kindly to decline and it is society’s duty and obligation to make sure they are never forced to drink of its bitter cup.

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones.

Friday, December 7, 2007

Dear George,

We have a problem with polls. I’m not talking about the polls that show your popularity in the subbasement of the public’s affection. The last thing an authoritarian leader cares about is what anybody thinks about him. Rather, I am talking about those poles that contradict the many mythologies that keep the proles satisfied and silent.

One of the prime myths that keep them in their place is the belief that America is the land of opportunity and social mobility where hard work, contacts and some creative ass kissing are all a man needs to rise to the top. Thanks to this myth, the proles blame themselves for the hardships they suffer. In their minds, they didn’t work hard enough, didn’t have the right contacts, and didn’t kiss enough asses. This diverts their attention away from the fact that the system is rigged against them from the get-go.

I’m sorry to say I have just run across a poll that confirms that this myth is the lie it is. According to the Economic Mobility Project, only six-percent of the children born to parents at the very bottom of the heap ever rise to the top. Forty-two percent of poor children grow up to be poor. They don’t even get a foot on the first rung of the ladder.

This is as it should be. Too much upward mobility would be environmentally irresponsible. America can only support a limited number of McMansions. Poverty in America is now Green Poverty since the poor consume fewer resources than the rich.

The point is that should this poll receive wide dissemination it could easily destabilize our social house of cards. Once the poor realize that they are being gamed, all hell could break loose.
My suggestion is that you issue an Executive Order mandating that all polls must be submitted to the National Security Agency for approval prior to publication. This would allow your administration to apply the appropriate ideological matrix to the poll prior to publication. The beauty of statistics is that they can be spun any old way while still giving the impression of scientific objectivity.

Exclude the polls that show your approval ratings in the dumps. They only reinforce your arrogance as you plow ahead with policies that the public abhors. The first priority is to keep our exploitive myths firmly in place. With the passage of time all myths, no matter how fanciful, become truth.

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones