The Oligarchs Must Support Joe Biden


The oligarchs’ and powerbrokers’ conspicuous reluctance to hand Donald Trump the presidential reins has escaped the understanding of even the shrewdest political critics for five years running. Why were they so visibly uncomfortable with Trump, whose affability with weapons contractors, support of feudal economics, and penchant for brutal law enforcement were never in doubt? The answer to this question is surprisingly lucid, but it did not become so ‘til it was approached through the miasma of Joe Biden’s presidential campaign. Next Saturday will mark a full year since Biden commenced his quest for the Democratic Party’s nomination, a typically grueling and demanding process through which he has floated rather docilely. He was preserved, even embalmed, protected from the fusillade of skeptical questions any other candidate must and did face. Who coddled him through this brutal affair? The same puissant people who had such remarkable reservations about Trump. Why did they shield him? For the same reason: to save face in the midst of an existential crisis.

A person navigates a midlife crisis by constructing an artificial neo-adolescence, and a comparable process occurs among nations. The American Empire is in visible decline, and as it perceives its own mortality, it reverts to the crude impulses of its youth. Trump is the most garish symptom of this regression, a puerile fantasy come to life. He, or it, would not be pursued under ordinary, stable circumstances—but these are extraordinary, unstable times. A healthy civilization would not select Trump as its political, intellectual, or spiritual leader—but this is a decidedly unhealthy nation. It is not to say that Trump departs ideologically from the American presidents of yesteryear, but his irrationally ephebic style belies our society’s hollow and flimsy foundations. We cannot help but look upon Trump with unease, perhaps even nausea or malaise, and in our skepticism, the oligarchs are threatened ever so slightly—not in their person, but in their position.

Such was their motivation to support Hillary Clinton so generously in 2016. Her policies were not significantly different from Trump’s, which is really a gentle way of explaining that both of them were equally loyal to the corrupt establishment. Nonetheless, her placid professionalism contrasted sharply with Trump’s bellicosity, and because the former is much more effective—at least for the oligarch’s purpose of pretending “the system” is both functional and stable—Clinton earned their unequal patronage. The mainstream media, empowered by corporate funding, depicted her as the preferable candidate, perhaps even as the required candidate; however, this had the ironical effect of refashioning Trump as the underdog, a historically adored archetype that stands at the center of so many American myths. Did this reversal—or assignation—of roles play to Trump’s unexpected benefit? At the very least, the establishment tipped its hand, the same hand it plays in all elections, including the present contest.


Obama’s Casual Electoral Interference

The relentless proselytization, rigid dogmatism, and hyper-partisanship of the Trumpish Age have exposed our susceptibility to crude propaganda, and our distasteful appreciation for the same. Lost is our basic expectation of political neutrality in the popular press: after many decades of skeptical criticism of these informative institutions, we have joyously abandoned our search for objectivity and have pursued reassurance. Generally, this is reassurance of our infallible accuracy in all of our own assumptions and judgments; more specifically, it is confirmation of the moral and intellectual perfection of our favorite politicians. Our beloved representatives cannot do wrong—such, at least, is the implicit message of our trusted journalists, who write in the service of, rather than about, the representatives of their political party. Because we believe that these politicians and these writers are working toward the same desirable goal, we think nothing of their incestuous bond—perhaps literally, as the relationship itself tends to escape our notice.

Only in an age of shameless partiality could Ryan Lizza write in defense of Barack Obama, whose role in tilting the Democratic Party presidential primaries was finally exposed in a piece published by Politico. Truly one of the more astonishing essays written in this unfinished year, it is chillingly titled “Barack Obama Wins the Democratic Primary”, and it explains how Obama broke his own promise to remain neutral in this contest, now effectively settled. Despite continuously declaring, despite repeatedly lying, that he wouldn’t interfere in the primaries, many of Obama’s “aides now concede that behind the scenes Obama played a role in nudging things in Biden’s direction”. This “nudge”, as they humbly describe it, included personal phone calls to Buttigieg and Klobuchar to persuade them to endorse Biden instead of Bernie Sanders. Presumably, these conversations were more cordial than his discussion with Debbie Wasserman Schultz in the summer of 2016, when he ordered her to resign from the Democratic National Committee.


Biological Warfare and the Democratic National Committee


The coronavirus is the most vocal, candid, and knowledgeable whistleblower in American history. It has exposed in stark and incontestable detail the malfeasance of our government, in particular its intended neglect of our so-called social infrastructure and, by extension, the negligent killing of thousands upon thousands of Americans and counting. The proof is as grisly as it is relentless, broadcast twenty-four hours daily on each of the corporate news outlets—but never described as it has been here. Historically, we have responded to unflattering revelations such as these with an almost animalistic umbrage, unleashing our indignant disdain on the bearer of bad news instead of the scoundrels at the center of the story. Such a reaction is doubly tempting in this specific instance, as the coronavirus cannot speak a word in its own defense. Nevertheless, we would do well to take a deep breath and ask ourselves if here is offered an opportunity to learn.

Unfortunately, no race of people, no sect of religious extremists, have ever resented education as passionately as the American people. Americans have made a single contribution to the chronicle of man: they have demonstrated the obesity of spirit, complementary to the obesity of body. Ergo, they look upon every activity, every endeavor—not as an exercise, but as an encumbrance . . . yet, while the lethargic American might express respect for, albeit only through incredulity towards, a physical feat, the same staid glutton despises any intellectual exertion. “Why do you inconvenience me with this nonsense, this junk? Can’t you see I have more important things to do?” The American cannot turn down enlightenment quickly enough, preferring the ensconcing darkness of deliberate ignorance.

There, in the jetty folds of unknowing, one doesn’t have to answer antimonious and inconvenient questions. Here, in the spacious uncertainty, several come to mind: “How can the government tell people not to go to work and simultaneously compel them to pay taxes? How can the government permit landlords to demand rent of tenants who are legally prohibited from entering the workplace? How can the government forbid foot traffic while permitting interstate travel, including by air? If the airlines are exempt from emergency laws mandating the shuttering of ‘non-essential’ business, then why have the wealthy leaders of that industry received cash assistance from the government? If it is unsafe to enter somebody else’s house, then why are people who are wearing no protective equipment delivering food to as many customers as will order it? If it is dangerous for more than ten people to ‘gather’, then why are the people of Wisconsin voting in a presidential primary?”


Self-Medication: Coronavirus Diary, Part V


“It was natural to think of your own end as everyone else was contemplating the demise of the species, or the planet, or the massed celestial ascent of the Elect.”

–Carl Sagan, Contact

Gloomy weather for the last two days has prevented me from exploring the state and searching for proof of disassembly. The deconstruction of the American anti-state will not be less violent for its sluggish pace, and it will not take place within my own home . . . that is, not until the last ineffectual safeguard has been removed and discarded. I must document the gradual devastation out there, but for now—and very possibly for a while yet, if Governor Sununu credits the rumors and strips the people of New Hampshire of our right to travel—my world is this apartment, one in which no one but I have walked in days, maybe even weeks. The glass door to the rain-splattered outside world appears to be thickening with each passing day, but the wooden door to the hallway, behind which unknown people may be listening or steeling themselves to force an entrance, seems to be thinning and weakening with every report of aggressively advancing militarization.

Those footsteps on the other side of that wall . . . are they my neighbors, slipping out for a moment to fetch the morning paper, or are they the creeping boots of myrmidons, wooden tops with heavy weaponry coming to fetch the wayward writer of seditious literature? Only the incurably insouciant fail to notice the nascent fascism, and while I am probably too trifling and insignificant to be hauled off by the first wave of arrests, my number will be called, sooner or later. Little attention, if any at all, will be called to my case: my family scarcely knows who I am, and my pool of friendships has all but completely evaporated. Hardly any effort is needed to make Dack Rouleau disappear, and when the cataclysmic meltdown commences in earnest, who will have the time or psychic fuel to spare on protecting anyone but their own? Nevertheless, I can almost hear the clock ticking down for me, and I wonder just how long it will be before I am part of the autocracy’s collection.

All propensity to hope seems inherently misguided, but to be hopeless is to decompose. Needless to say, to decompose is to die, especially in this funereal epoch of collective decomposition—or is it least of all in these times, when everybody stands on the brink of devastation? Ugh, this is not a question to be tackled on an empty stomach—or, for that matter, with an unclouded mind. Might as well prepare myself a cocktail and allow the creative juices to flow. What’s the harm in drinking a little rum, or even a lot of rum, at four in the afternoon? If the elemental structure of our society isn’t shattering on the impact of the stock market crash, or if the federal agents aren’t printing my name on a list of political criminals, then certainly some other lethal brew is boiling in the cauldron of this crisis? Life will be a cascade of ugliness and cruelty, undeniably intolerable to all but, again, the incurably insouciant, long before we turn the calendar to May. Such, at least, is my expectation, and I like to think I’m pretty well restrained . . . or maybe I’m just docile, pacified by the glass of Boston rum punch to my right.


Tom Brady, American Empire, and the Age of Piracy


We extort, we pilfer, we filch and sack

Drink up, me hearties, yo ho!

Maraud and embezzle and even hijack

Drink up, me hearties, yo ho!

On March 16th, as millions of citizens of the wealthiest nation in recorded history were prohibited by legal decree from going to work and earning a living, yet simultaneously compelled by the same force of law to meet all of their financial obligations, a man named Tom Brady was commanding his valet to prepare his Aston Martin for an early exit. As this vehicle, valued at $360,000, turned the corner and poured its headlights over Brady’s face, could the driver spy the indignation in his eyes? Brady was leaving the mansion—one of the mansions, excuse me—owned by Robert Kraft, a geriatric billionaire with a penchant for prostitution and an affectionate relationship with Donald Trump. For the last twenty years, Brady had been one of Kraft’s employees, collecting over $230 million in modest compensation to throw a football and wear the New England Patriots’ jerseys. However, when Kraft asked Brady to take $23 million to do it again for four months in the autumn of 2020, Brady blew a wet raspberry, rather than swallow the insult, and announced his resignation. He wouldn’t be treated like some powerless peasant, and Kraft really ought to have known better than to treat him as such: surely he couldn’t be so boorish as to expect Brady to break his back for peanuts?

Forty-eight hours later, as landlords and slumlords throughout the country were battling the federal government to retain their right to demand rent from the unemployed, Brady was grinning hungrily as he signed a much more respectable contract. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, owned by a group of stock and oil speculators with close ties to the Bush family, had agreed to pay Brady between $25 and $30 million to play football, minus those pesky state taxes that Kraft’s employees must pay in Massachusetts. As he signed his new agreement, Brady was wearing a Swiss watch decorated with elaborate military homage, and still available for sale at more than twelve grand. Perhaps he bought it to mark the occasion, or maybe even earlier, to celebrate the sale of his Los Angeles mansion, a transaction that netted Brady almost $30 million in profit. It’s unclear why he wanted to leave Los Angeles—or, for that matter, why he owns a separate home in Costa Rica—but he may have finally grown tired of the city’s homeless population, which threatens to exceed sixty thousand.