By David Glenn Cox
You know, sometimes I pick up this 21st century quill and electronic rodent ready to charge down some pre-determined path. Here I was, ready to write a very informative piece about past financial collapses all throughout the history of our capitalist enclave, when the demons overtook me. Perhaps demons or maybe a guiding spirit, pointing me down a spiritual path. Oh, fuck it, it’s damn laziness; at least that’s what they called it in high school. But then, what didn’t they blame on laziness in high school? Laziness or drug abuse, but what other guns of entertainment were available to us in high school? Well, of course except for sex and masturbation, but those would get you thrown out faster than the other two combined.
So, I was going to write this piece about Jay Gould and the railroads, but snore… Let me be succinct. Capitalism is, at best, a crooked card game; the wise know when to get in and when to get out. The faithful pray that all will turn out all right. The academics explain away all that went wrong, and with a pin’s head of evidence they compose volumes with charts and graphs and footnotes and all the other ancillary bullshit required to receive tenure. But for you and I, we get to clean up the blood and live under the bridge while the gamblers feign their innocence and the Republicans stand on their chairs and raise a whiskey glass to temperance and the howling days of madness.
I really don’t know what to make of our new President. I voted for him, but what other choice was there, really? Obama is very smart, but of course next to George Bush, Elmer Fudd comes across as Steven Hawking. Obama is so smart I never would have tried to sell him weed in high school; he’s scary smart. I understand political posturing and making concessions to the other side, but when do concessions cross the line to become quisling manifestations of complicity?
In what Play School version of democracy are George Bush and Dick Cheney not on the run from the law or seeking asylum? George would be hiding out in South America on his daddy’s banana plantation under the name of Juan Smith or something equally easy to remember. Cheney would be hiding in the mountains of Montana in some Aryan nation safe house, sleeping on a cot with his M-16 by his side and the safety off.
You can give me reasons to let it go til the cows come home, but to ignore the crimes against the state is to make the President a petty tyrant with a time clock, a steal-yourself-rich dealer at the card table. To chloroform the public, to sanitize their deeds and to allow them to walk away as respected members of the community while some kid who sells crack in Philadelphia to help his mother pay the rent gets twenty years. These bastards’ pictures are going to be on the walls of the schoolhouse for your children and grandchildren to look at. Can you live with that? Can you honestly expect a country to do right when it refuses to accept what it has done wrong? The howling days of madness, indeed!
Certain that the bogeymen are gone for good, the informers start to emerge from their aerie to tell us tales of beatings and poor treatment. Really? George Bush and Dick Cheney established prisons outside the reach of American justice so that they can dress their sacrificial lambs in the clothing of terrorists and then the fact that they were mistreated is somehow news? But TV news is what it is; television is a two-dimensional media, image in the front and if you get up from the Lazy Boy and take a look, nothing in back! Pied pipers fluting the sweet chloroform music of corporate-controlled pap. It’s not what they say but what they don’t say; it’s not the story they tell you as you breathe deeply but the story that they don’t tell you in the days of howling madness.
The manacled, the medicated, the faceless and the faithless, and the numberless millions awakened from the American dream with a sharp stick and a poke in the eye ask, what are you going to do for me? We are going to build new bridges for you to sleep under! And tax cuts in the name of moderation and just plain sporty government; a third of the stimulus package is going to be in the form of tax cuts. After thirty years of tax cuts for the top twenty percent of wage earners its only fair to give them more, right? After all, the tax cuts created the economy that we have now! They’ve brought us jobs and prosperity, especially for the top twenty percent and the workers in India or China. Such is the crap we hear in the days of howling madness.
Hell, Jay Gould was a piker and Bernie Madoff a rank amateur. Suddenly it’s news again that billions of Iraqi reconstruction money was pilfered by American contractors. Hello, American public, I would like to introduce you to Miss Direction. The Bush tax cuts have and will cost the US Treasury between two to four Trillion dollars! Trillions with a “T.” While you were getting excited about your five-hundred dollar check, Dick Cheney and his cohorts were getting $150,000 extra annually, and now we’re giving them more in a to-go bag.
Maybe we won’t notice, in all the commotion, the overturned tables, the screams, the blood and the cards flying through the air. Damn, and just when we thought we had a good hand, too, aces and eights! Its sepsis boys and he ain’t a gonna make it, the wound is too deep! The bookies and bankers, the bunglers and smugglers look at each other to see who owes who money. But they all owe each other money, a lot more money than what’s on the toppled table. They explain, “We didn’t tell them to take those loans, we merely securitized them and sold them to the unsuspecting for a profit.”
The howling days of madness, Alice in Wonderland daze, where to know is not to know. Where to speculate is labor and actual labor is for the faceless, nameless, profitless, homeless and worthless. Where we celebrate the warriors that do not fight and the peacekeepers that do, by stealing their glory and hiding their bodies. But this is change! We say we’re sorry now! The TV politicians who rail against bailouts in public and who want to borrow your pen in private to endorse the check. Vowing to finish the war we never should have started in the first place, to fight to the death to defend a Gucci revolutionary and the Mayor of Kabul. To put all back in balance by kicking it real hard just one more time. Drink up! It’s whiskey night in the Fuehrer Bunker and the looters drink for free.
But for you and I, the deal is done. The hand’s all in and you ain’t a got no friends just like you didn’t have no friends in 1819 as homes were foreclosed. Or in 1837, or in 1857, or 1873, or 1893, or 1929, and yet every time it happens the experts look surprised. The manacled, the medicated, the faceless and the faithless and the numberless millions awakened from the American dream with a sharp stick and a poke in the eye ask, what are you going to do for me? We’re going to give you change! But first come tax cuts, in the howling days of madness!
photo by ifilmalaska
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.