Photo: trpultz via flickr
The word “lamppost” is popping up lately with alarming frequency in connection with the word banker in all kinds of respectable places, and I don’t think this refers to, say, men in Armani suits searching for their car keys where the light is shining on the sidewalk after quaffing a few rare cuvee jeroboams of Louis Roederer Cristal. Rather, it seems to suggest a certain unease with the levers of jurisprudence in this republic of grifters, stooges and bought-off lackeys. Also of late come rumblings from the most august newspaper in the land that certain questions concerning LIBOR-fixing among American bank officials might be entertained in a federal courtroom. But isn’t it a fact that the US Department of Justice has its hands full – not to mention its dockets – with cases of alleged performance-doping by star athletes? Just think: all that effort (and expense!) at repeated prosecutions and Roger Clemens remains at large! His fastball might yet shred the constitution and all the combined sacrifices of our men in uniform in countless heroic wars.
Meanwhile, has The New York Times sent a reporter to chat up the elusive Jon Corzine? It must be an easier job than, say, trekking to a cave in Tora Bora to interview the late Mr. Osama bin Laden – which a few plucky reporters actually accomplished back when – yet Mr. Corzine is now better hidden than the Orang-pendek of Sumatra. And higher-functioning, too, considering his current role as Uncle Scrooge McDuck to the Obama reelection campaign. In what 5th sub-basement of a Robert A. M. Stern-designed luxury high-rise does Mr. Corzine sit with his moneybags of purloined MF Global customer funds writing checks to the Democratic National Committee?
All this is to say that when a few lame rumours of prosecutorial zeal appear in old grey mouthpiece for the status quo, you can bet that the true tipping point of public impatience has probably been breached and the fall of the elites is closer than you think. In the sizzling sauna that the US has become under the regime of climate change denial, the black swans of political turmoil are moistly hatching.
Who knows what form the mischief might take and how the trouble starts. Perhaps a hostage crisis at the Maidstone Club where families of a dozen hedge fund chiefs are held in the pool house by an out-of-work pipefitter from Wantagh high on bath salts. Or a swindled soybean farmer in an Semtex-rigged vest pays a call on the PFG-Best futures trading headquarters in Cedar Falls, Iowa, just as the lawyers and their financier clients sit down in the conference room to an ordered-in lunch of sloppy joes, fries, and slurpees. Or maybe a part-time evangelist off his Zoloft in some broiling strip-mall in a bankrupt California shit-hole sees the numbers 666 resolve among the remnants of his half-eaten enchilada on a Mitt Romney for President commemorative plate and packs up an arsenal of legally-acquired small arms for his journey to the Republican Convention in Tampa….
This is, after all, the country where the Kardashians reign. Anything might happen.
This is also the fruit of utterly failed moral leadership in a rudderless society adrift on a sea of delusion and untruth in an age of accounts unsettled. The battle over which empty suit gets elected president is a preface to the discovery that the national government only pretends to be in charge of anything. As the reality of total, comprehensive bankruptcy simmers up, perhaps a critical number of citizens stop forking over their quarterly taxes – since it would be the same thing as pounding sand down a rat-hole. Then, things really go south governance-wise.
The next revolution in North America could make 1793 Paris look like an Ace of Cakes episode. Lamppost lynchings will seem too merciful. Rather, look for a new realty TV launch: Kardashian Kangaroo Kourt, in which every week a score of obscenely wealthy celebrities plucked from the realms of banking, showbiz and politics are dragged over three miles of barrel cactus in the Cabeza Prieta National Wildlife Refuge behind a Dodge Mopar-loaded Ram Runner (mostly American-made).
In the meantime, let’s just all kick back these hot summer nights on the front porch with a few vodka and Red Bulls and enjoy Jack Abramoff’s new radio show on Clear Channel in which the re-branded “lobbying reformer” offers advice on improving the transaction of public business in our nation’s capital. This is Mr. Abramoff’s first job since completing his prison work-release gig in a kosher Baltimore pizza store. God bless you, Jack.
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