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Presidential Elections and other Stories in the Meat Market

A coup is occurring as I write this. It was initiated by the national Republican party who found, as they found Ronald Reagan 40 years ago, an innocuous celebrity to do their bidding. This is not about Arnold or the state of California. This is about the 2004 election and the opportunity for Bush to take the most populous state in the nation. It's about national interests coming in and raping the richest state. It is about the unbridled greed of Republicans who voted en masse for a disaster, without one iota of conscience about what this will do in the future.

The Democrats had better get it together before it's too late and we have, essentially, one party running everything.

The coup has pointed to possible scenarios for a future dictatorship. For one thing, it is very evident that "branding" in the marketing sense is extremely important. If a personality is inside the mind of a critical mass of people, the chances of that personality winning them over is increased ten-fold. That's one reason generals make good candidates after successful wars. And the means to branding occur in the media. And who controls the media, controls the nature of the branding. At the point a personality is discovered all kinds of behind-the-scenes operatives sit around figuring out how they can use this personality for their own advantage. Once that is settled, they hire PR types to get the personality to say his platitudes with panache.

In this case, one can say the process destroys the heart of the democratic soul because it requires little knowledge from the people. In fact, they must remain ignorant if the show is going to go on. The people are mere cogs in a machine designed and operated by others. Where is the heart of democracy in such a set-up? And if Jesse Ventura and Arnold are the heart of democracy, then I would say we are in the decadent phase of our life as a democracy.

And so what is emerging in America is the very worst scenario: A huge, critical mass of ignorant, media-drunk people and savvy, nihilistic types willing and able to manipulate them for power. Therefore, the end of the liberal, democratic culture and the beginning of something that will implode within a century or two.

The spirit of a culture is the first to die. Later, come the consequences such as the ending of the Constitution and Federalist system.

What happened between the election of November 2002 and this summer? Money. Celebrity. Media. Viral marketing. These are the ingredients that went into the overthrow of a legitimate election. And if people are not worried about it, they are simply agents of their own demise.

Posted October 7, 2003

A brief impression of the major candidates for California governor as they present themselves in debate:

  1. Arnold: Goofy, platitudinal cartoon character who reminds me of one of the angry super-heroes in comic books I used to read as a pre-teen-ager.
  2. McClintock: Competent but should be running for the Governor of Louisiana or New Hampshire.
  3. Camejo: A Berkeley guy who, like the Berkeley crowd, hasn't grown up in 35 years and still thinks that by taxing corporations you will solve all the problems. Don't corporations move from one place to another when they are taxed?
  4. Ariana: Fiery redhead who has carefully plotted out her attacks and actually began to resemble an ancient witch from Samos during the debates. We don't, by the way, hold that against her.
  5. Bustamante: A smug, inner-circle guy who is the Spanish-speaking replica of Gray Davis.
And will any of these people solve the problems of the state of California? There's not an authentic leader among them who could take a critical mass of citizens and get them to go in the direction he or she would want them to go. And with the people, go the legislators, and, eventually, the bureaucracy.

This is a good tune up for the Presidential election next year. It's never about issues, it's never about command of the issues. These are all done by other people. The candidate must appear that they have thought through some of these things and must be able to defend a statistic when another candidate throws out a contradictory statistic. The only question we need to ask from people running for executive office is, "Will you provide leadership?" Reagan had leadership with half the brain of Jimmy Carter. FDR provided leadership while handicapped. Lincoln provided leadership while laughed at for his appearance. Martin Luther King provided leadership despite racism in and out of government.

The will to power is commonplace. The egotism to seek high office is rampant among many. The authentic leader is very, very rare. And without leadership you can not solve problems.

California, again, is pointing to the future; the future of a waiting catastrophe as years of neglect, dumbing-down, mass culture, corruption, come home to roost.

Posted September 25, 2003

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There is a democracy in that the people are free to make a life; then there is a series of governing structures that mediate conflict and are an expression of the democracy at any given time. It's the interface between the freedom of the democratic person and the structure of power that is the fascinating one, especially in a robust democracy like America. Well, it slides between the side-show and Town Hall Meeting and it's always good to try and identify where it is at any given moment. In California we witness the side-show with the Woman with Huge Breasts, The Sex Orgyist Cum Gubernator, Snakes and Their Charmers, Man With Forked Tongue, Old Bellicose Radical, and a host of others under the Big Tent wanting to run the show.

Television, which is directly linked to vaudeville, is responsible for this without a doubt. The Vaudevillian nature of TV has turned everything into a joke taken seriously only by the mass manipulators behind it all. I would call them the Nihilists who emerged in the 60's and 70's when the culture burnt itself to a crisp. That was a period of time when authority absolutely collapsed due to Vietnam and Watergate and other indiscretions of the public sector. Anyone with a grudge, with resentment, with a claim against the society rose up and gained some credibility. The anti-hero emerged and was played out by the darling of the boomers, Bill Clinton, who found himself serviced by an intern while furtively looking around for the gardener; maybe Chauncy was spying on him. All of this occurring in the same office where Kennedy had dealt with the Cuban Missile Crisis, FDR with the Depression and World War II, LBJ had signed the Civil Rights Act with Martin Luther King looking over his shoulder, among other high-marks in that office.

The one fatal flaw for Boomers is that they took themselves out of the political picture very early and never returned. They were victims of the period of time they claim as their own. And what it did was eviscerate the public discourse and sign it over to the thieves, the grotesqueries, the nuts, the conmen and conwomen who know an easy mark when they see one.

The Nihilists were upstaged in the 80's by the Scairdy Cats such as the TV preachers. And, no doubt, those two types have dominated political culture and the larger society in the past 40 years. The Nihilists are gleeful because we live in an unprecedented world that can be taken by the worst in human nature; the Scairdy Cats are afraid because the values they thought so permanent are not.

The only way this will change is if you change the nature of the democratic citizen. It starts there. If you don't have good people and good citizens how in the world can you expect a good democracy? And good citizens begin with understanding that which confronts them.

Posted September 4, 2003

The California Recall resembles the ancient practice of mobs stoning one leader and raising up a popular guy to run the show. A whole century of Roman Emperors have been labeled The Barracks Emperors because of the non-procedural way they were brought to power. "Oh yes, Conan will save us from the evil magicians!" This is what politics has descended to because the people have allowed the celebrity and entertainment class to take over. The mass society and a liberal, democratic political culture are two different animals. And we live in a mass society. You could blame the educational system for not teaching the people how to develop their experience and knowledge, make it real, and thus laugh at the entertainment world rather than pour into it their hopes. We are now beginning to see the bad seed from the 60's and 70's era bear its fruit. The entertainment class began to assert itself at that time and has successfully entered the core of political culture. It is a classic case of the "revenge of the masses" as described by Gasset.

Isn't anyone concerned that the recall was instigated by a rich guy (Issa) so another rich guy (Arnold) could be put at the head of the most powerful state, with a third rich guy (Buffett) at his side, raising property taxes and, generally, opening California up to be raped by every powerful interest in the United States?

Who, in their right mind believes that creating this circus, creating new divisions, creating new chaos, will result in a better state? Only those who, by habit, change reality by changing the channel.

And it looks more and more likely that the race is between Arnold and Bustamante, who will have some problems of his own. He appears the biggest opportunist around and the remnant of state government still loyal to Gray Davis will do everything they can to sabotage him.

Nothing has changed much since the re-election of Davis in November of last year. He's not popular, he's not good. But, by applying pressure directly on him and his party to become better, California could remain intact and not subject to the exploitation surely to come if Conan gets elected.

Anyone who thinks California will be better after all of this is in love with chaos. People, that is, who have descended into irreality.

Posted August 18, 2003

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Previous Events:

War on Terrorism

The Progressive Era

What is a perfect President?

On Political Culture

On JFK Assassination

The Clinton Bubble

The state of things


Affirmative Action

Liberals and Nuders

The Trent Lott Affair

Why the Democrats are in Trouble

The Uncertain Decade

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