"Whenever I go into a restaurant, I order both a chicken and an egg to see which comes first"

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Mark Zuckerberg, Crypto-Currencies, And Congressional Witch Hunts

No one on Capitol hill knows anything about Libra, Mark Zuckerberg’s Facebook-based crypto-currency, and even if they had heard of it before he was called on the carpet to assure lawmakers that he was not some anarchistic financial manipulator, they still would not have managed to figure out the ins and outs of this spooky money, a shell game of international finance.

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So members of the House Financial Service Committee skirted the issue of money and went after Facebook itself, asking Zuckerberg to answer why he had not paid more attention to race, gender, and ethnicity, why he was so intent on sucking the life out of America’s black children by addicting them to social media, how he and his elitist cabal of Silicon Valley technocrat billionaires were creating a neo-Trilateral Commission organized to control the world’s financial markets, and what was he going to do to stop the abuse of women now epidemic through bots and trolls made possible by his negligent, careless indifference to the plight of LGBTQ Americans. 

Now, even the most casual observer of Congressional hearings knows that they are nothing but opportunities for grandstanding and shameless self-promotion.  Given the rules of engagement, witnesses are not allowed to speak up, speak back, or speak out; are expected to absorb the abuse, suffer the interruptions, and listen to the puerile monologues of those elected to do the nation’s business.  Hearings are vaudevillian, burlesque shows – masquerades, charlatanry, and circus side shows. 

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Yet the same casual observer cannot help but notice the similarity of these hearings to the proceedings at Salem three-hundred years ago.  Sham court trials presided over by deacons already convinced of the duplicity, sinfulness, and evil nature of women without hearing their testimony.  The fires under the stake were already lit and burning when the trials started.   The deacons, however, were not content to render a quick, summary guilty plea.  They were intent on demonstrating the accused’s guilt through the worst kind of twisted, Medieval torture.  The Iron Maiden, The Witches’ Bridle, and The Heretic’s Fork were all horrific devices to extract an admission of witchery and demonic possession.  Most women either confessed or died in the process of denial.

So enter poor Mark Zuckerberg, still a young man, a business and technological genius like Bill Gates and Steve Jobs but without their killer instinct.  Jobs was a prick who wanted to destroy his opposition and who had no use whatsoever for the shenanigans in Washington that passes as governance, and Gates was too revered a national icon and philanthropic hero to be drawn and quartered.  Zuckerberg hemmed and hawed his way through the hearings, bowing to Rep. Ocasio-Cortez and her claque, who not at all surprisingly, used their platform to hammer home the angry accusations against retrograde, male, elitist, white supremacy.

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Viewers tuned in not to see governance in action or justice and fairness, but to watch a modern-day witch trial.  Progressives can’t believe their good fortune in having such an attractive, angry, and righteous spokeswoman in Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, a young firebrand with juice, energy, and ambition.  Let her champion the radical, neo-socialist, fanciful and discredited ideas of the Left, they say.  Let her be out front with views that even the most tone deaf candidate for President can't touch.

She and her colleagues are the tools of progressive, white, political elite.  They know that her youth, her inexperience, and her loud, impulsive, passionate rhetoric will soon fade and their candidates and choices will remain standing.  Biden, Bernie, and Elizabeth may sound like leftie crazies to the Trump Right, but they are not; and if they happen to gain the White House, they will be as quietly beholden to their corporate and political powers that be as any Democratic President.

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Zuckerberg has untold billions in his corporate coffers and billions more in his personal accounts.  Facebook is not just a simple sharing platform but a legitimate world economic and political force.  Zuckerberg is more powerful than Jeff Bezos could ever be.  Bezos controls things, ships them, inventories them, and sells them; but the power, influence, and potential of Zuckerberg’s empire of 2.5 billion active Facebook users, over one-third of the entire world population is staggering.  Already, of course, the Squad and their Congressional supporters want to dismember Facebook, break it up into constituent entities just like former lawmakers did with Ma Bell. 

Although the cries of monopoly and too-big-for-democracy have already been heard, lawmakers have been content to let Facebook fight out its corporate battles in the courts; but not for long.  Zuckerberg, no matter what he does, is simply just too big for his britches.  By the very nature of the size of Facebook, he represents a threat to the ordinary American, the American down on his luck, the disadvantaged teenager, the single mother of an inner city family.  If he were to do nothing, he would still be suspected of witchery.

Because of his vast wealth and the influence it buys, Zuckerberg will go back to Palo Alto, to his wife and child, and to his protected and privileged enclave of California investors, all of whom love him, Facebook, and the limitless commercial possibilities of social media.  AOC will go back to her small, beginner’s office in the Rayburn building, continue to seek support from among ‘minority’ legislators, but will soon be forgotten in the land rush of the 2020 election.  Her support of Bernie Sanders, a hopeful foray onto the truly national scene, was expected and as shopworn, predictable, and as venal as they come.  Bernie will never budge out of low double digits, and the entire progressive establishment is likely to suffer and even worse defeat than they did in 2016.

Zuckerberg, of course, is not the only witness to testify before select committees and subcommittees of Congress. Supreme Court appointment hearings have become an even more popular and shameless witch hunt.  No one on the committees has any intention on determining a nominee’s stature, honesty, principle, and legal judgment; but only in the smarmy process of discrediting character, personality, personal life and convictions.  Supreme Court nominees have been schooled in the art of keeping quiet, answering aggressive, ad hominem attacks with reserve and respect.  If the votes are in the Senate, than no amount of badgering can prevent a nominee from appointment.

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Congressional circuses are not the only side show in town.  Presidential press conferences are just as bad, with every man jack in the reporters’ pool itching to get a nasty question to the President, who, of course, answers what he wants to, moves on to more congenial questioners, or changes the subject entirely.  The cards are stacked against the reporters who get cheers from their viewers of MSNBC and CNN for their hard and demanding questions, but only a brush of the hand from the President. 

Viewers tune in to see who will pose the most outrageous charge, the most insulting reference, and the most scurrilous innuendo – not to hear the President’s answers.  The press conference is as much of a charade as Congressional hearings.

So viewers learned little about Libra, Zuckerberg’s crypto-currency; and it seemed that even he had not mastered the smoke-and-mirrors, now-you-see-it-now-you-don’t aspect of this new electronic financial thing.  But it all sounded hokey to AOC and her claque – crypto anything cannot be a good thing and must be investigated.

So, Washington today is one big circus.  Not only do we have the most hilarious, outrageous, comic President in US history performing in the biggest ring of a three-ring circus - a man who has in one fell swoop redefined ‘presidential’ - but a hundred side shows far more entertaining than sword-swallowers, bearded ladies, two-headed babies, and boys with two heads.  Not only do we have circuses and side shows but witch trials, the rack, the bastinado, and burning at the stake.  Only the most disillusioned, angry upset progressive cannot find humor and hilarity in the goings on.  Please, AOC, don’t stop!!

Image result for images barnum bailey circus poster early 20th century

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