Thursday, January 31, 2008

The Secret Life of the Lie

Dear George,

As a work of art, the lie is perfection personified. It is a polished gem of intellectual brilliance that transcends the mundane world of cause and effect.

Lies always trump truth because lies scream while truth stutters and gropes. Every lie files down the shards of complexity that stud the truth until only a smooth surface that reflects the lie's vacuity remains. Thus, the lie is the most democratic of utterances because it simplifies intricate issues so they may be easily digested by the proles.

The lie functions best when it has a label it can wield like a cudgel. It needs an “other” upon whom this label can be hung, a label so crafted that it turns the “other” into the personification of evil. For decades, “Communist” served this purpose only to be replaced by the multiple labels, “Terrorist” and “Islamofascist”. What the lie wishes to accomplish is not fear of the evil the label represents, but fear of having the label hung on oneself, or of being accused of aiding and abetting the label.

The lie is its own justification and needs neither rational argument nor reality to breathe. That infamous prophet of revelatory bullshit, E.A. Hayek, pointed to a succinct dingleberry when he wrote, “The issue of justification is indeed a red herring.”[i]

Without the lie, there would be no progress, for to proclaim all progress good is one of the central lies that have made the rise of Capital such an irresistible force. The simple fact is that all progress is suffering, be it the destitution of its victims or the moral decay of its beneficiaries. The myth of progress succeeds because it is so internalized and ingrained into our psyches that those who dare question it are dismissed as wild-eyed radicals. It ranks right up there with the superstitious belief in the “Invisible Hand of the Market”, that precious rationale for enriching the few while impoverishing the many.

The lie simplifies and paints in broad strokes of darkness and light. The lie soothes and comforts. Its certainty puts the mind at ease. Wrapped in mendacity’s security blanket the prole’s misery becomes bearable because his anger is misdirected away from those who caused his misery and is focused on those who are blamed for his misery.

The lie ultimately succeeds because while the public may pay lip service to the truth, the truth is that the truth is the last thing it wants. Truth is simply too uncomfortable.

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

[i] E.A. Hayek. The Fatal Conceit: The Error of Socialism. Page 68.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Singing Freedom's Celebratory Dirge

Dear George,

Our crumbling economy is a wet dreamer’s dream. As home values tank, as the subprime virus continues to spread through the financial industry and as the Dow Jones Averages continue to fart, your Iraq fiasco is forced from the front pages of our corporatist media. This is giving your wet dreamers a chance to begin the victory chant that will drown out the discordant sounds of disaster and disorder.

And what a song they are singing. NYT columnist Roger Cohen tells us, “I still believe Iraq’s freedom outweighs [the war’s] terrible price.” He speaks of the freedom made possible through military occupation, mass arrests and incarceration, and massive airstrikes. Thanks to these, Iraqis are able to breathe deeply the purity of freedom’s air through the stench of raw sewage and decaying corpses.

And of course, your Neocon minions are quick to call anyone who opposes the Iraq enterprise “defeatists”, as they remind us that we would have prevailed in Vietnam had we stayed the course a bit longer. In this respect, they are like the wife who pulls her husband away from the poker table after he’s lost the house. She, too, is a defeatist because he was but two hands away from recouping his losses.

The beauty of all this is that it doesn’t make a damn bit of difference who wins the 2008 election. Because of the traditional American distain for history and the lessons of the past, the new administration will no doubt adopt the position of the Clinton administration when it took office in 1993 and promised that it wasn’t going to refight the battles of the 1980s, which meant the entire Iran-Contra affair would be given a free pass.

What a wonderful defense this would make in a criminal trial. I can just hear the defense attorney in a murder trial addressing the jury: “Let us not dwell on my client’s past, but let us, instead, look to the future. Granted, my client exercised poor judgment when he slaughtered ten perfect strangers. But that was a rash act of youthful indiscretion. To focus on that one slipup is to paint a distorted picture of my client. Now is the time for healing and coming together. It is not the time for a divisive act such as finding my client guilty as charged. I urge you to look to the future instead of dwelling on the sordid past.”

Hell, that’s the argument that has kept Congress from impeaching your ass.

But, I digress. The fact remains that Iraq’s freedom was well worth the price, and in time even the dead will thank you. The new democracy has arrived astride a falling cluster bomb. Iraqis may be starving, they may be without basic services, they may be dying, they may be limbless, but by God, they are free, and that should be enough to offset their ongoing misery.

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Dumbing Down to Greatness

Dear George,

To begin with, let me apologize for missing last night’s State of the Union speech. It wasn’t for a lack of effort that I was absent. I was tuned in and ready to be inspired. Unfortunately, I fired up a pipe so I could better channel the cosmic dimensions of your vision. I might have lit up a little too early, because I only got as far as the Sergeant-of-Arms announcing “The President of the United States,” and then I slid into another dimension of reality and everything sort of went black.

But I’ve no doubt it inspired and uplifted, for you are a man of vision, all vision, and nothing else except vision. And I, alone, understand your vision and where it is taking us. Great nations are great because they are great, and they stay great by insuring their greatness. This has been the thrust of your seven-plus years in office.

The question is how do we finance this greatness? We do so by defunding everything except the Pentagon. Great nations stay great by kicking ass, and it is getting more and more expensive to do so.

Defunding has been the main thrust of your administration. You tried to take down Social Security, but ran into too much opposition to do so. Not to worry. Moody’s is in your corner, now, with their threat to downgrade the United State’s credit rating because of our Social Security and Medicare expenses. This will enable you to take the issue out of the political arena and move it into the economic arena where decisions are made without getting involved in debate and discussion since economics is a science much as the ancient practice of augury was.

Instead, you have focused on one area that is still sucking too much money out of the public till—education. You made a big step with your “No Child Left Behind”. Now, instead of educating, teachers spend their time teaching test-taking skills.

But, you’ve still miles to go before you sleep.

You well understand that you dilute education’s appeal and influence by dumbing down society, and you are fortunate in that society seems to be doing most of the heavy lifting for you. Pick up the latest issue of Time magazine and compare it with one published in 1940. Gone are the complex and compound sentence; gone is the college-level prose. What remains is a sterile syntax that a simpleton could comprehend. Hell, even Microsoft® is getting into the act. The grammar check on their Word 2007® no longer gigs the writer for passive verbs, contractions or ending a sentence with a proposition.

Another tactic is to outsource hi-tech jobs overseas or import foreign workers to do the same work at half the cost. Why should Americans bother with a higher education if it won’t get them a good job? (This is one of the advantages of reducing education to a form of vocational training. Nobody ever goes to school to learn how to think, or to learn how to appreciate literature or art.)

The idea is to change the face of labor market until the sole jobs available are low-paying jobs in the service sector that only require a grade-school education. I’m sure you know how much money we could save were we able to eliminate middle and high schools, along with colleges. Have one of your bean counters figure out how many weapons systems the savings could buy.

A side benefit is that uneducated drones don’t demonstrate or cause trouble. They are too damn exhausted working the three or four jobs necessary to survive. Never forget that the rebellion of the sixties was driven by over-educated college kids. You must do all in your power to insure that Americans become too stupid to ever mount a repeat of that aberration.

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

Monday, January 28, 2008

Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) and Foreign Policy

Dear George,

The last thing a corpse does when it croaks is to pee. It may be just a dribble, but it doesn’t matter. Piss is piss no matter how paltry the pee. It is the same when an empire croaks, except that the dying empire pisses bucket after bucket, and the pissing can go on for decades.

This pretty much explains your administration’s foreign policy. The problem is, Big Guy, that Washington is hampered by a case of Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH), because only droplets are falling on the world

A fool once said that the purpose of becoming a great power is to fight a great war. The secret to staying a great power is to not fight a great war, which is really kind of a dumb thing for a sage to say because having all that military might and not using it would be fiscally irresponsible.

The fact is, George, your administration is dying. Soon, you and your Neocon minions will be sent packing. Between now and then, you’ve got to do some pretty powerful pissing. The world is beginning to think America is a paper tiger and it is snickering at our pompous posturing.

In the good old days, a socialist like Chaves would have been laid out of a mortician’s gurney as soon as he took power. Instead, he is rallying Latin America to break the benevolent chains that have held the area in their embrace since the invention of the Monroe Doctrine. Now he and other countries have created the Banco del Sur (Bank of the South) that will thumb its nose at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank. It is a blot on the United States unblemished reputation that we are allowing this to happen.

Something like this is bound to create a domino effect as the countries we have traditionally kept under our heel begin to realize that the heel is attached to an arthritic knee that is attached to an arthritic hip that really can’t exert that much pressure. My God, Ecuador topped them all by declaring the country’s World Bank representative a persona non grata and kicking his ass out!

The terrible irony is that at no time in history has an American administration been in a better position to whip it out and drown the world in its urine. You have the media in your back pocket, the public basically doesn’t give a shit and Congress is controlled by a craven group of Democrats whose sole talent is whimpering in frightened submission.

Thank God NATO leadership has supplied you with the multiple cases of beer that will fill your bladder to overflowing. Five western military leaders have prepared a paper for an upcoming NATO meeting. In it they reach a conclusion that is brilliant in its simplistic reasoning. They proclaim that, “The first use of nuclear weapons must remain in the quiver of escalation as the ultimate instrument to prevent the use of weapons of mass destruction.” (By God, Big Guy, I’ve always said there is no better way to create madness than to lock a bunch of old men and a room and ask them to draft a policy.)

You know and I know that the western values are under threat from political fanaticism, religious fundamentalism, and the imminent spread of nuclear weapons, which is another way of describing our foreign policy. Of course, we implement this policy by blaming the Muslim's for our stench. As Paul Craig Roberts points out at the above link, “Only Muslims are fanatics. All us white guys are rational and sane.”

Western values and Corporatist values are one in the same. These values control the world. However, as natives the world over come to see the emptiness of our values, it may be necessary to reinforce them with a series of mushroom clouds. The courage to think the unthinkable is what makes the unthinkable thinkable.

I know things are looking a little grim for you right now, but you must cling to the belief that your bladder is still refillable and that you have 358 days left to flood the world with your values.

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Now, for something entirely different...

Instead of one of Belacqua’s letters, I am sharing a passage by the Hungarian Marxist philosopher Istvan Meszaros, which is especially relevant given all of the saber rattling over Iran that is coming from the Oval Office.

In this passage, Meszaros criticizes Hegel’s praise of the invention of the gun and the subsequent evolution of modern warfare. What Meszaros finds especially offensive is Hegel’s claim that, “It is for this reason that thought had invented the gun, and the invention of this weapon, which has changed the purely personal form of bravery into a more abstract one.”

Meszaros replies:

Yet, despite the intellectual greatness of its originator, the thought that the mass destruction of human beings—just because it is directed against groups and not particular individuals, as if the destroyed groups of people could be simply constructed as abstract ‘numbers of a whole’, instead of being human persons under all feasible circumstances—should be considered a ‘higher form of courage’ and an ‘abstract form of bravery' directly emanating from the superior reason of inventive World Spirit is worse than absurd. For capital’s power of overturning everything—by removing their human anchorage through the universalization of fetishistic commodity production—is mirrored here in philosophy by turning human values upside down, in the name of ‘thought and universal’. Thus it becomes possible perversely to equate the most extreme form of cowardice—as practiced in recent wars, whereby the technologically superior combatant, with no risk to himself, makes so-called ‘smart bombs’ rain out of the sky on his ‘underdeveloped enemy’—with the highest form of courage and bravery. With the help of this kind of reasoning it becomes possible to accept, and indeed to philosophically glorify, the fateful and potentially catastrophic idea that higher abstraction and its correspondingly developed technology amount to a higher form of courage and morality. This is a fateful and potentially catastrophic idea. For the ultimate logic of the underlying actual trend in modern warfare, arising from the liquidation of all human frame of reference through the universal triumph of capitalist reification and of the concomitant impersonal logic of the capital system, in complete defiance of human need and reason, in not ‘impersonal bravery’ but the truly impersonal destruction of humankind in its entirety: Holocaust and Hiroshima combined on a global scale. (Page 115)

Meszaros, Istvan. Beyond Capital. London: Merlin Press, 1995.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Big Sacrifices Yield Big Results

Dear George,

One of the more brilliant insights to come out of your Neocons was the belief that the United States needed another Pearl Harbor to arrest the moral decay that was seeping into the American psyche. There are two possible ways to shore up a nation’s moral propriety: a religious revival or a bloodbath of a war. Neocon thinkers saw little chance for a religious revival, so they wished, really wished, cross their hearts and hope to die, for an orgy of morally uplifting slaughter, which is a hell of a lot more fun than a religious revival.

This is why their hearts leapt when the World Trade Center towers were reduced to rubble. Here was the Pearl Harbor they had been praying for. And, for a while, it seemed to do the trick. America rallied around the flag as we prepared to bomb Third World natives into oblivion.

Alas, the passion didn’t last. I refuse to believe the critics who blame your fucked up handling of the Iraq enterprise for the country’s loss of martial passion. The trouble with 9/11 was that there was no specific country we could zero in on. With the old Pearl Harbor, we had a specific place we could hold responsible. It’s a hell of a lot easier to bomb the shit out of a country than out of a globalized movement. Terrorism was just too abstract to hold the public’s interest for long.

So, it is back to the drawing board as we once again pray for a new Pearl Harbor. Therein lays the problem. We are waiting for another Pearl Harbor. Unfortunately, we can no longer afford to passively wait for something to happen. We are staring an economic meltdown in the face, Big Guy. The old Pearl Harbor lifted us out of Great Depression I. The new Pearl Harbor will lift us out of Great Depression II. But, it will require some proactive action on our part.

What I am saying is it is up to you to create the next Pearl Harbor.

What is the main requirement for an effective Pearl Harbor that will rally the nation and keep them rallied. Basically, it is a lot of sunken ships and a lot of dead American sailors. Such a scenario works wonders, as we discovered in the Spanish-American War.

All you have to do is order the carrier task forces in the Persian Gulf to start blowing Iranian speed boats out of the water as fast as they can. An Iranian speedboat buzzing an American naval vessel in Iranian territorial waters is an act of naked aggression that demands a robust® response.

Next, let the air strikes begin! And this time, let’s make them nuclear. We have too much money invested in this weaponry to let it rust.

So, how does this give us our new Pearl Harbor? As one writer explained it, our carrier task forces in the Persian Gulf are sitting ducks. In 2002, the Pentagon played a war game premised on a strike against Iran. In it they discovered that Iran has hundreds of shore-to-ship missiles. Within minutes, our naval ships went to the bottom with the loss of 20,000 crew members.

That is how you rally the American public. Granted, it does seem a tad callous to deliberatly sacrifice 20,000 sailors just to save our economy. However, we must remember that one of the cornerstones of our freedom is the belief that prosperity trumps human life every time, and the corpses resting at the bottom of the Persian Gulf will have the satisfaction of knowing that they died so America could continue consuming.

When the radioactive dust has settled, we will have the oil and an economy risen from the dead. It’s a win-win situation. All it needs is your boldness of vision, and your vision is bold, if not a little twisted. But twisted times demand twisted leaders.

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

Friday, January 25, 2008

Paranoia and Policy. Perfect Together.

Dear George,

It is nigh impossible to run an effective police state without a heavy dollop of paranoia. However, the locus of the paranoia must be with the rulers, not the subjects. All policy generated by the state must be grounded in paranoid assumptions. The more paranoid the assumptions, the more oppressive will be the state.

A police state is only as good as the policies it generates, and your administration is a master of policy generation. Policy is best created in a hermetically sealed bubble occupied only by individuals who will profit from the new policy. Just as you don’t allow environmentalists to sit in on discussion of energy policy, so do you not allow civil libertarians to sit in on discussions of antiterrorism policy.

All policy is a revenue stream for the connected, and paranoia is no exception. The creation of a paranoid-based policy involves the laying down of a series of lines, much as one does with coke. First, you lay down a line of whatifwhatifwhatifwhatifwhatifwhatif. This is followed by a line of, yabutyabutyabutyabutyabut, which is quickly followed by a line of supposesupposesupposesuppose.

Each “what if”, “ya but”, and “suppose” cries out for a solution, no matter how imaginary or fantastic it is. Every solution cries out for new and better equipment. Each piece of new equipment generates another cost-plus contract. And on and on it goes.

Paranoia has created so many new toys that the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has been forced to create new domestic spying operation, the National Applications Office (NAO). This office will use all of this new technology to spy on Americans who might be thinking radical thoughts and who are on the brink of engaging in radical acts such as dissent.

All of these spy satellites and heat detectors have yielded a new variation of the Butterfly Effect. The traditional Butterfly Effect posited that a butterfly flapping its wings in Beijing would create a cyclone off the coast of Africa. The DHS variant posits that a radical farting in Okemos, Michigan will generate an indictment in Washington D.C.

All of this was the result of an Independent Study Group (ISG) created by DHS in May, 2005, and charged with studying “the current state of Intelligence Community support to homeland security and law enforcement entities.”[i] Of course, the bulk of this group was made up of the people who understand domestic spying the best, the contractors who profit from manufacturing the equipment is requires. Notably absent from the group was a representative of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU).

Their conclusion (surprise, surprise) was that there is “an urgent need for action because opportunities to better protect the nation are being missed.” Some sourpuss of a cynic might suggest that the only thing the nation needs protection from is its government. Cynics such as this are why we need a robust® program of domestic spying. In America, only happy thoughts are allowed. There is no place for a Mr. Grumpus, other than a well-appointed camp somewhere in the barren wilderness of fly-over country.

The happy news is that America will prosper as long as her leaders can utter those magic phrases, “What if?” “Ya but!” And “Suppose.”

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

[i] All of this material is from an excellent article by Stephen Lendman, “Institutionalized Spying on Americans” that may be found at the above link. -cw

Thursday, January 24, 2008

How Computers Make It All Okay

Dear George,

I confess I’m not just addicted to meth. I also get high meditating on the innate stupidity of my betters. It is a law of nature that the higher a man rises in the Corporatist State, the dumber he becomes. It must be the thin air at the top of the pyramid.

Yesterday, I came across an interesting piece in The New York Times[1]. The article catalogs some of the delusions that have led to our current economic meltdown. Ben Bernanke, before he became head of the Fed’s counterfeit money ring, termed our ever expanding economy, “the great moderation”. Once again, the deluded belief that the boom/bust problem had been tempered took hold. It was simply a variation of what have been called the four deadliest words uttered in the midst of a bubble, “It’s different this time.”

In his article, Leonhardt dropped one of those little asides that explain volumes when he said, “Computers allow managers to run their businesses more efficiently and avoid some of the wild swings.”

There you have it, Big Guy, the machine that makes it possible to say, “It’s different this time.”

Yes, the computer spreads a veneer of linear rationality over what is essentially a nonlinear hodge-podge driven, not by rational self interest, but by ego, greed and stupidity. The charts, graphs, and diagrams the computer generates make it all look so neat and sensible. It puts a linear frosting on the bullshit that is economic theory and makes it look like a wedding cake. Nothing hides the stench like a well-ordered spreadsheet.

In one of those serendipities that never happen when I’m stoned, I came across another comment that underscores why our economy is such a house of cards. Northrop CEO Ronald Sugar said, “A great global power like the United States needs a great navy and a great navy needs an adequate number of ships, and they have to be modern and capable.”

No computer could factor in the stupidity that is the product of hubris. Let a man become enamored of greatness, and his brains turn to mush.

Everyone talks about bubbles, housing bubbles, snot bubbles and spittle bubbles. However, nobody, but nobody, ever speaks of the defense bubble that has kept our prosperity bloated for that last sixty-eight years. Weapon systems are the playing cards that make up our economy.

Our military-industrial complex is a greed machine that is spinning out of control. The same piece that quoted Chairman Sugar pointed out that we are “spending insane amounts of money on ‘defense’ projects that bear no relationship to the national security of the United States.”

Or course we are, darlings. That is because we have a Congress that is so addicted to landing defense projects for their respective districts that they have become employees of the defense industry. This is why none dare speak of our defense bubble. And, of course, the computer makes it different this time.

The madness of it all absolutely arouses the senses. This same article quotes Thomas Woods who points out that:

"According to the U.S. Department of Defense, during the four decades from 1947 through 1987 it used (in 1982 dollars) $7.62 trillion in capital resources. In 1985, the Department of Commerce estimated the value of the nation’s plant and equipment, and infrastructure, at just over $7.29 trillion. In other words, the amount spent over that period could have doubled the American capital stock or modernized and replaced its existing stock."

I am sure such thoughts are a comfort to the good folks who were pitched into the Mississippi River when that Minneapolis bridge collapsed last summer. They died so our country could be a world power.

Of course, that statement was made in 1987, before you took over the helm and started working your magic. I’m sure the updated figures would be a real turn-on.

What a wonderful time it is to be alive and stoned. To sit in the filth of my hovel pulling on the pipe as America spends herself into ruin is the good life. Her elite have plunged over the cliff and are calling the fall prosperity. And as they plunge, they are comforted by a computer monitor that assures them that, “It’s different this time.”

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

[1] David Leonhardt. “Worries That the Good Times Were a Mirage.” The New York Times, Wednesday, January 23, 2008. Page One.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Very God of Very God, begotten but...Oh, what the hell!

Dear George,

Many are the consultants advising 2008’s presidential candidates. Republican consultants tell them how to win; Democratic consultants tell them how to lose. However, the 2008 campaign is unusual in that both parties are sharing a single consultant—God.

America is a country founded by God, directed by God, driven by God and led into combat by God. This is because the American God is a unique God. Here is no universal God of love. Rather, the American God is first and foremost a ward heeler who is responsible for turning out the vote. God mans phone banks, stuffs envelopes and keeps the coffee pot full at campaign headquarters.

America is America because of her ability to keep God distracted so America can ass-fuck the world with impunity.

God is also a demagogue who stirs up the bigotry that has traditionally given the Republicans their electoral edge. God sounds the alarm over Muslims and Latinos who are corrupting the purity of good old, down home American bloodlines. God builds walls and breaks up families by deporting undocumented family members. He raids the workplace and incarcerates illegals indefinitely. God loves Black Holes and water boards; He gives his blessing to disappearers who disappear the disappeared. He gets off on bombed brown skins. His altar is piled high with the broken bodies of women and children who were too stupid to get out of the way of His falling cluster bombs.

This is because the God of America is not really God. He is a demigod named Jehovah who is long on power tripping and vengeance, but short on compassion and love. We pay lip service to the loving God of the New Testament, but it is Jehovah whom we call on when things get dicey.

This is the God invoked by every candidate for president. This is the God they pray to and honor. As long as they worship this God, America will be in good hands no matter who wins the election.

So, drop down on your knees George, and offer up a prayer of thanksgiving. Without Him, you’d be in the defendant’s docket at the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Robustization of the American Male

Dear George,

Henry Paulson really turns me on.

Well, it is not Paulson, per se, but his choice of words. On January 22, 2008, he appeared on CBS’s “The Early Show” and in discussing the proposed economic stimulant plan (an upper for Wall Street), proclaimed, “What President Bush believes is that we’ve got to do something that is robust© (emphasis mine)."

The turn-on in that otherwise dull statement was a single word: robust©. If one word sums up the remasculization of America that started with Ronnie’s ascension, that is it. That word is our redemption and marks the reassertion of male authority after being locked in the woodshed when the Sixties exploded.

The Sixties released a Pandora’s Box of evils such as peace, love, community and the Age of Aquarius. But the greatest evil it released was feminism. All of a sudden men were treated like brutes just because we started wars, slaughtered natives and murdered civil rights workers. Mothers took toy guns away from their little boys and forced them to read Charlotte’s Web. Men were encouraged to turn off the football game and touch their feminine side.

What was the result of all of this touchy-feely bullshit? We were driven out of Vietnam, our bad-ass reputation took a major hit, we started negotiating arms control treaties, and defense spending was cut. All-in-all, we wimped out and started playing nice with the commies.

It was a sordid state of affairs until Ronnie descended from the heavens and redeemed us. Once again, the commies were the Evil Empire, defense spending went through the roof, and we resumed our slaughter of natives in Latin America. Under his leadership, America was once again a robust© country. Men came out of the woodshed and started kicking ass again. The Equal Rights Amendment went down in flames and bile became the order of the day as legions of Angry White Males™ flashed their hard-ons to the nation and began dismantling the welfare state that had been allowed to grow like a cancer.

It was, indeed, Mourning in America as America got her balls back by invading postage stamp countries like Grenada and Panama. God, did we show them! Now, the only feminine side a man wasn’t to touch is the one between a wench’s legs, because we were robust© and thanks to the miracle of modern medicine, our hard-ons are throbulating again.

Continue the legacy, Big Guy. Finish what Ronnie started and make us into a nation of Angry White Males™ who will show the world what empire is all about even as we turn America into a manly police state where wimpy, peace-loving leftists are shipped off to the nearest summer camp for some robust© reeducation.

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

Monday, January 21, 2008

The One True Candidate of the One True Party

Dear George,

The life of a political pundit in not an easy life, especially during presidential campaigns, and the 2008 campaign is turning out to be a real bitch. The pundit must produce drama where there is none, suspense where there is none and conflict where there is none. He is forced to generate interest in a campaign that is not a campaign because there is but one candidate from one party in the race. The candidate’s name is Bill-Hill-Mitt and the party is America’s own Corporatist Party.

The anointed candidate has but one plank in the party platform, and that is the protection of the Federal Feeding Trough at which the candidate’s corporatist handlers fatten themselves. Bill-Hill-Mitt is brought and paid for, and it is the role of the corporately-owned pundits to create the impression of change where none exists.

Even as the world of finance capitalism collapses, there is nary a mention from Bill-Hill-Mitt about reregulating our corporatist clowns. There is a lot of talk about packages to stimulate the economy, which involve throwing peanuts to the proles and pumping billions into corporate coffers. The doctrine of personal responsibility is for proles only, and not for corporatists.
It is a comfort to know that the candidate will continue to treat financial retards as geniuses.

The last thirty years have seen the successful execution of a brilliant financial scam unmatched in history. Our corporate wizards finally figured out that the only way to gut the New Deal was to gut America. Thus was America sold on the virtues of Globalization. With Globalization, the outflow of American capital began. Manufacturing fled overseas until American industry was but a pathetic shell of its former self. The money drain continued as these newly-minted overseas manufacturers sent their merchandise back to us so an increasingly impoverished middle and working class could go further into debt to buy the stuff they use to earn good money for manufacturing. This, our corporate media dubbed "prosperity."

We can count on Bill-Hill-Mitt to continue the process. Sure, they will mouth the pieties that will soothe the proles into thinking things will “change” as soon as Hill-Bill-Mitt takes office. And while our new president does the “life is good” soft shoe, it will be business as usual with America and her people on sale to the highest bidder.

True, there have been some flies in the ointment named, Edwards, Paul and Huckabee who are trying to roil the populist pot. Given the financial meltdown facing America, they could prove troublesome. That is where a corporately owned media pays off. They have successfully airbrushed these troublemakers from the front page. Now all the coverage is of Bill-Hill-Mitt as our populists become nonpersons. Obama is thrown into the mix only to maintain the illusion of a "real" contest.

Bill-Hill-Mitt understands the important role the scam plays in maintaining our economic prosperity. As capitalism ages and slowly sinks into a state of senility, it becomes even more desperate to maintain the unbridled growth that is its life blood. This requires that it moves its efforts from the manufacture of things to the manufacture of hot air. Hot air is what inflates the bubble, and a succession of bubbles is all that is keeping capitalism alive.

Bubbles are bullshit treated as gospel. They are mirages, pools of make-believe money, that dry up as quickly as they appear. We’ve gone from the bubble to the housing bubble to the credit bubble. In each, there is an uptick of make-believe wealth that disappears the second the bubble pops, and our corporatists once again scour that land looking for the next bubble.

And as our corporatists scurry and hustle, they will be comforted knowing that Bill-Hill-Mitt will continue the Pyrrhic Dance to the tumultuous cacophony of timbrels, fifes and flutes to keep the proles distracted while their pockets are picked clean.

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Teaching Manners to America's College Students

Dear George,

Control America’s colleges and universities and you control America. For too long the American campus has been a hotbed of violent radicalization and homegrown terrorism. We would have prevailed in Vietnam, had it not been for long-haired hippy peaceniks spewing their antiwar vomit all over the Pentagon parking lot. The Beltway learned a valuable lesson from that experience: if you are going to launch an illegal war make sure you lockdown the colleges and universities.

And thanks to the octoprussian reach of our Department of Homeland Security, this is precisely what is happening. Campus police forces have matured into counterinsurgency machines boasting weapons and armaments that would make a Blackwater mercenary proud. These well-arms guardians of America’s homeland security are also gaining expertise in intelligence gathering as they pass information on radical campus groups to the Pentagon’s Threat and Local Observation Notice system (TALON).

They are also doubling as full-time FBI agents even as many universities are forcing protestor into isolated “free assembly areas.” Some universities are even expelling students for handing out antiwar literature which these universities have designated as “unauthorized material.”

In the meantime, comprehensive student records on 14 million students who applied for federal financial aid were sent to the Beltway under a program called, appropriately, Project Strike Back. Mind you, what was being struck back at wasn’t 9/11; it was the student riots of the sixties that shut down campuses and turned America into a cesspool of drugs and sex.

Well, you can be damn sure you Neocons have decided never, never, again. They well understood that if you spare the rod you spoil the child. So they decided that they were going to make sure college students toed the line. College is all about career, not critical thinking. And it is critical thinking that creates the dissent that can all too easily morph into violent radicalization and homegrown terrorism, with the definition of terrorism expanded to include any though that deviates from the doctrinal correctness of your Neocon ideology.

In the golden days of the fifties, college students were mindless drones who partied their way through their four years of academia and graduated with a diploma, a fiancée and a secure position with corporate America. All of this was lost in the sixties as students railed against war, segregation and poverty. It was a terrifying time in our history.

Now students are being brought under control thanks to the coercive power vested in the Department of Homeland Security. The little turds are starting to learn that college Is where you go to learn proper behavior and decorum, and if you are unwilling to get with the program, they will kick your ass out and you will be reduced to brewing lattes at the local Starbucks.

It is so nice to see good behavior returning to America. That, George, will be your legacy, that you tamed America’s colleges and universities.

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

Saturday, January 19, 2008

How to Hide an Economic Meltdown

Dear George,

When I was a child and my pappy was in his cups, he’d raise his head from the bar, fix me with his one good eye and say, “Son, When the tough get going, the going gets tough,” and then he would pass out again.

It was sound advice, even if he never followed it, advice you would do well to follow now that your economic house of cards is collapsing around you. As with any crisis, the first and only consideration is covering your ass. You have spent seven years building your legacy and you certainly don’t want to see it trashed simply because our Corporatists have taken advantage of the economic freedom they’ve won to shoot themselves in their collective foot.

It was inevitable. A free economy is a Kamikaze economy. As it pitches earthward it never fails to enrich the grand strategists who engineered its fall. So, what the fuck, the deed is done and now all you need do is to keep the proles from open revolt.

What is called for is some diversionary strategies that will deflect attention away from the gradual impoverishment of America’s middle and working classes. No matter how bad the crisis, it is crucial that capital continue its upward movement away from the masses and towards our elite. The primary vehicle for this upward leeching is our elephantine defense establishment. It is this that must be protected at all cost. The danger is that some damn fool will ask why we are spending all this money on useless military hardware when the country is broke, and what in the hell are we doing wasting all that money just so we can lose a war in Iraq.

Sex has always been a great diversionary tool. This idea of a sexual revolution in the sixties is a myth because America remains a puritanical nation even thought more of her children are getting laid at a younger age. Our Puritanism is reflected in our puritanical porn. I have always contended that if you want to encourage abstinence in our youth, you should force them to watch eight straight hours of porn. That would cure them.

Karl made brilliant use of sex in the 2004 election by rallying the base over the specter of gay marriage. This brought out your base and, with a little help from black boxes, gave you a second term. However, I have my doubts about a repeat performance. In 2004, the country still maintained its fantasy of prosperity as the proles sank even further into debt so they could believe they were living the good life even as they dropped down the economic ladder.

This illusion no longer holds, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore sex. A thin line separates sexual passion from political passion, so the more repressed the proles are, the greater is society’s stability. But, I don’t think sex is enough to divert the proles from their increasingly empty stomachs.

After sex, the most effective diversionary tactic is war. But there is a caveat to this. For war to divert the masses, it must be total war. This is the problem with Iraq and it was the problem with Vietnam. Both were pussy wars fought for limited, imperial objectives. War only diverts when it is a totalistic struggle between life and death.

So, it might be time to ramp things up a bit and find an excuse to take out the entire Muslim world. Your rightwing hate mongers have been preparing the way with their screeds against brown skins and Islam. The short answer to your problem is to manufacture a provocation, bomb the shit out of Iraq, and then broaden the conflict to engulf the entire Middle East. Declare total mobilization as Christianity finally gets the balls to finish the job it started with the Crusades. A total war against Islam would surely spark a Christian revival that would give you the bigoted energy that would guarantee at least decades of war as we spread Christianity to the oil fields of Arabia.

Of course, those who were not of the one, true faith and those who actually paid attention to Jesus’ teachings would have to be dealt with. Fortunately, the camps have already been constructed, so I don’t see that as being a particular problem.

Imperial wars are for wimps. It takes a man to fight a total war. Whip up some war fever, and our economic meltdown will be relegated to the business pages which nobody bothers reading anyway. Best of all, history would remember you as the Joshua who brought down the walls of Jericho by blowing a lot of hot air.

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

Friday, January 18, 2008

Framing the Rising Sun Controversy

Dear George,

I find it awe inspiring that for the past seven years the Right has managed to keep the Democratic Party on the defensive. Bombarded by a barrage of buzz words and faux issues, they’ve barely been able to regain their balance and go on the offensive. The Right has them so cowed that they self-censor their every thought and comment less it unleashes a barrage of polemic.

It all gets down to the Right’s superb ability to frame any given issue in such a way that the Democrats can only react, and in their reaction come across as weak and uncertain. The key to framing an issue is to make an untrue assertion with such confidence and certainty that the public believes it can only be true. The assertion is repeated and repeated until the public accepts it as fact. The entire process is abetted by a supine press that parrots uncritically every turd tossed out by the Right.

For example, one of your cronies could express moral outrage over the Democratic Party’s belief that the sun rises in the east. Such a belief is eating away at the country’s moral fiber as surely as gay marriage and abortion, because studies have shown that people who favor abortion and gay marriage also believe in an east-rising sun.

And there you have your buzz word: the east-rising sun, that cancerous rot that is destroying all that America stands for. Loudly every Republican candidate expresses his abhorrence of an east-rising sun. Loudly, every candidate demands that he Democratic candidates repudiate this subversive heresy.

The Democrats are in disarray. The attack on the east-rising sun is so virulent they are too unnerved to point out that the sun actually does rise in the east. To assert this would leave them open to attack. At first, they try to ignore the issue. But the Right refuses to let them off the hook. Why, the Right demands to know are the Democrats silent? Is it possible that they believe the sun rises in the east? Finally, the Democrats in desperation issue a position paper that calls for further study of the rising sun issue.

The media, of course, laps this all up as they repeat every charge and every futile attempt by the Democrats to defuse the issue. Editorials accuse the Democrats of being weak on the rising-sun controversy. Pundits expound that there are two sides to every issue and that the Democrats are hurting themselves by their failure to take a strong position on the question.

Pressure builds at the local level for schools to teach both sides of the controversy. The whole concept of an easterly direction comes under attack. Democrats start losing elections over the issue. The party is reeling from the onslaught of the east-rising sun movement. Cable news rating soar as the controversy grows. Evangelicals join the fray as they condemn the east-rising sun doctrine as another example of the attack on Christianity.

It is amazing that after all these years the Democrats still haven’t figured out that they are being gamed. The party has spent so many years on the defensive it has forgotten how to mount an effective attack. They are a pathetic lot, and I have nothing but praise for the deftness with which you jerk them around.

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Our Corporatist Divas: Hill and Bill

Dear George,

I have always been puzzled by the way your minions start foaming at the mouth every time Bill and Hill’s names come up. Thanks to them, America is now a one-party country ruled by a Corporatist Party that is, in turn, comprised of two factions: the cronies and the cavers. Were it not for them, partisan divisiveness would still sully the American political system.

It was Hill and Bill who led America down the primrose path of the new democracy in which the proles are free to consume while their corporate oligarchy makes all the tough decisions that are so necessary to keep the skids of political and economic power well lubed. As a political team, they outronnied Ronnie. They were the ones who attached the nuts and bolts to Ronnie's dream of gutting the New Deal.

It was Hill and Bill who brough us the 1996 Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act that threw welfare and our albatross of a social safety net into the recycling bin.

It was Hill and Bill who taught the mainstream media to acquire a taste for boot polish with their Telecommunications Act of 1996 that made possible the rise of a corporate media and in doing so morphed journalist into political hacks who repeat verbatim every word of bullshit that issues forth from the Oval Office.

It was Hill and Bill who gave America 1999’s Financial Services Modernization Act that threw out the protections of the onerous Glass-Steagall that had been keeping banks honest since the Great Depression. Thanks to them, the country is about to enter a second Great Depression as, once again, America has learned that banks and other financial institutions simply cannot handle freedom.

Finally, it was Hill and Bill who cleansed America of her gritty manufacturing sector with NAFTA. Not only did it shut down all those filthy factories, it assured Big Ag a pool of cheap labors as the act impoverished Mexico and sent its poor swarming over our borders to find work harvesting America’s produce.

America owes Hill and Bill a debt of gratitude that can never be repaid. It was they who turned freedom’s torch into a smudge pot that is slowly blackening the face of the earth even as it pumps black ink into the corporate bottom line.

They have given us much, and our Corporatists understand this as they pour more money into Hilliary’s coffers. Despite all their bluster, they recognize a good thing when they see it. As for me, every time I look at Hill I say, Thank God the United States finally has its Margaret Thatcher.

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Responsibiliting Ourselves to Greatness

Dear George,

As we slide into our season of campaign madness, one word cries out for attention: “Responsible”. No matter where they are on the political spectrum, the welfare of the country demands candidates who behave and think responsibly. The responsible candidate is one who can make a slight change in direction without rocking the boat, one who revamps the status quo by preserving it.

The irresponsible candidate is one who talks about change and is serious about it. Clarity of vision usually sinks the irresponsible candidate. Unable to buy into the fashionable mythologies of the day, he discomforts the public with the truth, and with each truth he utters, the establishment cries “irresponsible”.

For example, Corporatists spasm when an irresponsible a candidate suggests that the antidote to terrorism is for American to play nice on the international stage. Such an approach would have a devastating effect on the bottom line. Military superpowers don’t play nice.

The irresponsible candidate fights tooth and nail for his principles and yields only when there is no other alternative. The responsible candidate throws his or her principles on the trash heap before the struggle has even begun in order to facilitate efficient decision making.

Responsible candidates triangulate and make an art of unprincipled repositioning. Principles are for marketing purposes only. For the responsible candidate they are handfuls of dirty coins tossed to the proles to keep them duly distracted.

To an irresponsible public agitated over the social injustice that has been the fad for the past twenty-plus years, the responsible candidate advises, “Medicate, don’t agitate. Let the youth of America lose itself in the ramped up decibels of an acid rage that spews itself into the night air before evaporating, while their parents fill their prescriptions for antidepressants and tranquilizers."

Responsible behavior has given us Iraq, a foreign policy that has made straight the way for repeated applications of the shock therapy (for which the world will thank us, someday in the far, far future), the exponential growth of the kleptrocracy, and a middle and working class that is learning all about the personal growth that comes with want.

The last thing America needs is an irresponsible president who would change all this. Structural Adjustment Programs (SAPs) are for Third World economies teetering on the brink of collapse. We have no need for a domestic one.

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Sweet are the ties that bind

Dear George,

Sweet are the ties that bind in the Corporatist State. Here there are no hob-nailed boots, but only designer pumps. Here there is practiced a sweet oppression that soothes as it restrains with a hug. Show me a man behind the wheel of his BMW, with his iPod™ pumping acid rock into his ear, and I will show you that most pliable of creatures, the slave who thinks he’s a rebel.

What a glorious time it is to walk the corridors of power, to live in an age that is seeing the condensation of history’s madness into a potent brew. How wonderfully you play the role with your strutting imperialism and your deluded belief that the world is a chessboard you can arrange to your liking. You are heir apparent to decades of the deviant thinking that has created the gossamery bubble of prosperity upon which our unstable economy sits. To have nothing to live for other than the infliction of pain and suffering to the glory of the few is the good life.

You have elevated neocolonialism to the status of low burlesque as you have devastated economies in the name of the Washington Consensus. But what the hell good is power if it doesn’t destroy. Only through destruction are the fear and paranoia that are power’s products put to rest, until they return and cry out for more destruction and more suffering. The missile and the bomb are instruments of economic stimulation. They are democracy’s handmaiden, carriers of freedom and prosperity for those who love and nurture them. The gods roar with laughter as we drop them on the innocent. Each fireball is a burnt offering upon their altar; charred flesh is their incense.

In the shadowless glare of the florescent bulb maps are unrolled as the wheels of commerce swing into motion to grind more bones into dust. The soothing tones of the spokesman drown out the cries and screams of the liberated. Death is the ultimate expression of peace.

O, George! I can’t believe it is all coming to an end. Soon your vacuous smirk will no longer light up the Oval Office; soon the boredom of decency will smother us. My prayer is that you leave a mess so rancid that it will stifle decency and render it an anachronism to be trotted out for marketing purposes only.

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

Monday, January 14, 2008

Lessons Well Learned

Dear George,

Vietnam was the best thing that ever happened to America because it taught us how not to fight an imperial war. And looking at the situation in Iraq, I would say we learned our lessons well.

A successful imperial war is not a war that is won, rather is it one that produces only apathy and indifference on the home front. Sure, people say they are concerned about Iraq, but their concern is more economic than moral. They’d like to see a bigger bang for their buck.

The most valuable lesson that came out of Vietnam was that America can’t fight an imperial war with a citizen army. Citizen armies work when a country is waging a moral crusade against the forces of evil. Imperial wars are fought to achieve limited ends, like oil or hegemony. These are not altars upon which the public is willing to sacrifice its young. A professional army is simply a bunch of employees doing their job. Industrial employees get laid off; military employees get killed or maimed. To the public, both are unfortunate facts of life.

The second lesson Vietnam taught us is that the last thing an imperial war can afford is a free press crawling all over the battlefield like vultures crawling over carrion. Great wars are waged; imperial wars must be marketed, and the only way to successfully market war is to present it as a bloodless video game. Embedding the media was censorship so subtle nobody ever thought it was censorship. Iraq has taught journalism the good manners so necessary for the successful empire.

We also learned that an imperial war must be a fashion statement. The imperial armies of nineteenth century Britain understood this. Scarlet coats, gold braid and polished boots give war panache. The soldiers who fought in Vietnam were unshaven slobs with their sweat drenched green utilities and unbuttoned jackets. They looked like algae The Pentagon was wise to clothe our troops in warm earth tones and load them down with flak jackets and night vision gear attached to their helmets. Their uniforms and gear serve to hide their humanity, which contributes to the video game quality of the war.

Your masterstroke, however, was contracting the war out to private enterprise, especially your creative use of mercenaries. Americans still cling to the illusion that her youth are innocents. Consequently, they don’t want them corrupted by the rigors of combat. The mercenary, on the other hand, is delightfully expendable. If he is blown away, it is not a sacrifice; it is simply a bad day at work. You can lose them by the bucketful and cause nary a ripple in the public’s mind.

Nor must we overlook the mercenary’s potential domestic value. As America transitions from an old democracy to a new democracy, it will become necessary to reinforce some of the more basic changes in our political system with selective extrajudicial enforcement. The use of private contractors in this area gives you plausible deniability.

No, George, Vietnam was neither a tragedy nor a mistake. It was a practice drill, without which Iraq would not be the success that it is. America has mastered the imperial war and the world lies prostrate at our feet, even as it holds us in bemused contempt.

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Why Women Can't Do Wars

Dear George,

Kind of scary isn’t it, the idea of a woman leading the greatest military superpower the world has ever seen, especially one who prattles on about villages and children. I hope your boys are mixing up some hi-grade mud in the back room.

I guess it is okay to have a woman heading up one of the minors like Pakistan or Burma; Thatcher wasn’t bad for the British since she managed to gut the welfare state. But when it comes to superpowers, you need a man at the helm. This has nothing to do with sexism, even though it does, because it touches on some basic differences between men and women, differences our Creator put there when he plucked Eve from one of Adam’s ribs. If a country is a military superpower, it needs wars to keep it in fighting trim, and when it comes to war, there are three reasons men have it over women:

First, ‘tis but a microscopic line that separates testosterone from bile. It is a biological irony that as the potency of a man’s testosterone declines, there is a corresponding increase in the potency of his bile. This is why old men start the juiciest wars, and why missiles look like phalluses.

Second, it requires a certain level of immaturity to launch a war. Now, mothers are always telling their daughters that girls develope faster than boys. What the mothers forget to tell them is that the boys do not catch up until their 50s or 60s, and that some of them go to the grave still trying to figure it out.

Finally, most of the world’s madness and violence erupts because men are the poor bastards who have to get it up, and that requires an awful lot of bullshit and posturing.

The bottom line is that until women can grow balls, the Oval Office is off limits to them. The United States has too much invested in military hardware to start worrying touching its feminine side. It takes a mean son of a bitch to spread democracy to the world. So dump a little semen in the mud vat and keep on stirring.

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

Saturday, January 12, 2008

War isn't a racket, it's a profit center.

Dear George,

Every once in a nonce some fringe lefty lifts his head from his drug-induced stupor long enough to proclaim that there is no military solution for Iraq, then he passes out again. Such statements are made by people who have no appreciation for the grand strategy you are pursuing in the Middle East.

Of course there is no military solution for the Middle East. There never will be, and the idea of a military solution was never seriously considered. This is what you meant when you spoke of a “generational war.” It is a war that goes on and on and on without end. Its purpose is neither oil, nor turning Iraq into a Westernized neo-liberal democracy, nor protecting Israel, nor proving America’s resolve in clinging to a hopeless situation, nor insuring your legacy. The sole rationale for Iraq is war for war’s sake.

It’s an economic thing, George. There’s been a lot of talk about the bubble and the housing bubble. As the housing bubble tanks there is now murmurings about an alternative energy bubble in which we take grain from the mouths of the starving and convert it into ethanol with which we fuel our SUVs and eighteen-wheeler warehouses.

As bubbles go, these are simply foam. The truth is that they are mere parasites resting on the mother of all bubbles, the defense bubble. Defense spending is the hot air that keeps all the other bubbles inflated until they pop. As soon as they pop, the hot air pump starts inflating another one. We cannot allow this pump to fall into disuse.

The operator of this pump is the defense contractor who funds the lobbyists who run Congress, thus insuring a climate conducive to greed and exploitation. Money is pumped into the economy via the design and manufacture of useless military hardware. This money falls into the hands of deregulated corporatists who have used it to facilitate the divorce of finance capitalism from the real economy without which the present subprime madness would never have happened. Finance capitalism is impossible without a manufacturing base to provide the profits for investment. The defense industry is the only one that has not been outsourced overseas. Therefore, it is essential that we keep it thriving and healthy.

The prospect of world peace is frightening. It would wreak havoc on our economy. This is why 9/11 was such a blessing, and I continue to admire your deft handling of it. As soon as the towers fell, your eyes lit up as you saw the god of eternal warfare rising from the dust. No longer would America have to worry about a shortage of enemies. With the promulgation of your doctrine of preemptive wars you guaranteed that our country would spend the next millennium slogging form one quagmire to the next.

You have made doubly sure this would happen by engaging America in wars of counterinsurgency. The Israeli military historian Martin van Creveld has pointed out that the sheer weight of anti-insurgency manuals in print would be enough to sink the Titanic without the iceberg. He then reminds us that they have all been written by the losers.

As long as our wars remain unwinnable, America will continue to prosper.

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

Friday, January 11, 2008

Moody's to the Rescue

Dear George,

Goddamn, you guys are good! Your are really good! Who said the battle over Social Security was history? You know full well that what can’t fit through the front door can be slipped through an open window.

Our economy is entering a period of exhilarating freefall. Where any sane person would see a pending disaster, you see the bitch-whore opportunity raising her skirts. Now, I am not going to join those conspiracy buffs who think that you, Greenspan and Bernanke engineered this crisis so you could apply a little shock therapy to the last of our social safety net. But, by God, you can exploit one when it appears on the horizon. You proved this with 9/11.

You know better than to fire an opening salvo in you war against Social Security. Opening salvos make too much noise, which wakes our sleeping public and tears them away from the dancing screens they mistake for real life. It is best to start by laying a silent fart and then leaving the room before anyone notices the smell.

The fart in question was a short blurb in The Financial Times. The opening sentence said it all: “The US is at risk of losing its top-notch triple-A credit rating within a decade unless it takes radical action to curb soaring healthcare and social security spending, Moody’s the credit rating agency said on Thursday.

Mind you, these words of wisdom are from the same Moody’s that handed out triple-A ratings to all sorts of Collateralized Debt Obligations (CDOs) because they kind of thought that maybe the subprime tranches were so scattered throughout those CDOs that there probably was not very much risk attached to them, and who the hell would have thought they were going to blow up like that.

The folks at Moody’s are financial mystics. They have grasped the esoteric truth that the real drag on our economy is Social Security and Medicare. In their cosmic vision, they see no relationship between our tanking economy and the $455 billion the DOD burns each year. (That is on-book expenses only. When the off-book expenses are factored in, the outlay approaches a trillion dollars annually.) Moody’s also factors out the eight billion spent annually on our unworkable Star Wars. The $455 billion we’ve dumped down the Iraq rat hole doesn’t count either since the money is strictly supplemental and will remain so, no matter how many decades we spend there.

The timing of their announcement was precious, coming as it did as the 2008 presidential race ramps up, and the proles are clamoring for universal healthcare. Now, whenever a candidate brings the subject up, your minions can charge them with fiscal irresponsibility, a charge that is a damning as being considered soft on national security.

It helps that none of the candidates are willing to address our pending economic crisis. They are all under the spell of that sunny American optimism that believes our economy is too strong to collapse. I salute our mainstream media for skimming the surface of the problem, unlike the foreign press that sees a real crisis looming. The London Telegraph quotes a governor of the Swiss Central Bank who says, “The kind of upheaval observed in the international money markets over the past few months has never been witnessed in history.”

Thank God, Moody’s has given us the short answer to this problem. All we have to do to restore America’s tarnished credit rating is to privatize Social Security while we continue to dump money into the Pentagon, Iraq and missile defense.

As the poet tells us, “Go forth not to ask for whom the fart smells. The fart smells for thee.”

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Turning on with St. Milton

Dear George,

Forgive me for my continual harping on Corporatism, but it is such a turn-on, a sort of economic porn. I’m sure you find it just as stimulating. (In a trunk tucked away in a dusty corner of my attic I keep a stash of tapes featuring St. Milton. What a great way to get off!)

Every great empire has believed itself to be the end point of history. Every great empire has believed itself eternal. Every great empire has gotten it wrong. We are no exception.

In the past, an empire maintained its illusion of the eternal now by the hubric assumption that the gods favored it. A strong belief in divine destiny makes wholesale slaughter possible. However, there are two ways in which America has shored up this belief, thus feeding into our conviction that we are forever.

I don’t know whether it is cultural or whether it is hard wired into our DNA, but the fact remains that the American public is morally dead to the butchering of natives. It is what I call the “African Syndrome”. The only real acquaintance Americans have with Africans is on the tube where the Africans they see are either starving, sick, dying, or dead. After a while, this seems to be part of the natural order of things. It also helps that we are thoroughly indoctrinated in the belief that the White male represents the final step in the evolution of the species. All others are lesser life forms.

The second reason is our wonderful talent for superficial abstraction. In our heady world of abstract ideology, we have no use for the concrete. There is neither suffering, nor starvation, nor death in the ethereal world of theory. How well I remember sitting through many a social science course and reading of Dail’s critique of Swanson’s critique of Whitmore’s critique of Crafton’s critique of Sweeny’s original model of who the fuck knows what because the original concrete object of Sweeny’s study was long ago swept away by a tidal wave of critiques.

Abstraction is the womb that gives birth to ideology, that insane thread of linear reasoning with which we garrote the poor and those of a brownish hue. Ideology is based on a closed temporality in which the past is the future, or what Istvan Mezaros has called the “future of the status quo ante.”[i] In this pure world, there are no external forces strong enough to permanently change the ideology. If things get a little hairy and deviations from the true faith are necessary, they are seen as both temporary and strategic, and it is understood that when these external pressure are lifted, the ideology will be restored in all its glory.

Despite their impression of unchanging immortality, ideologies do change over time. Adam Smith spoke of the invisible hand of the market. Economist E.K. Hunt speaks of the invisible foot of the market. Now we are safe in speaking of the malevolent heel of the market. Before long, we will be speaking of the loving Taser™ of the market.

No, Big Guy, we sure as hell aren’t the endpoint of history. But it is a great turn-on acting like it.

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

[i] Istvan Mezaros. Beyond Capital.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Hillary's Change of No Change Triumphs

Dear George,

All is well in the kingdom. The nation’s CEOs, CFOs, defense contractors, homeland security contractors, hedge fund managers, investment bankers, developers, pharmaceuticals, lobbyists, big oil and all of the other pathologically driven power brokers riding America earthward will sleep well tonight.

Hillary took New Hampshire, and it’s the status quo ante all over again.

The triangulating centerism that believes in nothing and stands for nothing will continue in all of its humdrum glory. Jobs will continue to be shipped overseas, unions will continue to be broken, the middle class will continue to shrink, America will continue as the world’s sole remaining rogue state, the riff-raff and the poor will be kept off the welfare rolls and capital will continue its upward movement towards the apex of the pyramid.

Best of all, the Beltway will remain a sewage processing plant as open trenches pump raw effluvia from the country’s power centers to the K Street processing plant where it is recycled into the bribulating campaign contributions that oil the corrupted gears and wheels of a government that is little more than a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Corporatists State.

Sure, we had a little scare in Iowa when Obama started preaching his gospel of hope. For a brief moment it appeared that the fresh air of change was wafting over the country. Fortunately, there is an iron-clad rule of politics that never changes: shit’s stench fouls freshness every time.

Hillary’s talent is to dress up the status quo ante in new rhetoric that makes it look like a program for radical change. She is able to convince the proles that the stale air she exhales is air fresher than Obama’s. She sounds so sincere when she tells the nation that it takes a boarded-up village to raise a child. That phrase so sums up her appeal. She is able to convince the public that a mythic past that never was will be the force that drives the radical change of no change.

Granted, the right hates her with a passion. But they are starting to realize that she is the Petri dish in which the toxins that are draining America of its vitality are cultured. Already, they are starting to pump more and more raw sewage into her coffers.

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Our Amoral Father Figure

Dear George,

Many are the unsung heroes who have brought the global economy to the place it now occupies. Everyone knows of Adam Smith, Ricardo, Keynes and St. Milton of Friedman. Tragically, few are aware of the man who set the wheels of capitalism in motion and who gave it the amoral foundation without which it would never have metastasized as it has.

I am speaking, or course, of the father of Political Arithmetik, William Petty. This seventeenth-century thinker made possible the dismal science because of one sentence in which he discarded “comparative and superlative Words” and pledged to use only such reasoning as can be expressed “in Terms of Number, Weight or Measure.”[1]

At first, we are tempted to pass over that statement as an interesting, if not dry, statement of fact. But the effects were revolutionary. For what Petty set into motion when he rejected “comparative and superlative Words” was the value-free study of economics. Qualification, that archaic concern over ethics, morality, compassion and community was to be relegated to the trash bin. If the numbers justified an action or a policy, then it was good, regardless of how horrific or tragic its consequences. Moral judgments would no longer have a place in economic decisions. This amorality made it possible for Exxon and its ilk to wrap their tentacles around civilization's balls.

Up until Petty, the nascent science of economics was a subset of moral philosophy. After Petty, it lost the “moral” and morphed into one of the social sciences.

In the heady world of pure numbers, there can be no suffering, no hunger, no poverty and no oppression. True, it is possible to quantify them, but the quantifiable presence of the latter involves no moral judgment about their whether they are good or bad. If they increase profits, they are good; if they place a downward pressure on profits, they are not good (as opposed to being evil).

William Petty was the father of that necessary instrument of globalization, the spreadsheet. We have seen its grow until it has become the shroud that covers the carcasses of its victims. (Spreadsheets are printed on thick paper so the blood of the dead never soaks through.)

Were it not for Petty, we would still be living the pastoral life of the farmer, our intellects numbed by our oneness with nature, with no concept of time other than the movement of the seasons and far too much leisure time on our hands once the crops were in and the fields were fallow beneath the winter frost.

Once Petty freed the mind from the chains of morality, progress took off and we now lead the lives God intended, scurrying like ants 24/7 to further enrich our overlords and propel the world over the precipice of unlimited economic growth.

The next time the mint issues a revised c-note, his face should appear on it. Sure, he was ugly as sin, but his contribution to greed and exploitation make him an object of beauty.

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

[1] Quoted in Peter Linebaugh’s, The London Hanged.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Self Destruction as Self Parody

Dear George,

Mornings suck! I dread those first waking moments when I lay there in the funk of unwashed bedding while the leaden ennui of a drug-induced boredom engulfs me. It is a boredom sucked dry of novelty and euphoria, a total vacuity of existence devoid of purpose and meaning, emptiness in search of the slightest stimulus to justify a pointless existence. Then, as I suck the sacred smoke of redemption into my lungs, I think of America’s slide into self destruction and that is reason enough for me to postpone my demise for another day.

Self destruction is why I love our Corporatists so. They are the masters. The very act energizes them as the financialization of capital turns inward and slowly devours itself. The key to their success is their belief in the fairy tale of unbroken expansion and economic growth. They cling to this belief by donning blinders that insure their vision will go no further than the end of their peckers. The Corporatist dares not to look beyond the next quarter, the next election or the next news cycle for to do so would be to stare into the void and confront the emptiness that is the ground of their being. In the face of this void, the Corporatist must maintain an unflinching optimism that sees every disaster and downturn as an opportunity to produce even more disasters and downturns.

To the Earth, this unbroken growth is a cancer that is slowly killing the planet organ by organ, which is why Corporatists and environmentalists are at such loggerheads. For the Corporatists, growth is growth and it makes little difference whether or not it is malignant. It is this ability to define disease as a value-free phenomenon that defines the Corporatist’s professionalism.

The only viable solution to the scourge of expansion is more expansion because the corporation’s rational and predetermined structural framework is one of expansion for the sake of expansion. There is no alternative because the only alternative is the demise of corporate capitalism. This is why it is structurally impossible for Corporatism to be concerned with its ongoing survival.

Systems, like organisms, exist to reproduce themselves. Each act of reproduction involves both replication and modification. With the corporation, each modification is a step closer to self parody.

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Snuffing Hope

Dear George,

What’s with all this hope bullshit? All of a sudden the solid citizens of Iowa are going dewy-eyed on you and acting like a bunch of flower children. This is not a healthy development, and if it isn’t nipped in the bud it could create all sorts of havoc and unrest. The outbreak of populism was bad enough. Once you add hope into the mix, you get a brew that could be positively lethal for the State.

The problem, as I see it, is that terrorism is losing its charm as a vote getter. The implications are unnerving. Fear fragments; hope restores community. And the Corporatist State needs a fragmented society to thrive.

Ever since the end of World War II, fear has driven the political process. Through clever marketing Americans have learned to be anxious about everything from Communism to body odor. As they slowly turned from their neighbors to the blinking screen that held them in a hypnotic trance, an increasing isolation deepened this fear until it was so totalized the proles were not even conscious of being afraid. Fear became a way of life.

Fear produces a need for security both at the macro and micro levels of existence. On the macro level, the proles became suckers for the mantra of “National Defense” as they sat benumbed while their children’s inheritance was squandered on even more sophisticated military hardware. At the micro level they found that consumption provided a temporary antidote against the anxiety that lay like a pool of bile at the base of their souls. Of course, the delicious irony of it is that the more trappings of security one acquires, the more insecure one feels, thus necessitating even more layers of security through an exponential increase in military hardware and the charging of even more stuff.

The result was a society so fragmented it didn’t even care as you started chipping away at the Constitution, using your Eternal War of the Empty Policy as an excuse.

Then Obama wandered onto the scene with his message of hope, and things began to unravel.

The last thing the Corporatist State can afford is an energized mob, especially an energized mob of young people. This nation suffered through an outburst of youthful idealism in the sixties and it threatened to bring down the status quo. We don’t need a repeat.

The danger of community is that people start talking to each other. And as they do that, they begin to realize how badly the State has been screwing them. This is okay as long as it is limited to a bitch session that ends with a sigh, a shrug and the question, “So what can you do?” But once hope joins the conversation, the question becomes, “What in the fuck do those assholes think they are doing?” That is when the trouble begins.

Hope is too damn refreshing, too invigorating. It boosts energy as it wakes people up. The next thing you know, people start believing things can improve, and once they believe that, they start working to actually improve them.

It is time to rehabilitate fear. If terrorism no longer works, then it is time to make the public afraid of the State. Democracy is on its deathbed; Corporatism must deliver the coup de grace. You know all those camps built to hold “illegal immigrants”? Start using them. Incarcerate in the name of freedom. Nullify the Constitution in order to save it.

But, what ever you do, act quickly. The window of opportunity is slowly closing. Act now while Congress is controlled by the most craven group of Democrats ever to blunder their way up to Capitol Hill. No matter how outrageously you behave, they are quite willing to give you retroactive approval. The Beltway is so isolated from America it isn’t even aware that the tide of hope has started to rise. Strike hard before hope starts to seep through the fissure and cracks.

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Medicating Populist Anger

Dear George,

The really great rulers are the ones who piss off their subjects. It is the function of the ruler to enrich his nobility at the expense of the peasants. In the past, the anger this created yielded some rather unpleasant peasant revolts which were put down with an iron fist. The sword, the gibbet and the stake were the Prozac of the Ancien Regime.

With the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Ancien Regime is back in all its glory, and royalty is once again enriching nobility at the expense of the proles. Only, instead of sable, nobility is wearing Gucci.

However, the problem of pissed-off proles remains, and there are some testy populist stirrings to be heard in the heartland.

It is unfortunate that the rebirth of the Ancien Regime did not include the rebirth of the sword, the gibbet or the stake, even though they are not necessary in our enlightened age. The French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu pointed out that stimulation has replaced coercion, seduction has replaced obligatory patterns of conduct, PR and advertising have replaced the policing of behavior and the arousal of new needs and desire has replaced normative regulations.[1]

At least this was the situation as long as the proles were able to wallow in an orgy of debt-driven consumption. This is changing. The wolf of foreclosure is nipping at their heels, their income is shrinking, their jobs are being shipped overseas leaving them with reams of overdue bill and the proles are starting to realize that they have been gamed, big time.

For the enlightened ruler, there is but one methodology for dealing with righteous anger, and that is to treat it as a mental aberration. You see, America is the land of plenty, and people who have plenty are, by definition, a happy people. It follows that anyone who is angry over being ripped off is too mentally unbalanced to appreciate the subtle nuances of the system under which he lives.

Anger creates divisiveness and class conflict, and the trouble with these isn’t that they will tear the country apart; it is that they are too damn democratic. The Corporatist State requires distracted subjects who are so enthralled by their toys they are unaware of the steel bonds of oppression that are slowly being tightened around them.

A two-pronged approach is necessary to neutralize this rising anger. First, continue to marginalize it. Equate populism with irrational anger. Suggest that this anger is a merely the product of an unbalanced body chemistry and is best treated with medication. Second, it might be necessary to throw the proles a bone or two. Announce a superfund that will stave off foreclosure for the masse, but rig it so only a small percentage of the financially challenged are actually helped.

Preach compassion as you force people into bankruptcy; sing freedom’s praises as you ramp up the instruments of oppression; praise America’s strength as her decline continues.

Good Lord, George, if the establishment can market hundred-dollar plus sneakers it can surely market misery.

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

[1] Quoted in Zygmunt Bauman’s Consuming Life.

Friday, January 4, 2008

Instability's Freedom

Dear George,

The well-run Corporatist State rests on a bedrock of instability, not for its rulers, but for its subjects. A public kept in a perpetual state of imbalance is malleable and easy to manipulate. Stability of employment or economic status too often produces a resistance to the change that is so necessary to promote the instability that boosts the State’s efficiency.

The man who leaves every morning for his job uncertain if he will still have that job in the evening will sweat more blood over the most trivial detail than the man who feels his job is secure. When the boss says, “Shit!” the insecure employee squats and asks, “What color?”

For instability to work, the drones must be convinced that the only permanence is change. Just as fashions may change several times a year, so may the conditions of employment, salary, social setting, or any of the other details through which the individual places himself in society change. Pithy slogans like, “Change is inevitable; growth is optional” reinforce this permanence.

This is why there must be absolutely no correlation between change and progress. Progress is simply an accidental byproduct of change. More often than not, the end product of change is decay and chaos as the holders of Structured Investment Vehicles (SIVs) are beginning to discover. But the good leader always touts change, no matter how regressive, as progress. The poor fools tumbling down the economic ladder as his salary shrinks and his benefits vanish must be convinced that this is part of an upward journey that will make of him a better person able to handle the anxiety of uncertainty.

Of course, leadership must always be ready to roll out that reliable canard, “destiny.” The increased impoverishment of the masses is our destiny if we are to maintain our (always say “our”) global competitiveness, and if this requires that America returns to the days of the nineteenth century sweatshop, then it is the duty of every citizen to make the necessary sacrifices.

Above all, instability means even more freedom for the drones. No longer will they spend decades at the same boring job. Now, they will be able to breathe freedom’s heady air as they learn to scurry and chase after the crumb that fall from their leaders’ tables. They will become lean, mean survival machines, able to endure hardship and want without complaint. Everyday will be a new adventure, an ongoing challenge to keep a roof over their heads and food on their tables.

Yes, George, it is all different, now. Where progress was once a hot air balloon floating heavenward, it is now a shot-put plummeting towards earth. There is no freedom like the freedom of the fall, and without chronic instability, there can be no fall and, hence, no freedom.

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

Thursday, January 3, 2008

The Unbelievable Lightness of Snake Oil

Dear George,

The most destructive force in the universe is neither a nuclear bomb, nor a tsunami, nor an earthquake, nor a Katrina-size hurricane. It is the snake oil pedaled by an unregulated financier. This snake oil is touted as the ultimate palliative guaranteed to take the risk out of investing through the use of Structured Investment Vehicles (SIVs) that spread risks so thin, nobody can get hurt as long as everyone buys into the bullshit that investment risk is a thing of the past.

I don’t know why people are making such a fuss about them. There are simply another manifestation of a comprehensive policy of make believe that has kept our economy alive on its deathbed. Hell, this sort of stuff has been going on for over twenty years.

For example, in 1996 the Bureau of Labor Statistics introduced the concept of “hedonic pricing” which cooked the books to make things look better than they were. Say a computer manufacturer put out a machine with “x” computing power and sold it for a thousand dollars. A year later, they put out the same machine, but with 2x computing power they were able to sell at the same price. The bureau decided that since the machine had twice the computing power, they would enter its value as $2,000.

Note, if you would, that the extra thousand was pure fantasy. The money didn’t exist. However it gave the impression that both our GDP and our productivity were higher than they actually were. So, everyone bowed before the numbers and treated them as if they were a reality, just as they do with their gods.

It really doesn’t matter. In economics, reality is simply blind faith. This is seen in the treatment of the U.S. dollar. The only way you can have a reserve currency not pegged to gold or another precious metal is if everyone is deluded into thinking that it actually stands for something, just as people once believed that Ralph Lauren clothed their naked emperor.

It was a nice con while it lasted, but now it is starting to unravel as the emperor’s body is slowly revealed with all of its boils and carbuncles on full display. The problem is capital’s addiction to hydrophobic growth. In the pursuit of greater profits, the financial sector dumped the “real” economy and started chasing after profit for profit’s sake rather than producing profit that would benefit the growth of the real economy. As investor Julian Delasantellis explains it, “The financial sector and the “real” economic sector are suppose to work in close tandem with the financial system providing finance for investment and then having the real economy place the profits from that investment back into the financial sector to be turned into more productive new income.”

Thus far, the squeaks and snaps of an economy beginning its collapse have left American consumers untouched as they continue their headlong plunge into debt. Delasantellis believes that the reason Americans ignore economic news is that “Americans just hate economic news.” They still think the fool is fully clothed.

Hope they don’t wake up before you leave office.

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Pop-psych to the Rescue

Dear George,

There is an inverse relationship between consumption and the Corporatist State. The more pathological the consumption becomes, the healthier the state becomes. Therefore, it behooves the state to use every weapon in its arsenal to encourage this pathology. All of these weapons are grounded in the myth that the public is entitled to a life of unbroken happiness and that if an individual fails to attain that state it is because thehe hasn't bought the right products, so the pursuit of happiness is reduced to buying even more.

But before there can be pathological consumption, before the ploys of marketing and advertising can have any impact, one precondition is necessary: communities and families must be fragmented. A viable community and a viable family retard consumption because both frown on excess and are likely to discourage impulse buying by pointing out to the would-be purchaser just how stupid and unnecessary the item is.

This is where pop-psychology has come to the rescue by furthering this fragmentation through the floating of simplistic concepts, which, though grounded in sound research, are quickly exaggerated and twisted as they become weapons of alienation.

Many families go through periods of trauma. It could be divorce, death, impoverishment, drugs or booze. Each member of the family develops a strategy to deal with the crisis, which may range from passive acceptance to anger, to failed attempts at micromanaging the crisis. The one thing they all have in common is a determination to stand by the family member in crisis, thus preserving family solidarity. This makes them a danger to the state because should this solidarity spread, we could easily see a return to responsible consumption. (I know this is a stretch, George, but the state must leave no stone unturned in its effort to encourage excessive consumption. After all, paranoia is an essential component of power. You gotta keep looking over your shoulder. Strong families will screw you to the wall every time. You just never know…)

…but I digress

Here, the dogma of codependency performs a valuable service. By treating family loyalty as a mental illness, they encourage families to dump their problem members rather than to stand by them. This preserves the fragmentation so necessary if our corporatists are to prosper. Implicit in this is the myth of eternal happiness. If a family member is the source of unhappiness, dump him. Once done, the individualized family can continue its climb up the mountain to Paradise while the discarded member rots in the lowest circle of Hell. This condemnation of the errant member is rationalized under the rubric of “tough love.” It is one of those healthy euphemisms that rank right up there with “collateral damage.”

The truth is, George, the more we hate and fear others, the more we fear and hate those close to us. This is why America is where she is today. Long may her ascent continue.

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Changed settings

I have changed the setting for comments making them easier to post. There is no more "letter verification" required. Comments may also be maile to me directly at


The Accidental Genius of the Stupid

Dear George,

You are the overlord of a serendipitous foreign policy. Wherever you move across the face of the earth, you leave the chaos and violence that cry out for the healing balm of economic and political shock therapy.

Pakistan is your latest creation.

Let me say right off that I have naught but contempt for those who suggest that your administration deliberately plotted the assassination of Benazir Bhutto knowing it would provide the cover for Pervez Musharraf to impose martial law on Pakistan. Granted this is what will probably happen and granted that your administration always supports the suppression of democracy in order to promote democracy. And, if Musharraf does so, we will be right there providing assistance in the form of technical advisors to teach him the enhanced interrogation and military techniques that make martial law sing. But I refuse to believe that your administration was callous and cruel enough to actually “plan” such an outcome.

I also have contempt for those who claim that the Pakistani intelligence service (ISI) is a wholly-owned subsidiary of our CIA. The ISI practices torture, kidnapping and assassination. It is a brutish, third-world intelligence service that doesn’t even begin to compare with ours.

No, George, Pakistan simply highlights the challenges your administration faces when it attempts to manipulate a country of which it is totally ignorant.

Oh, it looked great on the surface. Bhutto was a perfect icon. Forcing Musharraf to accept her return was a stroke of marketing genius. There you were promoting even more democracy in the Middle East by insisting on her return to set Pakistan straight. How the media applauded her bid to be reelected as Pakistan’s Prime Minister.

The brilliance of your plan shown so brightly, it blinded you to the realities of the Pakistani political landscape. According to Dr. Sahbir Choudhry, Pakistan is a federation made up of Baluchistan, the North-West Frontier Provinces, Punjab and Sind. Bhutto was a Sind political leader. The Sinds make up 14.1 percent of Pakistan’s population. They are number three behind the Punjabs (44.68 percent) and the Pashtuns (15.42 percent).

She was not running for prime minister, she was running for a seat in parliament, with the hope that once seated she could put together a coalition that would elect her prime minister. This overlooks the salient fact that under the 17th amendment of the Pakistani constitution, she could not have been elected to a third term, and it would have taken a 2/3 vote of the parliament to change this. Even if she had managed to pull it off, the effect would have been minimal since Musharraf has consolidated most of the real power in Pakistan under his office of the presidency.[i]

But, at the end of the day, what difference does it really make. The door is open for you to further manipulate Pakistan and to prepare the way for the construction of some new bases in the country, which will add to the bloat that is our military-industrial complex. The Beltway well understands that the only way it can keep this sector of the economy prosperous and healthy is to refuse to learn from our mistakes.

And this time, you have some real WMDs to worry about.

Best of all, your dream of a pipeline from the Central Soviet Republics that would bypass Iran by running through Afghanistan and Pakistan is one step nearer realization.

Who would have believed that such stupidity hid such a plethora of accidental genius?

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

[i] This is the most sense I’ve been able to make out of the fragmented reports that have come out of Pakistan. I would be more than happy if anyone could correct any errors or omission of which I am guilty. You are welcome to email me at –c.w.