Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Collapse of Our Plastic Altar

Dear George,

Now is the time for decisive action! Men go to Wall Street; real men go to Geneva and open a Swiss bank account after converting whatever’s left of their assets into gold. Today is the day I thank God for the gold caps that conceal my rotting teeth.

Speaking of God, we’ve got a little problem here. You tell us God wanted you to be president, to which I must ask, “What in the hell did we do to piss off God?” We emblazon our currency with, “In God We Trust”. Don’t you think God could return the favor instead of letting it tank?

It doesn’t make sense. We join the Church of St. Milton of Friedman expecting heaven and we end up in hell. Okay, maybe St. Milton wasn’t one-hundred percent correct in everything he said, but there has to be reason for our economic meltdown other than the purity of his theology. Maybe he made a wrong call when he said economic freedom leads to political freedom. It’s a nice theory but in practice the results are the exact opposite. Economic leads to political oppression because the ultimate act of economic freedom is theft, and those that got won’t hesitate to use the power of the state to keep what they have.

I’ll give you credit for giving it your all to get the bailout passed. You haven’t lost your touch when it comes to mongering fear. The only problem is that to monger fear successfully, you’ve got to have credibility, and yours in is the crapper.

In truth, I’m not sure the bailout would have made any difference had it passed. The meltdown was inevitable, because capitalism is a monster unlike any the world has ever seen. It is a monster impeccably dressed and coiffured; its skin moisturized and flushed with the blossom of Botoxed youth. Periodically, its lips, augmented with multiple injections of hyaluronic acid, move sluggishly as they whisper a single word, “More!”

And the monster’s minions, driven by an instinct that goes deeper then sex, pile the monster’s plastic altar higher and higher with worthless paper with in a frenzied ritual reminiscent of a scene from Hieronymus Bosch’s triptych, “The Garden of Earthly Delights,” until the altar collapses beneath the weight. There follows a loud gnashing of teeth and rending of garments as the minions engage in a circle jerk of blame, blaming each other for the collapse. And in all the chaos and confusion, none of them hear the quiet voice suggesting that maybe the collapse was the monsters fault.

So, they glue the altar back together and, once again, start pillaging the land for more worthless paper to pile on the altar, as the dance begins anew. And the further they move away from the collapse, the further memory of the crash recedes, lost in the fog of the eternal now that sees only the altar and hears only the monster’s whispered, “More!”

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

Monday, September 29, 2008

Pastafarianism and the Banker Bailout Bill

Dear George,

We’ve got too many economists mouthing off about the economy. This has got to stop. Paulson did the right thing in refusing to consult any economists when he put a $700 billion price tag on his Crony Bailout. That’s because his plan has nothing to do with economic reality and everything to do with bailing out his buddies. This could be why 190 economists think his plan sucks.

That troublemaking economist, Nouriel Roubini went even further when he said:

The Treasury plan is a disgrace: a bailout of reckless bankers, lenders and investors that provides little direct debt relief to borrowers and financially stressed householders and that will come at a very high cost to the US taxpayer. And the plan does nothing to resolve the severe stress in money markets and interbank markets that are now close to a systemic meltdown.

This is no time for realists to be running their mouths. Illusion and fantasy drives the American economy; it is a system so fragile and complex and even a whiff of reality would be enough to bring it crashing down. Its prosperity demands a blind faith that the Flying Spaghetti Monster will set things right. All America needs is a rock-solid faith in Pastafarianism. At this juncture in our history we can’t afford anything that resembles critical thinking.

I got quite a chuckle out of another article in which Paulson reassured the public that the bailout would unclog jammed financial markets.

Of course it will since Bernanke deliberately clogged them to force Congress to go along with the bailout. Writer Mark Whitney tells us that:

Market Ticker has provided charts from the Federal Reserve that prove that Bernanke has withdrawn $125 billion from the banking system in the last four days alone to create a crisis situation that will incite credit market mayhem and increase the likelihood of passing the bill. This is coercion of the worst kind.

Of course it is; no price is too high to save our bankers.

And it may be stratospherically high before all is said and done. The same article quotes a highly-respected Swiss investor who estimates that the bailout could cost $5 trillion, and, incidentally, Chinese regulators have asked domestic banks to stop lending to US banks in interbank money markets.

It looks like we’ll have to hold a bake sale to raise the cash.

That’s the beauty of a well-executed scam: it leaves the mark broke before he even knows he’s been scammed.

Come January, you and your cronies will be enjoying the warm sunlight in the south of France while the suckers back home burn their worthless pension plans to keep warm because they can no longer afford heating oil.

But, that’s what feral capitalism is all about.

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Finally, the Treasury is privatized!

Dear George,

You did it! The Era of Privatization has achieved its finest hour—the privatization of the United States Treasury. An agreement has finally been hammered out that legitimizes the $700 billion bank robbery that will line the pockets of the village idiots who run Wall Street.

Hank “Dillinger” Paulson has been handed sole oversight of how taxpayer money will be distributed to his cronies. You made it look good by only giving him $350 billion as seed money, with the understanding that he must ask Congress for more. On the surface, this looks like oversight, except that if Congress refuses the money, you can veto their decision.

In effect, a supine Congress has handed you the nation’s purse strings. An implicit Congressional power has always been their ability to cut off funding. For the first time, the executive can veto a decision to withhold funds, thus requiring a two-thirds majority to override the veto to exercise a power that, in the past, could not be vetoed.

I loved the bread crumb you threw to Main Street in that “the plan would require the government to try to renegotiate the bad mortgages it acquires with the aim of lowering borrowers’ monthly payments so they can keep their homes (emphasis mine).”


The Treasury isn’t purchasing individual mortgages, it’s purchasing Mortgage Backed Securities, which are bundles of undifferentiated mortgages, so there’s no way in hell they could identify individual homeowners. And even if they could, Paulson would undoubtedly claim that renegotiating lower payments would be irresponsible because it would reduce the amount of money the Treasury could recoup.

A decision to rewrite toxic mortgages should never be given to an irresponsible bankruptcy judge who would be swayed by emotional appeals from troubled homeowners. Far better to let a professional like Paulson handle it. Only he has the objective expertise to make decisions that will benefit Wall Street.

The plan does allow the use of stock warrants that would, in theory, give taxpayers a share in a company’s future profits. This is the same as taking out a lien on a corpse’s future earnings.

Companies will be allowed to opt for government-backed insurance, which they would have to be brain dead to select when they can exchange their toilet paper for the capital they so desperately need.

All-in-all, you have pulled off another coup. Once again, you have proven that all a powerful president needs to thrive, no matter how stupid he is, is a cowardly Congress.

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

Saturday, September 27, 2008

To the hubric, death is for the living.

Dear George,

With events breaking faster than boils on a syphilitic whore, I find the only way to wrap my mind around them is to be completely stoned. It is only when my brain detaches itself from my body and jets around the cosmos that I am able to put things into perspective and tap into the broken psyche of the teenage bully that drives our foreign and domestic policy.

The Wall Street bailout plan is limping ever closer to fruition, and once again a craven democratic congress has wimped out and dropped their demand for revisions in the bankruptcy laws that would aid troubled homeowners.

You are a miracle, George. Even though your administration is a corpse, it can still cow the democrats (And Jesus thought he was something coming back from the dead in three days. Hell, you’re dead and you’re still getting your way).

And let us understand one thing, it is all about death. Its stench wafts across the land as the Big Dick’s nonnegotiable American Way continues to decay. The United Nations General Assembly even held a wake last week when world leaders gathered to open the session.

Brazilian President Lula da Silva delivered the first eulogy when he “passionately expounded the new political, economic and commercial geography of the multipolar world…He blasted supranational institutions that now have no authority—and no policies—to prevent ‘speculative anarchy’.”

The same article points out that Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez didn’t bother attending the session because he was busy cutting “mega-deals” with the Chinese, while the Russians have sent their nuclear-powered cruiser, Peter the Great to conduct joint naval exercises in the Caribbean with the Venezuelan navy.

Another writer points out “that drastic measures taken by the U.S. Treasury marked the effective end of the ‘Anglo-Saxon’ model of free markets and unfettered capitalism that Washington has been avidly exporting for several decades, often through the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund.”

The writer points out that while your GWOT has kept us bogged down in Iraq and Afghanistan, “China in recent years has already become a much bigger player in terms of aid and investment in Africa and Latin America, and, what with the ‘U.S. banking sector in a shambles, it’s much less likely that countries will go to New York to get finance and do business’ than before according to Dean Baker, do-director of the Centre for Economic and Policy Research CEPR).”

That is your legacy, George: You did what the Soviets were never able to do—you buried capitalism. Granted you had a lot of help, going all the way back to the Truman administration. But, you were the tipping point, the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back. Your neocons and neoliberals were so blinded by their hubris that they never saw the canyon’s edge until they had plunged over it.

But, that’s the beauty of hubris: you think the wind rushing past your ears as you fall is a sign of your sharp climb into the heavens.

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

Friday, September 26, 2008

Scams, Cubicles and Golden Parchutes

Dear George,

What’s happening, Big Guy? It looks as if your scam is unraveling. In your speech Wednesday night you called for a showcase bipartisan meeting of congressional leaders and the two presidential candidates to hammer out the final details of your bailout. The next thing you know, you’ve got a shouting match on your hands and your conservative Republican brethren have put forth an alternative plan to simply insure the toxic assets as opposed to buying them.

This could be a classic case of trying to go one scam too far.

Rep. Barney Frank put an unusual spin on it when he said, “I can’t believe that House Republicans are going to continue to defy George Bush or that John McCain isn’t going to try to help. There is optimism.”

It’s a strange day, indeed, when a liberal badmouths our Constitutional separation of powers. How dare Congress disobey you! That’s what the unitary power of the nation’s commander-in-chief is all about, which raises an interesting possibility…

An economic meltdown could easily threaten your Eternal War of the Empty Policy, thus undermining our national security and flooding the streets of our cities with rabid Islamofacists throwing bombs as fast as they could produce them.

Naturally as our unitarily powerful commander-in-chief, you couldn’t allow this to happen. So, it might be time to trot out NSPD-51, which allows you to declare martial law and dissolve Congress (not it would have much of an impact given that body’s dismal record.) This would allow Wall Street to move in and loot the Treasury with impunity until the foreign capital stopped flowing into the country.

Don’t forget that the bailout scheme had nothing to do with saving the economy and everything to do with saving your base It is imperative that Wall Street fat cats be provided with golden parachutes before the whole system goes into total collapse.

Now, George, let me pause , take another pull on the pipe and meditate on how far we have progressed as a nation.

How wonderful it all is! How beautifully we have streamlined oppression and made of it a work of minimalist abstraction. Eighty years ago, Franz Kafka would have looked up from his desk and have been appalled by the sea of desks spread out before him and the clattering racket of typewriters out of sync, with desks and shelves groaning beneath stacks of paper, yellowed and brittle; stacked, banded, tied and foldered, a chaotic mass, static and unmovable, filling the air with the stale mustiness of its decay

Now, what is there to appall? The drone looks up from his desk and sees only the blank wall of his cubicle and hears only the deathly silence of words and figures flickering across screens and sees only the barren straight lines of monitors and fluorescent lights that cast no shadow. There is nothing that can shock or disturb. There is only the sterile vacuum that neither soothes nor upsets.

Evil once needed the sword and the torch to flourish. Now, it needs only blandness.

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Speeches, Stupor and Red Herrings

Dear George,

Sorry I missed your speech, last night. Damned if I didn’t pass out the second you opened your mouth. You’d think by now I would have learned that I can’t take hits on the pipe and listen to you at the same time. The second I hear your drawl, I go into a stupor.

Apparently you induced a stupor in the Brits, as well. A Reuter’s story on the economy didn’t mention your talk until the tenth paragraph.

The Associated Press managed to insert your speech into lead of their bailout wrap up. From the story I see you can still monger fear along with the best of them. However, you’d better monger fast cause you’re drowning in your own bullshit. As the AP story put it:

Compounding the administration’s challenge, Republicans and Democrats both say Bush has lost credibility, particularly in cases where he argues there will be dire consequences if Congress doesn’t act. “They sold the war, they sold the stimulus package and some other things. It’s the ‘wolf at the door’” argument, Rep. Tom Davis, R-Va. said.

Being a loyal soldier of the Mainstream Media, the AP tacked his comment onto the tail end of the story.

The bailout is brilliant on several levels. Never has there been such a bold assault by Wall Street on the United States Treasury. The fact that this treasury is empty does nothing to distract from its brilliance.

Waving the Red Herring of executive compensation goes far towards assuring its passage. That’s the button that will sway the public because it deflects anger away from a system that is in its advance stages of decay and towards the fat cats who have profited from this decay.

And it is working! No one is suggesting a return to the Glass-Stiegel Act. It’s all about golden parachutes. Our economy may be in danger, but the corruption that caused it is safe.

What makes this flap over executive pay so amusing is that, even if Congress inserts it into the bailout package, it will never survive the first court challenge. All some pissed-off executive has to do is wave a copy of the Fourth Amendment, with its prohibition against “unreasonable search and seizure,” and his golden parachute is his to keep.

There is a secondary gain to the bailout package that is seldom mentioned. With the advent of the Cold War, Congress agreed to a bipartisan approach to our foreign policy. This, in effect, removed foreign policy from the arena of democratic debate and discussion.

Now the same thing is happening with domestic policy. It, also, is being removed from the democratic arena as politicians fall all over themselves calling for a “bipartisan” approach to the problem.

The guarantees that there will be no meaningful debate over the systemic defects that created the crisis in the first place.

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Dirty Diapers and Sinking Economies

Dear George,

Talk about burnishing your legacy, Paulson’s Wall Street bailout is going to make it look like a Simonized® turd.

For an administration that has hustled one scam after another, this is the mother of all scams. It’s daring and enormity awe. Wall Street shits and the public gets to change its diaper. It doesn’t get much better than that.

As one writer puts it:

America will give between US$700-$800 billion to the Treasury to buy any bank assets it wants on any terms, with no possible legal recourse. It is an invitation to abuse of power unparalleled in American history, in which ill-paid civil servants will set prices on the portfolios of the banking system with no oversight and no threat of legal penalty.

He goes on to ask why should American households struggling to get by on $50,000 a year be asked to bailout Goldman Sachs partners who make $5 million a year.

The short answer is that the struggling householder will bail the Goldman partners out because Paulson used to head up Goldman Sachs. In crony capitalism, capitalists take care of their cronies.

This same writer goes on to sketch out what a brilliant scam the bailout plan is:

Contrary to what the Bush administration says, it is not the case that the banks’ troubled mortgage assets cannot be sold in the private market. Those are the so-called “Level III” assets that the banks say they cannot value. But that is only a dodge that banks use to postpone taking losses. There is a ready bid for these assets from hedge funds in multi-hundred-billion-dollar size. The trouble is that the market bid is 25% to 30% below the prices that banks carry these assets on their books.

He explains that the funds are offering 55 to 60 cents on the dollar for the Level III assets, but the banks are holding out for 75 to 80 cents on the dollar.

So-o-o, why not have the taxpayers cough up the 75 to 80 cents?

A former International Monetary Fund (IMF) official tells us, “They presented this as a comprehensive, decisive solution, but it’s clearly not comprehensive and probably not decisive.”

Who cares? What the official doesn’t understand is that the bailout has nothing to do with resolving the financial crisis. It will probably make it worse as foreign investors decide that there are better deals besides our treasury bonds. Once our economy sinks beneath the surface, the only lifeboat still afloat will be the one carrying Wall Street executives, all of whom will be rowing madly towards the nearest foreign shore.

So get out the Simonize® and start polishing. The world is certain to remember you for all eternity.

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Sweet Sound of Silence

  • Dear George,

    There’s some sweet music coming out of the fiasco on Wall Street and its pending bailout. It’s a tribute to the American presidential electoral system that neither candidate is willing to enter into a serious debate over our economic future.

    As an article in The Washington Post points out:

    Given the drama on Wall Street, economist of all economic stripes say the candidates’ reluctance to adjust to the new landscape, as well as their focus on such peripheral issues as lobbying ties to Fannie Mae, are turning the campaign into a sideshow. The sheer size of the bailout could give the next president political cover to address long-festering problems, such as the burgeoning costs of Medicare and Medicaid, yet neither of the men vying for the job has shown an interest in taking advantage of it, they say.

    To which I say, “Thank God!” The last thing America needs, at this point in time, is a serious discussion about our economic future. It is sufficient to blame Medicare and Medicaid for our problems and leave it at that. Once again, the media reduces a complex and nuanced problem to a single sound bite a simpleton could understand.

    By blaming our “burgeoning” health costs, we direct attention away from the real anchor that is dragging us down, the cost of maintaining our empire.

    There is a reason no politician or economists dares even question our empire. Andrew J. Bacevich, in his book, The Limits of Power, describes what he calls our National Security Ideology, which consists of four “core convictions”:

    · History has an identifiable and indisputable purpose in that “history is an epic struggle, binary in nature, between ‘oppression which is always wrong, and freedom, which is eternally right.”
    · The United States has always embodied and continues to embody freedom.
    · Providence summons America to ensure freedom’s ultimate triumph.
    · For the American way of life to endure, freedom must prevail everywhere.

    “Freedom”, of course, doesn’t mean democracy, even though the word trips lightly from oligarchical lips. There is but one freedom our military behemoth defends, and that is the freedom to maximize profits.

    This ideology has become so completely engrained into the American psyche that the public wouldn’t dream of questioning the necessity of a trillion-dollar-a-year defense establishment, no matter how impoverished we become.

    Military power is a paradox. The more a country has, the more insecure it becomes, which feeds into a need for even more military power, which creates an even greater sense of insecurity, etc.

    Given this chronic sense of insecurity, our leaders will watch the public’s health decay before giving up a single one of our useless weapon systems. And nary a murmur of protest will come from the public because of its conviction that a strong military is what has made us the richest country in the world.

    Your admirer,
    Belacqua Jones

Monday, September 22, 2008

Our ideological danse macabre

Dear George,

What I love about ideologues is their self-destructive bent. They look at an ideology and see a rocket that will take them to the moon when, in reality, ideology is an anchor that will plunge them to the bottom of the sea.

Hank Paulson was an ideologue’s ideologue when he made the rounds of the Sunday talk shows to shill his $700 billion bailout plan for our Wall Street bumpkins.

As soon as the plan surfaced, Democrats started with their “loyal opposition” song and dance by insisting that any Wall Street bailout plan should include protection for the public, which is drowning in our financial tsunami.

Nancy Pelosi, that brave warrior of battles as symbolic as they were empty, called for “independent oversight, protections for homeowners and constraints on excessive executive compensation.”

Ever the loyal free-market ideologue, Paulson told ABC, “We need this to be clean and quick.” In other words, free market ideology calls for the bailing out Wall Street while leaving the public to fend for itself, because if Wall Street isn’t bailed out, there will be no more trickle down and the public will find their wages flat as their cost of living rises.

Then Paulson got to the crux of his argument when he warned that doing nothing would “make it harder for consumers to get the credit they need for car loans and other purchases.” And there’s the problem: with seventy percent of our GDP addicted to an ongoing consumeristic orgy, we must force the public further into debt if the system is to survive. According to Paulson, if a drop of poison makes you sick, the antidote is more poison.

House Republican Leader John Boehner has dismissed Democratic attempts to help Main Street as “playing games”.

Part of the bailout package calls for increasing the national debt from $10.6 trillion to $11.3 trillion. This would increase our need for foreign capital to keep our Ponzi scheme afloat and would bring us even closer to achieving the junk bond status that would cut off this inflow of foreign capital.

One way of preventing this would be to bring our unregulated shadow banking system under the regulatory tent, thus showing the world that we were serious about cleaning up after ourselves. However, such a move would be offensive free market ideologues that cling to the belief that the mythic invisible hand of the market will save us. This is why neither Democrats nor Republicans have brought this up.

No doubt there were passengers on the deck of the Titanic, as it slipped beneath the waves, who thought God would save them.

Gotta love those ideologues.

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Angels Dancing on a Pinhead

Dear George,

Damn, you guys are good! I mean you’re really good! First you create an atmosphere that allows Wall Street to royally screw up, and then you stampede our congressional wimps into using taxpayer money to bail the fools out.

It never ceases to amaze me how an administration with absolutely no credibility can continue to con Congress. You cry meltdown and they loosen their purse strings. Paulson’s estimate of a $700 billion tab for the bailout borders on high farce. This from the same administration that said the Iraq enterprise would only cost us $50 billion (the cost to date is $580 billion with estimates of the final cost in the trillion-plus range).

Last week, your administration assured us that our economy was fundamentally strong; now it is collapsing. And Iraq still has WMDs.

So you gathered Congressional leaders together and gave them their marching orders. According to one article, “There was also a ‘healthy debate’ about whether this action would finally stabilize the market. ‘They [Paulson and Bernanke] couldn’t answer that question.’”

Some Democrats are making noise about using a bailout bill to help the unemployed and people who might lose their homes. The same article said they are floating a plan that would allow bankruptcy judges to modify mortgages for distressed homeowners. The banking industry is violently opposed to such a plan, so you admonished the Congress that the operative phrase for the proposed legislation is “the cleaner the better”

So there is the Congress in a position to hold finance capitalism’s feet to the fire and get any concession they want in a bill you couldn’t afford to veto even if it demanded a full withdrawal from Iraq by the next full moon and, “Still, it is not clear that Democrats would insist on such concessions at the expense of passing the plan quickly.”

Meanwhile, Obama continues to campaign for McCain, by cooing sweet ballads of non-partisanship, a tune no doubt music to DLC ears.

Our meltdown proves what happens when a scientific model is applied to a field as chaotic and unpredictable as economics. One expert pointed out that they “believed in extraordinary profits based on supposedly flawless computer formulas…”

I assume these are the same formulas that tell us how many angels can dance on the head of a pin.

Not that the bailout makes any difference; the public is screwed anyway. Another article points out that, “The US is now a subprime economy of life support. There is only $53 billion of FDIC insurance to cover $6.84 Trillion in bank deposits. Of the $6.84 Trillion in bank deposits, the total cash on hand at the banks is a mere $273.7 Billion.”

The truth is that nobody knows what the fuck is going down. The same article quotes that brave warrior, Sen. Harry Reid as saying, “We are in new territory, this is a different game…No one know what to do.”

When in doubt, politicians fall back on the tried and true solution to all problems—impoverishing our grandchildren.

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Do you hear the gods laughing?

Dear George,

There is a Chinese curse or saying or something that states, “May you be blessed to live in interesting times,” or something like that.

O George, I feel so blessed I’d be canonized if I weren’t stoned!

What a bracing time to be alive and watch our economy self destruct! It moves me to tears to see our government sacrificing itself to keep a gaggle of senile finance capitalists afloat.

My suggestion to Paulson and Bernanke is that they resist the temptation to tally up how much toxic paper they’ve crammed into our Treasury. Accepting toxic paper for good paper has got to be one of the most ingenious schemes ever perpetrated on the American taxpayer.

The neoliberals wanted to shrink government, and they sure found a way to do it: give away money it doesn’t have in the first place.

They’re so busy throwing money at financial idiots they don’t hear the laughter coming from the wings. It’s the God of Unintended Consequences waiting for his cue.

The problem is that foreign bankers are a lot smarter than our bankers, and they’re getting a little nervous as they watch America morph into an indebted deadbeat. This is not good, because we’ve have to borrow billions in foreign capital each year to stay solvent, which is why our sovereign debt stands at $9 trillion.

Now, if I was in hock up to my neck to my bank and kept borrowing money so I could give it to my dead-beat brother-in-law, my bank might be tempted to deny future credit.

I’m sure there are many foreign bankers thinking the same thing about us. Banks loan money in the expectation they will be paid back.

In our hubris, we believe we’ve transcended the mundane rules of economic behavior, just as we’ve transcended the rules of moral behavior. The gods are waiting to set us straight.

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

Friday, September 19, 2008

Muzzles, Duct Tape and Presidential Statements

Dear George,

I see your handlers have you on a short lease while the economy is doing its roller coaster act. You’re like the nation’s pet dog that’s taken out for a quick dump and then run back into the house.

It’s a tactic that works every time. You appear, mutter a few platitudes and then retreat into your customary silence. The important thing is to say nothing off the cuff. It’s okay to talk like an idiot when things are going well, but when the ship of state hits a rock, it’s time to keep you out of sight and muzzled.

You praised the “extraordinary measures” your administration has taken to force the tsunami back into the ocean by packing our treasury with as much toxic paper as possible.

I love the way you’ve been ducking questions from reporters who have this silly idea that the American people expects more out of their president than a two-minute statement. When one reporter tried to question you, you claimed you couldn’t hear him. “I’m old,” you quipped.

I’m sure that added 100 points to the Dow’s Thursday rally.

Meanwhile, Paulson and Bernanke are working overtime to bail out the fellow members of their Old Boy Club by creating a government agency to buy up all the toilet paper that’s dragging the economy down. This would be similar to the Resolution Trust Corporation (RTC) that bailed out the village idiots in the savings and loan industry.

As soon as they made the announcement, the Dow got a hard-on and shot up 400 points.

As the RTC’s architect Richard Breeden, put it, “Lesson No. 1 from that era is: Move quickly. Troubled assets don’t become more valuable over time; they become less valuable.” This is why we have to stiff the taxpayers with the losses.

Here we see how corporate responsibility differs from personal responsibility. The poor soul who is forced into bankruptcy because he’s too far in debt gets nothing, while corporations get all the help they need. That’s because the disaster wasn’t the corporations’ fault; they were victims of an unpredictable market. The individual should have known better.

We know this new RTC will fly because it has the backing of Alan “It-wasn’t-my-fault” Greenspan.

Of course, nobody has the slightest idea how much this is going to cost. The Bank of International Settlements (BIS) estimates that there’s 1.114 quadrillion of toxic paper in the system.

As one former Treasury official put it, “The worry is that the system as a whole may be undercapitalized. There may not be enough capital to absorb the losses caused by the ferocity of the downward spiral.”

So, the solution is for a broke Treasury to buy up all this worthless paper with borrowed foreign money. I have no doubt that foreign governments will queue up to throw their perfectly good money after bad.

This same Treasury official added, “Doing this (the new RTC) would be an admission we are in deep trouble. [But] if the situation doesn’t stabilize, we have relatively few options left.”

I understand your handlers are going to exchange your muzzle for a strip of duct tape.

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

Thursday, September 18, 2008

It ain't the greed, baby!

Dear George,

You can tell when the economy hits a bump in the road. All the politicians start blaming greed as if they just woke up and realized that Wall Street is little more than a feral pack of money grubbers. They’re like Captain Renault in Casablanca who tells Rick he’s “shocked” to discover gambling on the premises.

Greed makes a convenient whipping boy. The only problem is that it’s the wrong whipping boy. The problems run a little deeper than that.

The role of greed as the driving force of our economy is built upon a flawed model of the “Economic Man,” that creature driven by a rational self interest guided by a mystical “invisible hand” that keeps the market in balance.

Rational self interest is a sham. It’s disproved every time someone plunks down $150 for a pair of sneakers that cost three dollars to manufacture. Were rational self interest life’s sole driving force, there would be no wars because war, in the end, is an exercise in economic self destruction, as we are finding out after sixty years of keeping our economy on a war footing.


Silly me—here I am using a complex idea like “invisible hand” while you are standing there scratching. Let me give you a concrete illustration of just what the invisible hand of the market looks like.

Place you elbow on a table with your forearm perpendicular to the surface of the table. Now, make a fist. Finally, extend your middle finger heavenward, and there you have the invisible hand of the market.

But, I digress…

No, George, it’s not greed that’s gotten us into this mess, it’s a condition I call Socially Acceptable Sociopathy (SAS). Normally, society shuns sociopaths as being a threat to stability and order. There are, however, two areas in which sociopaths are not only accepted, but are rewarded--business and politics, where sociopaths find themselves on a fast track to success. Those who succeed are those sociopaths who are able to behave in a socially acceptable manner. (In business and politics, socially acceptable behavior is anything short of murder-- the bombing of wedding parties being the sole exception.)

The money means nothing to them; it’s the thrill of creative destruction that drives them. Oh sure, they build their massive McMansions and are chauffeured about in their oversized vehicles, but these are little more than symbols of their underlying mental instability. Were they to inherit their fortune, their lives would be empty and meaningless.

It’s all about control. Given a choice between money and control, they would opt for control every time.

Speaking of our economy, I am glad to see that as debt wraps its hands even tighter around the American throat there is already grumbling about Medicare being too much of a burden on the economy. You would do well to keep the attention there and away from our trillion-dollar-a-year defense budget.

We refuse to sacrifice Joe Lieberman’s 2.5 billion submarine just so poor children can have access to health care. Too many people in the Military-Industrial-Congressional-Corporate Complex are making too much money to allow an economic meltdown to threaten it.

When the shit hits the fan, the spray falls on the base of the pyramid, not on its apex.

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Our Nuclear Salvation

Dear George,

Many gods have blessed America. The god of greed gave us victory over the Indian savages , the god of slavery gave us a thriving cotton industry, the god of exploitation gave us an industrial revolution and the god of the atom gave us the bomb.

Now we have a new god watching over our economic meltdown: the god of unintended consequences as the Fed bails out one financial dolt after another. The latest to be rescued, after being hoisted by its own petard, is the American International Group (AIG), a company that became hooked on insuring debtors a sane banker would have thrown off the premises.

But, fear not. In exchange for their $85 billion loan, the Fed bought itself a 79.9 percent equity stake in the company. That’s kind of like buying a stake in the Titanic after it struck the iceberg.

I’ve lost track of how much taxpayer money has been dumped down the Wall Street rat hole. My brain went into hibernation right after the Fed agreed to back $6 trillion of Fannie and Freddie’s toxic paper. That’s how it is with numbers. Once you reach a critical mass, they become meaningless.

Anyhow, it’s increasingly likely that the god of unintended consequences is getting set to ream us big time. The Fed is trying to prop up a house of cards by adding even more cards, and nobody knows how many cards a house of cards can hold when a house of cards holds too many cards.

So, it’s time we look to history to find the best way to bail us out of an economic disaster.

Q: How do you end a Great Depression?

A: Start a war.

But, and this is a big but of a but, you start a conventional war.

Forget these guerilla wars. Quite frankly, we suck at them. Our track record is much better with conventional wars, if you don’t count Korea.

Granted, there are some differences between now and 1940. First, we’ve gutted our manufacturing base. However, there’s no reason armament production couldn’t be outsources to countries that are still our friends, though these are becoming harder to find.

Then there’s a little problem with our potential warriors. When World War II started, we had a large demographic of muscular factory workers and farmers to draw on. Now our demographic is made up of geeks and slackers. This is why the next war will have to be nuclear. America’s too fat to be storming beaches, so we’ll just have to nuke the world. The most effective strategy for dealing with a heavy debt load is to torch your bank.

Thank God your “can-do” spirit has always compensated for your administration’s innate incompetence. With enough nuclear devices to toast the world there is no doubt we will emerge from this next war victorious.

Best of all, with no one left to say otherwise, our fiat currency will still be good, and ten-thousand years from now when the melted mass of the worlds gold supply is no longer radioactive, our dollars will actually be backed by something of value.

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Big Dick Option

Dear George,

An iron rage is squeezing my balls, and were I not stoned I would be out kicking ass and taking names! I’ve had it with the whole fucking world, every bit of it except the Beltway, which is the only stagnant backwater of Christian sanity left in a raging torrent of godless ingratitude!

Here we are, groaning under the Whiteman’s burden, busting our hump bombing savages into civilized behavior, and all the world can do is bitch about dead children and dead wedding parties!

The world owes us, and it had better start paying up or we’re going to drop even more bombs until the world comes to understand that we demand gratitude, and their only choice is gratitude or death.

But, we demand more than just gratitude. We demand a deferential politeness that treats us as if we were still the richest nation in the world, even though were insolvent, and that treats us as if we’re still the world’s sole superpower, even though our impotence is spread all over Iraq and Afghanistan for all to see.

We demand that the world join us in keep up appearances. This is why the Big Dick is sulking in his bunker, and if the world doesn’t shape up, he’s going to do something really crazy. The guy’s been teetering on the cusp of madness for some time, and if the world doesn’t start doing what he wants he’s going to throw a regular nuclear hissy-fit.

Nixon wanted the world to think he was insane; the Big Dick is already there, so the world had better sit up and take notice.

The bottom line is this, George: if we’re going down, we’re going to take the whole freaking world with us. We’ve sacrificed too much to tolerate a thriving world as we sink slowly into the multiple quagmires we have created. We are the world’s sugar daddy and we are not going to let any slut of a world party while we are on our deathbed.

Send the Big Dick out on another world tour to spread the word. Let the leaders of the world stare into his crazed eyes and feel the full force of his sneer. Let them experience the power of the threat he represents.

Then and only then will the world be willing to pretend we are a somebody even as we become a nobody.

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

Monday, September 15, 2008

Financial Ruin and "My Pet Goat"

Dear George,

I’ve got to give you credit for consistency. When the planes slammed into the North and South Towers, you sat absorbed in “My Pet Goat.” Now that an exploding housing bubble is bringing down our economy, you seem to have picked up the book again.

What a robust weekend for us gloom and doomers! Two pillars of the financial capitalism collapsed. Lehman Brothers is going bankrupt and Bank of America is snapping up Merrill Lynch, while the American International Group, once considered the granite tower of financial stability, is asking the Fed for $40 billion in short-term financing.

With all this breaking, the silence coming from the Oval Office is deadening. No sir, George, you know better than to dip your toe into unknown waters. You’ve figured that the best way to preserve your legacy is to do nothing. The last thing you need is to become another Hoover.

Meanwhile, your heir apparent, John McCain can’t even remember how many houses he owns, and his opponent is acting like a passenger on the deck of the Titanic reassuring everyone that the ship will dock shortly. Meanwhile, from his underground bunker, all the Big Dick can do is grumble about Russia kicking Georgia’s ass.

When conservatives praise small government and feral capitalism, what they are really praising is a total paralysis of leadership. The only sign of life we’ve seen from the Beltway is Bernanke and Paulson slapping Band-Aids on a patient rapidly bleeding to death.

Ah, the joys of deregulation: you took the collar off Wall Street, and the first thing the dumb dog did was run under the wheels of a speeding car. The financial retards have finally won.

You’re wise not to get involved in this can of worms. When the shit hits the fan, the first thing a wise leader does is lock himself in the closet with a good book.

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Euromerican Boredom and the GWOT

Dear George,

The formula for maintaining a proper balance between freedom and security is simple: We keep the powerful secure by denying freedom to the powerless. When we say “security,” we mean steps taken to help the Euromerican upper middleclass sleep better at night. Whatever threatens them threatens America.

Most Euromericans lead lives free of strife and struggle with only the petty traumas of work and family to burden them. This leads to a softening of the moral backbone because prosperity is boring as hell. This is why your Eternal War of the Empty Policy is so important. War stimulates because it is the slasher flick of international politics.

This stimulation firms up the moral backbone as the public (our kind of public) rallies to battle the encroaching evil from the comfort of their climate-controlled family rooms where they are jerked off by the images on their 52” plasma TVs.

The public hates evil, but since they occupy a bland world of dulling ambiguity, they aren’t sure what evil is. So they look to the State to define it for them. This power to define evil gives the creative State an effective instrument of social control.

Were the public to develop a well-defined concept of Good and Evil, the State would be in deep shit. This is why religion is a potential danger. This “love God; love your neighbor” bullshit constitutes a potential threat to the State greater than the one posed by terrorism. This is why the State must neuter religion by reducing the God of universal love to a tribal god as in, “God Bless America.”

The belief that the epic battle between good and evil brings out the best in a nation is an old man’s demented dream whose appeal is that others do the dying for him.

A final word of advice: In public discourse, use words that are vague and amorphous. Set into motion a beehive of buzzwords moving so fast that analyzing them would be like trying to unravel a wad of cotton candy.

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

Saturday, September 13, 2008

On Folded Tents and Folded Democrats

Dear George,

I have, before me, two articles from Friday’s New YorkTimes, which illustrate precisely why Sarah Palin will be our next president (following John’s brief tenure).

On Page One, we learn that, “Obama Raises Level of Attacks as Party Frets.” In the second paragraph the article makes the unbelievable statement that, “Mr. McCain’s choice of Sarah Palin of Alaska as is running mate and the resulting jolt of energy among Republican voters appear to have caught Mr. Obama and his advisors by surprise.”


Were these people even watching the RNC? It took them this long to realize they had a problem?

The moment that woman stepped up to the podium you could see she was going to give them a run for their money. She has “Mrs.-American-Housewife-who’s-going-to- teach-all-those-stupid-males-in-Washington-some-manners” written all over her. As I mentioned previously, she is a Teflon Magnolia. The more the left dumps on her, the stronger she becomes.

Obama should have realized he had a problem the minute she opened her mouth.

But he didn’t and the reason is found in an article on Page A17 of the same edition in which the House Den Mother, Nancy Pelosi, reverses her long-standing opposition to offshore drilling and says, well, maybe they can allow it if the Republicans agree to break an agreement she wants them to make vis-à-vis clean energy.

The inherent weakness of the Democratic Party is expressed in the following paragraph:

[A] concerted Republican assault over domestic oil production and the threat of a political backlash from financially pressed motorists have Democrats poised to embrace a fundamental shift in energy policy.

Now, George, you know and I know that this flap over offshore drilling is a scam. It’s going to be ten to twenty years before they find the goddamn oil, and when they do, it’s will have no impact on the price of gasoline.

However, Democrats are so rattled that it never occurs to them to plant their environmental toe in the Republican groin. I mean, they could have made your minions look like complete dolts who don’t know a drill ship from an oil platform.

But, it’s so much easier to fold your tents and slink off into the horizon while the Republicans frame the narrative.

The only conclusion I can draw from all this is that the Democrats aren’t that interested in winning. We don’t have an election; we have a highly structured Kabuki Drama in which the outcome is preordained from the moment the curtain rises.

The truth is that the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC) is more interested in maintaining the status quo than it is in winning. Win or lose, it makes no difference to them as long as corporate funds continue to fill their coffers as payment for their deftness at quashing any sort of movement for radical change.

They stand to make a fortune on this election.

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

Friday, September 12, 2008

Saving the Family to Save the Corporate State

Dear George,

Sarah Palin isn’t just the vice presidential nominee, she is the savior of the American Way of Life. Before she appeared on the scene, it looked as if the Culture Wars had been shoved to the back burner. Thanks, to Sarah, this ain’t going to happen as long as she has the strength to lipstick her snout.

Not many people realize that our entire corporate structure rests on the traditional family, and when family values take a beating, this structure is endangered. And, God knows, it’s taken a hell of a beating since the Sixties. Between bra burning feminists, the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) and gay marriage, the traditional male-dominated family appears to be on the ropes.

Some progress has been made in regaining lost territory. The ERA is dead and bra burning has given way to the fashion fetishism of Victoria’s Secret. However, gay marriage is on the ascendancy, and this represents a greater danger to America than either the ERA or the bra burners.

Nowadays, the public shrugs its shoulders and asks what difference it makes if two chicks get married. It makes a hell of a difference, and it doesn’t have a damn thing to do with either the Bible or religion. Our opposition is an economic one. Every blow against the traditional family is a blow against the corporate house of cards that is propping up our economy.

The value of the traditional family is that it reflects the corporate structure. Just as the corporation is a male-dominated hierarchical organization, so must the family be the same, for it is in the family that the young learn the conformity to male authority that makes them grist for the corporate mill into which they will step as adults.

And, George, an insipid conformity is the secret ingredient that has made America the world’s sole superpower.

Did you ever wonder why the suburbs of the Fifties were so bland? It is because they served a useful purpose: they produced a generation that was so devoid of any sort of cultural distinctiveness that they were tabulae rasae that could be plugged into any culture and thrive. Without these blank slates, globalization never would have happened. The soft wax of their souls was so malleable it could be formed into any shape the State desired.

Today, it may appear that this conformity has yielded to a generation of rebels with their tattoos, body piercings and raucous music. Don’t be fooled. They think they are escaping the pall of our corporate state, but the truth is that as blank slates they lack the cultural granite that might enable them to resist their manipulation.

How does one rebel against an empty life in which culture and meaning have been reduced to the logo one wears on one’s ass. The short answer is you don’t. The best you can do is change logos.

Which brings me back to Sarah: Thanks to her, the battle for family values is back on the front burner. Believe me, with her in the White House, bra burners will be struggling into that chastity belt of the Fifties, the Playtex Panty Girdle, while gays will be stoned to death.

Sarah knows that the strong papa is the cornerstone of our national security.

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Another Year

Dear George,

Here it is, another 9/11, the seventh anniversary of your coronation. My, how time flies. Most emperors claw their way onto a golden throne; you clawed you way to the top of a pile of rubble for your bullhorn moment.

Talk about drawing to an inside straight, 9/11 was a godsend for you and your minions. And it came just in time. The public had already caught on to the fact that you were a loser and your approval ratings were starting to tank. As soon as the planes hit, your handlers drgged you away from “My Pet Goat” and repositioned you as our steely-eyed commander-in-chief, while the Big Dick started spinning his fantasies about the unitary power of the executive in wartime.

Your neocons, in their Plan for the New American Century (PNAC) said the nation needed another Pearl Harbor to awaken its martial spirit. We sure as hell got our Pearl Harbor, but it didn’t do much to awaken America’s martial spirit. That might have had something to do with your telling the public to get their asses down to Walt Disney World and spend like there was no tomorrow, which according to you there might not have been unless the Patriot Act was passed.

I will be the first to admit that things didn’t quite turn out like you’d hope they would. We started kicking butt like the world was unipolar and we were the pole. Okay, so we sort of overlooked a key dynamic of international relations: when one nation gets too powerful, smaller nations band together to neutralize it. Now we are faced not only with Russia and China, but with the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) with Russia, China, India and a bunch of little countries and the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) made up of Russia and a bunch of Stans.

We also ended up accidentally handing Iraq to Iran. (We all know it wasn’t your surge that calmed things down; it was Tehran’s negotiation of a ceasefire between the militias that did it.)
Incidentally, Iran is eligible to join both the SCO and the CSTO.

But, do you know what? None of this makes a damn bit of difference, because it’s not about America, it’s about capital and its exponential growth. Capital doesn’t give a shit about God, mom, apple pie, lapel pins or victory. All it cares about is a robust return on investment.

Your legacy will be that you ruined America but saved capital. And that is something to be truly proud of.

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Mushroom Clouds and Saved Souls

Dear George,

What a banner day it is for the Armies of Christ with Sarah Palin on the ticket.

How far right is her Wasilla Assembly of God church? It’s so freaking far to the right that according to one writer many Evangelicals and Fundamentalists consider it heretical.

Her church is part of a Third Wave movement that believes, among other things, in doing battle with “witches, warlocks and generational curses, which prevent churches from being able to take root.” To accomplish this, a “young generation will form ‘Joel’s Army’ to rise up and battle evil and retake the earth for God [through] the use of ‘strategic level spiritual warfare’ to expel territorial demons from America and world cities.” Recruits for this army were featured in the movie Jesus Camp.

One of their spiritual warfare campaigns was their 1997 “Operation Ice Castle,” in which they entered into battle with the Queen of Heaven, whom they describe as the Great Harlot Mystery Babylon in Revelation. They believe this Queen is Diana, the pagan goddess as manifested in the goddess Mary worshipped by Roman Catholics.

Part of this spiritual warfare involved planting a flag for Jesus on Mt. Everest. The spiritual rewards that emanated from this act of faith were many. They included:

· The destruction of the basilica of Assisi where the Pope had called for a heathen conclave of the world’s religions.
· The destruction of the temple of “Baal-Christ” in Acapulco, Mexico.
· The death of Princess Diana, along with her pagan name.
· The death of Mother Theresa, whom they called, “One of the most heretical advocates of Mary as Co-Redeemer.”

I’m telling you, George, my soul soars whenever I think of Sarah’s spiritual finger on the nuclear trigger.

Armageddon, I hear your footsteps drawing nearer and nearer!

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Democrats Hand the Election to McCain

Dear George,

The Democratic Party has ceded the 2008 election to John McCain. Oh, there will still be the posturing over trivial issues, and one or two sparks will flash briefly before being extinguished. But, thanks to congressional democrats, the Republicans will be in power for another four years.

Real political parties engaged in real election campaigns do everything in their power to embarrass the opposition. If the party in power opposes a piece of popular legislation, the opposition party shines the brightest klieg light they can find on its position.

Democrats have being trying to pass an expansion of the popular Children Health Insurance Program, which you have vetoed twice.

With an election two months away, even the dumbest political operative would recommend passing the bill over and over, forcing you to veto it over and over, and making sure the public understood that the Republican Party was opposed to providing health insurance for America’s children.

Luckily, the Democrats have their heads up their asses, and have decided to drop the bill because you would veto it, which is what a decent opposition party would want you to do if they had a fucking brain in their head.

As an article in yesterday’s New York Times put it, the Democratic maneuver spares “Republicans from a politically difficult vote just weeks before the elections this fall.”

The decision was made by Nancy Pelosi, Rahm Emanuel and Steny H. Hoyer. (Normal protocol calls for putting a “Rep.” in front of each name, followed by the party designation and state. However, neither Pelosi, Emanuel nor Hoyer is a “representative” by any stretch of the imagination. They are corporate lobbyists who happen to be domiciled in the nation’s Capitol rather than on K Street.)

Between congressional timidity and the alienation of Obama’s base with his move to the right, you can rest assured that come January, Congress will be cowering before a pit bull with lipstick.

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

Monday, September 8, 2008

Missing the point by making too many points.

Dear George,

The mainstream media has a major blind spot. It gets so wrapped up in the petty details of the eternal now that it has missed the emergence of a new metanarrative.

Take Sarah Palin’s absence from the Sunday talk shows. My God, you’d think she’d shot another bunny the way the media waxed indignant. The speculation flew like snot in a sneeze. The RNC is sequestering her because she’s a loose cannon, she’s still upset over the media beating she took during the convention or, like you, she’s not allowed to leave the house unless she’s fully scripted.

Poppycock and balderdash, I tell you!

What we are seeing here is the first salvo in a skirmish that will redefine the relationship between government and the media.

Very simply, a decision has been made at the highest levels of government that the media is totally irrelevant, therefore their presence in the political process will be terminated.

All the First Amendment says is that Congress shall make no law abridging freedom of the press. It doesn’t say anything about having to talk them.

Oh sure, the media will piss and moan and write hard-hitting editorials condemning the policy, while the blogosphere will breathe fire. And the public won’t give a damn because they stopped reading political news ages ago, and will hardly notice its absence.

Nor will the media suffer as long as it has a constant supply of celebrity gossip, which is all the public is interested in, anyway.

Sarah is a true pioneer. Not only is she history’s first female demagogue, but she is the woman who kicked the media out of politics. It takes a real woman to shatter the glass ceiling and torch the Constitution, all in one breath.

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Bailouts: Democracy at its finest.

Dear George,

A major responsibility of the leader of a democratic society is to periodically stiff the public. This is what is known as public participation.

Democracy has thrived under deregulation. In theory, deregulation meant corporations were subjected to a much more severe regulator—the market, unless they were "too big to fail". Thanks to deregulation, there was an exponential increase in public participation as citizens took part in the savings and loan bailout, and the Bear Sterns bailout.

But, these have been mere chump change compared to the latest opportunity to present itself—the nationalization of Fannie and Freddie. This is democracy at its finest. Between them, they are guaranteeing some $7 trillion in mortgage backed securities.

The public is so thrilled to have these opportunities to participate in our feral economy that they wouldn’t dream of demanding increased regulation as a quid pro quo for the bailout. What is democracy without a free, unregulated marketplace where Ponzi schemes flourish?

What is especially thrilling is that we are entering a golden age of democracy that will make the Athenian agora look like a police state. According to the Bank of International Settlements (BIS), there’s a 1.14 quadrillion roll of toxic toilet paper out there waiting to work its way through the system.

Talk about being too big to fail…

With a number like that, democracy could well go its merry way for generations to come. Who can doubt that capitalism represents the end of history?

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Naked Beamers and the Big Dick

Dear George,

I see the Big Dick is over in Caucasia trying to stir up some more shit.

God, I’m going to miss him. The thing I love about him is that he never leaves boredom in his wake. Not the Big Dick. Every time he opens his mouth another wedding party is bombed.

Georgia is the perfect client state because its president, Mikhail Saakashvili is such an easy mark. The way you guys conned him into invading South Ossetia just so you could fire up the Cold War, again, was brilliant. What’s so amazing is that the guy still trusts us even after we screwed him to the wall. Now either he’s the dumbest son of a bitch ever to come down the pike, or the CIA is transferring some massive funds into his Swiss bank account.

You restarted the Cold War just in time. Iraq hardly makes the front pages any more, and your Global War on Terror is looking more and more like the scam it really is. With Russia’s move into the breakaway territories, you have another “threat” you can use to fire up the public paranoia that is so crucial for the health of the corporate security state.

As always, there’s the oil, and our grandiose scheme to militarily control it. That’s what I love about policy: it is madness raised to the level of high art. Here we are, bogged down in our first attempt to establish military control over the world’s oil supply, and we still think we can run the world.

Being mad, myself, I certainly identify with madmen. It is indeed heartening to see psychotics slowly taking over the world. It’s only a matter of time before mushroom clouds start sprouting over the face of the earth. When that happens, our deliverance will be at hand, and we will all be beamed naked up to heaven, and the prospect of flying through the cosmos with a naked Sarah Palin is incentive enough to drop the first bomb.

The next time you and Jesus sit down to a game of Texas Hold-Em, see if the big guy isn’t ready for a nuclear holocaust so he can come down and take over the burnt cinder that is all that will remain of his kingdom on earth.

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

Friday, September 5, 2008

I'm in love!!!!!!!!

Dear George,



Do I overstate myself? Am I mad with passion? Does she turn me on?


I am just now recovering her acceptance speech. Sweet, Jesus, she is one sexy momma. The thought of her plunking away at wolves from an airplane sends my hormones into a frenzy. Picturing her decked out in her hunting camouflage is better than picturing her naked.

God bless Alaska, the home of drowning polar bears where the answer to global warming is Drill! Drill! Drill!

Sarah is four-square behind McCain’s march to imperial self-destruction. Both subscribe to the knee-jerk militarism that is slowly bleeding America to death.

How beautifully she touts small-town virtues. Sure, the small town she is talking about is the one found on a Hollywood sound stage of the thirties or forties. But who cares when you’re standing up there on the podium before a screaming, orgiastic crowd; who cares about the reality that the Main Street is boarded up because the local Wal-Mart has destroyed it. What difference does it make if our small-town youth are so bored out of their minds with their dead-end lives that they can only find solace in ecstasy and meth?

Her selection as McCain’s running mate was a stroke of genius. She has a god-given talent to appeal to all that is base and bilious in the American psyche. Here’s a woman who would have no trouble organizing a lynch mob. She is sure to lock up the angry White male demographic.

She will never darken her mind with thoughts of “the economy, health care, the sub-prime mortgage crisis, immigration, family planning [or] appointing Supreme Court justices.”

She shares McCain’s vision of an impoverished America where only the wealthy thrive. Nor does she get all wimpy about civil liberties. Any woman who can blow the head off a bunny rabbit isn’t going to get her knickers in a knot over waterboarding.

Listen to her stoke the paranoia as she tears into Obama:

Terrorist states are seeking nuclear weapons without delay; he wants to meet them without preconditions. Al Qaeda terrorists still plot to inflict catastrophic harm on America; he’s worried about reading them their rights.

Progressive sputter that, “It isn’t so,” while the right replies, “Who gives a shit! It sells!” And the Republicans continue to frame the debate while the Democrats play catch-up.

This is because neither Democrat nor Republican will face the truth that we are choking on our own hubris. The sound of their beating war drum echoes forlornly off the walls of our empty treasury. They are insane passengers on the Titanic punching holes in all the lifeboats.

Sarah will fit right in.

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Spin and the Militarized Police State

Dear George,

A word of warning: What follows is sensitive material that should be classified as top secret. Were it to fall into the wrong hands, our National Security would be seriously compromised. Either burn or swallow this letter as soon as you finish it.

Surely, this is the age of the spinmeisters. Never in history has spin played such a crucial role in maintaining social stability and order.

The Corporatist State floats on a pool of noxious bullshit. Statesmanship is nothing more than the running of an elaborate scam. Almost every word that issues forth from a leaders mouth is an anonym that, in reality, denotes its polar opposite.

The need for spin is illustrated by one writer who said:

It has been a cornerstone of U.S. policy since the Second World War that the U.S. must control the energy resources of the Middle East. Not because we need them here at home—the U.S. obtains the bulk of the oil used domestically from the Western hemisphere—but because control of energy gives the U.S. a strangle-hold on our corporations’ major economic competitors, the European Union and northeast Asia (Japan, China and South Korea).

Now, I ask you, what corporation is worth the life of a single individual. How many of our troops would be willing to die for the corporate bottom line? This is why our national security policy must be concealed beneath layers of rhetoric that speak of threat, freedom, threat, liberty, threat, democracy, threat, American Way, threat and consumerism.

As long as the Corporate State was able to maintain the illusion of a debt-driven prosperity, spin could wear a velvet glove. But now that this illusion is shattering, the gloves gotta come off. Yes, George, a well-placed police baton against the head of a dissident is spin.

And we are seeing the future of at the Republican National Convention. As another writer puts it:

There’s something coming down in Minneapolis-St. Paul that looks very menacing—real “Can’t Happen Here” fascist, Gestapo tactics that look [like] they are coordinated from on high—with FBI and Homeland Security participation.

As the economy tanks, the screws must tighten.

The wave of the future is little more than the backwash of the past, and the past towards which we are climbing is that golden age when society consisted of two classes: the filthy rich and the filthy poor. And the poor will only come to love their impoverishment when confronted by a militarized police state.

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

The Teflon Magnolia

Dear George,

My, how the liberals are dumping on Sarah Palin. Babies, firings, pregnancies, earmarks and legislative investigations are all crawling out of the woodwork. Pundits don’t think she’ll last until the election; liberals are questioning McCain’s judgment in picking an poorly-vetted running mate.

Pundits and liberals all forget that Karl Rove is running this campaign, and Karl Rove makes no mistakes.

Look at a photograph of the woman: she has Teflon® written all over her. She is solid, middle class and an evangelical. Soccer moms look at her and see a neighbor who might drop by for a cup of coffee; NASCAR dads look at her and see a good looking woman who can handle a gun.

As for her daughter’s pregnancy, forget about it. Christians get off on stories of sin (pregnancy out of wedlock) and redemption (her daughter’s going to marry the father). Having the father show up at the convention was a stroke of Rovian genius.

The same is true with the scandals surrounding her governorship. They’re nothing more than sour grapes from a Republican machine she refused to play ball with.

Do not think for a moment that the public gives a damn about her lack of experience. Eight years ago, a former governor with absolutely no experience was appointed president, and in eight years, that governor hasn’t learned a damn thing. This only goes to show that experience is no longer a prerequisite for the presidency.

Not since Warren Harding has the Oval Office seen such ineptitude. Dumb presidents make for strong corporations, which is why big business loves them.

The bottom line is that America’s next president will be a woman who knows how to shoot terrorists from an airplane with one hand while signing anti-gay legislation with the other.

By Election Day, she will be America’s sweetheart and McCain will ride into the presidency on her skirttails.

It always amazes how Karl can be such a genius when he doesn’t smoke anything.

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

No Wisdom, No War

Dear George,

The leaden blanket of national security lies like a miasma across our traditional institutions that groan beneath its weight. This is as it should be because the intricate and interwoven fantasies that make up our national security are beyond the ken of the average citizen and are best handled by a priesthood of “wise men” adept at spinning the steel threads that make up its warp and woof.

In his book, The Limits of Power, Andrew Bacevich says that, “…one of the fundamental assumptions on which the national security elite bases it claim of authority [is that] public opinion is suspect; when it comes to national security, the public’s anointed role is to defer.”

In other words, democracy has no place in war and peace. The only role the public is allowed to play is to be prepared to get shot up in a war that advances one of the wise men’s policies.

The wise men are a real rip. They are living proof of Samuel Beckett’s dictum that, “Habit is a great deadener.”

The mind of an insider, when he is inside for too long, morphs over time from pragmatism to a fossilized ideology. The novice wise man begins by assessing his version of reality. From that assessment he spins a policy that is followed by another policy improving upon the original policy that yields a policy that improves upon the improvement of the original policy that soon produces an amended policy to compensate for the shortcomings of the corrected policy. In the meantime, the reality upon which the original policy was based is no more, which results in a jarring disconnect between the amended, amended, amended policy and the actual, living situation to which it is to be applied.

The personification of the intellectually arthritic wise man is Zbigniew Brezinsky. Here is an individual so locked into a Cold War mentality that he thinks it is 1960 and that Khrushchev is still threatening to bury capitalism. His vaunted understanding of how the world works is grounded in an obsolete worldview. How else do you explain his scheme to break Russia into three separate regions?

What a wonderful way to start the ultimate global war.

All I can say is, thank God for the dustup over the maternity of Sarah Palin’s child/grandchild. It is burning issues like these that guarantee there will never be a debate over the role of our wise men in getting us into one useless war after another.

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones

Monday, September 1, 2008

Power Failure

Dear George,

The fatal flaw that causes power to self destruct is the ineptitude of those who achieve it. Take the Big Dick, for example. As a major player in the Nixon administration, Watergate left him a shattered shell of a man. When the Supreme Court appointed him vice president, he entered office driven by a primal need to restore the imperial presidency.

Power succeeds by building momentum. As this momentum increases, power gains inertia, and out of this inertia comes the conviction that power's momentum will continue unabated.

Power’s paradox is that with inertia comes paranoia, the pervasive fear that the momentum will by sapped. The greater the momentum, the greater the paranoia and the greater the harshness with which those in power lash out at perceived threats.

This creates a growing pool of resentment among the victims of power that gives the victims the patience to wait until power falls flat on its face, which it always does because it believes itself invincible. This fall begins the moment power feels that it has peaked, and it is at this point that the victims hit the streets and start pushing back.

The sad truth is that those who achieve power are often too emotionally unstable to exercise it, which brings us back to the Big Dick.

Because the man had been crippled by a paranoid administration, he came into power more damaged than the novice who achieves it for the first time. He has left such a trail of resentment in his exercise of power that he is a carcass waiting for the maggots to show up.

It’s always messy when power runs out of steam. New power centers arise that circle the established power like wolves circling a wounded beast. Indictments often follow (unless the Democrats take power, in which case there will be no indictments because the Democrats believe investigations and trials are too divisive. An indictment has no place in their bipartisan utopia).

By rights, the orange jumpsuit should be the fashion statement of the next decade. If Obama wins, you have nothing to worry about. If McKinney and the Greens win, you’re toast!

Somehow, I think you’ll get your library.

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones