In comments to the article, fellow Big Brass Blog contributing writer Father Tyme made the following observation:
It seems BP lost 21 billion in market value Tuesday according to Crooksandliars.com.Below, I offer a rejoinder to that assessment.
I smell an oily bailout coming! It'll be couched as some bullshit spin that tells us how much we'd really lose if BP went under. But it'll come, sure as winter in Wasilla.
AIG, Goldman Sachs, BP...Too Big to Fail!
America...not so much!
Here's the bad news: we really will lose if BP goes into catastrophic financial freefall.
In the absence of diligent regulatory control, and in the absence of diligent maintenance and upgrading of the laws enabling that regulatory control, the banking system became an incomprehensibly complex web of interrelationships. These interrelationships ultimately (and rather quickly in historical terms) were constructively a hierarchical, top-down matrix that included not just traditional banks, but every manner of what could be described as "financial institutions." The rock-solid walls of separation that had once existed by statutory law were no longer there to keep sectors like the securities industry (in its secondary markets aspect and in its investment banking activities) and insurance (in its property and casualty and even in its life and health components) from becoming entirely entangled, quite literally in existential ways, in the dynamic system.
Even worse, that network included both the Federal Reserve and the United States Treasury in a symbiotic relationship with the banks that were the key to a cyclical movement of government debt from the table at the Treasury auctions to be absorbed, in part, by the banking system (then back to the Fed in open market operations) while the central bank maintained liquidity in the system that would otherwise have been eviscerated by the demand draw from the government as expenditures outpaced tax revenues year after year.
Let the big banks die and thereby find out the rude way that the entire, credit-driven private economy and the public sectorfrom the federal to the municipal levelshad become dependent clusters of nodes in the financial network.
Now, let's talk briefly about BP, and I promise that the adverb "briefly" will be operative.
The failure of regulatory oversight and, more importantly, the failure to maintain relevance of enabling statutory laws that allowed the interdependent complexity of the financial system to become a dangerous house of cards is nothing compared to what has been allowed to happen in the energy sector.
Let BP die without a meticulous, detailed, ready-to-go, do-or-die receivership plan, and what almost happened to the global financial system in September of 2008 will seem like a mild annoyance compared to what will happen to the global economy if one of the oligopolists at the nexus of the world's energy system collapses.
Anyone who thinks that's A-OK has no idea of what would happen. The consequences would fundamentally, permanently alter the course of the 21st Century, not just geo-politically, but also into exploitable places in other parts of the inner solar system, where resources, strategically vital military vantage points, and staging grounds will step out of science fiction in this first half of the new century. From the depths of the oceans to the cold of space where asteroids tumble, the frontiers of the 21st Century will be ravaged by partnerships of massive corporations and nation coalitions.
Put it this way: How does life under the economic, political, and social control of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization sound to you? "Unpleasant" comes to mind, at least for me. (Not that economic, political, and social control by the conservatives and neo-liberals of the United States is turning out to be particularly palatable, either, mind you.)
So, who's to blame for us being held hostage by failed corporations?
We are. Specifically, "we" as we project ourselves through a government that has failed in its greatest duty of diligence, which is to protect our nation and its people from all enemies, both foreign and domestic. While terrorists knock down buildings because amateurs in Washington think they know what they're doing when they don't, and while corporations plow into sovereign territory in their scales of economies, our government sits on its fat ass.
Our neo-liberal President cowers to some mythical "center" dictated by Right-wing interests; our mainstream news media, as always, pretend to report news that is nothing but show-style entertainment pumped to gullible audiences by journalists with fluff degrees; and the political debate includes positive valence implicitly assigned to dumb failures like Sarah Palin and economics "libertarian" idiots like Rand Paul, along with a staggering list of corporatized post-neocons/neo-liberals like Barack Obama, Al Gore, a whole host of Democrats in Congress, and some first-tier bloggers and other opinion-maker wannabes.
Where are wethe real, flesh-and-blood peoplein all of this?
We're on the basement level of a multi-story outhouse. That's where we are. The view from our penthouse-in-the-cellar is awful, and the emergency escape stairwell has been closed for a long time.
The good news is this: if that multi-story outhouse ever does collapse under the teetering weight of its upper-level occupants, it is they who will unceremoniously come down to our level. That's when, for the very first time, they'll find out what their success really smelled like on the back-end port of the free-markets-gone-wild food tube.
In case anyone is actually worried, though, the multi-story outhouse won't fall down. Not just yet, anyway.
There's still way too much money to be made selling fossil fuels to a world of consumers who want their energy resources fast, hot, and available while acting breathlessly shocked at what can happen when fools are in charge and the government doesn't care until it's politically expedient to do so.
The Megaphone, the Zombie, and the Church Choir
For the most part, I just sit in the magazines section at a bookstore and read what interests me; but when it gets to three or more articles in a single magazine, I can't remember all the steps and the logic behind them, so that's when I decide it's time to waste some money.
I really shouldn't go to Borders, anyway. Several years ago, one of the so-called "affiliate" programs with which I had associated my Websites had Borders as one of its advertising clients. I applied for affiliate status to display Borders ads on my sites, but my application was rejected. It was the usual excuse about how my Websites didn't fit in with their overall marketing ambiance, or something like that.
In all fairness, PBS rejected my application, too, as did a number of other reputable establishments. Interestingly, Microsoft was glad to accept my application, as was Apple iTunes, although the latter company has since kicked me out because I never sold a dime of their merchandise. Amazon.com still keeps me, but it's really all just a favor they're doing for me: Heaven knows, I give them free ad space on sites that have total numbers of visitors in the hundreds of thousands every year, but it's their game. Why should they pay for what they get free? After all, that ad money has to go to reputable, first-tier blogs, TV and radio stations, and ad companies that plaster signs along highways.
(For those unfamiliar with gaming terminology, I just "leveled up" with that last paragraph. By the end of the campaign that is this article, I will reach a level where I can then go on to the next campaign, where I take on one or more very mean "bosses," who have to be fought with very high hit strength, lots of healing potion, serious armor, and cool weapons that make big things go, "Ouch!")
I wasn't too annoyed by Borders' rejection. The whole "affiliate" marketing routine is such a scam, anyway. In order to make any money, you have to get accepted by an advertiser; then you have to put their ads on your site; then a visitor to your site has to click on an ad and buy something from the advertiser. The likelihood of a "click-through" is ridiculously low, and the likelihood of a buy after a click-through is low, too, so the probability of getting from the click-through to the sale is exceedingly small. Besides that, a lot of people have software that kills or at least warns them about advertisers' cookies, which are the only way the advertiser would be able to tell if someone had come from a specific affiliate.
Yes, I still have a few ads up, but none anymore from Commission Junction, which is where Borders' affiliate program can be found, and none from the oldest of my original advertisers' affiliate platforms, a marketing company that used to be called Performics. Some of the very first advertisers who accepted The Dark Wraith Forums as an affiliate site were there, but unfortunately, Performics was bought for $3.1 billion by Google, and I want nothing to do with that market monopolizer this nation's Federal Trade Commission is too cowardly to take on in a long-overdue, desperately needed trust-busting crack-down. It's bad enough that I still promote Microsoft, an enterprise founded by a man who should have gone to prison for his antitrust activities.
It was just this past October 27 that Google sent me a final notice that I had until the end of the month to log in and hand over all my information in order to become part of the Google Affiliate Network and keep my old advertisers. I ignored the e-mail message. Why? That's easy: Google can bite me, that's why.
(Level up, again.)
I'll let other people use Google, its affiliate network, its one-stop shopping check-out service, and all its other wonderful features; and I'll let others wave the banner of "Net Neutrality" on behalf of Google and its massive, energy-swilling server farms that burn fire every last time someone too lazy to do real research decides to do a search for some intensely banal thing.
So, you get the idea: the writer of this article is not just a charming, articulate individual; he's also attained a level of acidic curmudgeonliness that makes him undesirable company anywhere outside of the old geezers' bench at the local diner, and even there the more amiable of the crabby patrons prefer the company of the young, tarty waitress with the ever-available coffee refill.
Go figure. I'm not that old, mind you, so you can imagine how lonely I'll be if I really do make it to my impoverished, irregular Golden Years. On the bright side, the current crop of old men at the diner will be gone, and that tarty waitress will be long in the tooth and still short on the nuances of figuring tax on a two dollar cup of joe. To her credit, she'll still probably be bitching about her latest boyfriend, the funny noise her car's brakes are making, and the phone company shutting off her service.
Anyway, back to the story.
I don't like Borders because Borders doesn't like me, but those periodicals don't usually show up at the local Barnes and Noble. Borders sends me coupons via e-mail, but those are phony: first, they never apply to "periodicals"; and, second, when I try to buy a book or DVD with one of those coupons, I get this routine about how the coupon applies to the original price, not the discount price that's showing on the book or DVD.
I know how all the routines go: Borders doesn't want to be associated with my writings, Borders hands out coupons that don't really have any use to me, and Borders charges high prices for certain periodicals because they have spatial monopoly in the sale of those particular items. If I go there and buy something, I have no one else to blame but myself. I am, in fact, "free to choose," to quote that late, Right-wing, free market shill, Milton Friedman.
Still, the injury of my own weakness for how-to magazines got multiplied by insult on my last visit to Borders several weeks ago.
When I went up to the counter to check out, the nice lady cheerfully asked me if I'd like to register for their sweepstakes deal. Every week, the winners get the book of the week, and this week's registrants had the chance to win their very own copy of are you ready for this? Sarah Palin's Going Rogue.
That's right: I would be first in line to get one of those monuments to literary excellence that was to come out on November 17. Only a fool would turn down a chance like that.
Well, I did.
Not only did I say, "Absolutely not!" but I then launched into a short, stern lecture. That poor lady had to listen to me tell her that Borders was supporting a race-bating, hypocritical, semi-literate failure of a parent and public figure.
The young dweeb manning the check-out register right beside her found some excuse to scurry away, and the poor lady taking the brunt of my lecture then had to stand there all alone, trying her best to be firm. She started: "It's about free speech..."
I interrupted her: "Free speech does not include a free megaphone, and that's what you and a whole lot of people who know better are giving that divisive hate-hawker and all her miserable kind."
The cashier then broke rank and simpered something about how she'd been glued to her TV set the evening before watching the House of Representatives health care reform debate on C-SPAN. In other words, I was preaching to the church choir.
Yes, I'm sure I was; but I was preaching to the church choir at their annual fundraiser sing-along for the renovation project at the Demon Hall Daycare Center.
(Serious level up.)
The lady asked me if I had a Borders Reward card, and I said, "Yes, I do." She scanned it so I could get some Borders Bucks credits for my holiday shopping.
We parted amicably. The dweeb at the next register never did show his face again before I left.
I went back a few days later to get a photograph of the huge sign in the front window advertising Going Rogue, but the giant ad was gone. It had been replaced by a smaller poster plastered on an interior door of the entrance way. I walked in and took my shot. Looking at me from the other side of the glass was Dweeb Boy. I pointed the camera at him and, sure enough, he whirled around and found something compellingly interesting to look at 180 degrees from my lens.
It was only when I got home and downloaded the photo of the poster that I actually grasped that the banner stamp was announcing "40% Off" on Going Rogue. The picture of Sarah Palin on the poster would have led me to believe that 100 percent off her rocker would have been closer to truth in advertising. I must stipulate, of course, that walking through the front doors of a retail establishment while carrying a digital single lens reflex Nikon sporting a big, muscular lens is not exactly a point of departure for exemplary prudence. Nevertheless, declaring that Sarah Palin is "40% Off" is charitability on stilts, if you ask me.
(Nearing Level 100. Just about time to face that Winking Zombie boss with the trollop hairdo and the "You Betcha Spell of Doom.")
Those who have read my writings know I can go on some pretty fierce rants from time to time. Those who have listened to my Internet talk radio show, Dark Voices Radio, know I can kick without much warning into fiery diatribes that border on righteous rage.
You have not seen anything, yet. The ascendance of Palin has finally set me free of decorum. I am about to go into hyperdrive about that Right-wing hypocritical failure and the entire publishing industry that has just furthered her nasty train bound for the White House. Into that maelstrom I plan to take the entertainment industry with its pathetic swill mongers like Oprah Winfrey, who is apparently so desperate to stay in the stew that she'll take a race-bater like Palin and treat her like a celebrity. I'll also be taking a swipe at all the mainstream info-tainment tripe passing as "news" that vaulted that loser from Alaska past her checkered, corruption-riddled, trailer-mentality roots and into the spotlight. While I'm at it, I'll have a go at all the publishers out there who pound out slop like Going Rogue but hide behind sham "literary agents" and their nasty "reading fees" that never seem to be a roadblock for literary slobs like Palin, Glenn Beck, and their addled ilk on the Right, along with Paul Krugman, David Sirota, Naomi Klein, and their equally slovenly ilk on the Left.
Along the way, I shall have my say about an entire culture too morally bankrupt to stand up to failed parents and their under-aged, alcohol-drinking, sexually promiscuous children, their never-at-home lifestyles, and their do-as-I-say-not-as-I-do hypocrisy. That conversation will include heavy artillery aimed at the weakling Left and its "Let's talk about responsible hedonism, okee-dokee?" way of dealing with their own quicksand of moral failure.
I might not have any readers left when I'm finished, but that's okay: nobody sits near me at the old geezers' bench at the diner, either, except for that tarty waitress when she takes a break to count her tips.
I should give her more than a quarter the next time I'm there. At least she never invoked the sacred right of free speech to defend a sweepstakes promoting the swill of an opportunistic extremist.
Coming up next: Dark Wraith meets the Winking Zombie boss and her Legion of Demons.
I've got level, I've got armor, I've got healing potion, I've got weapons.
Now, where's that church choir?
This won't be pretty. Then again, neither am I.
Sovereign Be the Thug
If I do not claim benefits until I am 70 years old that's about 20 years from now I would receive a monthly check of $641.
From my calculations, I estimate that my benefit check from the state teachers' retirement system would, at that time, be approximately $295, although the state legislature is discussing a plan that would reduce that benefit if I receive Social Security retirement money, too. Assuming that reduction will not happen, if I work as a teacher for another 20 years (on top of the almost 30 I've already done), I can retire on a monthly income from the two benefit checks of around $936. That works out to an annual retirement income of about $11,232. That's less than half of what I made last year: teaching brought in a little less than $23,000, and sales from my online store along with some kind donations brought in another three grand or so. Things were looking up for this year, what with teaching at two schools, again, as exhausting as that is, but the higher ed budgets have collapsed into a fiscal crater (while the schools are still on wild sprees of erecting new buildings), so the rest of the year is looking grim.
One way or the other either scrambling for work from semester to semester or taking those bodacious retirement benefits the Golden Years never looked better for a fellow like me.
Yes, that last statement veritably dripped with a toxic stew of irony and cynicism. In my defense, it also had a generous dose of gallows humor thrown in for flavor.
Fortunately, I have no plan to retire. I will work until I die, and if I am fortunate, that end will be relatively swift. I certainly cannot afford medical care, nor would I want it even if I could pay for it. I will let other people worship at the Church of Modern Medicine. I've gone to their services a few times, and I like Sunday mornings with Methodists or Presbyterians a lot better. For one thing, the collection basket is voluntary; for another, unlike the practitioners of modern medicine, preachers usually make no pretense that their religion is going to forestall mortal death. Everything at the chapel is about the after-life, and I like it that way: no proof whatsoever; just faith, along with the occasional hymn that reminds me of my childhood. That was before my dad died of lung cancer, after the doctors had bankrupted us with their snake oil poisons, which came after Blue Cross/Blue Shield cut off the medical insurance because of the bills. That was all before my mom finally collapsed on the floor of the all-night diner where she ended her working life, finally driven to near death by fatigue trying to keep body and soul together until her eyes went blind sometime while she was in the coma caused by the diabetes she hadn't mentioned to anyone. Later, the Social Security people would tell her that they'd have to cut off her disability checks because blindness in a 58-year-old person didn't mean she couldn't find some work. President Reagan and his people saw to it that her food stamps got cut way down, too. We all know how it is with those disgusting welfare queens and how we have to get them to take care of themselves.
Mercifully, Mom finally died. Most unfortunately, she had been declared incompetent by the county social services people, who took away what was left of her disability checks, tied her to a bed in a filthy nursing home, chopped off her legs, and told me I couldn't come near her because I had tried to stop all of it, and that meant I was a bad man.
You want to talk me into having anything other than abiding, everlasting scorn for the sovereign? Give it a try. I dare you.
I will not die the way my blood kin did.
Those who trust the sovereign to be better now than it ever was before are entirely free to believe in their myth, and I certainly do not begrudge them the comfort of the lie that sustains them; but God help anyone who has the gall to disparage my choice of lies by which to carry on from this day to the next and, someday, to the end. If I were to have the misfortune of living to an old age (and Lord knows, each day I earnestly endeavor to avoid that awful fate), I would certainly ask neither the Social Security Administration nor the state teachers' retirement bureaucracy for money. I do not beg to have returned to me what has been taken by force. I would not ask a strong-arm thug to give me back what he had seized, and I shall most decidedly not ask the sovereign equivalent, in all its legal and violent majesty, for mercy in the crushing wake of its fist. Both the common and the majestic of brutes can go straight to Hell and therein burn for all Eternity. Like the lowly highwaymen, the king's thieves needed the money they confiscated from me far more than I did, which is why they took from me without concern in all those years when I really could have used a better meal, a safe place to sleep, new clothes, and some pocket change for the rare but sometimes much-wanted indulgence.
Some times have been good; others, pretty grim. Always, always, though, the sovereign took its coin and now, its soulless machines spit out to me these epistles telling me the gospel of financial ruin that awaits me if only I shall work another 20 years?
Like I said: They can take their $936 lie and go straight to Hell with it.
War Mongers, War Buyers
All those who think the Democrats are the "party of change," the Sucker Land Express to Obamaville is now boarding.
God Almighty, people. The Democratic leadership in Congress has authorized the Bush Administration's reassignment of military funds to a program of state-sponsored terrorism against a sovereign nation. The rank-and-file Democrats, now fully aware of this, are not taking even the first step to strip the President of the authority to conduct this project. The putative heir to Empire being anointed by the Democrats has not even so much as hinted at condemnation of this abomination and those who 'looked the other way' after approving it.
What is it going to take to shut down this corrupted government all the way from its unaccountable President to its appeasing Congress to its rubber-stamp judiciary?
Another war? Apparently not: the opposition party is paying the way for that.
Another 9/11? Not likely: the opposition party jumped right on the bandwagon to hand Bush our civil liberties as payment for his last catastrophic failure to protect the homeland from a handful of crazed religious criminals.
Your future? Sure: an addled, corrupted corporate shill versus a vacuous babe-in-the-woods with a cult following that features gyrating sex-pots on YouTube.
There's your future.
The Dark Wraith wonders when, exactly, it was that the term "false hope" replaced "unrelenting fury."
George Orwell Was a Loser
Among those who grasp the stunning outrage of this are the usual cast of civil liberties advocates and other malcontents who simply cannot understand that, when law enforcement folks stamp their feet and bawl for more toys, they should never hear the word, "No!" It might hurt their feelings, and we wouldn't want them blaming any of us the next time a crime happens. God knows, when it comes to crime, it's never the fault of officials who could have stopped it if only they'd had one more truncheon to use on the population.
Why, the very idea! That's like saying George W. Bush failed to protect this nation on September 11, 2001, and then spent the next six years covering his own howling failure by exacting punishment for his miserable incompetence upon the American people and millions of knaves just about everywhere else in the world. Thank God, no one in Washingtonleast of all the Loyal Oppositionhad the impertinence to demand his head for letting a handful of whack-job maniacs blast down skyscrapers and a nice chunk of the Pentagon on his watch and right under his nose.
Would you like to have some fun? Here's an idea concerning this technological monstrosity that makes the word "Orwellian" downright inadequate. Ask Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton if either of them would kill that database project upon becoming President. Make sure to emphasize that it's not a matter of "modifying" the FBI's plan, and it's not a matter of "proper oversight"; the question is whether or not either of those two Throne of Empire wannabes has the guts to stand up to squalling babies who haven't had their attitudes adjusted and their butts paddled in years.
I'll bet you my bottom dollar those two Democratic cowards would dance like hip-hop stars around the very idea that they might want to do something like tell the FBI to stop treating everyone like a criminal waiting to be caught.
I've said it before, and I'll say it here again: "Change," my ass.
But, hey! They're Democrats. That means they're not Republicans, right?
The Dark Wraith is fast approaching a sublime state of ultimate cynicism. (It's the train stop right after the commonwealth of realism.)
Democracy for the New American Century
This edition of Rant & Growl departs upon a non-linear tangent from a comment made by the bright, outspoken, and astute blogger Dusty of It's My Right to Be Left of Center and The Sirens Chronicles. Dusty, by the way, is also a contributing writer at The UnCapitalist Journal, a Dark Wraith Publishing property. (And, yes, using the word "property" to describe something having to do with 'uncapitalism' does, indeed, smack of deliciously disingenuous intellectual irony even to your host, who happens to own Dark Wraith Publishing and, therefore, The UnCapitalist Journal. Just let it go; it's too complicated to explain, even to myself.)
Setting aside the trifling, and with sincere apology to Dusty for using her comment as the launching pad for a sub-orbital flight to Rantland, here is the fuel for the current high-octane blend of my personal fusion of progressivism, paleo-conservatism, and plain old insufferability. Dusty's comment is immediately followed by the rhetorical flatus of my opinions:
Voting should be more than a right, imho. [I]t should be something that everyone must take part in, or fear legal reprisals.
There are complications with the plan to make voting a legal requirement. First, in most parts of the country, registration to vote exposes the registrants to the prospect of being called to jury duty. Aside from what could be argued is a citizen's duty to serve on juries, many people have legitimate fears about jury service. I have known two people in my life who lost job opportunities because of protracted jury duty. Furthermore, at some point I plan to describe what I, myself, will do if called to jury duty. In summary, I shall be most fortunate if the presiding judge doesn't jail me for what I say during the voir dire conducted by some assistant DA twit. I most definitely will not be seated as a juror, that's for sure; and I strongly suspect that I will not even be thanked for showing up and sharing my opinions about the law.
More to the point of a law mandating that every citizen vote, though, the very last thing I want is for virtually all of the adult citizens of this country to exercise their franchise. We live in a nation where intelligence, education, and relatively simple reasoning skills are abysmal and declining rapidly from there.
You folks don't believe me? I've spent nearly three decades of my life doing reparative work on what the primary and secondary schools of this country pump out and call "graduates." Less generously, I've spent nearly three decades of my life doing reparative work on what the parents of this country pump out and proudly call their progeny, a ghastly litter of ragamuffins who have been at the hands of ill-trained, lazy, ignorant men and women who use a combination of brutish force and wretched negligence in the hopes of fostering something more morally, intellectually, and spiritually upright than they, themselves, ever were or ever could be.
It is bad enough that a lot of the howlingly, willfully stupid people vote as it is. Do you know how many people go to the polls and just pick names at random or because they saw a sign in someone's front yard?
This is the inconvenient truth of our "democracy": we are led by those who can get the most mainstream media face time and are the meanest and most aggressive in their campaigning. To put more incompetent voters into polling booths is to ensure that the disaster of the current White House resident will become more and more the rule.
Look at what we're going to elect as the next President of the United States of America. Not one of the major candidates of either party wants to be in the same galaxy with a conversation about bringing the rule of law to retributive, blind, unwavering justice on the cabal that has driven this country into ruin through the past seven years. Not one candidate would dare say to the American people, "We're going to have a Come-to-Jesus Meeting where every elected official, unelected bureaucrat, control-freak theocrat, radical Right-wing judge, rank-and-file torturer, and garden-variety parasitic cretin of this new American century will get hauled into court, exposed for exactly what he or she has done, and then get carted off to a nice, long prison term."
The American people don't want anything to do with that kind of examination that might very well expose the mean, cruel, ignorant beast within the American psyche. It's better to just walk away because that lets us all off the hook so we can MoveOn as if that same monster will not inevitably and swiftly come back and tear us even further asunder down the road in about one or two election cycles.
Trust me on this: giving democracy to the ignorant does not make the ignorant responsible; it makes the democracy nothing but an expression of mob rule. Now, here's a little nugget of wisdom to that effect:
That's right, they suck. Exhibit A: America, circa early 21st Century.
Life would be easier if the United States would simply follow the recommendation of Aristotle, who believed that democracy flourishes best when only the best are allowed to participate. In practical application for the new American century, let the way forward be thus: we the enlightened find the candidate with the most generous bribe money consistent with otherwise responsible policies and a reasonable expression of support for mythical American values, Israel, and whatever fads entertainment celebrities are hawking for the day. We thenwith a completely straight face and furrowed brow of responsible confidenceannounce to the American people that we have appointed to the Presidency a God-fearing person who likes the death penalty, hates terrorists, approves of the law, and has an opposite-sex marriage partner for penis/vagina sex exclusively for procreative purposes (except on rare occasions when the happily married couple can otherwise stomach the site of one another grunting in the nude).
We establish official guidelines for groups to be hated in rotating fashion so no single class of people should suffer too long. Furthermore, even though they're all fakes, we assure the citizenry that the cameras we're putting in every home in America are for each person's own good; and if anyone balks, we repeatedly say, "Think of the children." We should also promise to have law enforcement personnel be above the law so cops can continue to be the thuggish brutes most civilian Americans wish they, themselves, could be.
Real democracy? Of course that plan set forth above isn't real democracy; but, then again, how many people would actually notice? As long as the television and radio keep on pumping drivel, as long as the sports scores keep rolling, and as long as responsibility is the mantra for someone else's life, the majority can be allowed to live in an illusory crêche where private sloth miraculously has no mirror image in the public body.
The will of the People? I am certainly in favor of it; but only in moderation and most decidedly only by responsible committee.
The Dark Wraith has thus set forth his platform for election reform.