Thoughts on the Benefits of our Economic Downturn

August 29, 2009
Economy going up in flames - take our advice!

Economy going up in flames - take our advice!

First, we want you to know that we feel for you.  All of you who have lost jobs, or have no health care, or have taken pay cuts, or have lost businesses, or have had mental breakdowns under the stress – all of you, and more.  We really do feel for you.

But we want you to get the most out of this vast, profound learning opportunity!  So we have some words of advice and consolation for you.

First of all, let us just remind you that, sadly, the kinds of excesses that brought this whole thing on are just an inherent part of the human condition.  People will always be greedy, whether they’re politicians or bankers or plumbers or baristas, and will always do their best to manipulate the system to get everything they can out of it.  Get used to it.  And if you’re not doing it, you should begin to think of yourself as sub-human, not super-human.  Don’t kid yourself with that peace-and-goodwill-toward-men crap – you just don’t have the guts to live up to your human potential.

Second, it was a really bad, foolish, pie-in-the-sky idea to start that business in the first place – we tried to tell you, over and over.  Had a few years of prosperity, did you?  Had some fun, learned a lot?  And does that compensate you for this?  We think not.  Next time, just whack your big toe with a hammer instead.  At least that pain will go away faster.

Third, do you really think everybody deserves jobs and health care?  Do you?  Who told you that, some liberal Democrat, or socialist, or Canadian?  Or some bleeding-heart mother?  Toughen up.

Fourth, all your fears about world-wide conspiracies to take the US down are true.  And you are the first, experimental victims.

Fifth, and last for today, if you’re one of the lucky ones who has not lost a job, has not had a pay cut, still has health insurance, is thriving in business, and has never been happier, we’d like to ask why the hell you’re not sharing your abundance with those less fortunate than you.  Who do you think you are, anyway?  Do you think you deserve more or better than the homeless guy on the street?  What makes you so special?  If you had any compassion at all, you’d give away all your money to the poor.

If we somehow managed to miss your particular situation and you’d like some advice on how to better yourself, just drop us a comment.  We have plenty of advice for everyone.

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Board of Mis-Directors and the Global Economy

October 25, 2008

Who is responsible for the current global economic crisis?  We take no small amount of pride in proclaiming that we are.  As proud and pleased as we are with the way the presidential campaign is going (and with the general trend of campaigns and politics over the last many years), we must say that we just burst our little buttons when we reflect on this economic crisis.

Pardon us if we just take this moment to celebrate some of our devoted members.  While everyone out there is looking here and there, in boardrooms and governmental offices, in banks and lobbyists’ phone records, for the person or persons to blame for this economic crisis, we will let you in on a little secret:  We Did It!

Oh, yes, they were our instruments.  Of course.  But we were the power behind virtually every move, every step along the way.

So, today, we will take this space to congratulate some of our members for their roles.

The Rationalizer is our first big star here.  The Rationalizer stands behind every government official or business person who ignored signs that problems were on the way, whether for his or her own benefit or just because it was uncomfortable to notice.   The Rationalizer is also a strong friend of those who got mortgages they knew they probably couldn’t pay, as well as those who created those wacky credit derivatives, and so many others involved in seeding this crisis.  You go, Rationalizer!

But The Rewarder deserves some of the credit there, too.  What a team they make!    Once The Rewarder makes sure folks know about the short-term gains (adjustable rate mortgages!  Credit derivatives swaps! So much more!), the Rationalizer can step in with the Way Around the Difficulties.  Elegant!  Efficient!  Effective!

Now, when the crisis hit and banks started failing, our crackerjack (and experienced) crisis team stepped up to the plate and helped the US administration in its hour of need.  The Realist helped them to create the overall picture of the situation, and The Escalator helped to drive home just how dire the consequences of deliberation (as opposed to immediate action) were.  The Rationalizer and The Rewarder helped everyone adjust to the idea of a big $$ bailout, and additionally The Rationalizer is even now helping to figure out who to blame.  And we send a special shout-out (so to speak) to The Expresser, who is helping those who find someone to blame to do it in the most emotionally scarring way possible.

Excellent job, guys!  Keep up the good work!

 


Board of Mis-Directors and American Politics: Mud-Slinging Part 2

October 1, 2008

We proudly take credit for the three major tactics used in elections today: pandering, mud-slinging and flip-flopping (Actually, mud-slinging and flip-flopping are specialized forms of pandering – but worth mentioning separately because they are used so heavily and to such good effect!)  Here’s a recent example .

A few weeks ago we saw in the newspaper (yes, of course we diligently read, watch and listen to the news – we enjoy seeing the results of our work) a report about a conflict between our two presidential candidates over some American flags.

Thanks for this gem to William Douglas and Margaret Talev, from McClatchy Newspapers.  This is an excellent example of an effective, yet inexpensive, mudslinging technique!  And, in the great tradition of mudslinging, it really doesn’t matter which part of it – if any – is true!

Apparently the McCain campaign came across some small American flags leftover from the Democratic convention – you know, the kind that get handed out by the thousands, waved for the cameras, and then taken home and bronzed for posterity.  The McCain campaign reportedly took the flags, then had veterans (nice touch!) hand them out at a McCain-Palin rally, saying that they wanted to find good homes for these flags that the Democrats had thrown away.  John McCain proclaimed, “I love those flags.”

This forced the Obama campaign – reportedly – to respond that the flags had not been thrown away at all, but had instead been filched, or pinched, or swiped by the Republicans.  To make sure everyone understood where they were really coming from, in the patriotic sense, a spokesperson for the Democrats said, “American flags were proudly waved by the 75,000 people who joined Barack Obama at the Democratic National Convention.  John McCain should applaud that, but instead his supporters wrongfully took leftover bundles of our flags from the stadium to play out a cheap political stunt calling into question our patriotism.”

You must admit: this is sweet.  The flag, bless her, is one of the most effectively used symbols in the patriotism arena of mudslinging.  Why?  Because it is so incredibly symbolic!  The 13 stripes for the original 13 colonies, the 50 stars for the 50 states.  The White symbolizing purity and innocence; Red, hardiness and valor, and Blue, vigilance, perseverance and justice.  The red might also bring to mind the blood of the soldiers who died for their country.  Power, idealism, sacrifice – It’s all right there. 

And you know what that means: plenty of emotions to play with!  Find your buttons and push away!

Mudslinging makes heavy use of fear. Note how potent fear of thought unpatriotic is in political campaigns.  This is partly because it works on the general public as well as on candidates.  We (we include ourselves as part of the general public out of courtesy) hear that someone has thrown flags away, flags which deserve good homes, and we immediately feel that we ought to be outraged, too, even though perhaps we just threw away the flag we got at the rally last week, lest someone peg us as unpatriotic.  Yes – the power of shame!  It’s one of our favorite tools for helping folks keep in mind what they owe to the rest of society, and how close they are to having their shortcomings revealed for all the world to see – and scorn.  And so, the response is often defensive self-righteousness, which – if done properly – can throw the other party into shame.  And so the cycle continues!

What purpose does all this serve?  A very good purpose!  We noted above that it helps people keep in mind what they owe to the rest of society, and how close they are to having their shortcomings revealed.  The direct benefit of this is it keeps people in line, and assists them in devoting their attention to what’s really important:  proving to themselves and everyone else just how well they are fitting in.  It also makes folks much more susceptible to our other messages – about how they might be falling short in one way or another, or perhaps about how someone has found out about some failing or fault that they thought they had successfully hidden – so many possibilities!

And so, we retain our control.  Thanks, guys!


BoM and American Politics: Mudslinging

September 24, 2008

We proudly take credit for the three major tactics used in elections today: pandering, mud-slinging and flip-flopping (Actually, mud-slinging and flip-flopping are specialized forms of pandering – but worth mentioning separately because they are used so heavily and to such good effect!)  Here’s a bit more about our achievements.

When you see political advertisements of the “mud-slinging” type, you are seeing the quality results of our handiwork!  It’s true!  Without us, this incredibly valuable – not to mention entertaining – aspect of American politics would be lost to the world.

Without us, you would never know half – a quarter – one 64th – of the dirt that you get on candidates these days.  The extra-marital affairs, the drug use, the alcohol-fueled excesses, the not-quite-aboveboard dealings with lobbyists, the expensive haircuts, the racial, ethnic and gender slurs uttered in unguarded moments – what would elections be without these?

And make no mistake: it is critical that voters know about these things! 

You may hear it argued that election campaigns should focus on issues.  That’s just silly.  The best way to get to know someone is to learn about their vices, not about their ideals and plans.  Follow our reasoning here.  When push comes to shove – and in government you can guarantee that it will – it’s the not so pretty underside that inevitably comes into play.  It doesn’t matter who people wish they were – you need to know who they really are.   And you can count on their mistakes, worst moments, and indiscretions to reveal this every time.Therefore, when you know a person’s vices, you will know what kind of a representative of the People he or she will make.

Yes, some false accusations will be thrown in to the mix.  But so what?  We’re all sensible people – we can distinguish the kernels of truth from the chaff of falsehood!  Right?

Frankly, it doesn’t matter if we can or not.  Because getting to know our candidates’ vices is only one of the benefits of mud-slinging.  The larger benefit is discovering which candidate is the best mud-slinger. 

Effective mud-slinging is not an individual effort.  Sure, some candidates may have more of an affinity for it than others.  But look deeper, and you will see that it is, in fact, a true test of the candidate’s ability to attract and assemble a top-flight team – an essential quality for an effective leader.  Effective mud-slinging – that is, mud-slinging which damages other candidates’ reputations and significantly decreases their chances of winning an election – requires a broad spectrum of skills, understanding, planning, and teamwork.  A superior mudslinging team must have:

  • Research skills: to determine the kinds of mud that will stick best to their opponents
  • A finely-tuned sense of cultural climates – to know what kind of mud will have the most effect .  The importance of this cannot be overemphasized!!
  • Media savvy – to effectively use the media to catch the public’s attention, reflect poorly on the other candidates, and reflect well on the self
  • Skill with words and concepts – to frame issues and create catch-phrases that will touch, even caress, the emotionally sensitive points of the general public
  • An excellent sense of timing
  • Enthusiastic supporters –  to back up their claims even where that requires fabrication – for the greater good, of course
  • Discipline, nerve, courage, will to win : to follow through on a course of action, to push the envelope, to put things out knowing the other side(s) are likely to retaliate, to do what is necessary to win

For all practical purposes, that is a list of required competencies for any administration to stand a chance of leading this country – or any other.

We also note (see our article on Survival of the Fittest) that other countries’ leaders, as well as miscellaneous other people around the world, will always be mud-slinging, so it is best to have leaders that can sling right back – or even engage in pre-emptive slinging.

The ability to mud-sling effectively is, in short, an excellent measure of the skills and abilities required to be successful in an elected government position.

Do we even want incompetent, weak, sissy leaders who can’t sling mud properly?  We hardly think so.


Board of Mis-directors and American Politics: Survival of the Fittest

August 9, 2008

As this presidential campaign kicks into an even higher gear with the approaching Republican and Democratic conventions, we can’t resist indulging in a little self-congratulation on how we’ve helped to shape things.

American politics: one of the greatest institutions in the world – and one of our proudest achievements. It took ingenuity, lots of dedication and plenty of good old-fashioned hard work, but we have made our mark!  And the results, if we do say so, are stellar!

Of particular note:  we are the ones that helped politicians discover the astounding efficiency of appealing to people’s emotions rather than reason.  There simply is no faster, more effective way to get people’s attention and loyalty than to appeal to their emotions.  Though all emotions can be used, fears and insecurities are the very best.

Obviously, this has been a fabulous development for politicians. Winning people over by reason takes so much work!  You have to invest the time, energy, learning, and thought required to come to a just and valid position yourself.  Then, you must invest the time, energy, blah blah required to educate and engage others in this way of thinking.  To do this well, you occasionally must go so far as to understand their positions.  And after all this, there’s no guarantee it will even work:  most people are only marginally susceptible to reason. 

A much more efficient way to get those votes is to find emotional buttons and push!  (For politicians, the ultimate effectiveness of this technique depends on their ability to  assure the people that they – the politicians – are the only ones who can save the country (or state, or city) from the threat.  But that’s another story…  )

This technique works across campaigns, candidates and parties.  Really, the defining difference is the choice of buttons.  Politicians just need to discern which fears etc. are the high-voltage buttons of their constituents, and which threats will most effectively push them.  And here’s a beautiful thing: the threats don’t even have to be real!   A truly skilled politician can turn an imaginary threat into something palpable and panting, just outside our doors.

But the real, more substantial benefit is to our society: we need elected officials who excel at playing on our fears and insecurities. Why? Well, for one thing, leaders of other countries are always looking for the best way to take advantage of the US.  We need leaders who are themselves experts at taking advantage, so they can both recognize the tricks and devise a few of their own.  What better way to select for that quality than the one we’ve devised?  There really is none.  With our system, the voters accurately assess the candidates’ skills in this arena by their own reactions and votes. It really is the most efficient system, with the most effective results. 

The US political system: survival of the fittest politicians,
so the good ol’ US can survive and thrive!
 

For more, see our upcoming piece on the Benefits of Mud-Slinging.

(Note: We do, of course, operate in other countries – in every country in the world!  But due to cultural variations, we use different techniques in different places.  All for the greater good!  Look for future pieces about our work around the globe.)


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