Archive for category The Politics Of Catastrophe
Americans vote for a variety of reasons. In some cases, they are concerned citizens who believe they can use the ballot box to change the direction our nation. In other cases, they do so because they feel an obligation to participate in the rituals of the democratic process. Not me. I vote every chance I get in order to amuse myself to no end by voting for my favorite metal artists.
It usually takes me a half an hour to vote. I go through the races I’ve followed closely and am able to intelligently evaluate, like Senatorial or Congressional elections, and try to pick the best person for the job. I know I’m being hustled here and am sure that nearly any candidate I pick is a shill for some multinational corporation, but I saw “Mr. Smith Goes To Washington” one too many times and allow myself the illusion of “making a difference”. Once that nonsense is out of the way, I get to the fun stuff.
Often in elections, you are given the choice of candidates you have almost no hope of being able to evaluate. For example, how on earth can I possibly determine who would be the best Head of the State Department of Agriculture? I don’t know a thing about farming and wouldn’t have the foggiest notion of how to pick the most appropriate person for the job. I don’t even really know what they do. That’s when I start voting metal.
Georgia offers the write-in option in all races. Therefore, if you want to vote, like I did, for Venom’s gravel throated frontman Cronos to make the state’s agricultural policies, you can do just that! I felt bad about leaving the rest of the original Venom crew out so Abbadon and Mantas received my nod for seats on my local school board. For County Sheriff, I voted for Sodom’s Tom Angelripper. After all, shouldn’t the saw be the law?
I stand there typing in metal artists laughing maniacally. I have voted for Ronnie James Dio in every election going back to 1998 for positions ranging from Superintendent of Schools to Federal Judge. Confused people peer over at me and avert their eyes when I look back at them. They probably think I’m a madman. I’m merely a Surrealist-American doing his part to bring this nation one step closer to the golden age of weirdness that has come to be known as The Freak Future.
Usually, you have about 20 different judges to vote for. They often run unopposed, so unless they happened to give you a night in jail for going 15 miles per hour over the speed limit or get caught in a brothel covered from head-to-toe in ox blood, you are going to vote for them. I see this as a great opportunity to pack the courts with metal luminaries ranging from Quorthon to Lemmy. I voted “Slayer” for a seat on the Bench. The whole band. I struggled mightily with the question of whether this would mean the original Slayer lineup or some of the later incarnations. Who would be the Court drummer Bostaph, Lombardo or Jon Dette?
Sometimes I get bored and switch to other weird possible candidates. One year when the ballot was particularly long, I began voting for excellent defensive shortstops. Mark Belanger, Ozzie Smith, Omar Vizquel, Rey Ordonez…on and on.
Mostly I stick to voting metal because this is America and I have been told I can vote for what I believe in. I have been fed an endless supply of bromides and hackneyed platitudes about what size the government is supposed to be or when a baby is truly alive or how a marriage should be defined or what this nation should stand for. Politics is about who gets what and how much of it. At the end of the day, I’m really just voting on whether Wal-Mart, Exxon Mobil and Boeing are going to receive larger tax breaks based on the size of their contributions.
The horrible truth is that climate change is causing environmental catastrophes everywhere. We are engaged in an endless stream of costly, bloody foreign wars. Politicians are empty vessels who have become nearly indistinguishable from mattress salesmen. America is circling the proverbial drain and there doesn’t seem to be anything we can do about it. When someone asks me how I believe we should handle these problems, I look them square in the eyes and I tell them the only thing I can say that makes any sense to me anymore…
“Don’t blame me, I voted for Heavy Metal”
The Federal Reserve plans to scale up its Quantitative Djenting program in the second quarter of 2014, Chairwoman Janet Yellen announced at an appearance before the House Financial Services Committee Monday. “We still predict slack in the economy going into the Summer, so we will continue with the program to try and cut it off at the pass,” said Ms. Yellen.
“Quantitative Djenting”, or “QD,” is a subsidiary initiative of the Fed’s controversial Quantitative Easing program. Since the beginning of the financial crisis in 2008, the Fed has been injecting money into the financial bloodstream to purchase things like treasuries, securities, and mortgage-backed securities. Although meant to stimulate job growth and economic recovery, the program has come under intense scrutiny by critics who claim that the program could lead to inflation, while providing cheap money to Wall Street firms.
Included in the program, but buried in a subsection of dense legalese, was a plan for Quantitative Djenting. “QD” is a rather convoluted financial process whereby the central bank bankrolls recording contracts, studio fees, publicity, merchandising, and tour support for the structured investment vehicle known as “Djent.” As the output of these “bands” tends towards “0000” sub-prime Guitar Riff Derivatives, the Fed was able to achieve synergy with the program by lowering interest rates to near-zero.
“QD was really a response to a financially-strapped metal landscape, following the collapse of the Neo-Thrash and New-Nu-Metal bubbles,” claims Trafferson Foster, of the statistical research firm, Foster & Fosterson Global Markets. “The Fed pretty much caved to pressure from Major and independent labels alike to do something in the wake of the crash.”
Although former chairman Ben Bernanke claimed that QD was never intended to expand beyond its initial investments – which included Wall Street-owned companies like Animals as Leaders, Periphery, Tesseract, and Textures – the subsidiary program has expanded each year since its inception. This has led Wall Street analysts to speak affectionately of “QD-infinity,” which speculates that like a Djent Guitar Riff Derivative product, QD has become so enmeshed in the U.S. financial system that it could seemingly go on forever.
Several prominent economists have become particularly concerned with the evolution of the products that Djent companies are selling. Like credit default swaps and collateralized debt obligations, these firms have begun throwing together Guitar Riff Derivatives in baskets, and then selling that packaged basket.
“In practical economic terms, there really isn’t a difference between these Guitar Riff Derivatives and the Collateralized Debt Obligations that brought down the financial system in 2008,” argues Simon Carufsky, president of Fairer Markets, a non-partisan regulatory reform non-profit. “These companies are selling sub-prime 0000 guitar riffs within sub-prime 0000 guitar riffs, within sub-prime 0000 guitar riffs, and then calling that package a AAA-rated security.”
The apportioning of cash to Djent companies works kind of like a bartender pouring a pitcher of beer into five mugs lined up on a bar. The beer in the pitcher is the cash generated from royalty payments that companies like Emmure receive each month, while the mugs represent the different pools of Guitar Riff Derivatives. The bartender fills the highest-rated mug first, then the second highest, and so on down the line until either all five mugs are full or the pitcher runs out of beer. If there are enough defaults on royalty payments, the fifth, fourth, third, or even second mug might go dry – and if writers’ block happens in the studio, even the first mug might not get filled. If the mugs become too dependent on being filled by the pitcher, says Carufsky, then the progression of heavy metal could be brought to a sharp standstill.
“The whole thing is like a financial Inception. It’s absolute insanity, even before you factor in the Fed’s allotment of easy cash to companies like Animals as Leaders.”
President Warren G. Harding was easily elected to his twelfth term last month in a landslide election, garnering a record 98 percent of the vote, easily defeating the New Whig Party candidate and Metallica guitarist Dave Mustaine.
Harding, leader of the Democratic-Republicans For God Party, continues to be the most significant politician in the history of the United States and is expected to be the leader of the nation until the world’s predicted destruction in 2173. Tonight, Crowbar will be the final act in what is expected the most widely witnessed television event since the execution of the ten leaders of the Kennedy Rebellion in 1969.
Harding’s political career is the stuff of legends. Even the youngest school child has heard the stories. After a relatively lackluster first term that featured corruption in the form of the Teapot Dome scandal and economic turmoil, Harding died of a heart attack on August 2nd, 1923. Had Harding not risen from the dead during his own funeral on August 4th, his presidency would have been a forgotten chapter in the history of the United States of the World.
Harding, who claimed God had allowed him to come back to life in order to lead the United States of The World to its current position as the most powerful nation on the planet, was reelected to a 4 -year term in 1924 after the still unsolved murder of Democratic Presidential candidate Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Harding’s mission to bring “normalcy” to the world began during this term. He invaded Canada, England and Mexico days after his election and by 1934 the United States controlled all of North America and most of Europe. Only its defeat in The Great Nuclear War with Argentina in 1962 stopped America’s march towards world domination.
Argentina’s nuclear strikes destroyed most of Harding’s empire and led to the revolutionary forces of John Fitzgerald Kennedy taking control of most of the Northern United States and renaming it Camelotia. Harding’s forces regrouped and retook the North in what was known as The Second American Civil War. Still, many questioned Harding’s leadership and he looked like he might lose the election of 1972 to Paul Newman. It was then that Harding performed The Five Miracles.
These miracles included Harding making the nation of Albania disappear, turning water into Coca-Cola, using lasers from his eyes to melt The Washington Monument, reanimating Thomas Jefferson and the creation of flying cars. Harding eliminated Congress and the Supreme Court and declared martial law, which lasted until 2003. He rebuilt the military and, with help from the visitors from the Planet Klorg, was able to take control of the entire world except for Mongolia, the last stronghold of anti-American forces.
Harding occasionally still allows elections, but few experts believe that the opposition is given a fair chance to be victorious. All people who vote against him are immediately executed and used to feed the multi-headed battle giraffe drones and robot oxen that the USW have used to militarily control many of the Outer Territories.
With the outcome of the election never in doubt, many television and Conquernet experts have spent their time speculating who would headlining the inauguration. The prevailing wisdom was that Pentagram would be the band because of the close relationship between President Harding and vocalist and former Vice President Bobby Liebling. However, it is also known that Harding is a huge Crowbar fan, particularly the Odd Fellows Rest album. Last Friday, Crowbar vocalist Christina Aguilera and her husband, guitarist Kirk Windstein, received a call directly from Harding announcing the news.
Rumors have already started to swirl that if Crowbar has an excellent performance, Dave Lombardo, the band’s drummer and former Ambassador to Mars, might be asked to be Secretary of State. Lombardo has refused to comment directly, but his manservant Kerry King did indicate to several reporters that the famed drummer would take the job if it were offered. King, many remember, was enslaved by Lombardo after the failure of his 2005 neo-disco solo album “I Like To Boogie, Boogie” drove him into bankruptcy.
The note under my door said “Meet at 3 AM in the parking garage behind the Waffle House.” I’d received notes like this before and, usually, they either led to great information or some guy in nothing but a trenchcoat asking me if I wanted to hold hands and whisper Carpenters lyrics into each other’s ears. Typically, these messages came from my high level contact in the CIA, a man who will only let me refer to him in public as Deep Thrombosis. He’s worked in The Company for many years and has put me onto some of the bigger stories Tyranny of Tradition has broken. He was the guy who tipped me off to Obama’s drumming on the first Overkill album and Nixon’s plot to assassinate the members of Black Sabbath.
I knew that a night meeting with Deep Thrombosis could be the thing that gets me that Pulitzer Prize I’ve been coveting all these years or even a date with The Great Kat. However, I was not prepared for the monumental significance of what he was about to tell me.
“Tonight, we are going to pull back the curtain,” whispered Deep Thrombosis while his shifty, beady eyes darted from side to side. “The information I’m about to give you could bring down the whole circus. If you print it, be warned, there is a good chance you will end up having a ‘boating accident’ or accidently hanging yourself while trying to install a garage door opener. And for godsakes, if you print this, you need to promise not to mention you got it from a source in the CIA! They’ll be able to track it back to me.”
“I will absolutely not mention how I got this information,” I told my CIA source. “I swear it!”
He proceeded to tell me the most outlandish story I had ever heard. A story of violence, intrigue and a CIA so out of control that it would go so far as to break up one of the great thrash metal groups of our time.
“The Company had heard some rumors that the next Slayer album was going to be all about drone strikes on Al-Queda bases. The thing was going to be called “South of Reason”. Typical longhaired hippie liberal propaganda. We’d have let Limbaugh handle them except they were going to reveal potential bombing coordinates, out some of our higher level agents, and really turn the metalhead public against the whole ‘secret murder of civilians who have had no trial’ thing. We couldn’t let it happen. So we took action.”
“The first part of the plan was to kidnap Kerry King and replace him with an actor who resembled Kerry King. We have a guy who has done some jobs with us in the past who was a dead ringer for King, a sort of grubby, misshapen fellow who slightly resembled a poorly shaven yeti. We scooped up the real Kerry and threw him into Guantanamo and told the guards he was actually Osama Bin Laden’s masseuse and to ‘not torture him’ until he gave us any information on the whereabouts of the secret terrorist training camps in Iceland.”
“The guy we are using as Kerry almost gave the thing away during the first show. He played three or four really great solos, which confused the audience. Luckily, one of our agents got ahold of him and told him to haphazardly move his whammy bar around really fast when it was his turn to solo and no one would know the difference. Things went fine after that.”
“We slipped a mind-altering substance into one of Araya’s drinks and, through the power of suggestion, convinced him to start listening to Asking Alexandria. We figured this would jam up any creativity that was flowing through his head. Then, we gave a copy of the band’s financial information to Lombardo. The rest is history.”
“The thing is, I’ve begun to realize that this sort of thing is dangerous. After all, if the CIA can destroy Slayer or overthrow the government of a foreign country or randomly kill civilians who happened to be in the same vicinity as people we believe to be terrorists without the consent of the American people, then what is the point of even calling our country a democracy.”
“I started thinking of what a soulless, unaccountable beast like the CIA could do if it really put its mind to it. Forcing Exodus to do a ska album? Getting Testament to hire Michael Bolton as their lead singer? Letting Janick Gers write all the songs on the next Maiden record? The possibilities were too horrible to consider.”
“So, I have chosen you to help put a stop to this. Publish this article tomorrow and remind America that in a democracy, the government needs to be accountable to the people or else they have ceased being a democracy. That transparency is the only thing that can keep us from becoming a nation capable of any atrocity in the name of opening new markets and exploiting new sources of human capital. That America should stand for something greater than the principal of bending other, weaker nations to our will. And that Slayer should start writing stuff that sounds more like it did before Divine Intervention, because honestly, the new stuff hasn’t been all that impressive. Except for God Hates Us All. That was pretty cool.”
I heard the sound of a car door slam in the corner of the garage and turned to look at it. When I looked back, Deep Thrombosis was gone.
Posted by Keith Spillett in Articles I Probably Shouldn't Have Bothered Writing, The Politics Of Catastrophe on August 11, 2011
“It is not a case of choosing those [faces] that, to the best of one’s judgment, are really the prettiest, nor even those that average opinion genuinely thinks the prettiest. We have reached the third degree where we devote our intelligences to anticipating what average opinion expects the average opinion to be. And there are some, I believe, who practice the fourth, fifth and higher degrees.”
Do you believe in big government? Then you must be a communist who looks to manipulate lazy poor people into voting for you by offering them the opportunity to spend the rest of their lives as indolent pikers. Dumb. Do you believe in small government? Then you must be an evil spirited misanthrope who doesn’t care one bit about anyone but yourself. Dumb. Are you pro-choice? Then you must be a maniacal baby killer who seeks to undermine basic human values. Dumb. Are you pro-life? Then you must be one of those religious psychopaths who want to force women back into the June Cleaver model of complete helplessness and social inferiority. Dumb. Do you like Obama? Then you are clearly in favor of the destruction of the American Way of Life. Dumb. Do you hate Obama? Then you are clearly a closeted racist unable to cope with the forces of progress. Dumb. Dumb. Dumb.
It’s all so insanely dumb. CNN had a question on their Facebook site last night asking all of their likers the question of what should be done about the economy. Everybody responded with some inane pet theory running the gamut from the flat tax to value added taxes to the repeal of all taxes to forcing the Chinese to send their entire work force to Africa to the Fair Tax to more sin taxes, etc. 2,658 comments in 15 hours. People inevitably started arguing and quoting dumb things they heard other people say. People called each other names. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Everybody’s an expert. Each man a king, each woman a queen. Dumb.
I am not exempt from this sort of asinine posturing. I have moments where I forget that I am part of the mob. Wishful thinking does occasionally overtake my brain. The wicked, awful truth is by contributing to the blogosphere, I have merely exchanged my pitchfork and torch for a MacBook. I get worked up over the horrors of military spending or the Ponzi scheme-like quality of modern finance or the disgusting, venal nature of American politics from time to time and write about it. Dumb.
The truth of the whole thing is far worse than a person can contemplate without a complete psychic meltdown. It’s not just that we are dumb, that idea by itself is tolerable, even somewhat amusing. It’s that the product of all modern discourse seems to be dumb. Let’s assume for a moment that some of us want to use reason as an antidote to the basic dumbness of our world. Fine. Good luck. The non-dumb folks among us are welcome to use subtle, intelligent arguments to understand the world. It’s a free country, as they say.
Now, let’s say one of the non-dumb want to step outside of the perimeters of their mental world and, say, lessen the suffering of others or effect social change on any level. Well, those folks will present their ideas to a population that, for the most part, is uncomfortable and even threatened by anything that resembles reason. Let’s say you are making a reasoned argument for the truth of global warming. How on earth could you possibly explain the nuances of a concept like that to a person who believes that science is completely untrustworthy and dinosaurs weren’t real? Every time it snows they will thumb their nose at you and scream out “SEE!” Let’s say you are a bright and articulate religious person and you want to make a reasoned argument for what you believe? You will be met with every anti-religious cliché in the book and lumped together with sycophants from Jimmy Swaggart to Ayman Al-Zawahiri. You can’t win.
Eventually, the pure force of dumbness will overpower any even moderately intelligent argument. Seeing this, a person making reasonable arguments might well begin to lose trust in their audience. In order to enact any sort of change in our world, one must not just have a great idea, one must have an idea that the mob can be talked into. When the realities of the situation begin to occur to someone with an idea, they naturally begin to tailor their ideas to the wild eccentricities of the mob.
Most people might not understand the nuances of the idea of a welfare state, but they can certainly be convinced that its not right that someone who has a private jet pay the same taxes as they do. Now, the argument has moved out of the realm of thought and into the realm of pure, visceral dumbness. Pretty soon, an intelligent point about general inequity has become a shouting match between “the defenders of those with private jets” and “those who hate America.”
The upshot of all this weirdness is that extremely intelligent people are forced into becoming absurd polemicists. The merits of the idea take a backseat to the constant push and pull of public opinion. This idea is perfectly captured in the earlier quote by Keynes. The whole thing becomes a Faustian Beauty Contest fought not on the merits of what is beautiful, but rather, on the merits of what the mob might find the most beautiful.
Finding a point of view that makes sense becomes a lot like defensive driving. You are not driving based solely on the rules of the road, rather you drive based on what the idiot in the Camaro doing 100 miles per hour with a Pabst Blue Ribbon in his lap might think the rules of the road are. Even if you drive well, the moron next to you can still kill you. So, you adjust to the stupidity of the whole venture. In that adjustment, ideas that are logical are often jettisoned for more acceptable generalizations that can be absorbed by a mass of angry people. And those generalizations are met with counter generalizations, which are met with counter generalizations. The whole thing gets pushed out to the n-th degree. Suddenly, we are excitedly screaming at each other over what Joe The Plumber thinks. After a few hundred rounds of this everyone’s an idiot and no one can tell the difference. Over and over and back and forth. Dumb.
I offer no solution to this problem. This may well be how democracy works when you get it out of the textbooks; I’m not sure. I do wonder what the outcome of this insanity will be. I feel like I’m chained to 300 million lunatics going over Niagara Falls in a barrel. Everyone is paddling in different directions. Everyone thinks that they know how to escape and are just as convinced that the morons next to them are messing things up. We argue over how we got in the barrel, we argue over how to best get out of the barrel, we argue over whether The Falls are even real, we argue over how big the barrel is, we argue over who should get out of the barrel first, we argue over whether we should work together or separately. The result of all this strain and turmoil is no different then if we did nothing at all. We move towards The Falls with no clear explanation of what is happening and no possibility of ever getting out of our predicament. Dumb.
As the President signed the agreement ending the American debt ceiling crisis into law it became clear that there is a new hero in Washington D.C. and his name is King Diamond. The King, using his incredible powers of persuasion and high-pitched falsetto voice, forced the Democrats and Republicans into negotiating an end to a battle that might well have crippled the American economy for years to come.
He became involved on Friday July 22nd when President Obama and Speaker of the House John Boehner broke off discussions. “If it weren’t for King Diamond, we probably would have gone into the worst economic crisis in our history,” said Senate Majority leader Harry Reid in an interview with CNN’s John King yesterday evening.
The King crafted an agreement that was amenable to both sides. Instead of raising taxes on the wealthy or cutting Medicare, King Diamond offered a 3 percent tax increase on all heavy metal albums bought in the United States. As most readers know, heavy metal album sales account for nearly 12 percent of Gross Domestic Product and record labels that sell heavy metal albums are the second largest employer in America today.
The King’s plan also calls for a 20 percent tax on all Exodus albums that don’t feature Steve Souza as vocalist. “That Rob Dukes fellow is extremely talented, but does anyone really believe Exodus is better without Souza. I say, tax them until they bring him back,” stated the King in a press release.
These two revenue streams should account for nearly four trillion dollars in new money coming in over the next ten years. In the President’s Address announcing the agreement, Obama made a point to single out King Diamond for his important contribution. “King Diamond’s willingness to be both firm and flexible was the key to the deal,” said Obama, “he’s a great vocalist and a warm and wonderful man.”
All this recent publicity has led some to wonder whether King Diamond might consider a bid for the Presidency in 2012. Diamond has refused to answer most questions about his willingness to run, but yesterday he told a reporter from the New York Times that he was seriously considering it. Webpages have sprouted up all over the Internet trying to convince the King to step in and save America from chaos and despair. The King has told his followers that he plans to make a formal announcement of his plans next week at the Million Metalhead March in Washington D.C.
Political commentators have mixed feelings about what the King’s candidacy could do to a race. While his appeal with the American public is undeniable, few people really know much about him besides the fact that he is an amazing singer and can command the forces of evil at a moment’s notice. Nobody even knows what political party he’s in (although he recently attended a thousand dollar a plate fundraiser for The Sugar-Coated Satan Sandwich Party).
Many pundits have pointed out that songs like “Night of The Unborn”, a song about zombie fetuses that attack a Planned Parenthood center, prove that he is Pro-Life and, therefore, would probably run as a Republican. A recent CNN/Gallup Poll claimed that if the King ran as a Republican he would defeat President Obama 46 to 43 percent. He polled particularly strongly in crucial battleground states like Ohio and Florida.
According to political columnist and talk radio host Jonathan Winthrop, “King Diamond’s entry into the 2012 Presidential race would change the whole thing. He could unite a coalition of crazed metalheads and, using the power of metal and his connection with the Prince of Darkness, I believe he could defeat Obama easily.”