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Among Ciphers, Barn Burners and Confidence Artists: a comb-over treatment for declining empire

By       Message Phil Rockstroh     Permalink
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Like postmodernist architecture, in which the aesthetic criteria of a structure's exterior often possesses little correlation to its interior function, media age journalistic and political style exhibits a similar disparity between facade and content: The political content aired by mass media institutions and the cant of the governmental class are the political equivalent of the useless ornamental pediments, context-devoid cupolas, and empty atriums of postmodernist architecture.

It is not a coincidence that Donald Trump has been responsible for having erected some of the gaudiest, emptiest, architecturally dishonest structures, blotting the landscape, east of the Atlantic Ocean, west of the sands of Dubai.

Citizen Trump is a human analog of these characteristics: a man possessed of an extroverted, confident public persona that serves as cover for an interior emptiness. In fact, he is possessed of an unswerving self-regard (as extreme as it is inexplicable) that seems a form of derangement. 

Could this be the US's bad hair day future? by Fair use

From Sarah Palin to Barack Obama to Donald Trump, these personality types, minted and forged within the aggressive superficiality of the current era, are going to be as good as it gets. These are the varieties of ciphers, confidence artists and quislings who will front the present day corporate order of Botox Politics, the quintessence of an era that has conjoined the shallow and the grotesque in a marriage made in the witless limbo of the media hologram.

Born into wealth and privilege, Trump -- this cross-hatched haired, reality television popinjay -- is marketed as a man of the multitudes. Perhaps, he is: On one dismal level, he is the very emblem of the callow, infantilized, highchair tyrants spawned by the Viagra Capitalism of late U.S. empire.

Strange and amusing, in a grimly ironic way, unlike Trump, it is the political left, bereft of power in the structure of corporate oligarchy, who stands accused of being out of touch elitists. In a political culture as far down the rabbit hole as the one that exists, in the U.S., the surest way to be branded an elitist is to refuse to serve the elite.

All who are reading this article are, therefore, excused if the Bilderberg Group calls while you're in mid perusal of it"Rather, on second thought"let them wait; they'll just want you all the more for it.
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President Obama, on the other hand, could never be accused of failing to serve his true constituents -- the moneyed elite. Accordingly, insofar as coming to the aid of oppressed, suffering working people, he could be termed the anti-Tom "I'll be there" Joad.  He has not been present in body nor spirit for the less-than-privileged classes of the declining nation. Rather than serving contemporary versions of the downtrodden denizens depicted in The Grapes of Wrath -- Obama has chosen to be of service to the high-flying connoisseurs of the fermented grapes of Ch- teau Mouton-Rothschild.

On almost every dispiriting occasion, Obama and the Democrats hit the mat without so much as trading punches with the Republican practitioners of the art of sucker punches and low blows.

Could the fight be rigged? I mean they work for the same corporate oligarchic bosses. One should be wary of betting on a match where a mobster owns both fighters.

Obama rah-rahs, nice liberal apple-polishers and crackpot pragmatist of the Church of Incrementalist Salvation -- I will grant you this -- the Republicans are a cult of doom. They are the two-legged, all thumbs, character-devoid embodiments of The Second Law Of Thermodynamics that arise when empires are in a death swoon. Yet Obama and the Democrats of Congress are quislings of corporate power, and thereby function as true to form characters playing out their roles within the entropy-ridden dynamics of failed states.

Have the Democrats even lifted a finger, whether in power or out, to fight corporate oligarchy? The only finger the players of the Democratic power establishment have lifted is to give the progressive left -- The Finger. I say screw you back, you soul-dead ciphers -- and the faux reform/hidden corporate class agenda Trojan Horse you rode in on.
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Moreover, how have the policies of the Obama administration departed, in any real world way, from those of the Bush administration? Hence, we arrive at the painful, depressing crux of the matter and the cause of the denial befogging the minds and enervating the will of the liberal class: The dismal fact that under the present structure of corporate oligarchy, a functioning representational democracy cannot exist.

As for everyday citizens, neither going to the polls to vote, nor manning phone banks and licking envelopes at local party headquarters, nor canvassing to register new voters will change the nature of the national security state nor reform corporate hegemony nor end US imperium abroad"It just isn't going to happen.

Acknowledging to oneself the reality that under the present arrangements between the U.S. government and the corporate order -- the aforementioned acts of citizen participation are exercises in futility, and that an individual is essentially powerless -- can give rise to profound states of cognitive dissonance. In short, all the exasperation and concomitant scorn leveled by Democratic insiders and their apologists upon members of the marginalized and alienated left.

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Phil Rockstroh is a poet, lyricist and philosopher bard living in New York City. He may be contacted at: Visit Phil's website: or at FaceBook:

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