Thursday, January 27, 2011


Once upon a time, grifters were largely a minor plague upon the countryside. Like lone coyotes, they were cunning but lean scavengers barely surviving as they wandered the countryside looking for easy prey to work their con games on. They'd find a mark, some hard-working but dim sort who'd managed to work hard and get ahead by being a productive human being, and con him out of everything he'd ever earned, but working cons one by one is hard work and takes a lot of time. So grifters were a plague upon the land, but a controllable plague, one that law enforcement could easily handle.

But an odd thing has happened to America over the past forty years or so: The grifters have learned to cooperate. Like coyotes, which are now running in packs whereas before they were solitary predators, they can now pull down large prey. Coyotes running in packs are now pulling down full-grown cattle and even the occasional Canadian folk singer. And grifters running in packs -- labeled as "speculators" (meaning they don't actually create anything, they instead "speculate" on what future values of things may be, and extract cash from the spread) or "bankers" (see Goldman Sachs -- which again doesn't actually create anything) -- have pulled down entire nations (Greece and Ireland) recently.

You look at virtually our entire ruling class here in America today -- the CEO's and the top college administrators, the politicians and the bankers -- and what you see are grifters. They don't create anything. They don't produce anything. The head of General Electric doesn't know how to build a jet engine or a nuclear reactor. The workers do all that. All the head of GE does is pull in tens of millions of dollars extracted out of the pockets of the people who create and sell the things his company produces. He has a big office where he does nothing but figure out new cons to extract people's money for his own pockets and for the pockets of his fellow grifters who are major "investors" or on the board of directors or who are CEO's of other companies or etc. This grifter class generally drifts from company to company, leaving each company poorer in their wake and nobody seems to ever notice that they are making obscene salaries to make their companies worse. Or, rather, many of us notice, but the grifters have solidified their hold on power by managing to fool most of the people most of the time, a.k.a. won elections, and so the people in power who could reign in the grifters are, err... grifters... so... well.

Of course, the grifters don't have any inherent power of their own other than their ability to con the rest of us into believing they do. General Electric cannot fire their entire staff if their entire staff goes on strike until their CEO takes an ordinary salary rather than looting the company, there simply aren't enough skilled jet engine engineers or nuclear power plant engineers on the planet to take the place of the ones currently working for GE, but the grifter class has conned its workers into thinking that they'll just be fired if they try to claim some of the wealth that they create for themselves rather than allow the grifter class to have it all. But that's all it is -- a con. Sadly, the majority of Americans have fallen for it.

Welcome to Griftopia, fellow productive citizen… now empty your wallet into the nearest grifter’s pockets, or be put out onto the streets to wander as a homeless bum. It’s your choice, after all. You could have chosen to be a grifter too, but instead you chose to be a productive useful human being. Silly you — and me.

- Badtux the Grifter-scryin’ Penguin


  1. Wow! Have you been reading Marx?

    . . . but the grifter class has conned its workers into thinking that they'll just be fired if . . .

    Actually, it far worse than that. The grifter class has conned its workers into thinking that the grifters have every right to their grift.

    It's what's the matter with Kansas, et.cet.


  2. You wonder why someone would choose to be a grifter? Mrs. Bukko is currently reading a book titled "Political Ponerology" that offers a psychological explanation -- sociopathy. (I haven't gotten into the book yet. I have to finish "Shock Doctrine" by Naomi Klein first.)

    "Ponerology" is a word that means "the study of evil." ("Poner" is Greek for "evil.") It's not about evil in a metaphysical or religious sense, but as it plays out in human behaviour.

    There is a minority of people who just have no feelings for other humans, no empathy. We call them sociopaths. They're good at manipulating people and conning them into doing the sociopaths' bidding. Easier to accomplish if you have no moral centre.

    The book lays out the ways that sociopaths infest organizations and turn their purpose 180 degrees opposite to what they once stood for. While it focuses on the governmental/political sphere, you could also expand the examples to the corporate sphere.

    The book was written by a group of Polish psychiatrists in the 1940s, about the same time Orwell was writing "1984." It was suppressed by the communists, and resurfaced after the Iron Curtain came down. The book we have was released in English in 2006, and is heavily footnoted by an American editor who uses it to explain how the Bush administration was "ponerized."

    From the excerpts the Mrs. has waved under my nose, it explains a lot about how human nature makes grifters. They ARE the lizard people, in the sense that cold-blooded reptiles have no sentiment. The snake doesn't bite you because it HATES you. You're just there. You're prey. No hard feelings, but you're still dead. Ditto for the grifters.


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