Sassy and thorough takedown of Facebook CEO Asshole Mark Zuckerberg

Stumbled on this witty article with details of the treacherous nature of the next billionaire weasel presidential contender (no insult intended to actual weasels, tiny, oft-maligned carnivores just doing their thing).   Confirmation bias, OK, because I do hate the shallow, greedy fuck and his data-driven social media money machine that exploits the loneliness and hunger for connection of hundreds of millions, but still — an excellent article, IMHO.  Click here for an interesting read.

A tasty bite from The Smallness of Mark Zuckerberg:  

(I’m not saying that small people are evil.  I am small myself…okay, we are totally evil.) 

View story at

View story at


Fiction Writers Beware

It has often been said that puckish reality is more boldly reckless than the imagination of any writer of fiction.  Check out this bully-coddling dickhead’s name, the CEO of the parent company of the National Enquirer.   The portrait of him is equally perfect.  

It got a dry little laugh out of me, though I am, admittedly, more than a bit immature about this kind of gag.  

Take it, Amy.

clickez ici


Oh, Jeez, Mom, not Context Again!

Amy Goodman reports today that Facebook stocks plummeted when it was revealed that Cambridge Analytica, a right-wing psy-ops for hire outfit founded by reclusive right wing billionaire Robert Mercer, had harvested the unguarded personal information of 50,000,000 Facebook users.   The data was used to target personalized messages to those leaning toward voting Trump.  As it turned out, they only needed to swing less than 80,000 votes in a handful of states to win the Electoral College [1].   A genius of data mining, like Robert Mercer, would have no trouble doing the calculations, district by district.  The data from Facebook, and the ability to reach millions for free on the ‘social media’ platform, was apparently essential to moving just enough votes to the MAGA column.

Personally, I’d love to see Facebook go into the toilet, for its insidious role in the 2016 election and its ongoing role in society, but a CEO who has acquired $74,000,000,000 before his 34th birthday ain’t going to let that happen to his creation.  He beat the odds by monetizing Facebook beyond the wildest wet dreams of the Koch brothers.   He’s thinking of running for president himself, people have said, so he will definitely fix this, and find a way to make even more money off the loneliness and disconnection of most of the people on the planet.  Winners win, it’s just what they do.

The Cambridge Analytica story, while truly horrifying, will be around for a day or two before Cambridge Analytica slithers back into the shadows where they do their important and lucrative work.   People are too harried these days, notifications from their phones dinging every few seconds, to much remember what happened three months ago, or last week, let alone recognize any larger context.  Besides, much of the conversation is just too ugly to want to listen to.

It is said that the genius of our current president is that he is a master exploiter of chaos.  While he sends out his daily shit streams over a handy app called Twitter, and fights off the investigator who appears to be closing in on some of the businessman president’s more intractable financial crimes, he has already done plenty of irreversible mischief by quietly setting a record for lifetime appointments to the federal courts.  Read this headline, see if you can keep the vomit in your mouth.

Melania Trump told the nation when she became First Lady that she was going to launch a campaign to fight bullying.   By the looks of it she was bullied out of it.  I can picture her loving husband, supportive as always “listen to me, you whore, you signed a prenup I can very easily fuck you with.   As you know, I have the best lawyers and I have never, EVER lost any of the 4,000 lawsuits I’ve been involved in– not one, NEVER.  If you want to be a poor Slovenian girl again, go ahead, make my day, try to launch your program to make people like me look bad.”   With all the other shit that has splattered against the fan, and come rippling out at us, how many Americans even remember Melania’s idealistic vow?

How many have heard of Convict Leasing?  It was a common practice in the former Confederacy, for around a hundred years.   Devilishly simple program that provided slave labor for southerners who had a few bucks in their pockets.  Slavery was outlawed by the Thirteenth Amendment the former Confederate states were forced to ratify, basically at gunpoint.   There was a nice loophole, see if you can spot it: 

Section 1. Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or any place subject to their jurisdiction.

Section 2. Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation.[1]

Very good, yes:  except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted.   Opposition to the Thirteenth Amendment was not based, God forbid, on the idea that slavery was moral.   Supporters of slavery in Congress made numerous other arguments about the awful harms a blanket outlawing of slavery would cause [2] .  Once the damned thing became an amendment, it was time to line up the Mac Trucks to drive through that loophole there.  There is an excellent documentary on Netflix called Thirteenth, where you can learn the full history and see American slave laborers in American prisons, at work today, for some of our greatest corporations. 

The original idea of how to control, and continue to profit from the unpaid labor of your inferiors was not long in coming, after the Thirteenth Amendment was rammed down the craws of the former slave owners.   Here you go: create a crime, like vagrancy, which is defined as, say, being on the street without fifty bucks on your person.   Nobody you like is ever stopped and forced to turn out his pockets so no decent person need ever feel threatened by such laws.  Like the drug laws today, they are selectively enforced, in the interests of “quality of life” and “Law and Order”.  The police will tip their hats to people in the fancy part of town and say “good afternoon, ma’am.  How are you today, sir?”   You only stop and frisk people you hate or fear, better if they’re big and strong and capable of hard physical work. Thankfully, you, as the lawman, have the gun, taser and billy club, and backup, when you stop these potentially savage criminals.

Across the former Confederacy these laws, part of the Black Codes, supported a system of perfectly legal slavery for a hundred years after the barbaric practice was outlawed by a constitutional amendment following the bloodiest war in American history.   It worked in two ways.   Before anyone was convicted of anything you could now go down to the local jail, pay the bond for a group of Negro detainees, essentially post some portion of the sum that would free them from a vagrancy charge, and let them work off their debt to you.  You could rent this work crew out to anyone you wanted, you basically owned them, until they paid off what they owed you.  With food, clothing, rent and sundry expenses deducted from their minimal pay, well, shoot, it could take them a lifetime or more to pay off their debt.  

You could also lease a convict work crew directly from a warden who’d send ’em over in leg irons to work your fields.   There was little danger in this, you had a few white men with guns in charge and, to keep the convicts in line, the most dangerous and brutal prisoners on horseback, trustees, armed and ready to ruthlessly enforce order among the workers.  Life is bad for the criminal class, and why should it not be?  Parchman Farm was one notorious prison/plantation where the old ways, from back when America was first great, were considered the best ways.   Prisoners died there regularly, sure, but, you know, bad shit happens to you when you’re a criminal.

Speaking of criminals and prisoners, I’ll show you a chart (reproduced in Matt Tabibi’s excellent, sickening The Divide), before I shuffle off to make myself some lunch:


Locking up drug addicts and low level drug dealers does not seem to be halting the illegal drug trade or reducing the numbers of Americans with drug problems.  In 2017 we set a new record, on the way to making America great again, 67,000 dead of drug overdoses.   They have been calling it the Opioid Epidemic, Jared Kushner was supposed to solve it in his spare time.   Driven by wildly profitable Big Pharma players like the Sacklers, owners of Perdue Pharma (inventors and marketers of the lucrative, “non-addictive” time-released painkiller OxyContin) the craving for such drugs has been exploited by criminals now, too. Our president has a solution he is starting to speak of regularly:  Kill the motherfuckers who sell the drugs.  The death penalty, the only thing that can possibly stop them.

It’s the only way, as history has shown over and over, the deterrent power of the death penalty will discourage anyone who is not insane, desperate or very wealthy, from engaging in illegal behavior that will result in execution.    It will certainly work as well as the trickle down economics that are at the heart of the president’s plan for the masses of American losers, even if it doesn’t put a dime into the pocket of the selfless CEO of our once great nation.  It will work as well as mass deportations and protective tariffs, let’s be honest here.

By the way, thinking of some of the Stable Genius’s recent moves to Keep America First, two big initiatives Hebert Hoover used to try to stave off The Great Depression were  mass deportations of illegal immigrants and protective tariffs for American-made goods. He imposed tariffs on thousands of imported products and, while deporting a lot of ‘undesirables’, manfully avoided any impact on Americans from the worldwide economic Depression that followed from a decade of wild speculation and record profits for entrepreneurs and organized crime alike, (coupled with the ongoing demand on Germany to pay all costs associated with protecting the world for democracy during World War One).  Herbert Hoover, a truly great president, rolled up his sleeves and fucking solved the fucking crisis.  You could look it up.  Or simply check your phone, that notification is from one of your 20,000 closest Facebook friends.



[1]  The U.S Supreme Court yesterday refused to hear the appeal of aggrieved parties in Pennsylvania who want to overturn the ruling that Pennsylvania’s gerrymandered electoral districts must be redrawn because they impermissibly favor Republican candidates.   Trump won the electoral votes of Pennsylvania by a whopping almost 47,000 votes, a robust 0.7% of the votes cast there.     source


[2]  With no Southern states represented, few members of Congress pushed moral and religious arguments in favor of slavery. Democrats who opposed the amendment generally made arguments based on federalism and states’ rights.[29] Some argued that the proposed change so violated the spirit of the Constitution that it would not be a valid “amendment” but would instead constitute “revolution”.[30] Representative White, among other opponents, warned that the amendment would lead to full citizenship for blacks.[31]

Note that current American politicians, guys like our beleaguered Attorney General, make identical arguments, one hundred and fifty years later.  USA!  USA!!!

News Tidbit — Who’s Afraid of the NRA?

After the Parkland Florida mass shooting by a disturbed teenager who posed in a MAGA hat, killing seventeen with a legally purchased semi-automatic AR-15 assault rifle, the President convened a bipartisan commission and had a camera crew record their discussion.   He suggested at the February 28th meeting that raising the age for purchase of AR-15s from 18 to 21 was something that had to be considered.  In a widely televised segment he chided a Republican who criticized this common sense, (though hardly problem-solving), idea for being afraid of the NRA.  

Trump is not afraid of the NRA, why would he be?  The gun nonprofit donated $30,000,000 to his presidential campaign, according to many,  more than $21,000,000 according to MSNBC, though the real number may be a much more modest $10,000,000 or so.   Let’s say it was only a few measly millions.  The point is, it’s not as though the NRA owns Mr. Trump.

Yet Mr. Trump has walked back those tough, common sense comments (if only minimally impacting the larger problem) he made at the televised photo op to show his concern for American school children gunned down by other school children. He has since had a better idea.   He put billionaire Christian fundamentalist Betsy DeVos on the case, telling his Secretary of Education to come up with a plan to “harden” our schools against gun attackers.  

If inexperienced son-in-law Jared Kushner can solve the Opioid Crisis while streamlining government and making peace in the Middle East, why shouldn’t Secretary DeVos be up to the simple task of making our schools “hard” enough to resist attacks by determined white males with assault weapons?   Kids should be reminded every day, as they walk into fortress schools, what a dangerous place our once great nation actually is.

You may report ridiculous things in a straightforward, factual way, in the manner of the New York Times.   That reporting does not make the things reported any less ridiculous, or in this case, grotesque.   But, yo, whatta ya gonna do?

By the way, the NRA, with its powerful lobbying arm that has fought back virtually every gun control measure for the last thirty years, identifies itself as “America’s longest-standing civil rights organization”.  [46]    It’s been around since 1871.  You do the math.

Accepting Reality

I had a random thought just now, listening to the president’s bold new plan to meet his stable genius counterpart in North Korea (something the U.S. Secretary of State himself didn’t know about as recently as yesterday) that when I was growing up we knew virtually everybody on our block.

I thought of Sam Gerwitz, across the street, who my father told me was very rich.   He must have been, he and his wife had a little statuette of a jockey, a small white fellow (his face and hands may have been painted pink during my early childhood), on their front lawn.  He held a lantern illuminating the path from the sidewalk, a path to their front door with a large white column on each side.  He was exactly the kind of little jockey Frank Zappa sang about knocking off the rich people’s lawns in his gospel-tinged Uncle Remus.  

I thought of the Meltons down the street, their daughter Joy, and Pierre, their dog. My father came in angry one day after work, carrying his battered brief case. Pierre had apparently loped on to our front lawn and left a pile of steaming cannon ball-sized turds.   I don’t remember what kind of dog Pierre was, possibly a standard poodle, but my father was outraged that the Meltons let him run wild to gleefully defecate on the neighbors’ lawns.  Melton might have smiled, observing his dog taking the Arnold Palmer putting stance and letting nature take its course.  I just remember how outraged my father was, and who could blame him?

The point of these quaint recollections is that I could go down the block, certainly our end of the street, and name every family, and family member, in every house, the Bengles, the Ticks, the Weissmans.  Such is not the case for most children growing up today.

The Good Humor man knew our dog Patches and would front her a cup of vanilla ice cream (which he dutifully opened for her and placed within reach of her tongue) until a human came out of our house to give him the ten cents. “Patches would come running, along with all the neighborhood children, when the music from that truck started,” my mother reminded us.

In those quaint days on the leafy streets of Queens, New York, we led what seemed an idyllic childhood.  My best friend Michael Siegel and I built a series of forts (in peoples’ back yards), formed the Waterbugs– a secret society dedicated to running through every sprinkler they passed– made an intricate system of dams in the street when the sprinklers sent water in rivulets down the hill to Union Turnpike, played baseball in the street.   Nobody feared the Good Humor man, or any local shop owner, as far as any of them being a child molester.  It emerged, years later, that my best friend’s father was a pedophile, but apparently such a gracious host, so gentle and loved by the boys on the block that several stood crying as the cops led him away.

Not to imply by these sentimental little vignettes that life in those days was like the Great America our imbecilic president claims he’s trying to bring back.   Yes, I grew up in a stable neighborhood of well-tended lawns, on a quiet street where I knew everybody’s name.  But, as Woody Allen’s slippery character evasively answered in The Front, when asked under oath if he knew a certain suspected Communist screenwriter: when do you really know somebody?   Did the neighbors hear our screaming fights at the dinner table every night?

The public school I attended was segregated, a decade after the Supreme Court ordered an end to the racist practice.  I remember the first black children arriving at our school, on the E, F and G buses, at the end of a bitter war I also remember, during which my mother’s friend and pro-integration comrade Mildred Rose received a vicious letter with COMMIE scrawled across the envelope.  I recall Mildred’s horror as she told my mother, gasped the word COMMIE, the look of concern that crossed my mother’s face.  The word itself was one of the funniest things I’d ever heard. My friend Robbie and I began using it daily, calling each other and everyone else Commie and laughing at how it was always so fucking funny. 

Meanwhile, largely unknown to us, our government was engaged in an existential war on Commies everywhere, in the name of freedom, had been since a decade before our births.   In the name of freedom charismatic John F. Kennedy quietly sent military advisors and tons of weapons to help a corrupt Vietnamese regime fight the Commies led by Vietnamese nationalist hero Ho Chi Minh.    An invented pretext allowed Kennedy’s successor to escalate the war, a war to prevent all the countries of Southeast Asia from falling like dominos to Communism if Vietnam was lost to the godless Commies.  The “Domino Theory,” like “Manifest Destiny” before it, was good enough to sustain an unimaginably gigantic campaign of organized violence and mass murder for years.

Here is what I am getting to about accepting reality.   The reality then for me, as I became a teenager, was if the Vietnam war had continued another year or so, I would have had to figure out how to get out of the draft, like war-loving Dick Cheney, Dubya Bush and Donald Trump had, or be sent over there to fight for American freedom by burning the villages of Vietnamese Commie sympathizers on “our” side of the arbitrary line drawn on a map when the northern part was ceded to the Commies after the expulsion of the French colonialists not long before I was born.  

Much of my childhood had been spent watching atrocities on TV, exciting war news about a war no more sensible, or justifiable, really, than the First World War.   The scores ran like obscene basketball scores across the bottom of the screen.  Yesterday we won 1,396 to 55.  We killed 1,396 Commies, they’d only gotten 55 of us.  Later we learned how the scores were arrived at:  kill any Vietnamese guy between 12 and 60, score one for us.   All presumed fucking Commies.

I remember seeing a marijuana-related piece on the nightly war news, which we sometimes watched during dinner on a small black and white TV with rabbit ears.  The piece was a brief aside about the rampant drug use by American soldiers in Vietnam (thousands came back addicted to heroin).  A couple of smiling grunts demonstrated the ingenious technique of using a gun barrel as a pipe for smoking inhumanly large lungfuls of ganga.  They’d create a burning pile of the weed at the top of the gun barrel and one soldier would blow the smoke forcefully through the gun barrel into another soldier’s mouth.  They called it shotgunning.  I remember the poor bastard who’d been on the receiving end of the shotgun, an American kid caught in an endless jungle war in toxic quicksand, falling over backwards laughing, expelling vast, thick plumes of smoke.  The news correspondent mentioned the name of the god-forsaken place they were sitting and signed off.

There was a massive anti-war movement, and I attended many mass protests as did most people I knew, but the war machine raged on for years.  Many of us marched out of outrage against what was going on, the horrors being committed in our names, and fear for our fate if this insane war was not ended.   Our leaders spoke high-mindedly about ending the war on our terms, Peace with Honor.  One slogan the anti-war folks had was “Killing for Peace is like Fucking for Chastity.”  After the American attack on Vietnam (which included vast quantities of chemical weapons like Dow Chemical’s Napalm [1], a flammable flesh burning weapon from hell)  finally ended our leaders realized an all volunteer army was better for morale, and public support of any war.  The end of the draft had the great benefit of depriving millions of a personal stake for protesting American military adventures to wipe out godless Commies (today the enemy is “terror”) wherever they might be hiding.

Accepting reality means, on one level, accepting that there is really nothing we can do about the irresistibly obscene profits of those who make weapons.  Can’t sell the goddamned things and have ’em sit in a fucking warehouse, governments ain’t going to go for that on the gigantic scale we need to make it worth keeping the factories going full-time, keeping everyone employed in the munitions industry.  Got to have wars, constantly, everywhere we can.  It’s a sad reality, but military force is the only thing these evil motherfuckers understand.  When Trump dropped “the mother of all bombs,” devastating a square mile of Afghanistan, he got a standing ovation from the spokesmen for a nation grateful that he was finally acting “presidential”.

Talking piece of shit and chief apologist for our culture of gun violence Wayne LaPierre reminded me the other day, with his snide dismissal of godless left-wing attempts to cynically exploit tragedy and manipulate the public after every single isolated and unfortunate high-profile mass shooting of school children, of a long dead activist whose name has become a snarling point for patriotic right wing pundits: Saul Alinsky.  I reserved Alinsky’s 1971 Rules for Radicals from the public library and a few days later picked it up at the branch that is scheduled for demolition, as soon as all the ULURPs are signed off on and the checks are all cut to interested parties.  

The book is a guide for practical actions to steadfastly but nonviolently change hearts, minds, practices and laws.  During his prologue Alinsky states emphatically that the revolution he advocates has nothing to do with Communist revolution, although Communists have written virtually all of the manuals for revolution in the past century.  He states several times that violence is not a sensible option for affecting positive social change in a democracy.   He points out the failures of every revolution by force, how quickly the new oppressors entrench themselves in self-perpetuating power.   He makes the point that social change, imagining and creating a better world, requires overturning many core beliefs of the status quo.  

The U.S., at the time he was writing, had produced 1,600 tons of nerve gas.   We weren’t going to use it, of course, but we needed 1,600 tons of it since the Commies were intent on converting every American to a slave.  Follow that logic, if you can.  That deadly shit, the kind of stuff that, if his forces employed it, would justify a righteous attack on the murderous Mr. Assad in Syria, is now at the bottom of the oceans, waiting harmlessly for God knows what.  Nerve gas is an inhuman, universally condemned chemical weapon, although, it must be said, the U.S. still produces and sells White Phosphorous, which burns unstoppably through flesh and bone and the use of which is considered, by many, to be a war crime.

How does the world get better?   By people of conscience organizing, imagining a better future, creating effective nonviolent battle plans, improvising smartly, using the mass media to further our narrative of how the world should be.  I have not read very far into Alinsky’s book, but it invites me to imagine the world and the kind of principled action he is talking about.   You can’t kill your way to peace anymore than you can fuck your way to chastity.  

When I was eight racist police chiefs were turning high powered hoses on blacks who were intent on voting, using public bathrooms, walking on the sidewalk instead of the street, not being lynched for the crime of making eye contact with their white superiors.  I am now sixty-one and racist government officials still fight the idea that just because significant numbers of unarmed blacks are killed by the police every year, in numbers grotesquely disproportionate to the percentage of blacks in America, that we have a systemic problem here.  The problem is not widespread racist injustice, according to these officials, it’s fucking agitators, lawlessness, troublemakers, whistleblowers, goddamned ‘citizen journalists’ with their video phones, malcontents, racist black terrorists, Commies.

Homo sapiens, the descendants of apes who now rule the planet, calls itself “wise man,” sapiens apparently meaning wise.   We are wise enough to combine in huge numbers, animated by abstract beliefs, and do amazing things.  Sadly, one of the most common and consistent of these things is organized mass violence against other groups of humans, against any species or ecosystem we choose.  We were wise enough to rise up, from an insignificant prey animal, and organize ourselves, collectively, during the geological blink of an eye, into the apex predator on the planet. 

When President Obama vastly expanded the drone killing program his people came up with something called the Signature Strike.  It might have been Cheney’s people with that innovative idea, I’d have to ask Jeremy Scahill [the program apparently started in 2008 at the end of the Bush administration– ed.]  [2].   The theory is fairly straightforward: certain actions in certain areas are the signatures of terrorists and militants.  When we detect a pattern of such things we send a drone to kill the unknown persons who are engaging in things terrorists tend to do.  When we count the dead bodies, any male body between certain ages is counted as an enemy combatant.  As simple, and effective, as the body counts in Vietnam.   You hardly need a scorecard to know that if we kill more of them than they kill of us, we are winning.

We homo sapiens are capable of amazing things, creating transcendent beauty.   We can move each other to cry using words, sounds, sights, tastes.  We can laugh, and make each other laugh, by these same devices.  We are also the most violent, insane, unbending motherfuckers on the planet.   Can you imagine a better future?  We must get busy finding others who share this vision, organizing, successfully spinning our vision of a better future correctly in the mass media, influencing the perceptions, confirming the most decent innate beliefs of our fellow citizens.  

Failing this, we’re all fucking dead, my friends.   The New York Times may put a nice spin on much of this, you know, how freedom and progress are on the march, and the world is a pretty good place, never better, really, if you can afford to buy the things that make it worthwhile, of course, but none of their bodies are on the line, until every human body on the planet is on the line.  Which, one could argue, is now.


[1] Here’s a surprise for you, gentle reader:

In the 1960s, the Dow Chemical Company re-partnered with Badische, the German company that had produced Zyklon-B, the gas used to execute people in Nazi death camps, and formed Dow-Badische. Dow-Badische created and produced Napalm-B, an updated napalm consisting of “25 percent gasoline, 25 percent benzene, and 50 percent polystyrene”.[9] After news reports of napalm B’s deadly and disfiguring effects were published, Dow Chemical experienced boycotts of its products, and its recruiters for new chemists, chemical engineers, etc., graduating from college were subject to campus boycotts. The management of the company decided that its “first obligation was the government.” Meanwhile, napalm B became a symbol for the Vietnam War.[10]

[2]  Signature strikes began during the Bush years, in January 2008, as the US intensified drone strikes in Pakistan. When Obama entered office in 2009, his administration picked up where Bush left off and exponentially increased the number of drone strikes. During his eight years in office, Bush launched 51 drone strikes in Pakistan and killed between 410 and 595 people. Obama, so far, has launched 419 drone strikes in Pakistan, alone, and killed over 4,500 people in Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia since 2009.   (this was as of August 4, 2015)


Mars Attacks (and the Office of Government Ethics)

The 1996 movie, imagining an invasion by ruthless Martians, although arguably no masterpiece, has a few nice images that are useful today.  

The Martians walk the streets, assuring frightened citizens that they mean no harm. “We come in peace,” they repeat, as they vaporize the populace with their death rays.


Mars Attacks.gif

There’s a great moment with a farmer, clutching his shotgun, defending his home from the Martian. When a Martian tells him to put his gun down he says  defiantly “you’ll have to pry this gun from my cold dead hands.”  The Martian tells him his offer is accepted, and blasts him with the death ray.


Without comment, or any connection to what I wrote above (or this horrific gif), this from the current US Office of Government Ethics:

OGE’s Strategic Plan Charts our Course through 2022.

February 12, 2018

OGE’s newly released five-year Strategic Plan reflects commitment to our important mission of preventing conflicts of interest in the executive branch. Government leaders and employees take actions and make decisions every day that affect the wellbeing of citizens and people around the world. It is critical to our democracy that we have a strong ethics program so that the people trust that government decisions are made based on the public interest rather than one’s personal interests. Uniformity, accountability, continuity, and citizen engagement are central to a strong ethics program.

To that end, OGE commits to the important strategic goals of:

  • Advancing a strong, uniform executive branch ethics program;
  • Holding the executive branch accountable for carrying out an effective ethics program;
  • Contributing to the continuity of senior leadership in the executive branch; and
  • Engaging the public in overseeing government integrity.

Ensuring the impartiality of executive branch decision-making and enabling the public’s trust in its government is imperative and a shared responsibility vital to our democracy. OGE looks forward to working with all of its stakeholders to make progress on these important goals.

We invite you to read the full plan here: OGE’s Strategic Plan   


And God bless these United States.

Deriving Their Just Powers from the Consent of the Governed

Was it Sir Winston Churchill, Cold Warrior, who quipped that democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the rest?  OK, it wasn’t really a quip, says Jeeves.  Churchill said it in the House of Commons in 1907, when the Cold War was just a twinkle in his witty eye, ascribing the comment to some unknown predecessor wit:

Many forms of Government have been tried, and will be tried in this world of sin and woe. No one pretends that democracy is perfect or all-wise. Indeed it has been said that democracy is the worst form of Government except for all those other forms that have been tried from time to time…

The central conceit of democracy (dēmos ‘the people’ + -kratia ‘power, rule’) is that informed citizens vote for lawmakers to act in their interests, according to the wishes of these knowledgable citizens.  This is the ‘consent of the governed’ part, from which elected legislators and executives ‘derive their just powers.’

The worst form of government, except for all those other forms.  Better than a King, I’d wager, even if the king is a nice guy.    The king’s son will as often as not be an entitled, unempathetic asshole.   Ruling by Divine Right, God only knows what the motherfucker might do.  Military dictators, as a rule even worse than fucking monarchs.  You don’t like the way they do things?   “Take this malcontent to the secret detention center and let him bitch there, with the electrodes on.”

Modern democracies are huge, which is one great modern weakness in the noble idea of rule by the will of the people.  Elections are mediated, and decided, in the mass media.  Voters, when they show up, cast their votes for the people who raised the most money by making promises to wealthy donors, who looked the best on TV and had the most convincing ads right before ballot time.   We can see the problem with this.

 Look no further than our bald headed commander-in-chief with that beautiful mane of carefully architected hair who flaunts every rule and norm of  democracy.   “I don’t do ethics, boner breath,” he smiles when the head of the government ethics office resigns in indignation after the new president gives a cheerful fuck you to the Office of Government Ethics.

Even Dick Cheney, famous for his smirking fuck yous, his contempt for critics, his no-bid contracts, his huge vault of top secret classified documents, his dark-side operations, his embrace of torture, his impatience with those who questioned his right to do whatever the fuck he needed to do to keep America safe, well, even Cheney finally conceded he had to go into a room, hand in hand with President George W. Bush, and testify secretly, and not under oath, to the 9/11 Commission he and Bush had fought for so long.     Not to praise that evil fuck in any way, it’s only that even in comparison to Cheney, this new asshole is one very bad hombre, ethics-wise.

Taking potshots at Trump is easy, and I choose not to do that anymore (within reason and the limits of my restraint).   He is a symptom anyway, a gigantic cancerous chicken coming home to roost.   The scarier deal is that most Americans are now convinced of our utter powerlessness in a democratic society with one set of laws for the powerful and another for the powerless, where deals are made by the strong and must be tolerated by the weak, the great masses of us.    

This works even on a neighborhood level where mass media coverage is not such an essential factor in who gets elected.   A few weeks back I went to the Audiencia Publica in my local intermediate school, about the massive rezoning plan now on its way to action.   The local politicians kept a low profile, most of them already committed to the massive development plan worth tens or hundreds of millions to wealthy developers and their cronies.  Their representatives (several sent secretaries to speak) were booed, as was the one oily, double talking fuck who appeared in person, manipulated his way into speaking first (among 150 speakers) due to “prior commitments”, and reiterated he is fighting for the greater good.   He was booed as he left right after speaking.  I watched another local pol, who didn’t speak, eating a bowl of free rice and beans from a table in the back of the packed auditorium.  I remembered that smiling asshole from the time I went to speak to him.

I dutifully wrote my statement for the “record” and realized, not long after, that while the Audiencia Publica gave local citizens a chance to vent, pump fists, raise signs, yell our approval or anger, that my words would not even be printed out for future use as scrap paper.  Not a single ass would be wiped with my hours of composition.  The locals have nothing to say on this issue.  Fuck the locals.  You don’t like the new plan?  Get the fuck out, you homeless asshole!

Deriving their just powers from the consent of the… wait, the consent of those who pay for their expensive campaigns.  It’s just a fact of modern democracy– it’s how much positive attention you get in the media, how well your team spins your personal ambitions as altruism,  how nicely you clean up to be packaged and sold as “authentic”.  The politician who spoke at the Public Hearing began his five minutes with two straight minutes of Spanish.  This was to show his authenticity to those who had been booing him a moment earlier, and would boo him again when he concluded his mealy-mouthed English speech.

“We got nothing,” I realized, when I was done counting up all the arguments I had made.   Loss of historical character of neighborhood– nada.   Increased crowding, air pollution, additional subway headaches — nada.   Closing and demolishing the neighborhood library as part of a gigantic rezoning plan– nada.  All perfectly legal, as attested to by the permit application numbers and the entire semi-public process of making these decisions.   “Above your fucking pay grades, you grousing cocksuckers,” the local Dominican city councilman might as well said, and to the hecklers “que tengas un buen dia, comemierda motherfuckers.”

Let us be brutally honest here (and what is honesty without just a whiff of brutality?) on the one side are people who want their quiet little neighborhood to remain as it is, pretty much.  Enemies of progress.  Not a penny to be made with that sort of attitude.  On the other side, every possible argument and upwards of many, many millions of dollars, with plenty to go around to anyone with any power who might also have any qualms.  A slam dunk.   “Have a nice day, shiteater motherfuckers!” they all say in unison, although, without uttering a sound, the consent of the governed, of course, being the place from which all just power in a democracy is derived.