I wish that the devastation of the Twin Towers in New York and that of a section of the Pentagon in Washington on 11 September 2001, which caused the tragic deaths of thousands of unsuspecting individuals, both might serve as a wake-up call for the United States of America and signal to it that throughout the world it is detested more than it is appreciated. Unfortunately, this will not come about any time soon-if it ever does. Calls for revenge, for reprisals are at the heart of the thinking of North Americans, and dignity and the noble notion of a benevolent statesmanship are not qualities we can attribute to a North American president, The Enron President, shooting from his hip and nailing WANTED: DEAD OR ALIVE posters all over the country to show that he is a “tough hombre” and was not a draft-dodger-as was The Playboy President Clinton-serving some weekends in the Texas National Guard tilting beer bottles with The Boys. The Perfect President to command a Christian Crusade against “The Muslim Heathens!” Budweiser and Allah? Knowing just a bit about the realities of the Islamic world and military strategy and combat, our cowboy president must depend upon his generals many of whom are disgruntled Vietnam veterans bent on vindicating with a vengeance the humiliation which had been foisted upon them by The Flower Generation. With that snarl he nurtured signing death warrants for death row criminals, some of whom were innocent, George W. is ready to pen for us a World War (to be declared the Third World War/World War III?) he and his family and friends will watch on C.N.N. George W. and his clique of gung-hoers are The Good Guys. Quod erat demonstrandum: Those whom they decide to be are The Bad Guys-the guys who think not like them. Quo usque tandem, George W., abutere patientia nostra?
But Bushron II is not the bone of contention here. Naturally, he is a part of it-a teeny-weeny element. He is a political package. A yes-man to something very much spurious and pernicious. If Bushron II strays from the straight and narrow, the likes of Secretary of State-General Colin Powell, the Secretary of State-General Alexander Haig of the Bushron II administration, will be there to snitch on him to Bushron I. Bushron II is The Perfect President-just “look;” no substance. His face may be deciphered so: “Am I really the President?” He has no confidence in anything-including himself. The nation’s Number One media stooge fixed before a microphone. A smashing one to be told what to do. And, believe me, he is! (They write his speeches for him, do they not!)
There is an almost serendipitous-like madness-akin to the frenzy that came before the plop of the New Economy in the early part of 2001-that has empoisoned the Washington-New York ruling caste. There is the sanctimoniousness of being on top of the hill for far too long, the smugness that comes with having done it before-the way you desired it to be so. There is the imperative to execute. (A good defense is an offense.) There is your fight to make might right, to harp on the fact that you think you have been chosen to be the best amongst the others. There is the notion that the world looks up to you-and not just for your dollars. There is the idea that while you are not perfect, you are “The Cowboys” and those incompatible with your interpretation of wholesomeness are, naturally, “The Indians.” An unavoidable choice between only two alternatives. George W. Bush, in his 20 September 2001 speech to a joint session of Congress, clicked his boots so: “Either you are with us or you are with the terrorists.” Bushron II is not a Cartesian dualist-for sure! Where are the grey areas? The middle of the road? The opportunities to use diplomatic or economic sanctions instead of bloody battle cries for war? An either-or proposition was offered thousands of innocent people in the Twin Towers. Why should the United States’ retort be in the same vein? Is Bushron II, talking as he does, a political thug?
Yet, what here is worse is that those who contrived together to write for him his discourse-tuned to the third-grade school level with the precise, simplistic rhetoric of a strict, middle-aged schoolmarm-speak for a political elite which is very often out of whack with the true feelings and desires of the collective United States’ constituency fifty percent of which does not vote. We may conclude, therefore, that there is a serious lack of imagination, intelligence that the Bushron II administration is contorted with, and this defect leaves hawks on to think simplistically and dogmatically. Theirs is a fanaticism, obviously. But their vendetta will be effectuated by using sophisticated electronic instruments-as were used in Iraq-and not the mostly primitive weapons of an Islamic world swelling with passion and hate and not methodology and sang-froid. An extremely toxic mixture which is sure to lead to an elevation of tensions and antagonisms. David and Goliath? Remember who won? I can assure you, my dear reader, that half the world is yelling itself hoarse for the demise of the Empire of the United States of America. Why?
How do you know that I know what I am talking about is true? Please, let me explain? Anthropologists suggest that one must live three or four years in a new culture before an individual may possess inklings into its workings and people. It is not an easy process. Assimilation requires sacrifice and patience. Nevertheless, there are rewards that come your way for having blended in. I feel fortunate that I have had time to come to know and cherish the Venezuelan and Italian peoples. Living and working with them made of me a more complete, sophisticated human being, and I would feel enormously disappointed with myself if I had not had these two almost unbelievable experiences in my psychic collection. I also lived in Vietnam for one year but that was with United States’ soldiers and I had little contact with Vietnamese and Montagnard villagers-except to disturb their life’s routines in a drastic way. In Venezuela I was privileged, unfortunately, to work in government and at a high level-even coming to know personally four ministers in the Venezuelan regime of corruption. In Italy, luckily, I have dwelt with mostly representative Italian citizens, and I have been in Italy three times longer than I had been in Venezuela. The two encounters, one with the ruling class of a country, the other with the middle class of a nation, have given me, above all, the opportunity to deduce certain inferences about these populaces who have influenced my political and economic judgment extraordinarily. On two occasions I commingled with two different ways of living. Doing so, I learnt better what it means to be a citizen of the United States. This because I had something to contrast my own personal “translations” of my country with the thoughts that others have of it. David Hume declared succinctly: “Knowledge is the assurance arising from the comparison of ideas.” These ten words have become for me my philosophical “pinup.” Observing how others do things clarifies and solidifies my own reality. When I was a boy in New York I wanted to know what foreigners, who could speak English, thought about us-we New Yorkers. I had to know. I had to have the chance to progress, to develop, to grow, to expand, to learn…. This passion has dominated my life’s work. This, my love, has encouraged me to seek beyond. It has kept me alive, inordinately inquisitive, anti-conformist, stubborn, resistant to the influence and fads of everyday living, informal, uninhibited and rudimentary in making analyses.
What is it that I gleaned about the United States of America from Venezuela and Italy? Let us take each-one by one. When you land at Simon Bolivar Airport, which borders the Caribbean Sea below Caracas, you are struck by the rich reddish-orange soil along the sides of the landing strips. Then the balmy air hits your face. The images set to work: soldiers with machineguns pointed, sometimes, to the ground; a laid-back atmosphere that is not sterilized or organized; there is a sleepiness in the air; the taxis outside are not slick limousines from a fleet, “garage orphans”-they are personalized, decorated preposterously, and you hope they will run; the architecture of the airport terminal is grotesquely modern; the people stare as if they are new to what is new; and, when you exit and forfeit the cool air of the air-conditioning, you meet poor kids dressed shabbily, faces dirtied, teeth rotten, begging for something, hoping for something, scrounging for something, stealing-when they can-for something…. You are in the “Developing World!” You are not in the All-American city of Gainesville, Florida where manicured lawns are sprinkled “computerly” at whim and the hedonism of service and planning are reasons for you to believe you are culturally superior when, in fact, you really are not.
Be that as it may, you are a New Yorker in South America and your past now opens doors automatically for you: Your affluent girlfriend will pinch for you a copy editor job in the city’s fifteen-thousand-copies-a-day, Central Stupidity Agency-backed The Daily Journal; then you will write/rewrite speeches for the President of Venezuela, Carlos Andrés Pérez; you will hobnob with rich Venezuelan political and business fat cats; witness the gang-bang of spending euphoria in the late 1970s and early 1980s when OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) pushed oil prices to their limits; and, finally, escape Venezuela in 1983 when the bacchanalia, then over, brings hangovers to all of us and causes endless suffering for millions of Venezuelan people. An odyssey of six years and four months. One long wandering which prepared me for the Italian kakistocracy. Before going to Venezuela I thought I would be able to shake the United States off me once I had got there. I had become bored with my native land. Its obsession to go forward without reflecting. Its awkward use of power. Its aura of moral superiority without being so exceptionally. But what I found in Venezuela was a type of transplantation of United States’ values, id est, an economic implantation. There they all were: COCA-COLA, FORD, IBM, HOLIDAY INN, LEVIS, NABISCO, MARLBORO, TIMEX, GENERAL ELECTRIC…ad infinitum. A flock of economic sheep shepherded, naturally, by the Embassy of the United States of America! Bah, bah, bah…. (Embassies of the United States are satellites which orbit around the Washington-New York axis, and they are singularly equipped with the most multifaceted communications systems available-being updated regularly with what is state-of-the-art technology. Any United States’ embassy does not miss any political or economic trick in the world. Knowledge is power; power is knowledge. Information may ruin a company, a nation, an individual. Embassy personnel possess that which is needed to influence, to control, to command, to dominate. If you pass their inspection, you may hold the entry carnet that will enable you to cavort with those at the top-or those near to those at the top. There are no longer Black Lists. They may cause lawsuits. There are now only On Lists. The Merriam Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary [Tenth Edition] defines the word “oligarchy” thusly: “…a government in which a small group exercises control especially for corrupt and selfish purposes.” It makes this definition of “fascism”: “…a political philosophy, movement, or regime that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of the opposition.”)
Venezuela is ruled by an oligarchy which is ruled by The Oligarchy of All Oligarchies. In fact, the economic reality during the years (1976-1983) I was there was given an account of in words so: “The Twelve Apostles.” Twelve chieftains of Venezuelan families controlled at that time the economy of Venezuela: media, food and food distribution, cement, automobiles, banks, property, insurance, paint, et cetera. The names of these families buzzed around Caracas as much as the brands BAUSCH & LOMB, JOHNSON & JOHNSON, NCR, MONROE, PEPSI-COLA, COLGATE, PALMOLIVE, KRAFT, GOODYEAR…ad infinitum. The Twelve Apostles ruled over the allocation of lucrative North American business partnerships, and just as a twirling tornado ravishes and sucks away at everything in its path, these dozen disciples scooped up all Venezuelan businesses and held them in the vortex of their economic and political almightiness. Elegantly dressed Venezuelan businessmen, protected by bullet-proofed, armed-plated FORD limousines, surrounded by bodyguards, invited to United States’ Embassy cocktail parties, jet-lagged from private flights to New York and Miami, connected to such On List notables as Henry “Carpet Bomber” Kissinger, Arthur “Just Along for the Ride” Schlesinger, Jr., and David “I Own a Little Bit of Everything” Rockefeller, brainwashed by Harvard University Business School religious-like propaganda, programmed to support whatever right-wing Venezuelan leader on the horizon as long as he was not wearing a uniform…these Venezuelan usurpers-cuddled and marionetted by red, white and blue foreign affairs officers-commanded, often ruthlessly, their monopolies and seats of Venezuelan economic and political power.
The top-heavy veneer of this undemocratic arrangement gave outsiders the impression that all was honky-dory in Venezuela and that progress for its downtrodden fellow citizens (The Ninety Per–centers) was The Twelve Apostles’ (The Ten Per–centers) animating principle. Foundations existed to study ways to bring to the Venezuelan poor the ideals of Jeffersonian democracy and the tenets of laissez-faire roughshod capitalism promulgated by, among others, The Boys from Chicago. Seminars boasted titles with ephemeral cover inscriptions such as “The Growth of Democracy in Latin-American, The Promise of Investment in South America,” and this beaut: “A United States of South America?” Venezuela was tagged the strongest democratic country in South America! The economic ties to Europe and the United States made richer The Ten Per–centers and their army of lackeys, but no one could see benefits being amassed for the people of Venezuela-The Ninety Per–centers. Schools? Hospitals? Railroads? Infrastructure? Tourist development? These pipedreams loaded up the ornate speeches of on-the-take Venezuelan politicians and made believers of an impetuous population desiring earnestly to be as rich as the North American families they scrutinized traipsing on Venezuelan television series imported from the United States and subtitled into Spanish by one of The Ten Per–centers’ companies. If you went to the university public hospital in Caracas, the only elevator was frequently out of order. In the I.B.M. building three elevators scurried at peak efficiency but The Ninety Per–centers had no reason to use them. They were praying and lighting candles-manufactured by one of The Ten Per–centers!-to become just as rich as the Beautiful North Americans they watched on Venezuelan TV-The Looters’ Shopping List?
It is important to single out the confreres of The Ten Per–centers. These appendages of a mammoth club, very well socially bureaucratized, had extremely long tentacles which could reach out to those succulent parts which served them best. Members swirled around the world meeting their connections in the haunts, five-star hotels, airport hospitality rooms for first-class passengers, expensive restaurants and so many of the other “in” places off-limits to the multitude of other souls less worthy than The haughty Ten Per–centers.
The United States’ Embassy, Mother Hen, was the Supreme Overseer of the high and mighty. If you wanted to do big business in any foreign country that was or was not an enemy of the United States of America, you had to be on the Department of State’s List. If you sought to trade in some way less extravagantly, you were obliged to know someone who was on or had access to another who was on that List. Within The Ten Per–centers’ coterie you could find an enormous phalanx of capitalistic footboys who propagated-according to their lot in life-that all of us have a chance to reach the same high strata of success that the Venezuelan massive collocation had done before us, and if we did not, we had only ourselves to blame. The closer one approached the inner sanctum of The Twelve Apostles, the more fervent were the cries for rugged individualism accompanied by some Supreme Being or other who blessed the fruits the capitalists reaped at the expense of Venezuela’s poor. Department of State flunkies puffed out priggishly. These democratic soothsayers knew what was best for Venezuela and the whole world. Kissingers (Ramon Escovar Salom, Venezuelan presidential timber in the 1980s, told me that when he took The Carpet Bomber back to the Caracas Hilton one night after an Intercontinental Political Science Party, Henry asked Ramon if he wanted to meet Raquel Welch who was sojourning at the Hilton. In the middle of the night The Carpet Bomber banged on the starlet’s door until she came, sleepy-eyed, to answer dressed in a red, white and blue bathrobe!), Schlesinger, Jr.’s and Rockefellers pitched their tents on the proletarian battlefield offering their political and financial wisdom and serving as the general’s staff of a very heavily-armed capitalistic army bent on putting Venezuela’s of, by, and for the people House in order with one eye always set on the oil coming out of Maracaibo. The powers that were had need of logistical support to keep their scepters shining, their postures unflinching. Where did they get it from?
Till the cows come home I will think that journalists are reprehensible for not what they print but for what they do not reveal! In Venezuela journalism took a turn for the worst and I will remember always the day I attended a bank opening in Caracas where the archbishop of the diocese had been asked to bless the new branch during the ribbon-cutting ceremony. Journalists from El Nacional, El Universal and El Mundo lined up in file and one by one kissed the prelate’s ring. These same Venezuelan paragraphists set the hypocritical tone for all and hyped the idea that there was a real democratic Venezuela-healthy and prospering. Paid very well indeed, they churned out an on-going newspeak to the delight of all those interested in keeping Venezuela’s poor in their Jeffersonian places. There was not one topic they were lost for words to talk about as long as it enriched the business evangelism of their oligarchic honchos. A plethora of lies hit the newsstands everyday and this consuetudinary superfluous–ness endowed more The Ten Per–centers and festooned the shacks of The Ninety Per–centers in their barrios with editorial trinkets, shining automobiles they could not buy, and nude girls they could not make love to-not even rape. Examining the longiloquence of the Venezuelan fourth estate of the early 1980s, one receives the impression that Venezuela was one big happy representative family overwhelmed with the joy of living and voting and participating.
Rich sons and daughters of The Ten Per–centers went to Europe and the United States to learn the true meaning of maverick capitalism. These exchange students, accommodated and sought after, swarmed into university towns throughout the world and linked up with their father and mother’s global sodality which was waiting with open arms to host them and snuggle them. Their erudition was not so much in gaining conversance in the subjects they had chosen to study, but in accumulating “connections” they could use later to enhance those interchanges which would profit their families’ core concerns. And when they returned to Venezuela, they brought with them the clinquants of Europe and North America and rattled them in the faces of their poverty-stricken fellow civilians encouraging a national divide filled with forebodings of hate. I knew one Venezuelan ophthalmologist, one of The Ten Per–centers, who brought back with her from Florida, where she had studied, $50,000 worth of BAUSCH & LOMB medical supplies, passed customs surreptitiously without paying a Bolivar of import tax, and then sold the goods to her rich friends at five times their original value. Cheers, Milton Friedman!
The groomsmen of The Ten Per–centers, the media consultants, tendered another important leg up. Here we are talking about the right look, the right light, the right angle, the right make-up, the right tie knot, the right color, the right shadow, the right speech, the right night, the right height, the right right. These communication black belts schemed the just-right television programs, told politicians how to speak, dress and peel bananas, and packaged The Message that Venezuelan citizens were to be indoctrinated with. They did their “job” very well and trafficked with the elite in Venezuelan business and political circles. They “imaged” The Ten Per–centers of Venezuela into Hollywoodesque caricatures and gave the world a distorted vision of a Venezuelan reality which was crippling its populace violently.
Who was it who blessed the foreign affairs officers and journalists and exchange students and media consultants et alia of their ilk? The Professors! First in line to validate their expense accounts (Has there ever been one pol sci prof put in prison for tax evasion!), The Clan from Academe were remunerated to attend congresses and seminars and meetings and assemblies and powwows and gatherings and conventions and conferences and sessions and séances and sittings and conclaves and caucuses and councils in the United States and Europe where they hitched-up with other professors connected to university research projects with multinat firms producing everything from bobby pins to bullets. Professors and their wives and children flew first-class to international meetings and enjoyed five-star hotel accommodation, the best of restaurants, and free tickets to cultural and popular shows. Then came their rivers of promotional publicity of an extravagant or contrived kind. Articles, essays, books, monograms, ad nauseam. It is incredible how many political science journals exist in this world for Kissingers and Schlesingers to vomit their doctrinairisms and overload us with their pompousness and blabbering. These administrative stewards gave speeches, were guests on television talk shows, and in Caracas held for The Twelve Apostles and their families and friends INVITATION ONLY seminars on the ways of spreading democracy in Venezuela and South America!
Following them right behind came the petroleum executives…insurance executives…stock brokers…ministers…bishops…generals…you name them! All The Ten Per–centers-without one of The Ninety Per–centers except those who cleaned The Ten Per–centers’ cars, fed their children, washed their floors, cooked their meals, answered their phones, and did other servile work The Ten Per–centers’ little darlings had no intention of ever accomplishing. This oligarchic happy club went its merry way hoarding and accumulating at its countrymen’s and countrywomen’s expense. It destabilized an economic system with its greed and corruption and ruined the chances for millions of others by concentrating by itself the economic and political opulence of pobre Venezuela. Only an idiot-in the early 1980s-would not have admitted that Venezuela was heading for an economic, social and political breakdown. The same imbeciles, only a year ago, were prognosticating-genuinely optimistically-about the now defunct Argentina. And this happy group’s mind bent is aggrandizing its influence throughout the world pushing and shoving its way into the profit columns of a global economy which, for the most part, has no interest in the social and political welfare of those individuals it asks to work for it at slave wages. Sure, the Berlin Wall fell. But what about Wall Street? Can even one person attest that the health of capitalism is excellent?
I taly is far more complicated. There exists, however, many concomitants useful to compare with those which signaled-surely to some but not to all-the demises of Venezuela and Argentina. There are the Fat Cat Families, the United States Embassy fulcrum, the media brainwashing, the well-paid professors, the mafia, the Vatican cardinals being driven to lunch in MERCEDES-BENZ limousines, the art, the “culture,” the fashion, the jewelry, The Look-the grand appearance that all is gathering steam and all is capitalistically joyful.
The Italian reality is a humdinger! The Ninety Per–centers are so strung-out from keeping afloat an economic system so replete with corruption and injustice at every turn, Italians are unable to reproduce themselves any longer! Drugs and medicines and magic potions and betting and automobiles and scooters and strikes and clothes and cigarettes and football and coffee and pasta and vacations and elections and television render Italians docile, unimaginative and unthinking and they are just so overripe on their branches of deceit and pretentiousness, their ploppings to the ground will surprise no one but themselves. In Italy there is little instinct for what is progressive-just the slow-motion hankering to retain goings-on as they are: conservative, obsequious, and fixed in the rut of The Past. You cannot discuss any institutional knotty point without sinking into a mire of verbal controversy characterized by exaggeration, nonsense, and-most of all-untruth. If you have an eye to talk about what really ails Italy, you best not be a foreigner because the argument will be turned back on you to defend your country and its inventory of plights. Italy’s infrastructure is worse off than Eastern Europe’s; its respect for Nature is almost non-existent; its population is in decline; its oppressive public debt is rising exponentially; its unemployment rate is frightening; its ability to compete wanes further and further, unendingly, and its only hope, a maligned immigrant populace overburdened with a racism reminiscent of Biloxi, Mississippi in 1923, is waiting desperately to be given the happenstance to pick up the pieces of the on-the-way-out Italian, dolce far niente, body politic. One Italian newspaper headlined one of its issues in this ironic way: ITALY HOLDS THE RECORD FOR BEING LAST ON MOST LISTS! The nation is buckled on a disaster course, and everyday it sinks a bit lower powerless to come to terms with the catastrophe which imperils its very esse. No one is doing anything about this passing into nothingness; and it is normal that steps be taken to confront a difficulty only when that quagmire becomes in itself a danger. No precautions are ever taken to prevent a nascent misfortune from becoming a prospective monster that will cost everyone more than they ever could have imagined. Rest in Peace, Italy!
Don’t cry for Italy…! I was at Firenze’s (Florences’s) Peretola airport on 31 August 2000 when immediately before me there scurried by, with two bodyguards, one of Italy’s political leaders, a stout fellow (taller than he appears on television) one Senator Rocco Buttiglione, Secretary of the Cristiani Democratici Uniti political party. Desperately conservative. A Roman Catholic pro-lifer. Ex-Scholastic Philosophy university professor. Fulbright scholar. I went straight off to him smiling and told him, in Italian, that I was a New Yorker living in Italy. He nodded, after a while, to his body guards and they let go their grips on their BERETTAs which were strapped to their sides under their opened jackets. Rocco started conversing with me in English and I had the impression that he was trying to shine up to his bodyguards, and the Italian friends he had come to meet at the airport, with his rendition of the English language. Flaunting his bilingualism –he looked every so often at his companions to see if they were taking in his readiness-Rocco told me he Fulbrighted in Washington, D. C. and had boarded in the home of a naval officer who had resigned his commission to protest the Vietnam “War.” I asked Rocco if I could send him my A Book of Vietnam “War” Poetry,” and he accepted the idea graciously. We passed on to Italian politics and he recounted this little story which has resided forever since in my mind: Rocco had been invited to a dinner at the Roman United States’ Embassy one year, and he there was joined by other Italian political leaders and captains of Italian industry. Before sitting down to dinner, Rocco had socialized with others at the preliminary cocktail reception. Low and behold, while everyone was engaged in conversation, there-off alone in a corner-were Italian Industrial Prince Gianni Agnelli and-hold on!-the director of the Central Stupidity Agency who, for more than a half hour, had held each other’s confidential sway! Even Rocco-as red, white and blue as any of them-was intrigued to know what those two could have been talking about all that time! I have heard, for almost twenty years now in Italy, that Gianni Agnelli’s empire reigns over virtually 10-15% of the Italian economy, and that without this Business Baron, Italy would never have reached the heights it is dizzy with-delusively-today. If we think further about Johnny Lambs, we have to take notice of the fact that there is one famous North American who sits with Johnny frequently at soccer matches to watch Johnny’s Juventus squad and who not too long ago flew all the way from the United States to Paris to celebrate Johnny’s eightieth birthday. My dear reader, can you guess who it is? Henry “Carpet Bomber” Kissinger!!! The King of United States Diplomacy. Behind-the-Scenes Worldly Globetrotter. Suzerain of Universal Business Consultation to the Very, Very Rich. (Do you know what the difference between God and Henry is? God does not pretend to be Kissinger!) May we all put two and two together? Henry is holding together-all by himself-The Capitalistic System! Just ask Henry-if you are rich enough to get near to him! He knows what is best for the world. (To know even more about Johnny Lambs, read Alan Friedman’s Agnelli: FIAT and the Network of Italian Power, 1989. Alan had to stay out of Italy for a couple of years before the ideas expressed in that book had slid into oblivion!) Italy’s medical chart is in the intensive care unit. Italy is being decimated by the fear of an immigrant invasion it does not want but knows very well it cannot be without. It is expressing more and more its rage for being manipulated. It possesses an inferiority complex in relation to other nations, and it overestimates its dominator. PROZAC for Italy!!!
I can just imagine what the community of political science fellows will have to say to me when they learn of my ideas about why I think the United States of America is so much despised around the world it risks isolating itself in an international vacuum tube: that the United States of America is not the leader of the world; that it commands with fear and not respect; that it has overstepped, irresponsibly, the margins of its mandate; that it seeks often to elongate its power base by means of bad faith and deceit; and, finally, that the vigor of its economy has come to signify a strapotente influence believed to be unique and everlasting. North Americans are deceiving themselves lavishly. They are not reading the diplomatic cards percipiently. Just recently, for example, the incredibly costly nuisance the North Atlantic Treaty Organization caused Rome on 28 May 2002 evinced, truly, a step backward as it left on the lips of most Europeans the simple YANKEE STAY HOME! message and not the worn-out YANKEE GO HOME! cliché. The Bushron Dynasty has been enroning for generations and everyone-especially the Europeans-know this. So, when they visit the Vecchia Continente and preach a foreign policy extrapolated from a Southern Baptist prayer book, even genocidal maniacs bust a gut to keep from laughing out loud. Just imagine how the Asiastics feel when the Department of State teaches human rights to the Chinese with the brutality-fresh in everyone’s mind-Henry “Carpet Bomber” Kissinger inflicted on North Vietnam during the Vietnam “War!” The Ten Per–centers are on the offence which, for them, means defense.
“Tony, you simpleton, you don’t know the meaning of the word ‘oligarchy.'” And they will be somewhat correct. I winnowed the word “oligarchy” because it is best known by most and because it served my purpose in affording a negative fallout which I needed to put across in my thesis designed to explain the The Ten Percenters/The Ninety Pecenters marvel. The fact of the matter is that I thought up a word many years ago to describe the political reality I desired to elaborate upon in this essay. That word is “olisocism,” and it was registered on 3 December 1981 in a letter which I received from Frederick C. Mish, the then Editorial Director of the G.&C. Merriam Company (Publishers of Merriam-Webster Reference Books): “Dear Mr. St. John: We are glad to have your new word olisocism for our records, but the mere fact of its creation does not entitle it to entry in general dictionaries of English. Such dictionaries serve most often to assist people who have encountered a word and need to have information about its meaning, use, pronunciation, or etymology, for example. Thus, dictionary editors (or at least ours) base their decisions about entry of a word in large part on its frequency of occurrence in our immense and constantly growing file of examples of words in context. We will be on the lookout for instances of olisocism, in print especially, but until it has established itself in the language we cannot put it into one of our dictionaries. Sincerely yours…FREDERICK C. MISH.” My dear readers, you have my permission to put the word “olisocism” on your t-shirts, coffee mugs, baseball caps, et cetera! Let us get that word out and into the minds of all democratic people in this world! Know thy Enemy! (How many political science professors do you know invent new political vocables? Most of them that I see are so excited planning their next seminar they have no time to invent new words and phrases.) By the way, visit http://www.Merriam-Webster.com and subscribe to the free WORD OF THE DAY.
Simply put, olisocism is a political appellation having its roots in oligarchy but far more encompassing than it. The word “oligarchy” signifies a small assemblage; whereas, the word olisocism intends a larger agglomeration. However, olisocism has still its own distinguishing characteristic: It pretends to have the best interests of The Ninety Per–centers in its agenda. Olisocists (a lexicographical first!) struggle to say that they disseminate their principles to as many as they possibly can and that everyone on Earth is welcomed to join their exclusive club-D-E-P-E-N-D-I-N-G! They, having established the rules and regulations, tell you that you can amalgamate with them if you follow the steps the other The Ten Per–centers copycatted before you! (Is it not obvious that all of us on this planet cannot be a member of The Ten Per–centers’ haughty gang? Listen to this short pithy statement by one of The Ten Per–centers, the grand economist John Kenneth Galbraith: “The failure of capitalism is its success” [ ! ]. J. K. G. also sang-from his lemon farm in rural Sicily-the following ditty: “The duty of a State is to guarantee that the poor have enough to eat and to give them work so that they do not disturb the rich. Only an imbecile conservative is really conservative.” And many think John deserves the Nobel Prize!) In their happy-go-lucky conglomeration, The Ten Per–centers rule for us our daily lives “suggesting” to us their products, their public services, their foodstuffs, their bubble gums, their toilet paper, et cetera. The Ninety Per–centers have nothing to do but fall into sync with this over–abundantly marvelous system that promises them all, in return, a Land of Milk and Honey. Per se, the theory of The Ten Per–centers is innocuous; yet, it is they who know better than The Ninety Per–centers that the world cannot meet the expense of more than a few thousand Bill Gateses at a time. The subtle rejoinder of The Ten Per–centers is this: Get it while you can-before someone else gets it before you! An absolutely stunning way to progress and seek peace and goodwill among all men and women in our midst. Is it the Final Countdown?
The unfair distribution of wealth has always been a cogent poor man’s argument and it is almost surreal to see moreover the editors of Forbes Global apt to deal with this argument these days as the capitalistic system roller-coasters in the aftermath of the Twin Towers’ attack which has shaken to the ground once-preconceived notions of economic and political stability in a world open to all for a season of maverick expansion and exploitation. The sensitiveness of economists and politicians has been denuded. What North American wants to fly on business to a city populated with mosques? What North American wants to take his shoes off for a bomb check? What North American wants to open a handwritten letter without a return address on it? It is bewildering to comprehend that the deaths of less than three thousand individuals could throw the world’s entire economic order in a tilt of downward trends probably never again to be recuperated from.
New Yorkers knew very well that after the 1991 aggression on the Twin Towers they were ripe for another assault. Yet no one wanted to reflect on this tragic reality not only to take those measures necessary to thwart another of its kind, but to have the gumption to examine open-mindedly the motives of a camaraderie that would crave to perpetuate such a dastardly act. We may surmise that the attackers were not acting for fun. For attention. To what? Rather than deliberating, in the confusion a half-wit, half-pint Republican Party mayor was made a national hero of for directing the rescue operations and doling out lucrative “clean up” contracts to his “family” and friends who buzz around the center of his influence and power! Ordering tens of thousands of body bags was not the only faux pas His Honor is beholden. (Perhaps the carbon monoxide fumes in the New York air are shriveling up the brain matter of New Yorkers!) The Twin Towers’ staggering blow was atrocious, but I believe it was de facto a one-shot episode. If the United States of America is so unsafe and prone to hostile besetments, its adversaries would have camouflaged other devices of sabotage to be detonated by remote control after the Twin Towers’ killings-to really inflict damage on the patriotic mettle of the United States’ citizenry. This did not happen because the United States’ enemy was not only not as potent as believed, but also because the affront leveled upon the Twin Towers was not inflicted to then be calculated in physical harm per se, but in the mental anguish that would play havoc with a debilitated, bankrupt North American “common sense” consciousness. This-and this alone-was the intruder’s success. The hostile force pricked at the probity of the rickety North Americans. That it was a victory is a terrifying shame. And it has been upon this North American ignominy that the leaders of the United States have decided to retaliate and offend further rallying their constituents to the battle cry for a War on Terrorism-a War on Unseen Evil People! This is pathetic. It will do the United States of America no good at all. The United States is stabbing in the dark-exactly what its “foe” wants it to do. Exactly what was brought off in the Vietnam “War” by another spotlight stealer. The counterpoise to the Twin Towers’ calamity has been more indecorous than the misfortune itself.
What is to be done? Bushron I and Bushron II have already assuaged their contentious verbosity, but nonetheless something very much more critical is still needed to turn this continually deteriorating kettle of fish into a diplomatic upper hand for all the world. First of all, it must be realized that the United States’ manner of conducting international relations so ineptly has its origins in a very long past, and to extricate itself from this stagnation will take a big gulp of courage-if, of course, North Americans do not want to continue having their shoes examined for bombs for the rest of their lives. A rhetoric of compassion and understanding must be the new sooth. I am convinced North Americans are capable of pulling off this twisting of their minds however comfortable they have been in the past with a baneful interpretation of the naked truth. It is going to be a rough ride. Notwithstanding, suffering is a North American specialty. Are not they the greatest pill poppers the world has ever known? But words are words, and if they are not backed up with deeds that are addressed principally to The Ninety Per–centers-and not passed on through to them by The Ten Percenters-this pandemonium will never be resolved. (I do not mean panem et circenses.) In no place in the world is the United States of America respected as it once was before. Surely, it was for decades looked up to for the wrong reasons, but its hegemony (Paper Tiger!) floats about throughout the world as something always thought of as BETTER THAN NOTHING! (I would really like to know what the meaning of “nothing” is!) Put in simpler words, people throughout the world must be convinced that they play a part in the life of all individuals, and United States’ citizens, in particular, must come to their senses and learn that to lead the world requires of them the ability to persuade with esteem and dignity and not with fright and ravagement. I drive at these conceptualizations: That all creatures want to be involved with others-in all parts of the world. That all creatures seek the good and that they wish the best for all because that best is the most perfect for them. That all creatures have the resources to effectuate change. That all creatures long for the chance to take pride in themselves and their fellow beings. That all creatures are willing and able to risk a global peace and are stout-hearted enough to make any offering needed to arrive at a rewarding denouement in keeping with the expectations of their valiant efforts. If that is what they actually do not want, then there is no hope. And without ambition we desiccate.
I am sure you, my dear reader, are wondering why I did not mention-at least once-the United Kingdom throughout my circumlocutions, and I should tell you why. You see, the British people are some of my favorites/favourites, and no other honor/honour-next to being assigned the arresting officer of Henry “Carpet Bomber” Kissinger-would please me more than that of being granted the opportunity to genuflect and kiss the hands of Queen Elizabeth, Prince Philip, Prince Charles and Camilla Parker Bowles. I did not mention the United Kingdom in my disquisition for one unassuming whyfor: The members of the United Kingdom uninterruptedly ape their North American counterparts. Do they not?
Mr. Anthony St. John, a New Yorker, contributed above article to Media Monitors Network (MMN) from Italy.