Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Team players, all
Let’s chit-chat about the change that isn’t change, about the new dawn breaking over America that is really a setting sun. Let us wallow in the rhetoric of a new birth that is little more than a forceps-welding grave digger.
The Left sits in silent awe, believing that a Messiah has arrived. Give him a chance, they say. Now that the Democrats are running the show, it will all be different.
Progressives nurse the delusion that they can exert enough pressure to move the party to the left. They cite the sweat equity they put into your successor’s campaign and believe that each hour they spent phone banking is a political marker they can cash in on the day following the inauguration.
They forget that there’s a big difference between working a phone bank and making a six-figure campaign contribution. Those who write the checks never phone bank, they have a face-to-face with the candidate in which they give him his marching orders.
The Democratic Party is no more. If you keep a person in a fearful crouch long enough, not only will he accept his cowering as the norm, but he will convince himself that such a crouch is necessary for his well being. This is equally true for a political party. The Rabid Right has the Democrats so cowed that any sort of progressive agenda is a pipe dream.
The circle is complete, and the Beltway is now a wholly-owned subsidiary of Wall Street.
Besides, it’s a hell of a lot easier to scam a frightened person than a brave one. Fear makes the mind malleable. We see this in the silence that has met the Israeli offensive in Gaza. AIPAC has the Beltway so frightened that there ain’t nobody who’s going to say anything about Israel’s indiscriminate bombing campaign.
The Beltway’s silence drowns Palestinian screams.
Our politicians still defend Israel’s right to exist, though any nation with two-hundred nuclear warheads doesn’t need any outside support to survive. Our support has nothing to do with Israel’s survival. The ultimate goal is a Trail of Tears for the Palestinians out of Gaza and the West Bank. Those who stay will do so under six feet of earth.
Rest assured that the new administration will “play nice” and all that you have done will remain untouched. Thirty years of abuse from the Right has taught the Democrats to be good team players.
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
I’m going to get a little heady here, so pay attention.
The church defines a sacrament as an outward and visible symbol of an inward and spiritual grace. The difference between a symbol and a sign is that a symbol is an integral part of the reality it represents.
One of your handlers once pointed out that as an imperial overload, you create a reality that is not real but appears real simply because you are an imperial overlord. It follows that you also create the reality of which any given symbol is a part.
Nowhere is this is this refracted creation more manifest than in what you have done with the flag lapel pin. The flag you wear is not the flag of social justice, but of military prowess. It is not the flag of democracy but the flag of corporate management techniques. It is, however, the flag of freedom, the freedom of the few to exploit the many.
It is also becoming the flag of cultural purity as ICE agents continue to arrest and deport illegal aliens. Ours is not a salsa culture and your agents are engaged in a war to make sure it stays that way.
It is this obsession with cultural purity that is the real bond between the United States and Israel. Each of us, in our own ways, represents the pinnacle of Western Civilization, and each of us is determined to prevent its corruption by brown-skinned aliens.
The only difference between us is that Israel’s aliens shoot rockets while ours clean offices. Therefore, Israel needs a stronger methodology in dealing with its alien problem.
Call it what you may, but it is not racism! Any alien willing to get with the program and internalize our Western value system is welcomed with open arms. Your successor’s election proved that. Those who refuse to do so are deported, jailed or bombed out of existence. It’s a question of behavior and attitude, not race.
Mark my words, George, it is only a matter of time before the values that gave us World War I and II are the norm and the world enters a golden age of carnage and fat defense contracts.
Monday, December 29, 2008
Carrying the Torch
It warms my heart to see that the time-honored tradition of Whitemen bombing testy natives into submission continues unabated. The latest torchbearer of this tradition is Israel with its air assault on Gaza, which a part of its ongoing campaign to neutralize the Palestinian presence on its biblically-deeded real estate, one way or another.
A salutary benefit of their latest campaign has been to settle the age-old question of how many native lives one White life is worth.
When a cease fire between Israel and Hamas expired last week, Hamas started lobbing rockets into southern Israel. The result was one Israeli death. In two days of air attacks, Israel has killed 290 Palestinians.
There you have it, George: one Whiteman is worth 290 natives.
The campaign has also helped to clarify the definition of a terrorist. A terrorist is now defined as any civilian killed in an aerial bombardment. And Israel’s been snuffing them right and left. Included among the 290 dead terrorists were 20 children under the age of 16 and nine women. I’m telling you, Big Guy, there ain’t nothing more dangerous than a toddler with an explosive vest that weighs more than he does strapped to his chest.
One of the targets of the Israeli attacks has been the tunnels between Egypt and Gaza through which food and medical supplies are funneled in defiance of an Israeli blockade. Weapons also travel through the tunnels because Palestinians cling to the silly idea that they should be able to defend themselves against an Israeli government that wants only to pacify them.
The assault has given your successor a chance to reaffirm the “special relationship between the United States and Israel.” This, of course, means looking the other way as Israel domesticates its native population.
The blood spilled to bring civilization to the unwashed is blood well spilt. It is this blood that has been nourishing the tree of Western Civilization for centuries. Thanks to the Israeli air force, the tree continues to thrive.
Sunday, December 28, 2008
You are our lightening rod, our scapegoat and our canary in the coal mine who is being blamed for everything from the Iraq debacle to our economic meltdown. The drones are convinced that once you leave office, your successor will fix everything and America will return to the golden age that never was.
You had nothing to do with it. You did not corrupt the system; you were simply the purest expression of a corruption that has existed since Columbus first set foot on our shores. Like the tide, it ebbs and flows, depending upon the degree of public outrage or apathy.
When the public gets its knickers in a knot over the greed and venality that emanates from our financial and political centers, corruptions recedes and bides its time until the public to the apathy that is its norm. Then like roaches, when the lights are clicked off, corruption emerges from its hole and continues to devour capital and resources.
You will be blamed for our current meltdown and a supine Congress will pass tepid reform measures that will be little more than window dressing, and enforcement will be lax for fear that it might endanger our prosperity that hasn’t been since the seventies, and the drones will accept this because they have been conditions to believe that they are living the good life even thought their standard of living has been in decline for three decades.
This time around, there will be no CBS documentaries to shine a spotlight on poverty in America, as there were in the sixties. There can be no poverty in the richest country in the world.
And if a critic should be bold enough to pen screeds against our inherently corrupt system, he will be dismissed as being “angry” because our social norms of good citizenship have taught the oppressed that that the polite response to their exploitation is to bow and scrape as they attach an American flag to their pickup trucks.
They are made to feel ashamed over their demand that they be paid a living wage, or that their employers provide health benefits and pension plans. When these are eliminated or cut, they are told there is no alternative (TINA) because they must sacrifice so America can remain prosperous and free.
Your legacy, Big Guy, has been to divert the public’s attention away from the fact that our ills are systemic and will remain so until the very structure of our corporate government is overturned.
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Experts and Disaster
It’s a good thing the drones have been conditioned not to make a move before consulting an expert. Everything from child-rearing to sex to investments to schooling has been delegated to one expert or another.
The truth is that this has been a shitty decade for experts. It’s been one screw up after another. Our financial “experts” have given us an economic meltdown; our military “experts” have given us Iraq and Afghanistan; our manufacturing “experts” have given us the near collapse of General Motors and Chrysler.
Hell, we don’t need a War against Terror; we need a War against Experts!
It’s only a matter of time before any given expert self-destructs. Experts claim that the key to their success is their mastery of systems. Supposedly, these systems are the products of rational, value-free analysis. However, scratch a system and you find an ideology. To paraphrase the late John B. Roche, the first precept of system creation is, “Whose ox was gored?”
Behind every expert stands an ideologue who is his boss. Because systems are so value free, they can be bent and shaped to fit any form of insanity. Hell, even Jack the Ripper had a system when he gutted his whores.
Because the cachet of a system is its objectivity, the belief in them is unshakable, even if a given system produces negative results. Poor results are never the system’s fault. It simply wasn’t utilized correctly. It was human error or some other anomaly like that.
Experts are never wrong. It’s people who screw up. If only we could computerize life all our problems would be solved.
But until we do that all we can rely on is the system, for better or for worse, in sickness or in health.
The people still believe.
Friday, December 26, 2008
A new/old Great Game
Thank God it’s over, that sickening day of Hallmarkian prattle about Peace on Earth that surfaces shortly after the winter solstice has plunged the world into darkness. I suppose it has its place, for the more they mumble their platitudes, the more ready they are to return to their lives of greed and venality on the following day.
Nowhere is this truer than in that sheltered workshop for arrested adolescents we call the Beltway. Christmas makes nary a dent on the aged children who walk its corridors with their wet dreams of power and glory. When it comes to war and death, they are dewy-eyed idealists. And it is this idealism that turns them into civilized brutes.
The Beltway is where time is frozen and policy can only move, like an executioner’s cart, along the deep ruts carved into the roadway by policies of the past. So locked in the past are its denizens that they continue to play the Great Game in Central Asia that the Britain and Russia began in the nineteenth century. One writer speaks of our “’Great Asia’ strategy, which aims at rolling back Russian and Chinese influence in the region.”
I love it, George! America is insolvent, and our senile old men are still locked in a past that is no more. They still think it’s all a chess game. What they fail to realize is that the rules have changed. The lowly pawn now carries a Kalashnikov and can now move with the same impunity as the queen. It can even leave the board, hide behind the game box and blow away the queen as she passes.
Check this out! Russia plans to sell an S-300 missile defense system to Iran. The system is described as one “that scares every western air force” because it is so efficient. One U.S. official complained that the system stationed “around Iranian nuclear facilities would be a direct threat to Israel’s fleet of advanced but ‘not-stealthy’ F-151s and F-161s.”
Our arrested adolescents now define aggression as any attempt by a country that is in our gun sights to defend itself. In other words, if I announce that I am going to kick your ass and you pick up a two-by-four to defend yourself, it is an act of aggression since it denies me the right to bloody you up.
That’s policy for you, always one step ahead of the curve.
Our policymakers are like passengers on the Titanic who continue to move their game pieces even as the water laps around their ankles.
God bless ‘em all, I say. Without them life would be empty, and we would be forced to face the boredom of our meaningless existence.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
A Holiday Greeting
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
The Big Dick sings of America.
The Big Dick sure knows how to pluck the strings of my heart. It twanged our National Anthem when he defended his disembowelment of our democratic republic in a recent interview Here is the purest expression of the Angry White Male vigorously pumping his meat in an attempt to force life into his waning potency.
In the Big Dick’s eyes, the Constitution is for pussies. Pissed off old men doesn’t need it. Iraq, torture, wiretapping, surveillance, the Patriot Act, the Military Commission Act and NPSD 51, which authorizes martial law if and when you see fit, are all part of the new order put in place to protect our freedoms.
The Big Dick understands that democracy and freedom are mutually exclusive. Democracy is rule by the mob; freedom is rule by a kleptrocracy that has shattered the shackles of legislative and constitutional restraint.
Of course, it must be admitted that he was aided and abetted by a castrated Congress that was so cowed it dropped its collective pants when the Big Dick whipped out his gelding knife.
I loved the creative use he made of that reeking red herring, 9/11. It is this that made him CEO of our corporatist state. (Who ever heard of shareholders running a corporation?)
And what CEO ever had his hands tied by a Supreme Court. He slammed it for overriding warrantless arrests and for demanding that terrorism suspects be protected by the Geneva Conventions.
But George, the crème de la crème was when he justified his rewriting of Articles I and II of the Constitution, thus destroying our republic. Traditionally Article I has been interpreted as giving the president the authority to “execute” laws passed by Congress and Article II states that the president is commander in chief of the armed forces, especially in time of war.
The Big Dick realized right away that this simply wouldn’t do. So, he made Congress a subset of the executive branch and put America on a permanent wartime footing so you could prance and posture as our ultimate military leader.
Some have called the interview his confession of wrong doing. It is not. It is a tribute to an administration that has made white guys proud to be white guys once more, all in the name of national security.
His machinations have become such an integral expression of our contemporary warp and woof that The New York Times buried his interview on page A-16 of its December 22 issue.
Merry Christmas, America!
Monday, December 22, 2008
The authoritarian society is an over regulated society, a society so regulated that a prole pauses before farting to wonder if the fart would be in violation of a clean-air ordinance.
Free societies are plagued by an absence of unnecessary and petty regulations, and we all know that freedom destabilizes. Let a man feel that he is free and his actions become unpredictable.
The Industrial Revolution taught us that societies function best when they are run like factories with their manifold rules of who may do what when. I know of one company where employees are required to log every visit to the bathroom, and female employees must notify HR when their periods begins and when they end so they don’t abuse their bathroom privileges.
Therein lays the beauty of over-regulation: it discourages proles from abusing what few privileges they have.
The key to successful over regulation is to regulate possibility and not probability. Everything is possible, therefore everything must be regulated. To me, the utopian society would be one that required its citizens to wear hardhats 24/7 because of the possibility that a torn piece of metal from an overflying 747 could plunge to the earth and crown them.
It is possible!
Regulations are based upon two premises. First that the proles are too stupid to behave properly, and secondly, that they are too stupid to take care of themselves. Since productivity requires them to be overworked and underpaid, it follows that they are ad hoc property of the corporate state and that the state’s well-being depends on their well-being.
There is one caveat to this. Freedom, like wealth, works best when it is concentrated at the top of the pyramid. Only an unregulated elite can run a well-regulated society. Freedom is the birthright of any man born to wealth and privilege.
Sunday, December 21, 2008
My Kind of Manly Man
Noecon Frank Gaffney is my kind of guy. Anyone who doubts that empire building deserves an entry in the Diagnostic and Statistical Review of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV-TR) will be persuaded as soon as the man opens his mouth.
When Chris Matthews tried to nail the former Asst. Defense Secretary's hide to the wall by suggesting that the 4,000 dead Americans Iraq produced were unnecessary, Gaffney shot right back by saying, “It is regrettable they had to die, but I believe they did have to die…I’m delighted we did what we did.”
That’s an empire builder for you, a man whose moral equanimity is uninterrupted through a sociopathic indifference to the suffering of others. Here is a man who sees the big picture and whose calm demeanor is undisturbed by shrapnel-shredded women and children.
You’ll notice that outside of a few bleeding hearts in the blogosphere, there was an absence of outrage over Gaffney’s statement. That is because there is an absence of death in your Iraq enterprise. Of the many perceptions the American public has of Iraq, death is not one of them because the media has presented it as a video game in which nobody gets hurt.
As long as there is a Frank Gaffney to coo reassuringly to the public, America will continue on her march towards world hegemony, as long as the money holds out, which may not be too much longer. But, what the hell! At least they’ll remember we were there.
Anyhow, I was glad to see Gaffney as a part of your Rovian legacy campaign. It will be decades before the public realizes just how much they owe you.
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Dust Motes and Santa
A dust mote on a dung heap is hardly noticed; a dust mote on the polished lens of a telescope screams for attention. America has become a highly polished land where the tiniest blip can cause chaos and confusion and throw the best laid plans into disarray.
For over a century, children have been sending letters to Santa, and the Post Office has allowed members of the public to take a letter and buy the requested gift for a needy child.
On that day, the Post Office abruptly killed the program.
It seems that at an unnamed post office, a postal employee saw a registered sex offender select a letter.
End of program and an end of gifts to poor children, even though hundreds of thousands of children have received gifts without a single incident. But, in a well-ordered society, the public is conditioned to sweat possibility, not probability.
When, and if, the Post Office restarts the program, they plan to black out the names and addresses of the children and assign each letter a number which will be recorded on a roster that will be highly classified and locked away, thus totally depersonalizing the program.
This is as it should be because we are determined to create a threat-free society. And do you know what the greatest threat to our well-being is? It’s our fellow humans! Every time we so much as make eye contact with another, we put ourselves at risk.
Stop and think about it! Only a third of all homicides are committed by strangers. That means that two-thirds of the country’s corpses made the mistake of getting too close to another human being. The simple act of getting married increases the risk that an individual will end up with a chef’s knife in his or her heart.
We are a society with an obsessive need for security. Only by avoiding all human contact will we achieve this security. Have you ever noticed that the elderly tend to lead isolated lives? That’s why they’re elderly. If you want to live a long and healthy life, shed your family and friends.
There is a political dimension at work, here. Isolation prevents the formation of groups and communities that might start agitating for systemic change. An isolated public is a malleable public. That is why our 24/7 media is so important. They are geniuses at creating a succession of dust motes to drop on our polished lives to keep us frightened and withdrawn.
I do have one suggestion to improve our national security. Listing people’s names and addresses in an easily-accessible telephone book puts them at risk. List numbers instead, and have people call a central exchange to get connected.
Keep ‘em off balance and they’re easier to control.
Friday, December 19, 2008
Saying what you don't say
With just over a month left before your administration rides into the sunset, you continue to display an artistic creativity when it comes to sculpting the English language. You have a God-given gift of creating phrases that collapse upon themselves the moment they are uttered.
You have put together an entire lexicon in which the words mean the exact opposite of their implied meaning. “No Child Left Behind” means leaving poor children behind in their squalid ignorance; “Operation Iraqi Freedom” introduced an oppressive army of occupation to Iraq.
Now you have outdone yourself with your proposed “managed bankruptcy” of General Motors. The phrase has the same discordant resonance as “living death”. And in effect, a managed bankruptcy would turn GM into a zombie since nobody’s going to buy a car from a bankrupt auto company simply because a bankruptcy, managed or unmanaged, would impact negatively on the car’s trade-in value.
But that’s been the hallmark of your administration, destruction through building.
God, the world will be empty when you leave office. Already, the blogosphere has fallen silent as progressives wait with baited breath for the advent of Obama’s center-right move to the left-center which will be an exercise in left-centered rhetoric that will throw a gossamer blanket over his center-right policies.
Maybe things won’t be so bad after January 20 after all.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Saving Music from Itself
It’s the fucking music that has unmoored the young and turned them into a generation of slackers. (A slacker is a revolutionary who hasn’t learned how to think.)
Have you ever fired up a pipe and let its atonality engulf you? It’s a cacophony of discordant sounds, a succession of clashing flats and sharps with counterpuntal thematic motifs punctuated by sexually charged riffs and incoherent cries of pain and ejaculations, set to the thrombonic twanging of broken pizzicating strings plucked by the gilded fingernails of dime store hookers in synchronic counterpoint to the clatter and clash of metal against metal to the dull throb of thudding Tupperware.
Our only salvation is in a regressive return to the sanity of old, to the rigid structure of a formulaic tonality suppressed and controlled by lyrics that soothe and distract.
Sanity is sanitary and linear. It is totally predictable. It neither feels nor throbs nor smells nor palpitates nor aspires nor perspires nor urinates nor flatulates. It is, in short, the elimination of the frightfully unpredictable human factor.
Sanity’s gaze is fixed on the heavens even as it slides into the deepest pit of hell.
Sane music is that which induces sleep.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Our pundits are blindly seeking a cause for the manifold ills that are plaguing America like the running sores on a syphilitic whore. Everything is being blamed except for the actual cause of our ills—habit.
Habit is one of the most destructive forces in nature. Habit is what brings down empires and destroys dynasties. It curdles success into failure and makes fools of geniuses.
Last summer, Condi personified the insidious nature of habit when she said, “[I]t is America’s job to change the world, and in its own image.”
And by all accounts, this beat will go on when your successor takes office. Already, current and designate SecDef Gates has updated our “National Defense Strategy” to reflect this noble mission. And he is waving that reliable red herring, terrorism, to justify his madness. The strategy presents, “a list of requirements meant to compel removal of military, political and international legal obstacles to American attacks on terrorist targets, and to American intervention to replace regimes.
Once again, habit sings its dirge.
The beauty of habit is that failure feeds it. Failures in Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan haven’t caused our policymakers to pause and rethink our policy. On the contrary, it deludes them into thinking they actually learned something from their failures. So they tweak the policy and expect it to succeed the “next time”, which it never does, so on they go, tweaking it some more as they prepare it for its next failure.
The only thing failure teaches us is that we never learn from it.
However, it is wrong to call this stupidity. It is not stupidity; it is addiction. We have an economy addicted to defense contracts, convinced that its health depends upon the very thing that is destroying it.
Communism is dead, so we need terrorism to maintain our false glow of prosperity. In order to fight terrorism, we must produce terrorists, and the best way to produce terrorists is to trash a county so we can remake it in our image. Thus do we feed your Eternal War of the Empty Policy and guarantee that it will go on and on and on.
Habit not only deadens, it makes the air sweet with its stench of death.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Counting our Blessings
Congratulations on being the first president in history to duck a flying shoe. That’s democracy in Iraq for you, a size 10 shoe and Abu Ghraib.
Your calm reaction to the incident shows that you haven’t lost your insensitivity. The core of your genius as a leader is that you simply don’t give a shit. The apathetic never experience failure because there is nothing they care about, so it follows that they can lose nothing.
That is another reason you and I resonate so well. We’re both ethical slugs who leave trails of putrid slime in our wake, which we never smell.
We view the world through the cracked lens of an ideology run amok. Our norm is distortion so we go around breaking things so they will match the refracted perception with which we see them.
What I do with dishes and furniture, you do with countries and civilizations. I’ll end up with a mug shot in the local police station; you will end up with a marble bust in your presidential library. That’s one of the perks of being born to wealth and privilege. The poor get jail; the rich get elected.
But, I am not bitter. The rationalized fantasy we call psychology has conditioned me to accept my lot and to believe that my manifold defects are due to a psyche damaged by a pair of inept parents, and that all the ills I suffer--my poverty and my hunger, my damaged health and weak lungs—all of them are personal ills and not systemic ones.
And so I pop the pills that make me feel whole in my wretchedness. I fire up a pipe when things get really bad, which is most of the time. My teeth rot and my breath is rank, and yet, I am thankful, in my squalor, for the manifold blessings of being a loyal, patriotic American who has duct taped a broken flag pin to what is left of his lapel.
And I say thank God for the psychologists and educators who have turned us into a nation of well-behaved sheep who remain meek and silent as our world sinks into the economic ruin that is allowing the rich to prosper as they suck what is left of our capital up towards the pointy peak of their pyramid.
We’re good citizens, George, and good citizens don’t make trouble. It’s all about law and order.
Sunday, December 14, 2008
I was pulling on the pipe the pipe the pipe when the fanged demigod lifted me up on high and I did see the dead of Iraq stacked like firewood and the furred angles dancing on the stack, cracking the brittle bones, singing, “Glory be to God on the highest,” and the veil of Heaven crack’d and breathed its rank contagion upon the earth, cleansing and purifying all it corrupted, and the furred angels dancing, cracking, did sing of the of the most blessed George as the chosen one who shall smite the Antichrist and ready the world for the coming of the redeemer who shall arrive surfing a megawave of blood, riding the pit as he sets his line through the tube on a surfboard of decayed vertebrae held together by the duct tape of the damned.
Saturday, December 13, 2008
I tried, Big Guy, God knows I tried. I did my damndest to break in the new kid, but it just wasn’t the same. How do you teach evil to the innocent, or corruption to the honest? My words lacked their sniveling bite when writing him.
Please forgive some of the negative comments I made about your administration. As you know, politics is the art of kissing up.
The important thing is that we are together again, and you still have thirty-eight days to secure you legacy.
And from the looks of it, your greatest legacy could well be breaking the back of the United Auto Workers (UAW), a union that has distorted the hierarchical relationship between management and labor.
Seventy dollars an hour for an assembly line worker, my ass!
What right does a prole have to a living wage? Who said he’s entitled to a house in the burbs? (God, it feels good writing you! There was something about the other guy that made it difficult to vent my God-fearing, White guy bile.)
God bless Senator Bob Corker for his principled stand in demanding that big-three autoworkers be granted parity with American workers in Japanese plants. Unless big-three autoworkers are willing to sacrifice, their companies might be forced to cut the executive salaries of the retards that ran their companies into the ground. This would be a terrible mistake, because if a CEO fails to destroy his company, he can't benefit from an infusion of taxpayer dollars.
I look forward to the day when a proper social order is restored to America and her workers all live in cold-water flats and tenements. Nothing gives a nation color like Dickensian poverty.
It’s great to be home, again. Give my love to the Big Dick and tell him that I miss his sneering face on the tube. I hope he’s off somewhere stirring up another pot of shit.
With you in office, thirty-eight days is an eternity.
Friday, December 12, 2008
Beating Death's Meat
To some, the world is a Manichean struggle between Eros and Thanatos. Eros is the wimp-ass god of nurture and sentimentality a cosmic Love Boat, plying the seas of fantasy and treacle. It’s a female thing best kept confined to the hearth and the nursery.
Thanatos, on the other hand, is the stern-faced god of morality, with his call to self-discipline and sacrifice. He is the god of manly death.
We have a choice between living the adrenalin high offered by the slash-and-burn world of Thanatos, or the numbness of love and sentiment that is the legacy of Eros. Thanatos demands orderly ranks; Eros tolerates an unruly rabble. Thanatos is bracing liberation; Eros is stifling boredom.
Our problem is that Thanatos is a little too stern, and sternness is so yesterday. We’ve got to lighten up his image and repackage him to increase his marketability. He needs multiple identities that appeal to all segments of the fragmented demographic we call America.
He will need many costumes to fulfill his multiple roles: the dress-down fashion of the Yuppie, the ragged robes of the mendicant, torn jeans, funky T-shirts, body piercings and tattoos.
Let him polish his Mercedes, recharge his cell and ramp up the sound system until the walls quake!
Let him dance with abandoned gaiety; drive the beat of his dance macabre with the throbbing riff of guitar and drum! Place a Bible in his hand and let him invoke the loving wrath of the redemptive Christ, leading the masses into the yawning jaws of the apocalypse.
It’s the mad dance of slaughter and destruction, sanitized by the rose-colored glasses of the thirty-second spot! It makes the heart sing songs of joyful dirges and lamentations!
But, I am spent. The wine bottle is empty and the last roach has turned to ash. I go now to sleep the sleep of the manly dead.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
Practice makes Perfect
There is so much to teach you about leadership and so little time between now and your inauguration.
Robert Mitchum, in the movie, “Home is the Hunter,” gave a partial summary of the qualities a leader needs:
· He doesn’t carry a watch because time waits on him.
· He doesn’t carry any identification because everyone knows who he is.
· He doesn’t carry any money because anyone will be glad to loan him whatever he needs.
Mitchum left out one additional quality that is indispensable for the leader of the world’s nominally sole surviving superpower, and that is to wring the soul dry of the last drops of compassion, empathy and morality. Oh, you ooze them for public consumption, but it’s an act and nothing more.
You are not a political leader, Barack. You are a corporate leader, and you must not flinch from bombing women and children to keep our markets open and the flow of raw materials so essential to our growth uninterrupted.
This is how America keeps her competitive edge.
America is like the aging linebacker who realizes he can no longer blitz the quarterback, so he shoots him instead. It’s messy but effective.
When you get your daughters the dog you promised them, practice your leadership skills by kicking it at least once a day. Nothing hardens the heart like abusing a puppy.
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Dreaming Faded Dreams Anew
Who dares disturb the dreams of old men? It matters not the degree to which reality has made them obsolete (both the dreams and the old men). They dream on, dreaming their dreams of glory, the dreams of the greatest generation gone to seed, their morality numbed by the greatness of the slaughter that generation generated.
Even with the fall of the Soviet Union, aged cold war warriors fire their fading minds with dreams of an impotent Russia. One writer captured their spirit when he wrote:
[T]he strategy of bringing Georgia and Ukraine into NATO is part of a far larger and more dangerous strategic long-term plan of Washington to ultimately encircle, confront and dismember Russia as a functioning state. Russia, even more than China, is the most formidable obstacle to a Washington-centered sole superpower, Pax Americana.
America may be bankrupt and broken, but the old men dream on. Nor does it matter that Europe has indefinitely blocked the entrance of Georgia and Ukraine into NATO. Dreams die hard.
A mind blinded by hubris is a crippled mind, which is why the clumsiest phenomenon on the face of the earth is foreign policy. Just when things appear to be going smoothly, somebody stumbles and a war breaks out.
The only difference between policy and dementia is that policy can be transmitted. Its madness passeth from one generation to the next. This gives it an unstoppable momentum similar to that of an eighteen-wheeler plunging off a cliff.
So, the old men dream, and glory rides their dreams just as our prosperity rode a succession of asset bubbles. But unlike bubbles, dreams rarely pop. They just go dormant until conditions favor their reappearance. This is why feral corporatism was able to survive the New Deal. Conditions changed and the dream of infinite growth in an finite world resurfaced.
Don’t dash their dreams, Barack. Nurture and care for them, for their dreams are the path to glory.
Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Death and Virtue
That quote tells you all you need to know about empire and how to keep it. Sure, the hands get bloody and viscera clog the fingernails. But, it’s a small price to pay for power.
We were born to empire; it’s in our genes. It began the day the first Whiteman killed the first redskin, and we learned a valuable lesson: empire is genocide, be it physical or culture.
The greatest threat to empire is guilt. If allowed to get out of hand, it can paralyze a nation’s will to power. Every nation that aspires to power is plagued by teary-eyed wimps who wring their hands and whine about our destructiveness. The trouble with these people is that they fail to understand the true nature of virtue.
Virtue has nothing to do with peace. Virtue is all about grabbing life by the balls and squeezing the best possible life out of it for us and our children. It is an act of achieving our personal best.
When a rugged individual, be it a person or a nation, conquers another, virtue triumphs, because power’s redeeming grace is that it is an evil that grows until it achieves a purity and intensity that transmutes it into goodness. This purification of evil is possible only when idealism is hypostatized into a concrete absolute.
It makes no difference that all absolutes are fairy tales. When the loudspeakers of power repeat a falsehood again and again, it becomes an absolute, simply because its intensity and repetition drown out all possible alternatives.
Tacitus said of the Romans that, “They created a desert and called is peace.” We destroy a culture and call it free.
War is the ultimate virtue, an act whereby we nudge others onto the path of freedom and progress. War ends poverty by destroying the poor. War makes us more secure, because every war is a chance to field-test new weapons and tactics.
The bottom line is that we need the vitality of death to remain the world’s sole surviving superpower.
Monday, December 8, 2008
Things don’t bode well for social stability. More and more people are being thrown out of work; if the big three automakers go bust we could see 3 million added to the unemployment rolls, and the family home is slipping into foreclosure as housing values continue to plunge.
The proles are starting to get restless, and there’s the danger that they could become politicized and endanger the status quo post ante. And let’s face it, the 20,000 troops slated for Northcom would be enough to control three-hundred million pissed off peons.
Sure, you are hyping a major program of public works to put people back to work, but the sad truth is that Uncle Sam’s plastic is maxed out, so there’s no way to fund your dream.
This is where your rhetorical skills must come into play. The major message of your administration must be that the well-adjusted life is the good life. This is a motif ripped right out of the fifties when a bland and toothless conformity was the benchmark of a productive life and anything resembling creativity was dismissed as neurotic.
“Responsible behavior” was prized, and every family projected happiness and adjustment, no matter how dysfunctional their home life was. Momma popped Valiums and dad slugged down martinis just to keep the doubts and the unbearable tensions at bay.
Your message must be that the unemployed father, whose children go to bed hungry and whose fevers go untreated because there is no medical insurance, is acting irresponsibly when he puts a brick through the plate glass window of the bank that is foreclosing on his home.
The poor who join organizations that advocate radical social change are maladjusted, and the poets and artists who portray the misery that is America are neurotic malcontents.
Stoic endurance in the face of increased hardship displays character, while righteous anger and rage are socially unacceptable.
Villainize progressives who advocate for systemic change that would even out the distribution of scarce resources, like money.
Politeness must rule, because out of politeness comes the unity that makes the public both malleable and manageable.
So, let your golden voice ring forth like the discordant gong of a cracked Liberty Bell. Lead and inspire until the public has risen to the level of cattle being led to the slaughter house by your words of comfort and reassurance. Convince them that the butcher’s knife is the instrument of their salvation.
Sunday, December 7, 2008
Speaking with authority when you don't know what the fuck you're doing.
You seem confident that you can control the gaggle of Clintonistas you’ve packed your administration with. Some say you’ve hired the arsonists to put out the fire. One thing is for certain, you’re in for one hell of a ride over the next four years.
As you are peppered with arguments and white papers to implement this policy or that, to take the high road or the low road, to bomb this village or that, to play hardball or to be conciliatory, to bailout this bank or that, you must remember one thing: all definitive statements are suspect because only an absolute certainty can support a definitive statement, and there are no absolute certainties except birth and death.
Granted, the definitive statement does have its place as a marketing tool, but it makes for disastrous policy. History is replete with decisions gone bad because some damn fool thought a definitive statement was true.
Definitive statements were what put your predecessor’s administration on the rocks; statements such as:
· They’ll greet us a liberators
· It will be a cakewalk.
· It’s a slam-dunk.
It’s a good rule of thumb that the more definitive the statement, the more likely it is to be wrong.
The truth stutters; falsehood speaks with confidence.
The only time a leader should speak with authority is when he doesn’t have a clue, which is most of the time.
Saturday, December 6, 2008
Our punditocracy is bemoaning the fall in consumer activity. Here we are with seventy percent of our GDP consumer driven, and everyone is sitting on their wallets. The implications for the economy are grim.
There are, however, other dangers lurking over the horizon that are even direr than the economic dangers. This ebb in consumption could destabilize the wonderful political structure that has been built up over the decades.
I’ve told you (or you predecessor, but who the fuck remembers these things) that I don’t believe in conspiracies. Even our educated elites are too stupid to pull one off. What you have, instead, is a blind momentum driven by ego, greed and stupidity. However, if you look at the unbridled growth in consumption over the past few decades you’d swear there was a conspiracy at work.
In short, rabid consumption has been the smoke screen that has concealed from the public the gradual loss of its prosperity and its freedom. As long as there was a credit card that hadn’t been maxed out, people believed they were doing great. A housing bubble was increasing the value of their homes by obscene amounts, and everyone assured them that it would continue forever. They accumulated so many toys that the construction of self-storage units became a growth industry.
The more obsessed they became with their toys, the emptier their lives became, and this is where their consumption slowly made them more amendable to political control. The person whose life is empty, who has deconstructed everything except his ego, is a marketers dream. The only meaning in this person’s life is appearance, for such a person is convinced that the right appearance will hide his vacuity. If the surface shines, the interior is fine, no matter how it’s rotted. Shiney hair, moist skin, cool rags and the right appointments are all an individual needs to be whole.
It follow that the person whose life is confined to his bedroom mirror doesn’t really care about what’s happening to his country or the world. A Patriot Act here or some electronic surveillance there made no difference as long as the closet was full and the screens were blinking.
So, now you see the danger the country is facing. The simple fact of the matter is that as consumption shrink, people will start making an amazing discovery: their lives are actually better without the toys to distract them. They become aware of the world, and when this happens, there is always a danger they will become engaged, and when they become engaged, there is always the danger they will become aware.
That is the threat. We want a public that shops, not one that debates.
Unfortunately, the country is too broke to float another asset public, so the future of consumption is murky, indeed.
This leaves us with Northcom, the new military entity created to police America. The Pentagon wants to have this command up to 20,000 on the ground by 2011. This may not be enough. Instead of ramping up the campaign in Afghanistan, you might want to ramp up the campaign in America. Things could get a little surly.
If you’re not careful, there might be an outbreak of democracy.
Friday, December 5, 2008
The Virtue of Evil
Wise is the leader who understands the symbiotic relationship between virtue and evil.
Evil posing as virtue creates more evil, which demands ever more “virtue” to confront the evil it has created. Virtue and evil are flip sides of the same coin because virtue can only spread itself to others who don’t share its worldview through acts of evil.
The rack and the stake spread Christianity; the cluster bomb and the drone are spreading democracy and free enterprise.
Virtue justifies its evil because it is virtue. As one writer explains it:
Those who insist that the world can be molded into their vision are the most susceptible to violence as antidote. The more uncertainty, fear and reality impinge on this utopian vision, the more strident, absolutist and aggressive are those who call for the eradication of “the enemy.”
This same writer points out that the philosopher Immanuel Kant called the use of evil to propagate virtue “unadulterated self love.” This is why we’re so good at it. For decades our pop psychologists have emphasized the importance of loving ourselves and being comfortable in our space. From this it follows that we want the whole world to be comfortable in our space as well, mainly by making their space, i.e. resources, ours.
It makes sense. By spreading Christianity and democracy to the natives we turn them into little white men, which is what God intended. After all, Cecil B DeMille taught us that all biblical characters spoke BBC English, except for Jesus who spoke sonorous baritone.
I was pleased to see you four-square behind your predecessor's Eternal War of the Empty Policy. Speading virtue always creates hefty defense contracts. It's what we call prosperity's feedback loop.
Thursday, December 4, 2008
To paraphrase I.F. Stone, all an informed citizen need remember is two words: governments lie.
Fortunately, for you, all the informed citizens in the country couldn't fill Yankee Stadium.
Most people expect their politicians lie because, to them, politics is a form of entertainment, and they are more interested in who can spin the best lie than in how their freedoms are slowly being leached away. This is why your predecessor was able to get away with the whoppers he told.
The truth is that we are neither a republic nor a democracy, and were the public to see the truth of this broadcast on the tube, they’d be so outraged by it they would switch channels and would pillory the unfortunate who forced them to face this reality.
This is because America is a fairy-tale country in which history is reduced to a story book with brightly colored pictures of square-jawed Pilgrims and their beautiful women sporting flawless skin and perfect figures. The successful leader is he who can maintain this illusion.
In TV land there is no hunger or sickness. It’s a “Father-Knows-Best” world in which only those with off-white skin suffer or die. It is a land that is as sanitary as it is uniform, where rebellion is little more than a phase the young pass through before they “pretend to be cheerful as they lead their fathers’ lives,” as the Jacque Brel song puts it.
So, your primary responsibility as president will be to spin tales, and the campaign showed that you're a master of this skill.
Of course, compared to your predecessor, even Jack the Ripper would look good. I guess that’s why God elevated him to the presidency.
Wednesday, December 3, 2008
Defanging the Health Care Crisis
It’s time we solved the health care crisis, and it is a crisis. Costs are spinning out of control and putting a downward pressure on the economy. Were it not for the backbreaking costs of medical insurance, General Motors would be a thriving concern. However, GM is but the tip of the iceberg.
The bottom line is that medical costs are bankrupting the country and, if allowed to continue unchecked, could have an adverse effect on our defense spending.
Of course, the knee-jerk response to this crisis is single-payer health coverage, i.e., socialized medicine, an idea as naive as it is impractical when our first priority is bailing out Wall Street.
No, Barack, it’s time to think the big thoughts and get right to the root of the problem. The reason medical expenses are so high is that there’s too goddamn much health care. Too many people are going to the doctor for too many numb-nutted reasons, like fevers, rashes, tumors, aches, chest pains and shortness of breath, fainting, dementia, bodily discharges, bloody stools, paralysis and collapse.
The solution to this problem is simple: we cut medical expenses by eliminating health care altogether. No more annual checkups or running to the doctor every time something twinges. We simply have to put an end to the whole concept of preventive medicine. People should be discouraged from going to the doctor unless they’re at death’s door.
It’s bold! It’s radical! But, by God, it will work.
Let’s pause for a moment and do a cost-benefit analysis of the early detection of cancer. Think, for a moment, of the financial and emotional burden that is set into motion if cancer is detected early.
What follows is years of expensive treatment as the patient suffers through surgeries, radiation treatments and repeated bouts of chemo. The emotional strain on the patient and his family is terrible. Is he cured? Will the tumor reappear? Will it spread? These are the questions that torment them. All the while, medical expenses mount and shove them closer and closer to the brink of bankruptcy.
How much easier it would be if the patient were diagnoses when he was terminal and there wasn’t a damn thing that could be done for him. Instead of trauma, the patient and his family would be bathed in the comfort of certain death.
The patient would croak, and the family would be left financially sound.
The bottom line is that an excess of health care generates too much pain, and America will be a happier society once we are rid of it. That way, our resources can be directed to where they are needed the most: Wall Street and the Pentagon.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008
What do you do with an exhausted democratic republic whose citizens are no longer citizens but passive spectators of the assorted media frenzies that pass for news?
The short answer is you militarize it.
An article, yesterday, spotlighted the Pentagon’s plans to deploy 20,000 troops inside the U.S. by 2011. The article cites 9/11 as the catalyst for this deployment. But the truth is the groundwork for this deployment was laid in the closing days of World War II.
The Great Depression, and the New Deal that followed, had badly shaken our elite. Democracy had raised its ugly head and they badly wanted to decapitate it.
Now, it is a truism that anxiety and democracy are mutually exclusive. A healthy republic requires courageous citizens, not cowering spectators, and our leaders soon realized that an overhyped Communist menace gave them the tool they needed create and nurture the atmosphere of anxiety so necessary for the birth of an authoritarian regime.
What wonderful memories I have of being a child of the fifties, frightened of every thought that entered my head for fear it might be symptomatic of subversive thinking. Is it any wonder mine was called the Silent Generation? Penny loafers, belted chinos and a three-button plaid shirt were the uniform of the day, and anyone out of uniform was immediately suspect.
Pop culture fed our anxiety as we were taught to fear bad breath, body odor, acid indigestion, long hair, beards, ring around the collar, unpopularity and yellow teeth. (What child of the fifties will ever forget that ode to social conformity, “You’ll wonder where the yellow went when you brush your teeth with Pepsodent!”)
With the passage of decades, our elite become even more adept at feeding our anxieties. The worries of the fifties pale beside the worries of the twenty-first century. Now we sweat attention deficit disorder (ADD), acid reflux, spastic bowel disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), toenail fungus, erectile dysfunction, social affective disorder (SAD), aging, cancer, AIDS, constipation, flatulence and transfats.
Such is our anxiety that we raise nary a whimper as repressive laws are passed restricting what we smoke (cigarettes) and what we eat (transfats), all justified as measures that “save lives”, which is nonsense since no lives are saved; death is simply postponed. These appeals to “healthy living” overlook the fact that the leading cause of death is birth.
Now you know why, in the wake of 9/11, the Patriot Act and the Military Commissions Act passed so easily. A frightened people care more about their security than they do about their freedom.
America is primed and ready for a military dictatorship. Hell, we’re as deeply in debt and any third-world country, so we might as well have the dictatorship that does with it.
This, I believe, is the change we can believe in. And you are the man to lead America into a new Golden Age as we chant, “Yes we can!”
Monday, December 1, 2008
A Morality Tale
I want to tell you a story.
One day the Devil and a friend were walking down the street. About twenty feet ahead of them, a third man was walking in the same direction. Suddenly, the third man stopped in his tracks and bent over to pick up a slip of paper. He glanced at it, quickly stuffed it into his pocket and hurriedly moved on.
“I wonder what that was?” asked the friend.
“It was the truth,” said the Devil.
“I guess that’s bad news for you,” said the friend.
“Oh no,” said the Devil. “I’ll just have him invent an ideology.”
There’s a great deal of wisdom in that story, Barack. Throughout history mankind has placed more credence in an ideology than in the truth. Oh, they all say they are seeking the truth, but let the truth contradict an ideology, and the ideology wins out every time. They prefer the rigid edifice of dogma to the fluid dynamic of truth.
Truth gives us chaos and disorder; an ideology gives us peace, order and stability, and these three are the basis of all meaning because they guarantee a social structure that is conducive to economic expansion.
The reason is simple: peace means not rocking the boat; order means not rocking the boat; stability means not rocking the boat. In other words, the first duty of a free people is to keep their mouths shut.
Ours is a sanitized democracy that eschews the messiness of dissent.
Protecting an ideology is of greater value than morality. Morality weakens and softens; an ideology provides strength and rigidity. Hence, an ideology must be preserved at all costs. Morality is a factor only to the extent that it contributes to the preservation of an ideology. Morality is a marketing tool, and little more. Once morality becomes the basis for policy, the ideology is imperiled and peace, order and stability are threatened.
The bottom line is that the wise leader preaches morality and practices the preservation of the ideology, no matter how many lives it costs.
Sunday, November 30, 2008
Land of the Unreal Real
As you prepare to enter office, there are certain realities you will have to deal with. The challenge is that these realities are not manifest. Rather, they are concealed beneath multiple layers of myth, make-believe, fantasy, fables, folk tales, allegories, parables and legends.
In other words, they’re realities nobody pays any attention to because they are convinced they don’t exist.
But they do exist, big time!
The most pernicious of these these myths is the belief that capitalism is a healthy and thriving beast, when in truth, capitalism is dead and rotting on its gurney. For several centuries it’s twisted and turned and contorted and moved this way and that, all in a vain attempt to keep itself alive even as the life slowly drains from it. All has been in vain, and it died shortly after God croaked in the 60s.
However, it makes no difference how dead it is. As long as the corpse farts gold we will keep it on life support.
That will be your greatest challenge, to treat the stiff like it was in its prime. This is what you have a complicit media for, to hype the dead as living.
In a society of consumers, the key to political success is skilled marketing. This is why your predecessor tanked: his marketing skills sucked!
You’ll have a lot of help in this endeavor. For the Beltway, only make believe is real. That’s what makes it the world’s greatest gated community.
In contemporary America, the hacks rule. Without them and their press releases, the country would be ruined.
Worship and honor them, and you can’t go wrong.
Saturday, November 29, 2008
Why success sucks!
The seeds of today’s failure were planted in yesterday’s success. Success is like that. It swells the head and too often leads to an inflated sense of invincibility that is the rock upon which failure is built.
Take for example our vaunted defense establishment. It’s sucking wind. Two wars against ragtag insurgencies have nearly exhausted it; it’s a major player in our economic meltdown and it spends billions on arcane weapons systems that will never be used.
In short, the Pentagon is an abject failure.
The reason it’s a failure is because we won World War II. In doing so, we built up the world’s most powerful war machine and from that flowed the belief that if we weren’t unbeatable, we needed to spend money until we were.
So we started churning out weapon system after weapon system, each more sophisticated than the previous one, all the time unaware that success is simply failure waiting for an opportunity to surface.
And when it appeared, as we were battled to a draw in Korea, we ignored its presence and mistook failure for success. We didn’t start paying attention until the North Vietnamese whipped our ass. For a time it looked as if we’d finally learned what a curse success is.
Then Ronnie rode into town on his white horse and invaded Grenada, and, once again, success swelled the beribboned chests of our military brass. Next, we stormed the beaches of Panama, then ran roughshod over the world’s most inept military leader, Sadddam Hussein.
Once again, we were unbeatable. But in our hubris, we forgot the price success exacts. The fastest gun in the West is always paranoid because he knows there are young bucks out there just itching to knock him off his pedestal. (The Swiss have the right idea: be the slowest gun in the West and make a fortune selling pocket knives.)
However, hubris fogs the memory and past mistakes are forgotten as history comes to be seen as a string of unbroken victories.
Thus it was that our hubris convinced us we could remake the Middle East in our image and impose pax Americana.
But fear not, we never learn from our failures, so defeat in Iraq and Afghanistan will change nothing as long as Congress is willing to approve even more weapon systems that will continue to drain the lifeblood out of our economy.
The reason this madness thrives is because the Beltway is a foreign country that long ago severed its ties to America. If anything, it is our occupying army.
Success is the insanity that gives life its zest.
Friday, November 28, 2008
The Entitled Ones
Some claim that Wall Street is driven by two forces: fear and fantasy, which is why Warren Buffet set up shop in Omaha. He wanted to put as much distance as possible between himself and the deluded mob.
However, there is a third force that came to the fore during your predecessor’s ill-fated administration, and that is entitlement.
This sense of entitlement is not confined to Wall Street, but is deeply ingrained in the American psyche. It has to do with the strong sense that our nation was founded by, and is guided by, the Almighty. (The country that believes it is blessed by Providence has already taken the first step on the path to self-destruction.)
Wall Street has carried this sense of entitlement to such heights that the thinned atmosphere has caused irreversible brain damage. As one writer puts it, “For a quarter of a century, the inbred products of the Ivy League puppy mills have known nothing but a rising trend in asset prices.”
Yes, Barack, the poor darlings became addicted to returns of 20% on their investments. This resulted in an anomaly that our financial elite failed to wrap their damaged brains around. The above writer explains it by pointing out that:
Over the long term, we know that average investment cannot grow faster than the economy, for investments ultimately are valued according to cash flows, and cash flows stem from economic growth. Real American gross domestic product grew by 2% a year on average between 1929 and 2007. Whence came the enormous returns to the Ivy League? Some of them surely came from betting on the right horse, but most came from privileged access to leverage.
Leverage was the fantasy; a leverage of anywhere from 20:1 to 40:1 gave such an illusion of prosperity that it blinded the Ivy Leaguers to reality. All they knew was that they were entitled to a twenty-percent return, and they didn't care how much damage they caused while pursuing it.
So, in dealing with our financial wizards, you must remember that you are dealing with petulant, spoiled children who have had their candy taken away from them. But no matter how unruly they are, they are still run the show, so it is up to you to give them their candy back so they can continue to leverage their little hearts out.
Entitlement is a great blindfold. The truth is that the only thing anyone is entitled to is a birth, a tax bill and a funeral, unless they’re an Ivy Leaguer. Then they’re entitled to a 20% return on investment.
Thursday, November 27, 2008
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
The difference is more of the same.
In case you haven’t figured it out by now, let me remind you that I love death, destruction, famine, plague and all of the assorted ills and misfortunes that can befall humanity. I loathe sunny optimism. Don’t trouble me with laughter; all I want to hear are the wails and lamentations of orphans and widows. Every Christmas I buy a copy of “It’s a Wonderful Life” and burn it in the fireplace. That’s my idea of a Yule Log.
So my heart leapt with joy when it turned out that your financial team is made up of Clintonian followers of Rubinomics, the wacked-out ideology that believes in balanced budgets, free trade and, that escapee from the ideological nuthouse, deregulation.
Your selections tell me that the madness will continue. Unbridled growth will be the order of the day as you continue to gut our manufacturing sector with even more free trade agreements. Social programs will be stripped in a vain attempt to balance a budget that fell off a cliff years ago.
But the greatest gift of all will be deregulation. Deregulation is just like removing all of the laws against theft from the criminal code. Let them go forth and multiply their wealth!
Oh, sure. They all say they’ve changed. They say they’ve seen the light and that they’re all hot to regulate the financial sector.
The financial sector owns them just as it owns you. The financial sector owns the media, as well. It’s a simple law of nature that employees don’t regulate their employers.
There will be some tepid regulations passed that will be hyped as the dawning of a new age of financial regulation. But each new regulation will contain loopholes big enough to sail a carrier taskforce though.
I can hardly wait for Christmas. Maybe, this year, I’ll buy two copies of “It’s a Wonderful Life”.
Monday, November 24, 2008
The Secret of Life
I think you’re ready.
No, I’m not talking about assuming the presidency; I’m talking about something even bigger!
You’ve shown that you have the mettle to survive a pointless two-year presidential campaign in which nothing of importance was debated. I’m now ready to impart to you something I should have imparted to your predecessor but didn’t, which explains why the world and the country are as screwed up as they are.
I am speaking of nothing less than the key to understanding the universe and the secret of life. In short, I am going to give you a formula that explains everything.
And, here it is:
7 x 7 = 51
That’s it in a nutshell, Barack. That is why we are plagued with war, famine, pestilence, plagues and McDonald Chicken Nuggets®. That is why the four horsemen of the Apocalypse are constantly tearing up our front yards.
Everything is off by 2.
(Let me go on record as saying that I thought of this first! Tragically, an author by the name of Douglas Adams stole the secret whilst I was stoned and used a variation of it in his book, A Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Universe, or maybe he used the whole thing, or part of it, or who really gives a fuck? But, that’s the story of my life. Every time I uncover the secret of the universe, I’m too stoned to remember it and some son of a bitch steals it from me.)
So please, please, please classify this formula as top secret and only share it with your inner circle. What it explains is that no matter what you do, it will end up poorly because it’s off by 2, and there’s not a damn thing you can do about it.
Now, you’ll know why.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Little Dingleberries of Wisdom
I have thrown together some disparate items to add to your leadership toolbox. These little bits will insure that you continue your predecessor’s tradition of aiming the ship of state for the nearest shoal of rocks.
Have you wondered why Congress was so quick to provide a $700 billion bailout for the financial industry, yet is dragging its feet over a bailout for the auto industry? The reason is quite simple.
Cyril Northcote Parkinson did more than posit Parkinson’s Law, which states that work expands to fill the time available for its consumption, along with its corollary that bureaucracies expand regardless of utility or need.
He also gave the example of a board of directors faced with two decisions: the building of a multimillion dollar dam, and the purchase of a $29.95 coffee machine. According to Parkinson, the decision on the dam will be made in minutes, while the decision on the coffee machine will involve hours of debate. The reason is simple: nobody knows a damn thing about dams, but everyone is an expert on making coffee.
To comment on what you know nothing about is to display your ignorance. Hence, it is much better to nod knowingly and approve it since voting against it would require an explanation, and it’s hard to explain what you don’t understand in the first place.
Congress was asked to bail out a financial industry even financial experts don’t understand. So it approved it. Unfortunately for General Motors, everyone understands cars, so its request was doomed to fail.
Moving on to another subject, you greatest gift as a leader is your legerdemainic rhetoric. Your gift of gab will easily convince the public that, even in the depths of despair, there is hope even though they haven’t got a prayer.
And one final point: Efficient leadership demands a sociopathic belief in charts, diagrams, spreadsheets, and graphs until what are simply reflections of reality become reality itself. You must surround yourself with syncopphants who believe that these items create reality, i.e. that by arcing the line on a graph upwards, one creates growth in the real world. In effect, you create a parallel universe that shelters you from the real one. This is especially important since your greatest challenge will be the preservation of a corporate capitalism that has outlived its usefulness and is simply too profitable to scrap. You’ve got to keep the dinosaur on life support.
Remember these, and history will remember you with the same affection it remembers your predecessor.
Friday, November 21, 2008
Let 'em go!
Listen to how they piss and moan! Their wails and lamentations reach Heaven as they beg Congress to bail out the big three automakers. General Motors, once the flagship of American industry, is months away from folding.
One writer estimates that if the big three go under, the unemployment rolls will swell by three million souls.
Those who beg for a bailout fail to grasp the Big Picture. Of the three million thrown out of work, a majority would be union members earning a bloated wage and enjoying outlandish benefits. The savings would be gargantuan.
Then there’s the even bigger picture: Our kleptrocracy decided decades ago that there was more money to be made by gutting America’s manufacturing base than by encouraging it. The Big Three are the last of this breed. Once they fold, our real economy will become a true subset of our faux finance economy.
When this day arrives, there will be no more grimy factories belching their toxic smoke into the atmosphere with their deafening din of production pounding on the ears of the drones who work the assemble line. There will only be broad expanses of monochromatic cubicles, shadowless beneath their florescence lights where all sound is muted and all contact blocked by fabric walls as the threat of job loss keeps the drones bent over their keyboards, afraid of losing a keystroke lest the wrath of a supervisor descend upon them.
Outside, the starving masses will scavenge the piles of trash that only a throw-away society can build, looking for scraps of food that can be eaten or shards of metal that can be sold. Obesity will cease to be a health issue, and Social Security will be saved when life expectancy plunges as the proles learn all about third-world poverty.
So, let the Big Three go, Barack. Out of the suffering will emerge a stronger America
Thursday, November 20, 2008
God bless Sam
Let this be an object lesson for you: In 1914, Henry Ford shocked the capitalist world by paying his workers the unheard of sum of $5 a day and reducing the workday from nine to eight hours.
At the time, Ford’s logic was sound. He paid his workers enough so they could afford the cars they were producing, and an eight hour day allowed him to run three shifts instead of two.
Unfortunately, this opened the door for a prolonged period of wage abuse by workers and unions until it peaked with auto workers receiving an obscene annual salary of $67,480.
What followed was an example of the dialectic of success. When workers were being paid peanuts, the union movement was tough and militant. Eventually, wages increased to the point that the working class was able to join the middleclass. Once that happened, the unions went soft and lost their militancy. The upshot was that in 1980, the blue collar demographic helped vote Ronnie into office, and he immediately began a process of union destruction.
But, the true hero of this saga is Sam Walton. As his empire grew, he started putting pressure on his suppliers to slash their prices. The pressure was so intense that manufacturers had no choice but to ship their operations overseas where they found a large pool of exploitable labor.
As factories became deserted, high-paid workers lost their jobs and ended up flipping burgers or pumping gas, neither of which paid well. Middleclass workers once again became working class, but without the union militancy to stir things up.
As savings were exhausted and plastic maxed out, the only place they would afford to shop was Wal-Mart. Thus Wal-Mart was able to invert Ford’s formula by depressing wages until the working class was forced to shop at the big-box stores that were the cause of their ruin in the first place.
The bottom line here, Barack, is that Providence intended that all societies be two-tiered, with the elite on top and the masses on the bottom. Henry Ford unwittingly unleashed a demon when he started paying his workers a living wage, and that demon was a middleclass that was constantly destabilizing the proper order of society. It was this middleclass that was responsible for the progressive movement, the New Deal, and the chaos of the sixties.
Sam Walton deserves the Medal of Freedom for firing the first shot against this wage abuse. We are on the cusp of destroying this troublesome class, and the process of sucking America’s wealth back up to the top of the pyramid where it belongs is nearing completion as our economy melts down.
We have transitioned from production capitalism to finance capitalism with the emergence of a shadow banking system that is successfully looting the nation’s treasury.
Our kleptrocracy is counting on you to finish what Sam began.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Embalming the Corpse
One of the things going for you when you take power is that, within the Beltway, politics is a dying art, and you are twisting the knife in the carcass with your “nonpartisan” approach.
This is good, because without politics, democracy is dead. Divisiveness is the life blood of democracy, and nonpartisanship is the embalming fluid that forces this blood out of the system.
One writer cites the dust-up over the proposed bailout of the Big Three automakers as an example of this demise. The Democrats want a bailout; the Republicans are opposed to it. Now, if the Big Three fold, the effect on working and middle class America would be devastating.
Even a third rate politician would recognize that the Democrats could score many points by forcing the Republicans to vote against a bill that would bailout workers after they voted a bailout for Wall Street’s financial retards.
However, this would require the Democrats to take a stand, which is something they are loathe to do since it might offend their Wall Street handlers.
Consequently, nothing will be done because to do something would require discussion and debate, and discussion and debate are simply too democratic for Democratic tastes.
The Republicans turned politics into a game of hardball; you are turning it into a group grope. Regardless of the approach we will soon see the messiness of politics reduced to the sterile efficiency of unitary rule.
May the God of privilege and wealth bless your endeavors.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Rugged Individualism and Social Control
My Dear Barack,
In 63 days you will become the most powerful man in the world. It is my hope that these letters will help make you the world’s biggest badass, because it takes a badass to run an empire. Touchy-feely doesn’t cut it when you’re bombing wedding parties. Being in power means never having to say, “I’m sorry.”
So, let’s talk domestic. In your leadership role, you will have many missions. One of them will be the prevention, discouragement and, if necessary, suppression of mass movements. They are dangerous and destabilizing. The only movement the wise leader allows is the one that is flushed down the toilet.
The civil rights and peace movements of the 60s shook the establishment to the core, and the last forty years have been devoted to cleaning up the mess those movements left in their wake.
Fortunately, America is less predisposed to mass movements than other cultures. This is thanks, in large part, to the great American Myth of the Rugged Individual. It is a study in irony, for the more an person buys into this myth, the more susceptible he becomes to social control. A belief in individualism is an effective antidote to the class and community solidarity that is necessary for an effective mass movement.
The instrument that makes this atomized individualism possible is the screen, be it a movie, television or computer screen. The quintessential icon of this atomization is the lone cowboy riding into the sunset after he has single handedly righted all wrongs. Of course, just over the horizon are waiting his agent, his accountant, his business manager, his hair stylist, his wardrobe consultant, his press agent and his personal trainer.
An atomized society is especially important as we enter the age of economic self-destruction. The reason the Great Depression gave birth to the horrors of the New Deal was too many collectives. The unions were strong, as were the Socialists and the Communists. The public was spending too much time in meeting halls and not enough time in movie theaters.
Thank God things are different. The unions have been neutered and most homes have a screen of one kind or another in every room.
So, continue to preach individualism and personal responsibility and you may rest assured that no movement will arise to sully your administration as it continues to serve America’s kleptocrats.
Monday, November 17, 2008
Posturing and Inaction
Some are criticizing this weekend’s G20 economic summit for taking the decisive action of no action in the face of a crumbling world economy. Many see this as an example of the classic bureaucratic ploy of asking for further study of a collapsing structure even as the air is thick with the dust of falling ceilings and buckling walls.
The high point of the summit was when your predecessor took a principled stand against a regulated free market by arguing that, “The crisis was not a failure of the free market system…It would be a terrible mistake to allow a few months of crisis to undermine 60 years of success.”
Study that statement carefully, Barack. It’s an example of the first rule of leadership: hypocrisy is the cement that holds a country or an institution together. The “success” he spoke of is nothing more that the artificial inflating of one bubble after another along with the propping up of a phony prosperity through the accumulation of massive amounts of debt. (In 1929 the total private, public and corporate debt was 160 percent of the nation’s GDP. In 2008, that same debt is 350 percent of GDP).
Some argue that now is the time to think outside the box, while others call for reducing the box to kindling. In truth, the only course of action for free market ideologues is to shore up the box by nailing additional support beams to its rotting timbers.
Providence calls us to follow empire’s traditional curve of ascent, apogee and decent into self-destruction. This is what makes history such a good read for those who even bother to read history.
The confusion created by an empire’s collapse is the perfect cover that allows our kleptocrats to stuff their pockets with public money while the proles scratch their heads as they try to figure out what in the hell is going on.
In the meantime, world leaders meet and discuss to give the illusion that they are working towards shoring up the world economy when all they are doing is calling for further study.
It’s only third-rate theater dressed up to look like Shakespeare.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
I’m going to miss your predecessor. He’s such a gas. Here we are in an economic meltdown brought about by feral capitalism, and he sings the praises of the free market, to which he is looking for a solution to the very problems it created.
He reminds me of a drunken passenger clinging to a deck rail on the Titanic as her stern lifts in preparation for her final plunge, telling the passengers not to panic because the ship is unsinkable.
He is correct when he says the American system is an “engine of mobility," just as the Titanic was an engine of mobility as she plunged to the bottom.
It doesn’t get better than that.
Friday, November 14, 2008
It's a gift.
You are fortunate that you are following an administration that has utterly destroyed its credibility by proving I.F. Stone’s dictum that a journalist only needs to remember two words: Governments lie.
I’m sure your initial impulse is to restore credibility to the government.
Take my advice: Don’t!
A total lack of credibility is a boon to any administration. Its absence allows you to lie through your teeth. If you are caught, the public shrugs its shoulders and figures it’s just business as usual.
If, however, you reestablish credibility and are caught in a diplomatic lie, public outrage will crucify you.
Your anonymous predecessor has given you a precious gift. Treat it with care and lie with gusto. The proles expect it from you.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
"All the world's a stage..."
I stumbled across a quote that ought to be the beacon that guides your administration:
“The most essential skill in political theater and the consumer culture is artifice"
There are two operative phrases in that quote. The first is “political theater” and the second is “consumer culture”.
Politics is no longer a struggle over issues; it is third-rate theater, a stage upon which the only thing that matters is the quality of the performance.
Your predecessors d didn’t fail because of his policies and wars, disastrous as they were. He fell because he was inarticulate and because he lost his ability to project an image other than that of a confused child. His image-building skills peaked when he did his hemorrhoidal strut across the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln.
You sit at the opposite end of the spectrum when it comes to articulation and image building. I’ll bet you could make the following statement and get away with it:
You know, folks, the market is, indeed, self regulating. The only thing free market ideologues got wrong was the mechanism that keeps it balanced. It’s not the ‘invisible hand’;it’s the Flying Spaghetti Monster®, who uses his Noodly Appendages to buy here or sell there. And sometimes, for the sheer fun of it, he roils the markets and creates an economic meltdown just to keep himself amused. So rest easy, America, there’s no need for regulation or panic. It’s simply a matter of time before the FSM tires of his game and restores balance and order to the market.
Repeat that often enough in a voice dripping confidence, and before you know it, the nation will be offering up prayers to the FSM.
The point is that when politics is reduced to theater, active citizens become passive spectators, content to sit silently and watch the show. If they don’t like it, the very worst they will do is leave at intermission. The days of throwing rotten tomatoes at poor actors are over. Your predecessor proved that.
In a political theater, all that matter is cosmetic changes. It was a masterstroke on your part to announce that you were going to reverse the presidential order limiting stem cell research. Right away the spectators believe they are witnessing the dawning of a new age. So enthralled are they that they never notice that meaningful systemic change is off the table.
The reason the public is so docile is summed up in the second operative phrase in the above quote: “consumer culture”. All a consumer cares about is being stimulated by a product or a brand or the image a logo projects. People are no longer judged by what they believe, but by what they wear. Now, when America rebels, she head to the mall to be pierced and tattooed. The discontented no longer issue manifestos; they make fashion statements.
I have high hopes for your administration. You are a suburb actor with consummate marketing skills. You will do well by doing nothing.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
It's business as usual!
I hope you appreciate the deep debt of gratitude you own to the good citizens of San Francisco. It was they who returned Nancy “Make-Sure-Democrats-Don’t-Rock-The-Boat” Pelosi to office with an overwhelming majority. She brings to the office of Speaker of the House a quality one writer described as, “her paranoiac fear of leadership.”
She is a woman driven by the deep-seated belief that, “A new president must govern from the middle.”
Ah, the middle, that musty void where nothing is ventured and nothing is gained. It’s a political black hole where the timid cringe and dare not speak. As the troubadour sings, it is the place where “silence drowns the screams” of the bombed and the dispossessed.
And thank God, Nancy has her enabler in Harry Reid who, after you were elected, reassured our kleptrocracy that, “This is not a mandate for a political party or an ideology.”
Brave words spoken by a brave man.
With Congress bent over and spreading its cheeks as it waits for your first legislative initiative, your foreign policy advisors are licking their chops in anticipation of a ramped up Cold War.
Yes, Barack, I am speaking of the goose that lays all those golden eggs so valued by our defense contractors. And what is the grain that is going to keep that goose fat and happy? Why, it’s none other than Ronnie’s exercise in dementia, the Missile Defense System that your unnamed predecessor wants to plant in Poland and Czechoslovakia, thus pissing the Russians off enough to start another arms race (Can’t you just hear those golden eggs dropping one after another).
According to another writer, “Obama’s foreign policy advisors have taken [Russia’s objection to the new system] as a ‘test’ of the new president’s mettle and persuaded him to publicly announce his commitment to [name deleted]’s Missile Defense system.”
How I love your foreign policy advisors, those aged children whose barnacle encrusted brains are frozen in the Cold War of the 50s and 60s. Listen to them and they will impart to you the arrested maturity needed to rule.
And, you are learning. Even before you’ve taken office you’ve reassured the Poles and the Czechs that you are committed to build this contract-rich system.
It’s been barely a week since your victory, and already our oligarchs are sleeping the sleep of the dead. That’s one hell of an accomplishment.
 King Crimson. “Court of the Crimson King”
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Intellectual Make Believe
I mentioned in an earlier letter that your greatest handicap while in office will be your intelligence. You must always be on guard against it lest you do something that would have unintended consequences.
For example, you undoubtedly find the effort to introduce Intelligent Design into our schools to be so much foolish nonsense, which it is. And it would be your instinct to discourage it.
But, before you do so, it would be wise to step back and place the Intelligent Design controversy into context because it is a key element in The Big Picture.
Your unnamed predecessor used Intelligent Design as a club to discredit science, and it is up to you to continue this effort. Now, I realize that this may be a little hard for you to wrap your intelligence around, so let me explain.
The trouble with science is that it deals with reality in a corporate culture that increasingly deals in fantasy and make-believe. (Were the public to share this obsession with reality, an entire public relations industry could be wiped out.)
So, by casting doubt on the theory of evolution, our oligarchs cast doubt on all of science. This is why the Republicans have been courting religious wingnuts. Nobody raises hell like the deluded.
If the public could be convinced that science screwed up evolution, it might ask what else science screwed up, like global warming--oops! I mean climate change.
Now we get to the crux of the matter. There are simply too many scientists pointing to the reality that Homo sapiens has pretty well trashed the planet and that we are living on borrowed time.
The danger is that if the public bought into this it would negatively impact the economy. The proles would engage in all sorts of unhealthy activities like walking or taking public transportation or growing their own food. Taking public transportation would be especially dangerous because the next thing you know, they’d want more of it. Hell, isn’t our automobile industry in enough trouble?
A dumbed-down public is a happy public. Why torment people with reality when they can live out whatever is left of their lives in blissful ignorance. It’s the humane thing to do. So, check yourself before your start criticizing Intelligent Design. It’s more intelligent than it appears.
Monday, November 10, 2008
Practicing the "Faith"
Let’s chit-chat about religion. I’m glad to see you’re carrying on the rightwing tradition of using religion as a smoke screen to divert the public’s attention away from the multiple sins of The Beast that is imperial power.
You understand that organized religion has but one function, and that is to erect a firewall between Christians and the teachings of Christ. Its raison d’état is to marginalize all those who take Christ’s dictum to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, etc, and ad nauseam seriously, while it defends the status quo as defined by our corporate oligarchy.
You showed your true colors early in the campaign when the faux flap over Rev Jeremiah Wright exploded. Wright’s sin was carrying on Christ’s tradition of trashing a temple that served high priests instead of God. As expected, the angry Whitemen of the religious right threw a hissy-fit. “How dare Wright speak the truth,” they roared!
Wright was swimming upstream of a tradition that preachers are suppose to be polite and deferential unless they are raging against sins preapproved by our corporate elite such as gay marriage, sex, teenage pregnancies, porno or premarital sex. To rage against actual sins, such as prejudice or imperial wars, is unforgivable.
They screamed; you listened and dumped Wright.
There’s no faith like the pragmatic faith of one lusting after power. This is the faith that chalks the Cross on every bomb dropped on heathen villagers. It is a faith fed by a self-delusive hubris and exceptionalism.
I have pointed out to your predecessor (whose name will never be mentioned in these letters) that religion serves The Beast best when the ego farts and the soul thinks the breath of the Spirit is upon it. It is when the ego is stilled that religion can become a malignant force for systemic reform. We saw this with the Civil Rights movement. (Nobody seems to have noticed how White televangelists started to grow in influence and power as a result of that debacle.)
I rest easy knowing that you will keep Christianity safe and sanitized. Christianity must continue to be an instrument of social control. Whenever it slips the bounds of propriety, all hell breaks loose.
Sunday, November 9, 2008
Let us now praise wealthy madmen
It’s time we talked about The Market, that utopian place where rational beings make rational decisions based on rational self-interest, the sum total of these decisions guaranteeing that The Market will maintain equilibrium and will insure the positive outcomes for the public.
According to the proponents of behavioral finance, the market is a mob that behaves like a mob, driven as it is by primal emotions. On writer explains:
The current events in the financial markets are much better explained by the next great paradigm shift in economics, behavioral finance. Here, it is not assumed that human economic actors operate with computer-like logic and dispassion, but are subject to the same wide emotional swings from euphoria to panic, from fear to greed, that is expected in the rest of the human condition. This framework much better explains a financial system willing to lend to anything with over 40 chromosomes (“46 chromosomes? That’s so old fashioned!”) a few years ago, but unwilling to lend even to itself right now.
Warren Buffet knew what he was doing when the planted his desk in a Nebraska cornfield, well away from the hysteria that is Wall Street.
The basic mechanisms that drive the market are ego, greed and stupidity.
Ego is the lies we tell ourselves about ourselves, and stupidity is the conviction that we couldn’t possibly be wrong.
Greed is grossly misunderstood. Everyone assumes it is driven by a desire for money and power. Neither money nor power has anything to do with it. On the contrary, all greed lusts after is to the fawning adoration of all the creatures it believes to be its inferiors. Money and power simply facilitate greed, they aren’t its object.
Greed doesn’t fear going broke; it fears the mob turning on it when it realizes greed is simply so much hot air.
Your job, as president, is to stroke The Market and reassure it that it amounts to something. Praise its wisdom even as it shakes itself apart in a paroxysm of stupidity. Preach the superstition that it will eventually achieve balance and equilibrium, even though The Market’s idea of equilibrium is a blind tightrope walker clinging to the wire by his toenail.
However, when madmen finance your campaign, you have an obligation to praise their sanity.