The Business of America

The Business of America

…is not business. It’s being a society.

© Bryan Zepp Jamieson

October 20th, 2012

A favorite stance by Republicans and libertarians, especially this time of year when voter registrations are being trashed by Republican party operatives and the son of the Republican candidate owns the company that counts the votes in most of Ohio is that America should be run like a business. Just like they’re trying to do with the voting.

Why, by lying, cheating, and using economic force to get their way, they’re already trying to run America like a business, and this should be a clear and explicit warning to anyone who doesn’t want to end up as corporate chattel.

The notion, one that Mitt Romney explicitly stated during the second debate, is that if America is run like a business, by a businessman, it will be far more efficient. Efficiency’s a good thing, right?

The notion is one that rests very comfortably on bumper stickers and in Republican brains, but doesn’t bear any actual examination.

Running a country like a business is an absolutely horrible idea. It’s been tried before, you see. Holland tried it in the 15th century and eventually crashed, never to be a major power again. Italy tried it in the 1930s and 40s, with dismal results. The trains did NOT run on time. Indeed, they barely ran at all. Then Italy went to war for national glory, and all the trains got blown up. Spain has never quite recovered from the Franco years. China, while mouthing communist platitudes, is as business-oriented a country as you can find, and it is a huge-scale social and economic disaster waiting to happen. When that bubble bursts, hundreds of millions will die, and the rest of the world will be forced to see the conditions under which the Chinese lived as peons in a business state.

Continue reading “The Business of America”

Debate the First

Obama versus not-Romney

© Bryan Zepp Jamieson
October 4th 2012


The first debate is fairly easy to sum up: notRomney painted Obama as ineffectual and wedded to policies that hurt the middle class. Obama painted notRomney as vague and more than a bit scary. In short, both were playing trope-versus-trope for all they were worth, and neither had anything substantive to say. Romney decided he was debating as notRomney, the Unrepublican.

It was fun watching notRomney kind of pretend that he wasn’t sure who this “Paul Ryan” was, or why people should be afraid of him. Three times he said that his plan was not a five trillion dollar tax cut without acknowledging that he had supported the Ryan plan—which would do exactly that—continuously over the past two years. It’s strange to see a Republican repudiate the notion that his plan would cause a large tax cut.

He doubled down on the false claim that Obamacare would cut Medicare by $716 billion. Obama refuted it the first time he claimed it, noting that it saved that amount, but without cutting any benefits for anyone. Continue reading “Debate the First”

What the Kittens Lost

Willard, that’s not a sauna; it’s a toilet bowl

©Bryan Zepp Jamieson

September 23rd, 2012

….and I’m back.

I needed a break from writing essays, partly because after fifteen years I needed a good long break, and partly so I could sit down and write a novel. Well, the novel is written, and going through the copy edit and beta reader process now, and I’ll have more to say about that in future writings, but for now, let’s look at…surprise! The 2012 Presidential campaign!


Have you seen anything like this? I’ve been following US presidential campaigns since 1960. Granted, that first one was a bit vague; I knew a guy named Kennedy was running against a guy named Nixon for the American premiership or whatever, and I was hoping Nixon would win because his name rhymed with George Dixon, a football hero of mine. Scoff if you will, but I suspect that I made as informed a choice in 1960 as 30% of adult American voters do today. And the Alouettes lost the Grey Cup anyway.

Maybe in the end, Romney will lose because there are no sports heroes he can rhyme his name with. But he seems intent on losing the support of voters who CAN make informed decisions first.

I’ve never seen a campaign as chaotic as this one. For a guy who likes to fire people, Romney sure seems intent on keeping his campaign staff, no matter how inept and flat-out damaging they are. Continue reading “What the Kittens Lost”

Mormon Jackass

Mormon Jackass

by Zepp, frankly

I want a pasty little Mormon jackass
With a long phony rails and has a conscience that fails
A corny little Mormon jackass
A sight for pity from Salt Lake City
Baloney inside
and he can swallow his pride.

I want a smarmy little Mormon jackass
Adept at the deal and who knows how to steal
I want a sleazy little Mormon jackass
With glad-handing friends, who squeaks when he bends
I just want a fool
To be an establishment tool.

I want a sorry little Mormon jackass
Who don’t know shit about working and who is constantly jerking
I want a vicious little Mormon jackass
Who can run over winos in a super stretch limo
With a satisfied sigh
I just want that jackass to run
Once he’s on top we all twist in the wind.

I want a fucked up little Mormon jackass
A flipper, a flopper, he’s as bent as a copper
A crazy little Mormon jackass
A compulsive storer in church-designed drawers
He’ll be a complete whore
Willing to shaft both the rich and the poor.

I want a snotty little Mormon jackass
Who can lube corporate cogs while he airs out his dogs
A stuckup little Mormon jackass
For whatever flies, who weasels and lies
It would be quite a fright
To make this dumb jackass a national blight
To make this dumb jackass a national blight
To make this dumb jackass a national blight
To make this dumb jackass a national blight


with apologies to the late Frank Zappa and his fantastic “Jewish Princess”


Not dead, in jail or a slave? Thank a liberal!

Summer is Coming

Summer is coming
…and a host of other things, too

© Bryan Zepp Jamieson
May 2nd 2012

Summer is coming.
For most folks, that’s usually good news. If you don’t live in the lower plains states or the American south, where summer renders the land uninhabitable, it’s a fun, relaxed time. Or at least it used to be.
Some folks remember the “Long Hot Summers” of the sixties and seventies; the tensions and civil strife, cities in flames, angry voices in the streets. Back then, thirty million Americans felt—with good cause—that they were subjugated by a system that hated them, cheated them, sneered at them and dismissed requests for fair treatment as disloyalty.
Now over three hundred million Americans find themselves in that position. And the simmering anger and desperation that led to Watts and Detroit is mounting.
America is still in a Depression. Yes, the market is way up (that’s actually part of the problem) and unemployment has dropped somewhat (the U6 shows it down from about 19% to 14.5%, still far too high in a country that has no real safety net) and economic activity is better than it was in 2008. But it’s like 1936, a year economists reckoned to be a year of recovery, even though the Great Depression would grind on for another seven or eight years. GDP was back to 1928 levels, and unemployment had dropped to 13.8, and people saw a light at the end of the tunnel. But then Congress imposed spending cuts and deficit reductions (what we now call “austerity measures”) and the economy plunged again.
Worse is the fact that whereas in the Depression, the wealth gap narrowed as the wealthy took the brunt of the economic losses (although not the hunger and privation visited upon the working poor), that gap now continues to widen: the incomes of the top 400 CEOs went up a staggering 15% last year, as everyone else’s income remained flat, not counting inflation. In other words, lost ground.
So for millions upon millions of Americans, the desperation and fear grows deeper and more painful, along with the realization that those in power have gone from indifferent to openly adversarial. FDR spoke of a “new deal”; the strutting and sneering fascists of his class today jibe that perhaps if workers were more worthy they would get more.
The fascist pseudo-justices on the Supreme Court tore down the one remaining wall of any significance between a free democracy and fascism with Citizens United, and the grotesque results of it were already apparent in the primary season this year.
The GOP field was a diverse collection of retreads, morons, crooks and bastards, yet with the exception of Jon Huntsman, who was quickly marginalized, they all spoke with one voice. There wasn’t an eyelash of difference in their opinions. They marched in perfect sync, uttering the grotesqueries of GOP class warfare.
They all washed out; the failed rural drama queen, the religious fruitcake, the pretentious fake intellectual, the dim yee-hah Confederate governor, the crazed teabagger queen. What was left was the vapid Mormon billionaire, a pampered scion who is puzzled that people don’t understand he has a right to build elevators for his cars or make immense profits by destroying jobs. Why he can even mistreat dogs. He sent his equally vapid wife out to get In Touch with The People in a thousand dollar T-shirt.
Mitt Romney makes Thurston Howell the III look like Will Rogers. He makes John Kerry, the last vapid plutocrat the Democrats tossed at us as a pretend candidate, look like Robin Williams. His wife is a cross between Lovey and Callista.
There are several thousand people who make up the upper crust, the fantastically overpriviledged collection of buffoons, heirs, hangers-on and sociopaths who make up the economic elite of the country and control over 75% of America’s vast wealth, and this was the best they could come up with as a man who could appeal to the people.
They aren’t even trying any more, but then, they know they don’t have to.
They’ll dump over two billion into this campaign over the next six months, shoving Romney down the country’s throat. Worse, they’ll have nearly total control of House, Senate and most local campaigns.
But the country already suspects they’ve lost control of the process that is used to select their government. The parade of losers all speaking with a single party line voice over the entire spring was evidence of that.
And that partyline voice is, at best, contemptuous of the 300 million plus Americans who aren’t part of the exalted rich, and at worst flat-out animus.
Have you been out of work for a year? You say you’re over 50, and nearly half the businesses in your town have closed? Well, you don’t deserve unemployment because it’s not the place of the people who benefited from your 30 years of hard work to look out for your welfare.
This is America. You get what you deserve.
And according to the super-rich and their puppets, you don’t deserve shit. You aren’t of any use to them unless you can buy something from them, be it shelter, clothing, education or health care. If you can’t pay, you don’t deserve to live.
The Ryan budget, with its merciless cuts meant to reduce the damage done by eliminating all taxes on the super-rich, lays it out for all to see. Really, it would be much cleaner if the budget just proposed building death camps for the tens of millions of Americans made superfluous—and therefore unproductive—under the new regime. If Americans aren’t willing to compete with people making pennies an hour in Asia for jobs, they don’t deserve to eat.
Americans tripled their productivity over the past 30 years, and lost ground on income. All that extra profit went to the people who are now using a tiny bit of that profit to try and convince you that you don’t deserve even the crumbs they throw you.
You could have been like them, but you weren’t a sociopath born to rich parents. So you deserve what you get—or don’t get.
Not all wealthy people are sociopaths, of course. In fact, most are not. Stephen King joined a chorus of multimillionaires demanding to know why his federal income tax wasn’t higher. The grotesque pig who is governor of New Jersey and the GOP’s heir-apparent for top fascist growled that if King didn’t like his tax rate, he should “write a check”. Christie couldn’t stand the idea that one of his class should debase himself by caring about that worthless American rabble.
The corruption goes beyond sociopathy into psychopathy. A leading Republican in the state of Arizona, who also happened to be a neo-Nazi (yes, with the swastikas and struts and beliefs that Jews and other lesser races should be exterminated) apparently shot and killed four people yesterday, including a toddler. He was just standing his ground, you know; that toddler had TEETH. He then shot himself, saving us all the trouble.
The Goebbels of this nasty little police state, Rupert Murdoch, was declared unfit by Parliament to be head of a major corporation devoted to controlling what the British people see and hear, and the American right are losing their minds over that. Apparently, stopping a sociopath from spying on private citizens, bribing and blackmailing celebrities and politicians, and trying to dismantle a free press is violating his right to free speech in fascistland.
The fake election is on, only now most people sense that it is a fraud, and that the GOP are no more running as a party devoted to freedom and democracy than Adolf Hitler was in 1933. If they take this election, America is finished in all but name. Oh, there will still be patriotism and Christianity, both in abundance, in greater amounts than we’ve ever seen before. There will be loyalty oaths to Grover Norquist and internal passports to weed out “the illegals”. There will be endless discussions on TV “news” about how anyone who doesn’t adhere to the party line is a communist (like everyone in Occupy) or a terrorist.
Speaking of Occupy, they had their biggest rallies yet yesterday, on May 1st. The GOP and the right wing propaganda machine tried to make it a communist celebration, of course, even going so far as to try to link the slogan for Obama’s campaign, “Forward” with a long-defunct communist magazine of that name from the thirties. And of course there were small, violent sprees by supposed Occupy members the night before the demonstrations, and it doesn’t take much in the way of brains to realize that such events would be staged, not by Occupy, but by the people seeking to vilify Occupy. Five bozos were arrested in a sting operation by the FBI to blow up a bridge, (yes, the day before the demonstrations!) and lazy or corrupt journalists and pseudo-journalists on the right were quick to at least mention Occupy, even though no actual link existed.
But the people are noticing all this, and one by one, the lights on the board reflecting the state of America’s culture are turning from green to red. This isn’t a good thing, but it’s inevitable when an aristocracy seeks to enslave an entire population, as is happening now in America.
This summer may prove to be a long, hot summer.

The Fifth Characteristic

The GOP goes for a clean sweep of Britt’s “Fourteen characteristics”

March 18th 2012

Back in 2003, Lawrence Britt wrote “The Fourteen Defining Characteristics of Fascism” (sometimes also titled “Identifiers: An Examination of Fascism”) That essay is posted below, and can be found here:

The list seemed to fit the toxic right like a glove.

Mindless avid flag waving? Check.

Contempt for rights? Well, there’s tort reform, and hatred of “trial lawyers”. For starters. Endless sneers about “entitled minorities.”

Scapegoating? Can you say “Sharia law menace”? The Islamic threat? Liberals?

Worship the military? Check. I’ve even seen right wingers whining about how weak America will appear if they punish Robert Bale if he’s convicted of killing those sixteen Afghan civilians. Some right wingers think it’s an imposition that he even be tried.

Continue reading “The Fifth Characteristic”

Berth Control

It isn’t just contraception; it’s a power struggle

March 10th 2012

One of the more remarkable manifestations of the current campaign is the sudden foofooraw over contraception. That Santorum would make an issue of it is no big surprise; he’s been considered the religious nut all along. That the rest of the party would jump on the bandwagon as part of a larger casting of conducting “a war on women” is nothing short of amazing.

They have to be pretty confident that between the pressure to prevent poor people from voting, and the insane corporate corruption brought about by Citizens United, they are going to steal this election no matter what they say or do, because they sure aren’t bothering to appeal to voters.

Still, better to assume that the battle isn’t lost, and these fascistic maniacs haven’t already seized control of the country.

Continue reading “Berth Control”

The Ungodly Godly

In the batter’s circle: Nehemiah Scudder

February 23rd 2012

 In 2004 the renowned British political documentarian Adam Curtis did a three-part series entitled “The Power of Nightmares.” In it, he pointed out that the group known as the neo-cons greatly resembled their counterparts amongst the radicalized population of the Middle East, al Qaida in particular. Both sides are deeply mistrustful of individual freedom and liberties, and are intent on using authoritarian methods of containing such. Both sides used fear, if in different ways. Islamic radicals used terrorism, whereas neo-cons used fear-mongering. Each side found in the other a useful bogeyman.

The neo-cons lost power and influence in America (and the power and influence of al Qaida in the Middle East had always been vastly overstated), and withdrew from mainstream political discourse as the military campaigns in Iraq and Afghanistan bogged down and eventually failed.

But another group stepped in to replace the neo-cons in American right-wing political circles, and I tend to think of them as the ‘anti-Soviets.’ They saw their role in America as being similar to the role of the Communist Party in the Soviet Union: a sort of shadow government without accountability, and with vast influence in the workings of the actual government. They were the “financial sector.”

Continue reading “The Ungodly Godly”

The Drumbeat

Bull, and rumors of bull

February 18th 2012

 It’s more than a little weird to see the Guardian, normally one of the more sensible newspapers, write a lead story that is pretty clearly informed by the growing war fever over Iran.

But in an article today, written by Chris McGreal and Conal Urquhart, it does just that, accepting without criticism the unfounded claims that Iran is developing a nuclear bomb, and utterly failing to mention that Israel has at least 25 nuclear bombs, and the United States, well over 8,000.

In other words, Israel alone could destroy every microbe on the surface of the land in every large city in Iran. The United States could so utterly destroy the country that it would retroactively vanish from all the history books. This would tend to make Iran think before pressing the button.

The article claims, thoroughly without evidence or even rationalization, that if Iran were to get nukes, then every other country in the middle east would want to get them, too. As if Israel getting nukes didn’t make her neighbors nervous. And the Bush administration had a simple message for the “evil doers” – nuke up, or the US might capriciously invade you. People noticed that Afghanistan and Iraq were invaded, but North Korea and Pakistan were not, and didn’t have much trouble concluding that the US wasn’t eager to attack nations that had nukes.

Continue reading “The Drumbeat”


It’s the end of the world as we know it…

February 8th 2012


It’s chaos out there.

First, there was the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upholding the Walker ruling that found Prop 8 was unconstitutional. The populace of California, many of whom graduated from the eighth grade, did not have the right to deny legal rights to select parts of the Constitution.

I immediately ran over the the County Courthouse, and found thousands of married couples lining up to file for divorce. No surprise there, of course. This is, after all, California. But the crowd seemed more agitated than usual.

I spoke to one beefy looking lumberjack sort who was towing a sweet little eighteen year old thing while crying convulsively and wiping snot off on his flannel sleeve.

“Wrong team won the Superbowl?” I asked, cautiously.

“N-n-no! I won $50 bucks on that. It’s this faggot marriage thing!”

“Um, the Prop 8 ruling.”

“Whatever number it was. It’s wrong, just wrong. The bible sez so!”

“So why are you here?”

“Giting a dee-vorce!” I looked at his wife, who shrugged and gave me a fuzzy smile. Oxycontin is still popular in these parts.

Continue reading “Chaos”