When I hear some of the presidential hopefuls denying climate change, I can’t help wondering how many of them are double deniers – people who several years ago were denying the impending financial crisis, and are now denying the impending climate crisis.

In the years leading up to the financial crash of 2008, there were many analysts warning of an oncoming financial implosion. At the same time there were many voices discounting these “alarmist” warnings, and assuring the public that there was nothing to worry about. Every day that a disaster didn’t occur was used as evidence against the possibility of one ever occurring.

Denial emanated from a multitude of high positions in academia, business, the media, and government. And how well did all that denial work to prevent the biggest financial catastrophe in over seventy years? We all know the answer to that question.

So unless these double deniers can explain why their denial is going to be any more effective this time around, it’s time for the public to dismiss them as the denial dummies they really are.

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Gang of Spielers Burns Down The House

“Gang of Spielers”, the “value of dissident voices” stage play is now ready to go out to the world. It includes “Bank Man Song” in a rousing finale.

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The Occupy Hollywood Project is now in full force. ZombieStop Parade has been adapted into the screenplay,  Nada Fever, which is an attempt to thrust Occupy themes back into the media spotlight.

Occupy needs to regain some media momentum and a movie is a great way of doing so. Entertainment is a universal language in America and for many it constitutes the ultimate stamp of legitimacy.

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The Mystery Of Morgasm

Ministry of Morgasm employs the vehicle of personal conflict to provide a view into the politics of pleasure. The practice of sex-coaching becomes a battle over values that threatens the relationship between two sisters.

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Bank Man Song

I’ve recently released a promotional video for ZombieStop Parade. It’s called Bank Man Song. It’s a music video with an amusing intent. The song lyrics are listed below the link.

Swimmin  in the cash
Never mind the crash
I am – bank man
Blanken checks for me
Always more money
Don’t give me no frown
Money trickles down
You know where to go
Craps hookers and blow
Oh yeah – love that
I just want to cry
When you occupy
When I take your house
Don’t call me a louse
If the ninety-nine percent
Cannot pay their rent
Don’t you cry to me
I need mo’ money
Oh yeah – love that
Po’ folks don’t you know
Cash is running low
I need money fo’
Craps hookers and blow
I am – bank man
That is just the facts
I don’t  pay no tax
Don’t send me to jail
If you do I’ll wail
Sure I made a mess
But I own Congress
No need for any worry
About the public fury
Quantitative easing
Is very very pleasing
Don’t have any doubt
We’ll get a bailout
It happens every time
Saved by the public dime
Bankers talkin trash
While they lose your cash
In the banks we trust
While they goin bust
Banks make they own rules
Playin us for fools
Bring back the New Deal
Make the bankers squeal
Oh yeah – love that
Po’ folks don’t you know
Cash is running low
I need money fo’
Craps hookers and blow
Craps hookers and blow
Craps hookers and blow

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Sociological Sophistication

It’s encouraging to see the protests taking place on Wall Street. This kind of action employs the effect of “medialization” to redress the impression that all is fine with our current economic arrangement. Prior to these protests the “gang of spielers” on Wall Street were not getting much pushback through the media.

The discouraging aspect of the protest is the apparent lack of marketing savvy among the protesters. Sadly, it seems that they have not developed a long-term marketing plan into which the protests could fit as one component of a strategy to win the public support necessary to enable reforms. They seem to have fallen prey to the mistake of believing that good ideas will sell themselves.

The present economic arrangement exists not because it’s a good one but because it’s been deliberately and cleverly sold to the public. Similarly, an improved economic arrangement will win public support, not just because it’s better, but because it too has been deliberately and cleverly sold.

Having a solid understanding of how any campaign of ideas succeeds is a condition I refer to as sociological sophistication. I believe that having a higher degree of sociological sophistication enables all individuals to better evaluate the social constructs being pitched to them. I think this is especially important for those assuming leadership positions in the push for progressive change.

It was with this goal of sociological sophistication in mind that I wrote ZombieStop Parade using the drama of the fictional format to more fully engage the reader. The intent of the novel is not to describe a specific situation but rather to show how the current situation fits into an ongoing pattern. The hope is that the book will foster an increased appreciation of how political messaging is marketed on a societal scale.

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The Age Of Bimbocracy

Without many of us even being aware of it we have entered an ominous period in our history. To the untrained eye it may seem like nothing more than the battle of the bimbos – a showdown between Paris Hilton’s show “The World According To Paris” and season 6 of “Keeping Up With The Kardashians.”

Most of us will be delighted to observe this competition between these masters of inanity. Who among us can resist seeing so much glitz and glamour and hair spray expended in the name of selling fatuity to the eager masses? This will be a cat-fight for the ages. It won’t be long before they’re scratching each other’s eyes out in bitchy Twitter exchanges. The high-minded among us will revel in this girl-on-girl action while the prurient few froth in anticipation of Paris’ inevitable sex-tape bid to save her ratings. Sadly, the chances of this rivalry being resolved through an oil-wrestling match remain rather distant despite numerous suggestions for it.

The critical point to grasp here is that there’s far more at stake than just trash T.V. supremacy or the travesty of Paris launching a new show without a sex tape. This isn’t just about who has the biggest hair or the biggest boobs or the smallest brain. This is about the role of reality television in doing far more than just entertaining us, mis-informing us, and wasting our time. This is about reality television re-defining who we are and what visions we have for the future. This television cage-match will propel us into a new age – the Age of Bimbocracy.

While this may sound scary to some, it shouldn’t be. Once President Palin enacts a constitutional amendment restricting presidential candidacy to only certified bimbos with at least one reality T.V. show to their credit, we will have a bright future to look forward to under our bimbo rulers.

The Age of Bimbocracy will be an enlightened one where no-one will have to do their homework and incorrect answers will be accepted for full points on Jeopardy. Obviously there’ll be tax exemptions for all earnings on sex tapes and Playboy photo spreads. History books will be re-written to correct mistakes about what Paul Revere was doing while he was out on his late-night ride.

On a more substantive level, America will finally get a universal health care plan although it will cover only cosmetic procedures. Cancer treatment will be covered only if it is caused by silicone exposure from a faulty boob job.

Geeks will be returned to their rightful place in the social hierarchy by instituting a 99% tax on tech ventures such as Google and Facebook. This will eventually kill the American tech industry but in the short term it will flood government coffers with surplus cash allowing us to pretend that we have more money than we really do, and don’t we love to do that?

Unfortunately there’ll be some losers in this new landscape, the most obvious being those mimbos who toiled away for years at their self-indulgent reality shows only to be considered unfit for the presidency.

The experts are unanimous on this issue – we have nothing to fear from the Age of Bimbocracy. We are all advised to get ourselves in front of that television and soak up as much of this battle of the bimbos as possible so that when America becomes the next Mexican state, we can all tell our grandchildren that we witnessed the start of this slide into bimbocracy and we cheered it on.

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Bubble Lust

 America’s biggest financial bubble burst in 1929 and then the bubbles went away for fifty years until they started re-appearing in the 1980’s as the American economy became increasingly bubblicious, leading to the crash of 2008. The book Griftopia by Matt Taibbi is the story of how the grifter class brought the bubbles back through a campaign of political lobbying aimed at both policy-makers and the general public.

The key to reviving a bubblicious financial system was getting rid of the regulations designed to prevent bubbles. In order to sell the de-regulatory proposals it was necessary to offer something in their place, and that something was the concept of self-regulation. As ridiculous as the concept sounds, the advertising campaign for it was successful and this book provides an insightful explanation as to how it was done.

Taibbi gives us an excellent example with Alan Greenspan of the disconnect between what we’re sold and what we actually get. As Taibbi writes, “Greenspan’s rise to the top is one of the great scams of our time. His career is the perfect prism through which one can see the twofold basic deception of American politics: a system that preaches sink-or-swim laissez-faire capitalisms to most but acts as a highly interventionist, bureaucratic welfare state for a select few … If you can see through him, the rest of it is easy.”

Taibbi makes clear how Greenspan was the archetypal player among the priestly class of corporatism. Greenspan used his economics background to provide a thin veneer of academic respectability for each proposal to increase self-regulation. Without this academic endorsement the magical mechanisms of market-induced restraints would’ve been painfully easy to see through.

The book documents the pattern that played out repeatedly where the financial industry lobbied policy-makers for regulatory changes, while at the same time lobbying public opinion by promising rich rewards if the changes were implemented and dire consequences if they were not.

Taibbi more than amply justifies his characterization of the financial industry as grifters. He shows how they mis-represented their product offerings. They never came out and said that their gambling schemes were designed to scoop up money from everyone else and shift it into their own pockets. Instead they presented each new scheme as a magical plan to shower profits on all those who were true believers in these seemingly too-good-to-be-true opportunities. The impression was that the grifters would be taking only a small share of the take, with the majority of the benefit accruing to the public at large. This is the grifter modus operandi.

Books such as Griftopia are essential both to the democratic process and the economic future of the country. It’s imperative that significant segments of the populace become sufficiently capable of discerning the difference between advertising and economics. As essential as a book like this is, it can be a tough sell because many people want to hang on to what they think they know. Taibbi’s message can be a difficult one because it requires us to give up the something-for-nothing fables that the grifters lured us into with the help of their priestly class allies.

There’s plenty at stake here. Bubbles produce massive misappropriations of capital which cause serious damage to the long-term growth  of the economy. It is the job of the financial industry to direct capital into the most productive ventures. It has become necessary for the public to insist that this industry get back to doing its job. It will also be necessary to insist that decisions be made based on the empirical record which is pretty clear about how poorly self-policing policies have worked in the past. The current gas price surge in the absence of any change in the supply/demand ratio is an excellent illustration of how the bubble pushers continue to rob us.

If the principle of self-regulation is ever going to be repudiated unequivocally then the public needs to get its head out of its ass, and this book is a great place to start.

On a personal level, my favorite aspect of this book is the fact that the author himself is a vindication of my view that there are heroes out there willing to endure all of the conflict and recrimination and slander and accusation in order to defend those of us outside of the grifter class.

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Economic Ethnicity

Throughout history there have been efforts to incorporate individuals into social groupings and to maintain the loyalty of those individuals to their group. Dramatic narratives have been used to exalt the characteristics of one’s own group while denigrating the characteristics of competing groups. It’s proven to be very easy to keep individuals subscribed to the values and mythology of their own group. Shared culture has shown itself to be a powerful driver of cohesion within groups and divisiveness between groups.

Economic ethnicity is a force of social cohesion based on a shared belief in the primacy of money over all other values. It’s important to understand that it’s not necessary to have a lot of money to share in this belief. This is the trick underlying all ethnicity. Those who don’t share in its spoils can bask in the reflected glory of those who do.

The main tactic for promoting economic ethnicity is the use of Economics to arrogate a sense of authority for the group’s interests. This is the key to success in an era when deities and monarchs are no longer accepted as sources of social authority. The task of promoting economic values is the responsibility of a priestly class of lobbyists, consultants, academics, politico’s and media ho’s who attempt to convince the public that these values have an inevitability based on some kind of scientific principles.

The problem with economic ethnicity is the intolerance that is bred by the belief that one’s own values cannot be challenged. As is the case with other ethnic conflicts, the only morality is one of us-versus-them. This morality is evident in the case of the financial meltdown which cost investors huge losses but resulted in no calls for fellow members of the group to be called to account for their malfeasance. Such an accounting would’ve been harmful to economic values and protecting the group’s values is more important than the financial losses.

Ethnicity is a vestige of a more primitive stage in the evolution of human civilization when universal standards of ethics were not recognized and tolerance was not considered of value. Using the facade of modern science to move society in a backwards direction is a particularly treacherous irony.

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Gang Of Spielers

This is just some information about the derivation of the term “gang of spielers.” A spieler’s job is to hype up a sleazy product to make it seem like more than what it really is. Traditionally they’ve been used to pump up the audience for striptease shows. The character of Frankie Fane in the movie The Oscar starts off as a spieler. It’s hard to watch this movie and not get the sense that Frankie is a pretty good representation of what financial services are all about. There are spielers all over the place but the ultra-dense concentration of them on Wall Street earns them the title of being the spieler capital of the world.

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