July 28, 2004
Girlie Men Edition
As more than a few impatient readers have brought to my attention, these newsletters have become increasingly rare. This particular one, if I'm not mistaken, is only my second offering in over three months -- and it's not even a particularly good offering. Inquiring minds want to know (actually, just one inquiring mind wanted to know): "What the hell is up? Have you abandoned this sinking ship? And if so, can you recommend a good place for the rest of us to go?"
I believe that the traditional answer to that last question is "Canada," but I wouldn't necessarily recommend Canada. I have only seen a small portion of our northern neighbor, while enroute to Alaska, but the image that I now carry with me of Canada is of a very cold, largely frozen place. Apparently Canada and Alaska didn't get the memo about the Ice Age being over. Nevertheless, Canada would be a nice place to go if you're looking to buy some time. But that is all that you would be doing -- buying time.
Although Canada definitely has some catching up to do, it is, like most of the 'free world,' doing it's very best to follow the model provided by the 'leader of the free world.' So this sinking ship, you see, cannot be abandoned. You can climb to the highest point of the ship, to buy yourself a little time, but you are still going down. The only real option is to try to repair the ship -- while at sea, caught in a ferocious storm, and already taking on dangerous amounts of water. In other words, it isn't going to be easy. But there is no other option. If we do nothing (and casting a vote for John Kerry - or Ralph Nader - does not count as 'doing something'), or if we attempt to run, the ship will go down with all aboard.
And that, I think, just about wraps up the "heavy-handed lecture utilizing a lame analogy" portion of this rant. Let us then return to the real question here: what the hell is up with the lack of newsletters?
As fate would have it, I learned a very important lesson by diving into the 'Peak Oil' quagmire, and that lesson is this: if you want to artificially inflate the value of something, the best way to do it is to manufacture a shortage of that item. I have decided to apply that newfound wisdom to these newsletters, so I will be releasing only a select few of them for now -- until, that is, I can drive the price up and reap obscene profits. In the meantime, I will be steadily building up my reserves.
Is anyone buying that story? No? Alright. Then let me try to come up with a better explanation.
As I mentioned in the last newsletter, just seven (time really flies, doesn't it?) short weeks ago, I was away on vacation and cut off from my beloved Internet access during the first half of the month of May. During that time, I refocused my attention on the book manuscript that I have been laboring over, off and on, for nearly four years now. And just as I did last year, I returned from vacation determined to remain focused on the book, and maybe, just maybe, actually finish it.
I guess I should explain here that when I say "finish it," what I really mean is fine-tune it into a form that is acceptable to my editor, who is the most ill tempered, anal retentive, obsessive-compulsive, nit-picking son-of-a-bitch that you would ever want to meet. I don't even want to know how many times I have rewritten, proofread, and edited the manuscript in futile, desperate, rather pathetic attempts to satisfy this guy. So why, you naturally ask, don't I just get rid of him and work with someone more reasonable? Unfortunately, that is easier said than done. I wouldn't go so far as to say that getting rid of this guy would be impossible, but it would probably require, at the very least, years of intense psychoanalysis coupled with a steady diet of Prozac delivered through an IV drip. So for now, at least, I'm stuck with him.
The problem began when it first dawned on me that a book is kind of a permanent thing. It is the kind of thing that is supposed to, you know, 'stand the test of time,' or some such thing. And once it is out there, it is very hard to have it recalled for a rewrite, so you pretty much have to get it right the first time. I didn't really think much about that when I hastily slapped together my first book. I didn't think about how much I might later cringe when reading my own words. I did give it a little thought when working on my second book, so I spent a little more time on that one -- but apparently not enough.
Determined to improve upon the past, I have patiently massaged this latest manuscript for about two years now (after spending the previous two years doing research and writing the first draft). And that hasn't been easy, since it is an unwieldy beast (165,000 words in its current form). Needless to say, the prospect of endlessly proofreading and editing 165,000 words is not something that I relish. And that is why I decided, during a very brief period of lucidity, to publish what will hopefully pass for a final version of the book. I immediately began second guessing that decision, of course, but that's not really important. What is important is that my manuscript, at this very moment, is in the process of being transformed into an actual book -- a book that, in a very short time, you will be able to proudly display on your coffee table ... provided that you don't mind getting strange looks from any visitors to your home.
Even if you don't intend to actually read it, you should probably pick up at least one copy of the book and prominently display it somewhere in your home, so that you can: (a) impress your friends with your choice of reading material; (b) regularly take time out of your day to admire the cover art; (c) occasionally pick it up and flip through it in the hopes of finding some pictures inside; and (d) forge my signature and then brag to everyone that you have a signed copy of a book that nobody has heard of.
This book, by the way, will not be simply a recycling of material that has appeared in these newsletters and in other postings on my site (except, that is, for the first 20% of the book, which is a revised and updated version of a series of postings that I had up on my site a few years ago). So those of you (and both of you know who you are) who have complained of my lack of output in recent months will soon have plenty of new, previously unpublished reading material ... if you don't mind shelling out a few bucks, that is.
How many bucks? Beats me. That's not my department. But I can assure you that, whatever the cost, it will be money well spent -- a much better use of your money than, say, ordering WWF SlamFest XIII on pay-per-view, or taking in a screening of White Chicks, or renewing your annual subscription to From the Wilderness.
And that, I guess, is all I have to say about the new book for now. I will provide more details and considerably more shameless self-promotion as the book nears a release date. For now, my main concern is with whether anyone out there has seen this alarming image (or better yet, the video from which it was captured):
I contend that this video segment proves, beyond a reasonable doubt, something that I have long suspected: Colin Powell is not really African-American. It is time we faced the truth, and the truth is that Powell's 'dance moves' (and I use that term in the loosest possible sense) irrefutably reveal him to be a Caucasian who has long managed to pass himself off as a black man. Look for yourself -- it's all there on display: the 'stick-in-the-ass' posture; the awkward, "what the hell do I do with my hands and arms?" fist pumping; the classically arrhythmic foot work; the tight-lipped, determined, "I hope I didn't just shit my pants" facial expression. Try to deny it if you must, but I think the evidence speaks for itself.
And now, with that out of the way, why don't we take a look at what is going on in the world these days?
* * * * * * * * *
So what's it going to be, folks?
Will there be a cunningly timed terr'ist attack that will disrupt the 'democratic process'? Will there be a military coup aimed at ousting the Bullshitler (or Bush, for short) regime? Or will there be a more subtle, Watergate-style coup, engineered by the CIA, that will seek the same result? Will we hit 'Code Red' status? Will martial law be declared? Will the election be postponed, or even canceled? Or will it be held despite a terr'ist attack? If the election is held, will the Bush team steal another 'victory,' this time without leaving a paper trail? Will Dick Cheney be dumped from the ticket? Will John Edwards' name somehow replace John Kerry's name at the top of the Democratic ticket (as one theory holds)?
Or will something truly bizarre and unexpected happen: will the election prove to be relatively uneventful, with nary a terr'ist attack to be seen, and will John Kerry win what will appear to be, on the surface, a reasonably free and fair election?
A withering array of alternative scenarios have been set on the table, some by Washington politicos, some by mainstream media sources, and some by various alternative theorists. The air is so thick that it is nearly impossible to cut through the fog of lies and confusion to get a clear view of what lies ahead. Everyone seems to be convinced that something is going to happen, but no one is quite sure exactly what it will be. Some voices, on the Internet and elsewhere, have grown increasingly strident -- some even bordering on hysterical. The fear index is at an all-time high as everyone anxiously waits to see how this election will play out.
As regular readers will recall, I was out of the gate early with a prediction that one of those terr'ist attacks would conveniently disrupt the 2004 elections. In recent months, however, a whole bunch of Johnny-Come-Latelys in the media and in the Bush administration have taken that same position. In fact, the idea has become - dare I say it? - downright mainstream. And mainstream ideas aren't generally welcome around here.
So I think maybe I am going to go in a different direction entirely and speculate that there will be an election, and the winner of that election will be John Kerry -- and tens of millions of seriously deluded Americans will breathe a collective sigh of relief, thinking, foolishly enough, that the nightmare is over.
Now don't get me wrong. I am not suggesting here that John Kerry will win the election because "the people will have spoken," through some sort of "democratic process." If Kerry wins, it will be because the script calls for him to win.
It is perfectly obvious that Kerry will win the popular vote, if the votes are accurately tallied. Despite running a deliberately lackluster campaign, and despite a steadfast refusal to address the pathological lies and rampant criminality of his opponent's administration, it's hard to imagine that Kerry could lose this one. That holds true even if we factor in the depressed voter turnout that will result from giving democratically minded people a clear choice between casting a vote for war, or casting a pro-war vote. Even if we also factor in the riling up of Bush's "conservative base" by focusing attention on the suddenly urgent issue of gay marriage, it's still hard to see Kerry not walking away with this one. After all, the other guy couldn't win a national election even before the majority of the American people fully realized what a crude, corrupt, ignorant, arrogant buffoon he is.
So if there is an election held, and if there are no major voting irregularities, then Kerry will surely 'win' -- in the sense that the majority of the votes that are cast will bear his name. But that, as we all know, has little to do with who really wins the election, especially in the age of paperless electronic voting. To the contrary, if Kerry wins, it will be because he is supposed to win, because those much wiser than us have determined that a Kerry presidency is the most advantageous course to follow at this time.
But if there is to be an election, and if the results of the election are to be consistent with the 'will of the people,' then why all the fearmongering? Why all the dire predictions coming at us from all directions? Why all the doomsday scenarios?
I can remember the last time there was such rampant fearmongering going on. I'll admit that it was a long, long time ago - almost five years ago, if I recall correctly - so to many of you the great "Y2K" scare is probably only a fuzzy memory at best. Some readers, however, may recall that there was a lot of talk about the complete breakdown of society, with the ensuing chaos resulting in a declaration of martial law and the end of even the appearance of constitutional democracy. Many versions of the story, of course, were peppered with references to shadowy UN troops and mysterious black helicopters. Seemingly intelligent, rational people, suddenly thrown into a blind panic, were abandoning suburbia to take up residence in fortified bunkers in Montana.
Does any of that ring a bell? If so, can anyone tell me what became of the shadowy UN troops and the black helicopters? I never hear about them anymore. Maybe I just don't visit the right websites. Are the black helicopters still snatching cattle anuses from Farmer Eli's fields? And are the foreign troops still massed on the US/Mexico border? Just curious ...
Anyway, the point of this story is that 1999 was a year of way-over-the-top fearmongering, with the pressure steadily turned up as the end of the year approached. Fear and anxiety were at record levels as everyone waited for the ball to drop in Times Square, and for the 'other shoe' to drop on Main Streets all across this land. And what actually did happen as 1999 gave way to 2000? Not a goddamned thing. Nothing. Zip. Zilch. Nada. Everyone sang a few bars of Auld Lang Syne and stumbled off to bed -- feeling a little foolish, perhaps, but also greatly relieved.
As the Y2K example illustrated, it is not unprecedented for periods of rampant fearmongering to be followed by ... absolutely nothing. As near as I can tell, that seems to be part of the master plan for the collective conditioning of the American people. From time to time, it is apparently advantageous to crank up the pressure until the kettle is just about ready to burst, and then unexpectedly let that pressure off.
When all is said and done, the element of surprise is all important. As a general rule of thumb, self-inflicted acts of cultural terrorism are much more effective if they are sudden and unexpected -- like the September 11 attacks, or the bombing of the Oklahoma City federal building, or the bloodbath at Littleton, or any number of other events that have had a profound impact on the American psyche, including the very public assassination of JFK.
In contrast, an act of cultural terrorism that has been announced in advance and is widely anticipated would not resonate in the same way. Indeed, such an attack could very well backfire -- bringing about not blind support for the ruling administration, but widespread demands for accountability for the failure to stop an attack that was known about in advance.
So the lesson to be learned here, I'm thinking, is to always expect the unexpected. If we apply that lesson to the situation we are now facing, then the last thing we should expect, in a climate of repeated warnings of an imminent terrorist attack, is a terrorist attack. Likewise with the notion of the elections being canceled.
It is difficult to see what the ruling elite would gain by calling off the elections. Pulling such a stunt would certainly remove any lingering doubts that the rest of the world might have about the true state of American 'democracy.' And it would certainly rile up (one would hope) a good number of Americans, from all across the political spectrum. And what would be gained? The entire process is thoroughly contrived anyway, from the preordainment of interchangeable candidates to the pre-programmed election outcome.
The real question here, it seems to me, is whether it is time for John Kerry to assume the Clintonesque role of momentarily easing the pressure, whilst the 'powers that be' consolidate and expand upon the vast gains they have made under the Bush regime. There is certainly much to be gained from a Kerry presidency ... not for you and me, of course, but I don't think anyone in Washington is too concerned about that.
First of all, the new administration will be granted an extended 'honeymoon' period by a wide swath of the American people, who will be so thrilled to be rid of Bush that they will excuse virtually anything that Kerry does. Any number of pesky protest groups and websites will quickly fold up their tents and go home -- declaring, much as their nemesis did, "mission accomplished." That in spite of the fact that the only thing that will have changed is the face, and the diction, of the man delivering the State of the Union address.
The 'Black Box voting' crowd will be forced to quietly slink away, silenced by the fact that all those Republican-owned electronic voting machines somehow managed, contrary to all predictions, to award John Kerry a clear victory. It will appear as though the integrity of U.S. elections has been restored, but it will, of course, only be an illusion.
On the international front, all our allies will quickly drop the pretense that they are 'former' allies and begin once again walking hand-in-hand with us on the public stage -- even as we continue to not just wage, but expand, the 'War on Terror.' And who is better suited to pull off that balancing act? Certainly not an international pariah like George Bush. As much as the Bush team would like to expand the war (witness the latest pathetic spin: "Did we say Iraq? Our bad. We meant Iran."), they might have a tough time trying to sell yet another relocation of the Front Lines in the ever-shifting 'War on Terror.'
[To be continued ... ]