Monday, September 28, 2009

Week of 09/28/2009

Backing the Wrong Ism
– by David Matthews 2

In every story featuring the character of the underdog, there is either a betrayal or else a general skepticism. The underdog is always seen as never being able to win. Not against the champion. Not against superior army. Not against the unstoppable horde. Not against the government.

But then comes that moment when the skeptic realizes that they were actually WRONG. They didn’t take the underdog’s abilities or heart into account. Maybe the underdog wins, and maybe the underdog loses, but ultimately the underdog NEVER FAILS.

For instance, in the movie “300”, the Spartans were outnumbered 3333 times. And yet they still fought down to the last man. The Greeks, the priests, the leaders that were bought and paid for by the Persians, they all believed that the Spartans would fail. But they didn’t get it. The 300 Spartans that fought knew that they were going to die, and in fact they hoped that they would die in battle, but they also knew that their deaths would inspire the rest of Greece to stand up to the Persian Empire. They lost, in terms of their lives, but they didn’t FAIL in what they were there to do. They proved the Persians were not unstoppable.

So too is America’s underdog being underestimated and betrayed.

For the longest time, America has been lead about by its nose on a LIE. A LIE that says that America is about one thing… money.

This is actually something that has been going on for a little over a century now. The concern has always been about “big money” and big corporations and big banks. We’re spending BILLIONS of dollars to bail out BIG corporations. Wall Street’s finest of banks and insurance companies and lenders got the bulk of that money. Corporations that GOT that big BECAUSE the government approved of their continual mergers. Big banks became bigger banks, and then became megabanks. Corporations merged together in ways that would be illegal in half the states in the country if such mergers were performed by humans. And then when they got to be too big to be self-sustaining, they went back to that same government and said they were “too big to fail” and went begging for - and got - huge bailout funds with no strings attached.

But look at what has happened as a consequence. Millions of Americans, convinced that they HAD to get a home, have LOST their homes through foreclosures. What are they getting? The only help from the government has been a program that actually is far more PENALIZING than anything the banks offer! Wall Street gets billions without conditions while YOUR street gets the shaft!

Millions of Americans are without jobs. For every job opening there are at least SIX people out of work competing for it. That’s the highest ratio that has been seen in almost eighty years. And yet big businesses are still being allowed to export (“streamline”) jobs to third world nations or to get visas to bring in people from third world nations to work job openings. Big companies give their executives raises and bonuses. The unemployed only get extensions to their unemployment coverage, which are not enough to pay the bills, which forces them to tap into either savings that they DON’T have (or lost because of Wall Street) or go so deep into debt that if they DO manage to get another job they’ll be putting every penny they have INTO paying off that debt. Wall Street gets bonus buffets… YOU get the scraps that fall on the floor, and you’re told to be grateful for even getting that.

Meanwhile, state and local governments are losing tax revenue. Every home that gets foreclosed upon is another source of local revenue that is eliminated. Every job that is lost is one less consumer that would have available money to spend on local goods and services. Do you REALLY think that people that are forced to tap into their savings or go deeper into debt would be willing to dine at restaurants or be lavish in their spending? Do you think they would be able to take trips or buy a new car?

There’s a REASON why the liberals keep on wanting to tax “the rich” besides for wealth envy, and that reason is because if things don’t change, those are the only folks who will have any money left TO tax!

The problem is simple: our government is backing the wrong group!

Our government has been operating under the delusion that capitalism would keep this country going. Just keep the big-wigs happy and profitable and the rest would just take care of itself. Only it’s not, is it?

These are not the same days as the Great Depression. We live in a GLOBAL economy now. And the approach we took eighty years ago didn’t really work. It actually took a WORLD WAR to get our economy back on track then. We have a hard enough time trying to juggle peace-keeping forces around, never mind get into yet another conflict.

Let’s get brutally honest here… what’s good for capitalism is not necessarily good for the country!

Look at what’s happening with the big corporations that are getting huge stinking bailout funds. They’re busy doing everything they can to paying off that bailout money BEFORE the government decides to start putting in conditions. They’re not hiring people. They’re not changing their ways and shutting down the things that they did that PUT them in their predicament in the first place. They’re just getting themselves off the dole so they wouldn’t be forced to do something they don’t want to do.

Capitalism is only interested in one thing: success. It has no interest in whether or not Main Street thrives if it can find a way to continue to make a profit without it. And the larger the business in question becomes, the less reason it has to care if Main Street even exists.

On the other hand, government NEEDS Main Street (not to mention YOUR street) to thrive, if for nothing else than to have a steady stream of revenue that it can pilfer to fund all those pet projects of theirs. It can’t do that if a growing segment of the populace is losing their homes, losing their pensions, losing their sources of income, and aren’t able to pay taxes. They can only “tax the rich” to a certain point before “the rich” either find ways to get around it or they just up and leave to find some place more appreciative.

Bear in mind that we’re not talking about communism or socialism here, folks, we’re talking about putting an emphasis back on INDIVIDUALISM! We’re talking about the smallest of special interest groups. Collectivism is willing to write off whole segments of the group just for the “greater good” to survive. That’s what businesses do when they start shipping jobs to third world nations or finagle governments to allow them to import employees from other nations. Only the “greater good” that they are pushing for is their own.

It is in the government’s best interest, and yes I am talking about government at ALL levels, to get as many individuals back on their feet and back into paying taxes as soon as possible! And no I’m not talking about the government GIVING people jobs, but rather encouraging businesses to HIRE people here instead of going elsewhere.

Governments large and small have been backing capitalism instead of individualism, and that is to their detriment as well as to our own. History is replete of instances where such a preference has come back to hurt those in power, from the Boston Tea Party in Colonial America to the first Russian Revolution of 1917 to the Great Depression to the Iranian Revolution all the way up to and including the US Presidential Elections of 1980, 1992, 2000, and 2008. In fact there is nothing that ruins even a good presidential administration than when it underestimates the effect the economy has over its constituents. Just ask Jimmy Carter if you don’t believe me. Ignore that history at your peril!

Capitalism is all about the coin. The coin is a powerful tool, but it is not the end-all-be-all of society. Governments that are representative of THE PEOPLE cannot use business as a substitute.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Week of 09/21/2009

The Manchurian Protesters
– by David Matthews 2

In the world of comics, one of the most despised villains is a character called Darkseid. Famed cartoonist Jack Kirby created the character as the embodiment of evil, ruling over a world that is devoid of individuality and hope. Although human in appearance and mannerisms, the people of the planet Apokolips were considered nothing more than animals. “Hunger dogs”, as Darkseid described them. A dystopian society to the fullest; where the horrors of Dante’s Inferno are considered luxuries.

Every so often there would be someone who would stand up to the will of Darkseid. He would be seen as a savior to the masses. He would give them hope and let them dream of a better life. He would inspire them to throw off their shackles and to rise up and take on the soldiers of Apokolips. He would lead them to a great gathering place where he would tell them that they would then get rid of Darkseid and bring freedom to the people… not hunger dogs, but PEOPLE!

And it would be at that point that Darkseid’s soldiers would arrive and slaughter everyone assembled, leaving only the person who led them there alive, who would then be praised by Darkseid for doing exactly what he was told to do. This would be yet another one of Darkseid’s plans to weed out the vestiges of hope that exist in the masses and to extinguish it completely, leaving nothing but misery and despair, which Darkseid relishes in.

Sounds despicable, doesn’t it? Something only a depraved mind would come up with, right?

Well that’s the nature of evil.

But what if there’s more truth to this than fiction?

I’m sure some of you have heard of the term “Manchurian Candidate”, even if you never saw either of the two movies or the book that it all came from. Basically it’s about a sleeper agent that is conditioned by outside forces to act only when the time is right, and then to stage a coup and take over. The candidate would be the “ideal” one to lead given his sterling record.

Some people have already invoked that term in regards to our current President, Barack Obama. They firmly believe that the “plot” has already been hatched and that the “sleeper” has already been put in power.

But what if we’re not dealing with one well-conditioned “sleeper”, but rather with a group of “sleepers” that have been gradually conditioned not to stage a coup, but to sustain the status quo? To essentially create despair and misery here in the real world?

Okay, ponder this little scenario: you have general discontent. People are not happy with what is going on in government. They want change, and they feel like they are being marginalized. They feel like they’re going overboard with what life is constantly dictating they NEED to do. The message is out there that government is weak, government is impotent, government is corrupt, and they’re blind, dumb and DEAF to the plight of the ordinary hard-working American. They believe that those in government are fixated on satisfying their own egos than in actually doing anything significant. That’s the message they’re expressing.

And then in comes these GROUPS. Not just ONE group, but a whole phalanx of groups. They go by different names and some of them have these really vocal spokespeople. They all wrap themselves up in patriotic colors and use patriotic language and they speak in simple terms to the masses. They stroke the egos of the masses and reassure them that they’re NOT imagining things. They ARE being marginalized. They ARE feeling left out. They ARE being ignored. And, no, it’s not fair, and, no, it’s not right, but THEY will be on your side, won’t they?

The seduction is done so deftly, so skillfully subtle, that they don’t even realize what has happened. They’re promised change. They’re promised that they’ll be heard. They’re promised that they will be respected. They just have to be patient and be loyal and things will happen for them. They WILL have what they want.

But the funny thing is… even when they do everything that is asked of them, things really don’t change. The system still works against them. They are still getting ignored and marginalized. In fact, if anything, they are getting marginalized and ignored quickly and more frequently and even worse than before.

And then they’re told there is this “enemy” that wants to destroy everything they have. An “enemy” that makes the same kind of promises, gives the same kind of speeches, but everything this “enemy” does is to destroy the masses. They are not getting what they want or need because this “enemy” is stopping them. They have to stand up to this “enemy” and fight this “enemy” and oppose everything that this “enemy” stands for. THEN they’ll have what they were promised earlier.

It is the perfect protest group; idealistic, loyal, and willing to make any kind of sacrifices for the cause, including sacrificing their own expectations.

Sound familiar?

Now think about this: you know all those conservative and neo-conservative voices out there that LOVE to talk about the small business owners? They ADORE small businesses, don’t they? They idolize small businesses. No, seriously, they do. They put small businesses on pedestals and demand that we WORSHIP them.

Funny thing though… NONE OF THEM WORK FOR SMALL BUSINESSES! They all work for Clear Channel, News Corp, Cox Communications, Time-Warner… all of which are big corporations. And their chief sponsors are not small businesses either. They’re major corporations and multinational banks. Do you see small businesses in any of this?

Oh but they’ll talk the talk, won’t they? They’ll talk about how we need to help out the small businesses owners in this country. They’ll talk about how we NEED small businesses owners to keep jobs in this country.

And yet they had no qualms about having the lion’s share of the 2008 bailout money go to big corporations. Let’s bail out the banks and bailout AIG and bail out Freddie and Fanny, because they’re all “too big to fail”.

How ironic… they glorify small businesses but then bend over backwards with money that isn’t theirs to support the businesses that are “too big to fail”. And if anyone asks about it, they’ll just blame “the enemy”. It’s all the fault of ONE senator and ONE Congressman... even IF they weren’t in power until very recently.

Now add this into the equation: you ever hear of the FairTax Plan? Great plan. Would completely revamp the way we look at taxation. The group behind it has been pushing for it since 1995. They’ve had rallies, books on the subject, even talk show hosts and presidential contenders pushing for it. It keeps on getting proposed in Congress and it gets hundreds of sponsors and co-sponsors.

And yet… it never gets out of committee. It doesn’t even come up in the committees and sub-committees. All of those sponsors and co-sponsors, people that think this is a really GREAT plan, and yet it doesn’t make it out of the committees and sub-committees, never mind make it to the floor of either the House or Senate.

In fact, when President George W. Bush wanted Congress to explore tax reform, the very first thing that his advisors said was that they WOULD NOT include the FairTax Plan into ANY discussions! And nobody complained! All of that support… all of those promises made… for what? To keep the tax system the same as ever.

Congress changed political allegiances twice since 1995, and yet despite all of the talk and all of the promises and all of the rallies and demonstrations and books, this great idea to reform the tax system is STILL not any closer to becoming a reality!

And the same applies to pretty much EVERY kind of reform measure proposed.

Look at political reform. Outlaw one tactic and the people behind it find ways to get around it. Let’s ban robot-calling… except for OUR robot-calling. OURS is “too important”. Let’s outlaw the special interest advertising… but not OURS. Let’s ban certain kinds of campaign contributions, but we’ll write in exemptions for the national conventions.

Everyone wants a third political party, or so the polls and public sentiment so decree, and yet the rules are changed to prevent a third party from ever getting any kind of mainstream voice. There are DOZENS of third-party choices out there, but nobody wants to pay any attention to them because they supposedly “can never win” even though they may have overwhelming support.

Why not support those groups? Because they are told that it is more important to stop “the enemy”. They have to stop “the enemy” from gaining any more control over the process. MAYBE in a few years after they make sure that “the enemy” has been defeated they can talk about a third party choice… but not right now. The stakes are just “too high” for them to even consider it.

Let’s get brutally honest here… we in America are getting PLAYED! We ARE being deceived! We ARE being conned on a level that is unprecedented in human history. WE ARE living a lie!

Change and reform are presented to us like a siren’s call. We’re lured in, convinced that we can make a difference, and yet we end up supporting the very people who have prospered off the status quo, and thus have no incentive to actually CHANGE things like they promised. We may be upset about it, but we won’t do anything about it, because we’re conditioned to believe that we NEED the status quo in place to fight off “the enemy”.

The ultimate intention is really no different than the grand schemes of Darkseid, or, for that matter, of the villains in the 1975 movie “Rollerball”. It’s all designed to destroy hope and dreams of a better life. The people who are behind these grand schemes, the ones in power, dangle hope and change before us knowing full well that as long as they are the ones behind it, it will never happen. And to convince you to abandon hope and change, to prevent you from going behind their backs and bringing in the change that they DON’T want, they have a ready-made “enemy” for you to hate and despise with all of your might.

The major power-brokers, the ones fueling these protest rallies, are your real enemy, but you’ll never recognize it. They have whipped you and they have conditioned you like Pavlovian dogs to follow your Master’s commands, but you’ll never admit to it. It’s just easier to live in the delusion than it is to accept that you’re a pawn.

That, too, is just part of their game.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Week of 09/14/2009

Death of Dreams
– by David Matthews 2

Is there a fate worse than death?

Religious believers would say that there is something worse than death. A great place in the hereafter where our souls could go where they would be in eternal torment. Traditional myth suggests that our souls are bound to the land until some sort of wrong has been righted. Sounds crazy, but hey, it worked for Jennifer Love Hewett, right?

But I’m not talking about an existence AFTER life has ended. I’m talking about something so horrid in life that you WISH you were dead.

Certainly there are forms of physical torment and torture that can break the body. The evil that men (and women) do can be atrocious and without mercy. But even in the most atrocious of situations, mankind has found a way to survive and endure. They have found a way to look beyond the momentary pains and believe that there would be something more waiting for them afterwards.

Is there a fate worse than death? Is there a situation that would be so horrific that one would yearn for death?

Yes there is.

A lot of talk is placed on one’s soul, but what about their spirit? What about that hope and sense of optimism and the belief that things will get better? What happens when that is gone?

An abuse victim can always cling to some sliver of hope that things will get better. They can always point to some measure of kindness given to them to believe that things will improve at some point. They just have to put up with the pain and the torment and the torture just a little while longer.

Survivors of the Holocaust, one of the worst atrocities in human history, continued to hang in despite dehumanizing conditions and starvation, because they believed that this too shall pass.

People survive inhospitable conditions because they believe that there will be something better just over the horizon. They just have to wait a little longer. Just get through the day. One more day. One more week. One more month.

But what happens when even that is taken away from them?

What happens when they don’t believe that this is just a momentary downturn? What happens when they feel that things will not get better for them… at least not in time? What happens when they feel trapped and there’s no way out of what they’re going through?

Millions of Americans are out of work through no fault of their own. Millions of Americans have lost their homes, their healthcare, their pensions, and their savings. Millions more are trapped in credit snafus and mortgages that they can no longer maintain.

They go to church and they hear the minister or the preacher complain about how “GAWD has abandoned us” because we didn’t vote for the “right candidate” last November, or because the wrong political party is in control of Congress, or because the “right judges” aren’t on the bench, or because boobies and blood are on the TV screens and in the theatres. They open up the newspaper and they read how bank executives and big corporations are paying out millions in “retention incentives” and then they get a letter from their bank about how their terms have been changed for the worse. They turn on the TV and they watch blithering idiots ramble on and on about “socialism” and how America is being killed because we didn’t vote for the “right candidate” last November AND because the “wrong political party” is in control of Congress. They turn on the radio and they hear formulated corporate garbage and even more blithering idiots rambling on even LOUDER and even more IDIOTIC about the same subject. They go online and they see websites full of fictional birth certificates claiming that the highest elected politician in the country is somehow a foreigner and accusing him of staging an illegal coup. They get emails from their friends and family members full of nothing but empty chain mail messages and hate-filled propaganda reflecting the very messages of the blithering idiots on radio and TV.

They turn to their politicians… the ones they voted in on the promise of bringing in hope, change, accountability, transparency, and to fix what is broken. They find that the politicians are not able to fix what is broken. They find that the politicians that promised transparency are sustaining the very secrets of their predecessors. They find that the politicians that promised accountability are now telling them to not “dwell on the past” and to simply move on. They find that the politicians that promised change are mired in the status quo. And they discover that the politicians that promised hope are now saying that they should accept that things are going to stay bad for a long, long time and that there is nothing that can be done to change it.

Jobs are still being eliminated, or else moved to other countries. The jobs that remain are being devalued and under-appreciated. Everyone wants to push education, but then the people that do the hiring raise the bar even higher so the people WITH the education can’t qualify for what few jobs are left.

And looming over the horizon are a vast plethora of deadlines, both real and imagined, of when everything will come to an end. Institutions that will collapse from the sheer weight of debt amassed; whole governments that will fail because of their reckless behaviors. And of course the doomsayers are saying that the world as we know it will either burn out, burn up, be shattered, or otherwise obliterated - with all life onboard - in just a few years. Even if the Mayans got it wrong, we’re still overdue for some asteroid collision or super-volcano eruption or polar magnetic reversal anyway. So hang in there and if you’re lucky you might see that neighbor you despise be obliterated in a wall of fire… two seconds before you join him.

And then comes the slap-in-the-face; the insult of insults… On top of all that has happened we are besieged by messages from so-called “motivational speakers” who get paid quite well to simply sit on their fat and rich asses and tell us that we should just “hang in there” and to “just think positive”. These “experts” don’t want to help, of course, they just want us to “hang in there”… oh, and for us to buy their books. And if you DO tell them that you HAVE been thinking positive for a long time and things have only gotten worse, then they have the utter audacity to tell you that you just aren’t doing it “right”. After all, if you’re thinking positively, then you don’t have any reason to complain… right?

“The beatings will continue until morale improves,” as the old joke goes. Only that morale doesn’t improve, and there’s no sign that it ever will.

Worse yet, you’re not allowed to COMPLAIN about the beatings. If you do then your words are dismissed for being “sour grapes” and that you should just “hang in there” because things will get better if you do…

Only… things don’t get better.

Let’s get brutally honest here… THERE IS a fate far worse than death. There is a fate that makes death seem like a blessing. It’s not the death of the body or the condemnation of the soul, but the death of the spirit. When all that the person has is devalued and dehumanized, when they made to feel unworthy and unappreciated, when they are ignored and betrayed by the very people and institutions that they are supposed to trust, when all the pleas for help are scorned and when all the calls for justice go unanswered, and there appears to be no end in sight to any of it, that it will just get worse as time moves on, and their plight can’t even be recognized, how can any sane human being expect that person to simply keep going like nothing has ever happened?

This is beyond despair. This is beyond fear. There is nothing left but mourning.

When a person cannot even dream of a better place, when they cannot hope that things will get better, when they can no longer put any faith into any kind of institution or association, then that person has nothing left to look forward to but death. At that point all of the encouragement in the world is utterly worthless to that person. They can no longer see, think, or even dream of a better future, never mind believe in one. All of the cute flowers and pictures that one could send in an often-recycled email message only serve to further insult that person.

If it seems depressing to you, then pat yourself on the back for finally realizing the obvious. Platitudes cannot fix a spirit that is dead. Promises are irrelevant at this point. The only thing that can work is action. Actual, concrete action. No platitudes, promises, or tricks of the mind. If there is ever a time where institutions and organizations and people NEED to actually do what they are supposed to, it is NOW.

The sad part is we’ve seen this kind of death before. If ever you ask yourselves how people in lands run by tyrants allow such abuses to go on, then the answer is before you. Their willingness to change rests in the belief that change is POSSIBLE. But when you have a people that go through one thug after another, each one even worse than the ones before, then they just don’t have any reason to think it will change. They deal with it because experience has shown they have no choice in the matter.

The message here is simple… when dreams are dead, words of hope are worthless. That is the time when you need to stop talking and start doing.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Week of 09/07/2009

10 Steps to Lose Credibility
(or “How to be a dishonorable and unrepentant b@stard and get away with it”)
– by David Matthews 2

Do you know what stopped the McCarthy hearings in the 1950’s? Guilt and disgust.

Senator Joe McCarthy was an unrepentant bully. A thug who used the power of his office to carry out an agenda of fear-mongering for his own personal gain. And the trick to getting away with it was that he wasn’t alone in doing it. There were others who latched on to his self-righteous, self-appointed witch-hunt. People who sided with Joe the Thug because it was something they wanted to do as well. But they made sure that it was seen as HIS crusade. That way, should it blow up in their faces, he would be seen as the fall guy for it.

And of course, it DID blow up. Joe the Thug eventually overstepped his bounds. He started crossing the people that he should have never crossed, and the rest of the grifters and shysters quickly moved to shut it down before the backlash destroyed them all. True to their playbooks, only McCarthy took the blame, and he would later drink himself to death as a miserable and unrepentant FAILURE.

The memorable line that was uttered that finally did McCarthy in was “Have you left no sense of decency?”

Up until that point, Joe the Thug’s word was considered unchallengeable. He was a United States Senator, after all. He had a duty, an oath, and a responsibility to uphold. But as soon as he crossed that line, he lost his credibility, and his cause after that meant nothing.

Credibility. That used to actually mean something. It used to have worth. It used to have value. When the politician that crusaded on the “family values” platform was caught with the prostitute, that politician would leave and never be heard from again. The banker caught with his hand in the proverbial cookie jar would not show up on TV as a “financial expert”. The minister’s wife caught with the gardener would not then be asked to address the virtues of marital fidelity.

Well, presuming that credibility still mattered in this world, what would it NORMALLY take to destroy it? What would it NORMALLY take to drive someone to that point where one would have to ask them “Have you at long last, sir, no sense of decency?”

Let’s get brutally honest here… the destruction of one’s credibility is something that happens in increments. Nobody goes out and INTENTIONALLY drives themselves into irrelevancy. Joe the Thug certainly didn’t decide all of a sudden to throw away his credibility in one-felled swoop. This was a series of abuses that finally culminated to that last offense, that last bit of indignity and dishonor that finally caused people to say “enough”.

But what are the signs? How does an otherwise respected person lose it?

There are 10 steps to losing your credibility. They don’t have to all happen, or happen in this particular order, but when you go out there today to see the people that have followed the path of Joe the Thug, you’ll see some if not all of these traits among them.

1. Be a bigot on day one. Having bigoted thoughts is human nature, but actually coming out and BEING a prejudicial bigot from the moment you heard about that person, well, that really disqualifies you from being a judge of character. We’re talking more than just being a skeptic. We’re talking openly declaring anything a person does to be a failure even before they do it. Like how all the children in the “Peanuts” cartoons always say “WE’RE DOOMED” anytime Charlie Brown is involved.

2. Start over-exaggerating. Remember when your car ran out of gas and you had to walk ten miles to reach the nearest gas station? Well, maybe it was actually just fifty feet along an empty highway, but that’s not how you describe it. It’s ten grueling miles through gang-infested territory, ducking gunfights and exploding buildings, and fighting off the advances of desperate drug-crazed hookers with razor blades. And it gets even more fanciful every time you recall it! Baron Munchausen has NOTHING compared to you! And if you think that’s incredible, then just wait until you hear all of the things that will happen once a certain person you despise gets any kind of power. Oh you’ll just wish that the world came to an end!

3. Declare yourself an expert. You see… all those people out there with those fancy degrees and those fancy titles mean absolutely NOTHING compared to you. Why? Because you’re an expert in your own right! You know more than all of those fancy egg-heads combined!

4. Get your history wrong. Remember when the Germans invaded Pearl Harbor? Yeah, that’s why we got involved in World War II back in 1936! And… and remember how Hitler killed himself because we were about to nuke Berlin? That’s how the war ended, don’t you know! We nuked Berlin and we nuked Tokyo! Why are people giving you weird looks? You know your history! You know your history like you know the back of your hand! Wait, is that a mole?

5. NEVER admit to being wrong about ANYTHING! No, you NEVER said that the Germans invaded Pearl Harbor! You NEVER said that! You don’t care if they have footage of you saying it; it doesn’t matter, because YOU NEVER SAID IT! It’s all a fake. It’s all fabricated to make you look bad!

6. Declare yourself a victim! This next step is VERY important, because you have to establish yourself as a victim early in order to prevent people from criticizing you. This is the mistake that Joe the Thug made; because he was too busy powering through his persecutions to ever realize that there would be a backlash mounted against him. By the time he crossed the line, and the system moved to shut his crusade down, he wasn’t in a position to declare himself a victim to prevent criticism. That’s why the moment someone starts criticizing you, you have to immediately declare yourself to be a victim of a witch-hunt! You have to claim that your rights are being taken away from you. You can’t speak your mind anymore! You’re being PERSECUTED for what you believe in and for speaking out on what you believe in! You’re a VICTIM! You’re a victim of the grand conspiracy that is being crafted to SILENCE people like you!

7. Play the martyr. Again, very important step in order to keep on doing the things that you do. Yes, you’re a victim, but you’re willing to BE the victim. You’re willing to continue to be a victim and to take the lumps of a victim in order to better serve humanity. And who better to do that than you, right? After all, you’re an expert!

8. See things others don’t. Hear things that others don’t. And be quick to find hidden meanings and messages. Remember the people who used to play records backward to hear “hidden messages” in them? Why should they be the only ones to have all the fun? After all, aren’t you an expert? Go through every photograph, every video clip, every piece of art, and look for “hidden symbols” in them. Parse through books and articles to look for “codewords”. You know they’re there! They’re just waiting for you to spot them and tell others about them! And if others don’t believe you, then they’re just part of the grand conspiracy trying to shut you up!

9. Openly pray for the ruination and/or death of your enemies! If you’re truly a victim of a grand conspiracy, then it is only fair that you should openly voice your support for their demise. Oh you don’t have any plans on being the INSTRUMENT of their demise, but you will certainly ENCOURAGE it. You WANT it to happen. You will openly HOPE it will happen, and that it happens soon. And when it doesn’t happen soon you’ll say that it NEEDS to happen and you think that it NEEDS to happen soon! SOMEONE needs to do it. It won’t be you, of course, but SOMEONE needs to do it for you and all the others like you who are the “helpless victims” of the grand conspiracy. Remember, of course, that when it DOES happen to go back to the other steps to make sure that YOU are not held responsible for it. After all, you didn’t pull the trigger or start the blaze; you just said that SOMEONE needed to.

And finally…

10. BASK in the glory and greatness that is YOU! You deserve a little recognition at this point, don’t you? After all, you’re willing to become a victim to point out the grand conspiracies that are out there to destroy you. And you DESERVE some of that glory and greatness, because you’re an expert! And you’re brave… because you’re willing to say what other people are normally just thinking to themselves! And when your enemies do fall, they deserved to fall… because they didn’t realize that they were going up against YOU.

Now you’ll notice that these 10 steps bear a resemblance to certain psychological disorders. No doubt in earlier years you would have reason to be concerned, because they could have destroyed your credibility… not to mention throw you in a padded room with a wrap-around jacket. But thankfully, you and your friends have done away with that little annoying thing called credibility. Now you can be the kind of person that you’ve always DESERVED to be.

And for those already in that kind of position, they can rest easy knowing that unlike their predecessors, they won’t be knocked off their pedestals by their own failings.