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writing for godot

The Parallel President

Written by Carl Peterson   
Sunday, 18 March 2018 19:09

On January 20, 2017, a vacuum of political power was created where the American presidency was supposed to be.  An infant toddled into the White House, but did not know anything, and had no genuine political opinions.  He had only his tortured Id, and, to gratify himself he proceeded to express his psychological issues on a World Stage.  This occupied him full-time, and occupied the feckless corporate media full-time, hence the power vacuum within which the infant toddled.  Into this power vacuum skulked the Parallel President.

It was an historical first, possibly, that the single most powerful person in the United States had never run for elective office, but rather had skulked warily for decades through the subterranean corridors and hidden labyrinths leading up to the back doors of the apex of American political power.  He was an engineer, with little intuition for politics (he had favored the Rubio nag in the 2016 Republican presidential primaries horse race), not a politician.  He had purchased his own machinery and hired mercenaries to install it while systematically dismantling the hopeful creation, now an antique in need of loving retrofit, that the Founders had wrought hundreds of years before.  Most Americans still did not know who he was, even if they had heard his name; they had no idea that he was out to get them.

It was an historical first that such a human had become the single most powerful person in the United States, certainly more powerful--apart from the nuclear button-- than the president, and had run up a series of policy victories that had pleasantly surprised even himself...yet he could not exult publicly.

The biggest audience he could gloat to was the wealthy 500 anonymity-loving dupes who gathered like sardines in a can before him twice each year to listen to him plot the downfall of the American democracy.  But that was little consolation.  He secretly despised the 500; he had been using them all along, and they were too stupid to figure it out.  But, to gloat in front of the American people!   That was the one freedom he had yet to achieve for himself: the freedom to proclaim himself from the very top of the mountain!

He was old, but still he thought he could get there--not to the top of the mountain, he was already there; he was born near the top, and had been on the peak since midlife--but to the freedom to declare to the American people, to exult from the mountain top, "In the name of your Liberty, I am your ruler!"

On April 27, 2017 the Washington Post published his op-ed piece, Trump's policies must not benefit only big businesses like mine. The title of the piece was itself a bit of propaganda:  Why was it not titled something like, Trump's policies must benefit all Americans[?]  That seems an easier and more natural thing to say in a democracy than the clunky must not benefit only big businesses like mine.  But maybe he protested too much his reputation as a self-serving person and wanted to present himself in the title as communitarian--the opposite of what he was.  He was not selfishly concerned about his corporate profits, you see.  He was the champion of the people who needed assistance, he wanted you to feel him at the outset.

The op-ed itself began with a misrepresentation, likening himself to Tocqueville, and proclaiming, "I believe American society thrives when people act out of an enlightened regard for themselves that constantly prompts them to assist each other." Here it was, a communitarian bouquet, meant to disguise the self-absorbed atomistic ideology that guided him.  No one had ever said it better to him than Ayn Rand.  "By the grace of reality and the nature of life, man--every man--is an end in himself, he exists for his own sake, and the achievement of his own happiness is his highest moral purpose...Do you ask what moral obligation I owe to my fellow men?  None--except the obligation I owe to myself, to material objects, and to all of existence: rationality." One's highest moral responsibility was to oneself, not to others.  And, to skirt the suggestion that this meant that it was Ok to treat others solely as the means to one's ends, as for example, the Parallel President had done his entire life, he could point to Ayn Rand's insistence that relations among rational Randian humans would always be a relation of trade, not of conflict or exploitation:  "Just as he does not give his work except in trade for material values, so he does not give the values of his spirit --his love, his friendship, his esteem--except in payment and in trade for human virtues, in payment for his own selfish pleasure, which he receives from men he can respect." (from Atlas Shrugged) You exchange your possession of value for my possession of value.  The invisible hand of the free market will ensure that the exchange is fair, and we will never be in conflict, because we, the rational, the noble, never desire the unearned.

Of course the Parallel President was not really an acolyte of Tocqueville.  For those too few who understood who he really was, his doublespeak merely demonstrated his essential cynical cowardice:  He would misrepresent himself as one who out of enlightened regard for his own self-interest was "constantly prompt[ed] to assist" others, even though the actions of his lifetime showed that he acted always out of pure self-interest, and had never been sincerely roused to help others, unless you counted "others," as those he helped to assist himself in undermining the American democracy.  Mainly he lied about who he was because he was afraid to participate in an honest, open market place of ideas.  Yes, he is a coward; but further, it was one of the things he most despised about democracy, that his ideas would be judged by people who were essentially no better than his employees.  And he knew that the world was seriously out-of-kilter when the lords had to pay attention to what the serfs thought.

Despite his ideologist Ayn Rand's condemnation of deceit and fraud, and her numbering of integrity and honesty as two of the seven moral virtues, the Parallel President had for his entire life relied on skulking and lying.  No matter that according to Rand, "Honesty is the recognition of the fact...that an attempt to gain a value by deceiving the mind of others is an act of raising your victims to a position higher than reality, where you become a pawn of their blindness, a slave of their non-thinking and their evasions, while their intelligence, their rationality, their perceptiveness become the enemies you have to flee." He did not see his public, diametrical misrepresentation of who he was as evidence of a Randian moral defect in himself.  He saw it only as the result of his clear-eyed assessment of his situation--he could not tell the truth about himself in an op-ed piece for the Washington Post without harming his chances of achieving his ultimate political objectives.  Indeed, there would never be any productive purpose for him to publicly speak the truth about what he was after, that is, until after the wealthy had inherited the Earth.  The truth was that many of the serfs were already suffering because of his efforts, and many of them would live foreshortened lives because of his self-absorbed, anti-democratic activities.

No, the Parallel President is not like Tocqueville, who devoted years to studying democracy in America as he saw it, not as he wanted it to be, and Tocqueville had never secretly plotted the destruction of the American democracy.  No, rather the  Parallel President prefers Ayn Rand's moral justification for the behavior of people like himself-- which is that selfishness is the highest morality--even though he fails to honor Rand's other moral precepts whenever they do not accord with his plans.

The Parallel President's Washington Post op-ed of April 27, 2017, written to mark the first 100 days of the new president's administration, found that on the hopeful side the president had appointed "a strong remove unnecessary regulations."  But what the Parallel President did not say in the op-ed is that the new president understood so little and had so little knowledge that he was incapable of appointing any sort of team that could achieve objectives on purpose.  And besides, the new president did not care in the least about regulatory reform.  It fell to him to do what needed to be done.  After all, if the president did not care about getting rid of unnecessary regulations, someone had to.  So when he praised the president's strong anti-regulatory team, the Parallel President was actually praising himself for the skill he had shown in shaping it.  But again, he could not praise himself openly, he could not tell the truth, not yet.

Midway through the April 24, 2017 op-ed the Parallel President told a lie so brazenly, perfectly the opposite of the truth that it could only have been tailored by one who intimately knew the contours of the real truth, and had determined to blot it out exactly:  "The president and lawmakers have an excellent opportunity to take bold steps here and now to reverse the United States' trajectory toward a two-tiered system: one that benefits the wealthy and well-connected (including big businesses such as Koch Industries) at the expense of everyone else."  In truth, all of his decades-long skulking, misrepresentation, and massive expenditures to achieve his customized political goals had been expressly to benefit himself and to a lesser degree his wealthy associates.  Further, the ramifications of his political activity suggest that his dearest desire is to create not only a two-tiered economic system, but a two-tiered political system.

What did the Parallel President suggest as "bold steps" to reverse the trend toward economic inequality in the United States?   First, he said comprehensive tax reform was long overdue.  "Americans deserve much, much better."  And to emphasize his own altruism, he said he was pleased that the president's recently proposed tax reform plan did not include a border adjustment tax (BAT), because this would increase his own profits by "raising the price on goods that Americans rely on every day."  However, the border adjustment tax would have fallen hardest on America's biggest importers, which includes his corporation for their importation of Canadian tar sands oil.  In 2015, his company imported 80 million barrels of tar sands oil from Canada, and at $8 a barrel, its oil imports from Canada were valued at about $640 M.  A BAT of 20% would have cost Koch Industries $128 M that year.  Given his lengthy history of assiduously pursuing his own interests at the expense of ordinary Americans ("looters," in Randian terminology), it is not plausible that he opposed the BAT out of altruism.  Rather, this is a familiar case of him claiming motivations opposite to his real ones with the objective of drawing approval instead of opprobrium upon himself.  It is noteworthy that he did not explain in the op-ed just how the BAT would increase his own profits by "raising the price on goods that Americans rely on every day."

But what about the "bold  step" of comprehensive tax reform that the Parallel President saw as countering the trend toward economic inequality?  We now know that tax "reform" passed by Congress on December 20, 2017, only worsens the trend toward the "two-tiered system" that he pretended to decry.  Despite his claim in his op-ed, "Congress [should] reduce corporate welfare provisions that benefit big business at the expense of families"  he and his younger brother/co-owner of Koch Industries together will reap at least $1B in tax cuts each year as a result of the "tax reform, "while ordinary Americans will lose, again, in eventual higher taxes, lower federal spending on health care, and a much higher debt that will soon provide an excuse for his servants in the Republican Congress to slash the social safety net.  Most Americans don't realize that the "tax reform" signed by the president was not except in the most formal sense in any way the result of the president's thoughts, actions or objectives.

Once the Parallel President's Republican lackeys in Congress put the tax reform in a shape that he could support, he spent $20 M selling it to the public before it went to a vote.  Now that tax reform has passed, he is spending another $20 M to continue to try to persuade regular Americans that the tax reform was really to their benefit.  The most important person in the entire tax reform process was a super-wealthy, secretive, and extremely self-centered individual: the Parallel President; it was his baby, his tax reform.  That is why he is now doing what a president would do after getting his way with dubious tax reform: attempting to sell it.  He is, after all, the Parallel President, and, most of the time he is more powerful than the duly elected president.  As for that president, he has forgotten all about tax reform already.

What else did the Parallel President say in the April 27, 2017 Washington Post op-ed?  Oh, yes.  He encouraged the president to take "actions [that can] move us closer to a system where all individuals can choose the affordable care that is best for them."  This is a more ambiguous statement than saying, for example, "Let's make sure everyone in America has healthcare, because health care is a human right."  It is ambiguous because it has a coded meaning: It means what Paul Ryan thinks it means: We need to move closer to a system where every American can purchase health insurance if they can afford it, but first we need to make sure all concerned vested interests are taken care of.

What else? Oh, yes.  The Parallel President maintains that he is concerned about the "epidemic of over-incarceration," in America.  On its face, might this make you think that this reveals a progressive streak in the person I have been calling the Parallel President?  No, the best way to grasp this person is that whenever it seems that he might be thinking about interests other than his own, he is really only trying to hide his true motivations by pretending to be communitarian or altruistic.  In this case, one of his true concerns is to change the law to make it harder to get convictions for white collar and corporate crimes.   The idea is to require the government to prove criminal intent to get a conviction in any case that does not already have that requirement, thus making it much more difficult than it already is for the government to get convictions for these types of crimes.  The  Parallel President is attempting to hide this proposed change in the law inside of a larger movement to further privatize government criminal justice functions.  The  Parallel President talks in the op-ed about "over-incarceration," but earlier, when he began his mission to make it easier for his and other corporations to get away with certain "white collar" crimes, he used the term "over-criminalization," which referred to his belief that his company should not be punished for the environmental violations that it had been punished for in the past.  His use of this particular term helped to alert some to his self-interested motives in associating himself with penal reform, thus the move to the term "over-incarceration."

It is implausible that the Parallel President actually cares about the ill-effects of mass incarceration on society and, more specifically, on individual human beings.  He has been a major contributor to ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) and was on its board in the 1990s when ALEC effectively promoted Truth in Sentencing and Three Strikes Laws throughout the country.  At the same time, ALEC promoted prison privatization; thus through its political activities ALEC boosted the supply of convicts to fill the profitable private prisons it had promoted on behalf of corporate interests.  If the  Parallel President is really concerned about the tragedy of mass incarceration, he should now admit to his close association with ALEC's political activities that were responsible for spiking the incarceration rate in the first place, and by this prove his repentance and establish his credibility as a sincere critic of the mass incarceration he now clams to deplore.  But he wouldn't touch that kind of admission with a ten foot pole.

To summarize: there is not any sentence in the Parallel President's April 27, 2017 Washington Post op-ed that should be considered as candid.  Taken as a whole, the intent of the op-ed is to misrepresent the true nature of the Parallel President's objectives, and, indeed, to misrepresent the true nature of the Parallel President himself.

Recent iterations of the American presidency have shown anomalies unique to this period in American history.  First, in 1992, the American people elected two presidents at the same time, and had been informed beforehand that they would get a twofer if they voted for Bill Clinton.  Next, in 2000, the American people elected one president, but did not realize that by electing George W. Bush they had also indicated to Dick Cheney that they wanted him to be the Other President.  Then, in 2016, amid all the hubbub about the strangest presidential candidate in American history, few (and no one in the corporate media, publicly anyway) noticed that Americans had again elected one president but, but without ever being officially informed of the fact, received a twofer.  This time it was not a president and the Other President, but it was something new and even more dangerous than Dick Cheney manipulating his obtuse charge behind the scenes.  Dick Cheney hadn't the wherewithal or persistence of vision to even dream of what the new Parallel President was planning for America, although as an old anti-democrat himself, Cheney is probably jealous of what the Parallel President has accomplished so far.

By the time of the Parallel President's April 27, 2017 Washington Post op-ed was published, he already knew that he was the Parallel President, but he didn't know exactly how this was going to work out.  By early March 2018, he was fully aware that so far his term as Parallel President had been highly successful.  In a recent secret communiqué  (titled Advancing Principled Public Policy) [] to his "Network," the 500 super-wealthy sardines from whom he culls $50 M every six months, the Parallel President boasted about what they had accomplished together since the Infant's election, but he knew that he had done it alone; he was only using the sardines--and his brother?--almost useless.

What had they accomplished together in 2017?  Tax reform.  Not perfect, but a step in the right direction.  The Parallel President would see to it that Americans were "educated" about how this reform would "spur growth and economic benefits."

The Parallel President promised that the Network would continue to hold lawmakers accountable for their votes.  He did not explain how, if the Network of plutocrats was going to hold lawmakers accountable, the American people figured into the democratic equation.  He did explain that the Network was going to go specifically after Senator Donnelly of Indiana, Senator McCaskill of Missouri, and Senator Baldwin of Wisconsin for having the temerity to vote against the "tax reform," despite being subjected to the Network's attack ads prior to the vote.

The Parallel President boasted of the Network's success in removing harmful regulations, detailing these successes in 13 bullet points, which include: damaging the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's ability to protect regular Americans from the predations of the already wealthy; six bullet points having to do with the removal of environmental protections, including the United States' withdrawal from the Paris Climate Agreement; the repeal of certain Estate Tax rules; the repeal of an Obamacare provision limiting short-term health insurance plans.

The Parallel President detailed efforts of the Network to promote the Employee Rights Act, "the most sweeping overhaul of federal labor law in over 70 years" with the goal of protecting "the basic freedoms of workers by putting their preferences ahead of unions and special interests."  It makes sense, doesn't it, that after a lifetime of absolute selfishness he would now find in himself a deep concern for the "basic freedoms of workers."  He did not mention that the freedom he was most concerned about was the basic freedom of workers not to be troubled by the existence of Unions in the United States.

The Parallel President boasted of the Network's success in helping to secure Neil Gorsuch's place on the Supreme Court, and girded the Network for the upcoming battle to fill Anthony Kennedy's seat after he retires.

At the conclusion of this secret communiqué the Parallel President expressed concern about the growth of the national debt, this despite his fathering of the tax reform bill that will add about $1.5 T to that debt.  The Parallel President stated that the main driver of the national debt was unchecked entitlement spending (also known as the social safety net,) and that the Infant President and the Christmas Rat had both indicated that entitlement reform (slashing the social safety net) would be a priority for them in 2018. your social media marketing partner
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