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The Manchurian Candidate
by Joel Peskoff

Recently, I watched the 2004 remake of the Manchurian Candidate with my 12 year old son.  After that, we dusted off and viewed the 1962 version for comparison. The 1962 film centers on foreign communist plotters who try to install a double-agent brainwashed puppet in the Ovals Office.  In the 2004 remake, a Halliburton-like multi-national corporation is behind the plot.

I began pondering the policy initiatives of a double-agent president. Clearly, his objectives would be:

  • long-term economic harm to the United States
  • disrupt American military power
  • loss of American prestige in the world
  • increase world hatred and distrust of the United States

I think diary passages of a Manchurian candidate president would read something like this:
Plan and attack the U.S. budget and revenues.  I'll need to cut the revenues of the U.S to weaken the U.S. income stream.  In 2000, the federal budget ran a budget surplus.  Massive tax cuts are the best method to reverse this trend.  I am sure that I can convince the Republicans, who are in the pockets of corporations and rich individuals, to go along with it.

To get tax-cuts, I'll craft a plan that uses a decoy - "job growth."  This will lure a jobs conscious public into accepting tax-cuts.  Of course, I really don't want to foster job growth, so I won't let the tax-cuts get steered to the lower and middle income citizens - they'll spend them and stimulate the economy.  Therefore, it's instrumental that the go inefficiently to the wealthy so as to minimize any stimulus.  I'll also deploy a smoke screen that says that the vast majority of the cuts go to middle class Americas.

To keep American forces busy so that they can't combat America's real enemy, al Qaeda, I need a maneuver to draw attention away.  A war with Iraq would fit nicely.  I'll ask for new weapons programs too.  That war would keep the military personnel occupied while draining roughly half the Pentagon's budget.  (Note to self :)  Hire a bunch of neocon wingnuts, that have wanted to attack Iraq for a decade, to fill key spots in DoD and other agencies.  Appoint an NSA Director that doesn't know anything about terrorism - maybe someone whose specialty is obsolete - like cold war studies.

Devalue the American dollar in relation to other currencies and widen the trade gap.  Encourage outsourcing away from the U.S. and make American workers fearful.

I'll degrade America's water, forests and air but passing laws with Orwellian names like "Healthy Forests," "Clear Skies" and "Clean Air Act" that chop trees and make the air and water dirtier.

I'll divide the American people along religious, regional, racial and cultural line.  At the same time, I'll instill a sense of fear that will cement my authority and I'll pass laws that will allow my administration to suppress dissent and I'll make sure that we have the means to fix elections - further solidifying my power.

The United States has a 1.5 million person fighting force capable of deploying anywhere on the globe.  Terrorist organizations such as al Qaeda are the major threat to the U.S.  If they got nukes, they could threaten America.  [(Note to self :) reduce funding for programs to secure former Soviet nuclear material.]

Since America credibility and prestige in the world relies upon America's perception of a country that respects international standards of behavior, I'll violate those standards of behavior.  I'll sanction torture in violation of the Geneva Convention and I'll imprison suspects; hold them without trial; forbid access to families or attorneys; and refuse to charge them with a crime - in direct violation of the U.S. Constitution. Should any of these actions become exposed, I'll court-martial privates while promoting high ranking officials - damaging the principle of command responsibility and undermining military morale.

Four years later...

Dear diary, I won re-election to a second term - thanks to those Diebold voting machines.  This is a dandy time to assess my mission's progress.  I've conditioned Americans to expect dreadful economic news; the public cheered the revised Congressional Budget Office's 2005 budget projection of $325 billion.  They don't realize that the good news is temporary.  The drop in the deficit is due to one-time events.  Let me list other accomplishments for myself:

·                                 So far, I've added trillions of dollars to their national debt.

·        America's standing in the world is at an all-time low.  In most middle-eastern countries, Osama bin Laden is more popular than America.  In others, America is viewed as more dangerous than Iran or North Korea.

·        Oil prices are double that of two years ago - causing exports of American dollars to nations that hate America.

·        The dollar is significantly less valuable

·        The Iraq war ploy was a stroke of genus.  America is bogged down in a no-win quagmire.  They can't stay and they can't leave.  In the meantime, there's little surplus military to engaged true foes.  National Guardsmen aren't re-enlisting. The resources are being used in Iraq instead of defending their homeland against terrorism.

·        The American people are more divided than ever.

·        I've strengthened our ruling party and the opposition party is in disarray and act like sheep.

I don't accuse President Bush of being a foreign agent but can anyone imagine how a real Manchurian Candidate could have weakened the United States any more effectively?

Originally posted to jpeskoff on Thu Jul 28, 2005 at 05:59 PM PDT.

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