The Journal


Serving the Metropolitan Area


Since 1872



January 19th




By Jack Parnell - retired Congressman and Independent Presidential candidate


Syndicated by Acme Features



"The world of high finance can be understood only when it is recognized that the greatest admiration is accorded those who are paving the way for the greatest catastrophe."



- John Kenneth Galbraith

          We are, all of us, accountable to our betters. Bosses, stockholders... even politicians to the voters (well, more appropriately and with the possible exception of our esteemed President, to the donor class). George Washington was asked three times to be King George I... three times he refused... as President, he could look forward to retirement in Mount Vernon, which he wouldn't have been able to do as King, like all them French guys, losing their heads once they were out of office. Smart... like most elite-class playas of those days.

          We could use a few more like Washington... Hamilton and Madison too, have to admit, some of the rest of those as also Jefferson (who wrote the Declaration of Independence provisions of Life, Liberty and Property – which latter he crossed out and substituted the Pursuit of Happiness), Ben Franklin (as flew kites and wrote Poor Richard’s Almanac), the Kennedys, Martin Luther King and - who else… maybe Johnny Cash?  Even a few more robber barons like those as came round a century and change ago, mostly between the Civil and First World Wars. Nasty but necessary sons of bitches, these Fords and Carnegies and Edisons, without whom we'd be only another Brazil... getting by off’n rainforest beef, sports extravaganzas, cheap shovels and the samba, to be sure but, by no means, a world-class power, considering its size.

          Instead of an aristocracy, now, we've got the termites. "The difference between the early-times moguls and the recent wheeler-dealers is that, in the early years, the men who got rich also created industries, jobs and entire societies along the way," says Janet Celeste Lowe, as authored "The Secret Empire". "The recent leaders of corporate America have merely siphoned off public wealth into their private pockets. No public good has evolved."

          Now I'm gratified that Warren Buffett's donated a billion or so of the swag he collected during the Dow bubble after Trump’s election to Bill Gates' charity... I never have figured out how he makes his pile... and a few others of the one percent as promise to remember America in their wills but, more and more, the effin' majority of America's overclass reminds me of that old miser in Pennsylvania as bought land on both banks of the river and spent his retirement hanging out with a rifle, shooting at rafters and kayakers until he finally potted some weekending CPA and got stashed away in the bughouse.  Even outliers like Elon Musk or Richard Branson, making things and racing each other to Mars… foreigners!

          Surplus Americans, let us agree, still have bodily functions that require money to satisfy. Food, a warm, dry place to excrete the by-products of same, sleep and toys, sex or chemicals to inflate their self-esteem against the unreal role models they see on the idjut boxes as aren’t made hereabouts anymore. Because we, quite rightly, resent handouts to slackers... we build prisons.

          Lots of prisons!

          It took more than two hundred years, from 1776 to 1995 for the Justice Department to confirm we'd gone over the million population in our state and Federal graybar hotels.

          It took only six years more for us to hit two million and, despite the Big O throwing a few hundred pot smokers back onto the streets and that fella after him springing a few wealthy pedophiles, we'll strike three before the next Presidential election rolls round.

          And that doesn't include six million more on parole or probation... meaning a permanent employment “redlighting” from Larry (“Iron Man”) Ellison’s Taleo analytics… up from four only five years back. And what's really amazing is that we're achieving all this at a time when, according to which set of police statistics you believe, businesses are crying out for more minimum wage workers, a handful of states are doling out licenses to ex-felon cosmetologists and crime's down at its lowest per capita rate since either 1952 or 1949, depending on whose numbers you employ (the murder rates in Chicago or Baltimore, of course, excepted).

          Criminal justice is big business... now that the family farm and factories have floated off to their happy hunting grounds, communities fight each other tooth and nail for state and the private prisons. There's the profits from prison industries as pay wages competitive with Zimbabwe (if not quite China), not to mention them Martinson-Newman illegal Mexican and debtors' prison provisions as started kicking in last year as part of that sort-of ICE breakthrough and, so I hear, have even got El Donaldo rethinking that wall he still believes Mexico will pay for… someday. Toss in the bribery and corruption of the nanny-state, with its revenues from property seizures of increasingly nebulous intent... and even royalties from the sale of those prison "gladiator" videos to tabloid TV... and we're talking real money.

          We use jails to sop unwanted (and mostly dusky) Americans up like the red gravy, keeping our official unemployment stats low and emptying out institutions that reflect more negatively on manly society... mental asylums, homeless shelters etc.  While one former President was commuting those thirty year sentences for a few (mostly white) clueless pot smokers down to about fifteen, to grease the slide for the rest of us, the Christian Coalition and American Farm Bureau finally prevailed on Congress to shut down legal services to the poor... established by Richard Nixon in '74, and described by the American Bar Association as their only alternative to "insurrection and rebellion". Eight states, now, even have female chain gangs as cut weeds and pick up trash by the road in tight, sweaty t-shirts and Daisy Dukes, making any David Duke's drive into town to get his laundry laundered a sort of a lottery for voyeurs.

          Those six Supremes… Congress still holding up three nominations, now, after the last two assassinations (Alabama’s bible-thumping Senate reject Roy Moore, alt-right idol Milo something and, for the diversity, Omarosa?) against the twenty-twenty two race… made their bones in that Jersey case, where some abused children were locked up for contempt as bein' unable to pay for their unmillionaire pedophile father being confined in a bughouse after his jail term ended. They cited Pakistan... or was it Palestine?... in allowing families of fugitives to be "administratively detained" for up to a year and, then, the shockbelt law, which gave the UN one of its causes to send its Peacekeepers thisaway.

          And the fear still just keeps on comin'!

          There's whole colonies of "security communities" up the highway atween Lexington and Louisville; zip by of a night and you'll partake of their infrared and ultragreen surveillance lighting, sizzlin' small birds and animals... and with all them bristlin’, fluorescent antennae, they seem to be broadcasting out signals for the Mothership. "If you make ugly places," warned Philadelphia architect Laurie Olin, as security-chic began infesting Ben Franklin's old burg, "people will be ugly, too." Which, residents of such security communities apparently believe, is exactly the point.

          If Americans are bringin' back slavery, under the cause of sealin' the border, sending those ten and twelve year olds from Guatemala and Honduras to Camp Trumpy, making shirts to compete with the Vietcong, and still lockin’ up the nwords no much how BillBarr and The Donald fulminate about states rights and even give celebrity dopers and gropers get out of jail cards, why not fix matters up at the high end, too... take all those good 18th century people up on their original offer. Let's set up an American royalty... a Game of Thrones theme park complete with titles and ribbons and all that bowing and mincing ‘round with courtiers, fops and eunuchs, red velvet and pointy slippers! Real castles, with real moats and real gators! Start off at a million for the knighthood... Dom Perignon money... and work up. Ten mil for a Baronship, fifty for Dukes, hundred for Dukes of Earl. Best of all, the sitting President gets back his birthright: if elected King Jack, the First (royal Johns are unlucky – ask streetwalkers and those Brits!), I'll be giving serious thought to the mechanics of putting the "droit du' seigneur" back in the Constitution in a way that Bill Clinton could only have dreamed of (and his wife probably dreams of, too!).

          (Not right away, of course – I have my reservations about King Donald the Second, let alone King Erik.  Maybe we could weasel in a Queen or two, which would leave the ambitious… if not necessarily competent… Jared in full Prince Albert mode, if he doesn’t end up in the can!)

          It'll be like ol' Frank Menifee all over again.  Frank, after Fox ran all those crime specials last fall during the sweeps, bloody pictures from Orlando, Colorado and the such, made up his mind to move to Costa Rica just as their troubles were starting – looking into the quote unquote security communities down there, which he got brochures for, all trailers.

          It took Shaky Gus from the feed store to disabuse Frank of his dream. "Frank," Gus said, hitching up his trousers (which haven't fit good since he started taking all them gumment unpaid X-rays himself with this machine from a bankrupt dentist, in lieu of that cancelled Obamacare radiation for the cancer), "they got can openers down there!"