Electing The Great American President

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Empire Burlesque's Official Endorsement
in the 2008 Presidential Race        
by Chris Floyd     
People often say to me, "Gosh, Chris, you sure give our politicians a lot of guff. Seems like you find something wrong with everybody out there, no matter what their political stripe. Is there anybody at all that you could support for president?" That's what people say to me.

Well, thanks to the good offices of Scott Horton at Harper's, I'm happy to say that I have now found a presidential candidate to whom I can give my wholehearted, full-throated support: a man of the people, a son of the soil, a straight-talker with business moxie, military experience and a wide knowledge of foreign parts. I am proud to stand here today (why yes, I do write this blog standing up – and I hope you read it in the same way) and second Horton's nomination for the only man who can lead our great nation back to, er, greatness.

My fellow Americans, I give you the right honorable Samuel Langhorne Clemens! 
  • "I have pretty much made up my mind to run for President. What the country wants is a candidate who cannot be injured by investigation of his past history so that the enemies of the party will be unable to rake up anything against him that nobody ever heard of before. If you know the worst about a candidate to begin with, every attempt to spring things on him will be checkmated. Now I am going to enter the field with an open record. I am going to own up in advance to all the wickedness I have done....

  • I candidly acknowledge that I ran away at the battle of Gettysburg. My friends have tried to smooth over this fact by asserting that I did so for the purpose of imitating Washington, who went into the woods at Valley Forge for the purpose of saying his prayers. It was a miserable subterfuge. I struck out in a straight line for the Tropic of Cancer because I was scared. I wanted my country saved, but I preferred to have somebody else save it. I entertain that preference yet. If the bubble reputation can be obtained only at the cannon’s mouth, I am willing to go there for it, provided the cannon is empty. If it is loaded, my immortal and inflexible purpose is to get over the fence and go home.

  • "My invariable practice in war has been to bring out of every fight two-thirds more men than when I went in. This seems to me to be Napoleonic in its grandeur.

  • "My financial views are of the most decided character, but they are not likely, perhaps, to increase my popularity with the advocates of inflation. I do not insist upon the special supremacy of rag money or hard money. The great fundamental principle of my life is to take any kind I can get...

  • "....These are about the worst parts of my record. On them I come before the country. If my country don’t want me, I will go back again. But I recommend myself as a safe man – a man who starts from the basis of total depravity and proposes to be fiendish to the last."

And that's our campaign slogan -- "Samuel L. Clemens: Fiendish to the Last!" Why not the best?

You should of course go read the whole piece at Harper's. But before you go -- or when you get back -- check out some more of the candidate's position papers that I, policy wonk that I am, dug up after joining the campaign:

  • "We are discreet sheep; we wait to see how the drove is going, and then go with the drove. We have two opinions: one private, which we are afraid to express; and another one -- the one we use -- which we force ourselves to wear to please Mrs. Grundy, until habit makes us comfortable in it, and the custom of defending it presently makes us love it, adore it, and forget how pitifully we came by it. Look at it in politics. Look at the candidates whom we loathe, one year, and are afraid to vote against, the next; whom we cover with unimaginable filth, one year, and fall down on the public platform and worship, the next--and keep on doing it until the habitual shutting of our eyes to last year's evidences brings us presently to a sincere and stupid belief in this year's. Look at the tyranny of party--at what is called party allegiance, party loyalty -- a snare invented by designing men for selfish purposes -- and which turns voters into chattels, slaves, rabbits, and all the while their masters, and they themselves are shouting rubbish about liberty, independence, freedom of opinion, freedom of speech, honestly unconscious of the fantastic contradiction; and forgetting or ignoring that their fathers and the churches shouted the same blasphemies a generation earlier when they were closing their doors against the hunted slave, beating his handful of humane defenders with Bible texts and billies, and pocketing the insults and licking the shoes of his Southern master.

  • "If we would learn what the human race really is at bottom, we need only observe it in election times. A Hartford clergyman met me in the street and spoke of a new nominee -- denounced the nomination, in strong, earnest words -- words that were refreshing for their independence, their manliness. He said, "I ought to be proud, perhaps, for this nominee is a relative of mine; on the contrary, I am humiliated and disgusted, for I know him intimately -- familiarly -- and I know that he is an unscrupulous scoundrel, and always has been." You should have seen this clergyman preside at a political meeting forty days later, and urge, and plead, and gush -- and you should have heard him paint the character of this same nominee. You would have supposed he was describing the Cid, and Greatheart, and Sir Galahad, and Bayard the Spotless all rolled into one. Was he sincere? Yes -- by that time; and therein lies the pathos of it all, the hopelessness of it all. It shows at what trivial cost of effort a man can teach himself to lie, and learn to believe it, when he perceives, by the general drift, that that is the popular thing to do..."

Now we all know that flattery of the electorate is the quintessence of politics. No candidate can come before the American people without telling them what exalted, God-blessed, peerless and unprecedented paragons of goodness and wisdom they all are. And candidate Clemens is certainly a master of this indispensible art, as we can see below:

  • ". . . There are certain sweet-smelling sugar-coated lies current in the world which all politic men have apparently tacitly conspired together to support and perpetuate. One of these is, that there is such a thing in the world as independence: independence of thought, independence of opinion, independence of action. Another is, that the world loves to see independence--admires it, applauds it. Another is, that there is such a thing in the world as toleration--in religion, in politics, and such matters; and with it trains that already mentioned auxiliary lie that toleration is admired and applauded. Out of these trunk-lies spring many branch ones: to wit, the lie that not all men are slaves: the lie that men are glad when other men succeed; glad when they prosper; glad to see them reach lofty heights; sorry to see them fall again. And yet other branch lies: to wit, that there is heroism in man; that he is not mainly made up of malice and treachery; that he is sometimes not a coward; that there is something about him that ought to be perpetuated -- in heaven, or hell, or somewhere. And these other branch lies, to wit: that conscience, man's moral medicine chest, is not only created by the Creator, but is put into man ready charged with the right and only true and authentic correctives of conduct -- and the duplicate chest, with the self-same correctives, unchanged, unmodified, distributed to all nations and all epochs. And yet one other branch lie: to wit, that I am I, and you are you; that we are units, individuals, and have natures of our own, instead of being the tail end of a tapeworm eternity of ancestors extending in linked procession back and back and back--to our source in the monkeys, with this so-called individuality of ours a decayed and rancid mush of inherited instincts and teachings derived, atom by atom, stench by stench, from the entire line of that sorry column, and not so much new and original matter in it as you could balance on a needle point and examine under a microscope....

  • "All the talk about tolerance, in anything or anywhere, is plainly a gentle lie. It does not exist. It is in no man's heart; but it unconsciously, and by moss-grown inherited habit, drivels and slobbers from all men's lips. Intolerance is everything for oneself, and nothing for the other person. The mainspring of man's nature is just that -- selfishness. Let us skip the other lies, for brevity's sake. To consider them would prove nothing, except that man is what he is -- loving toward his own, lovable to his own--his family, his friends -- and otherwise the buzzing, busy, trivial enemy of his race --who tarries his little day, does his little dirt, commends himself to God, and then goes out into the darkness, to return no more, and send no messages back -- selfish even in death."

Yes, I think we have a winner here.  So join the Clemens campaign today! Empire Burlesque is honored to be handling the finances for this selfless crusade. Anything you can send -- rag money or hard money -- to the PayPal address at the top right of this page will keep the great Clemens riverboat steaming down the river toward victory in November.

Mine Your Business:
Subterranean Bush-Clinton Blues
by Chris Floyd
February 2008 
I must admit that when I first saw this headline in Thursday's New York Times -- An Ex-President, a Mining Deal and a Big Donor -- I thought the paper had exhumed one of the sleazier stories from the Bush Family past, perhaps in expiation for having left so many filth-encrusted Bush rocks unturned for so many years -- especially during L'il Dimbulb's presidential campaign in 2000.

In the end, of course, the story turned out to be the shocking revelation that Bill Clinton is a money-grubbing manwhore eager to service brutal dictators to line his own pockets and funnel backroom pork to his cronies. Wow, who knew?

[The Times has since changed the headline to mention Clinton by name -- perhaps to make sure that no one gets the crazy idea that any other ex-presidents might be hip-deep in sleaze.]

However, we don't mean to heap scorn on the Times' story. It was indeed interesting to get this detailed glimpse into the way the world works behind the endless preening of mugs and murderers who pass as leaders on the global stage. And it demonstrates -- yet again -- that there is no discernible moral difference between the two ruling houses that have dominated the gutted Republic for nearly 30 years now. (A Bush or Clinton in the White House, as president or vice president, from 1981 to 2008 -- with a good chance of at least four more years in the offing.)
No wonder the two families get along so famously -- and no wonder B. Clinton moved so swiftly and strenuously to quash investigations into the crimes of his Bush predecessor, as the incomparable Robert Parry points out. No doubt H. Clinton will do same for her Bush if she gets the chance.

But here's a look back at that earlier hook-up between an ex-prez, a mining company and a big donor. This is an excerpt from an article I wrote for the Moscow Times in May 2004:

  • "In April, [George W.] Bush quietly gave a mining conglomerate larded with his top contributors a little gift: $155 million worth of federal land, the Denver Post reports. Invoking an obscure 1872 law designed to help frontier prospectors gain title to their small mining claims, Bush turned over a swathe of prime Colorado mountaintop property to the firm of Dodge Phelps, whose board is packed with oil men, military contractors and official Bush "Pioneers": corporate fat cats who've strongarmed at least $100,000 from their friends - and employees - for Bush campaign coffers.

  • "Because the never-updated 1872 law requires that federal mining land be sold for $5 per acre, Bush's bagmen only had to pony up $875 for the whole spread - in an area where land is worth a staggering $1 million per acre. The idea is to build an elite ski playground on the looted public property - even though the law requires that such land sales be used for actual mining....

  • "In the Colorado caper, as in so many others, Bush is following in the mucky footprints of his father. In the waning days of his failed presidency, George I used the same 1872 law to cut a sweetheart deal with Barrick, the Canadian mining giant. For $10,000 in chump change to the federal treasury, Old Bush gave Barrick government land containing $10 billion in gold, The Observer reports.

  • Afterwards, Bush I became a "special advisor" to Barrick, pocketing kickbacks from the gold deal for seven years and traveling the world on behalf of his corporate master, trying to rig up insider deals with his "old friends" - bloodthirsty dictators like Indonesia's Suharto and Zaire's Mobutu. In return, Barrick later poured streams of its Bush-gotten gold into Little George's 2000 campaign."

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