Since the beginning of time, money has been known to evaporate into thin air. There’s a saying: “Time is money.” It was originally said by managers to their subordinate laborers in order to urge them to work faster. What the manager didn’t reveal was that the money he referred to belonged to the owners and shareholders, not to the workers. Their wages remained the same regardless of the speed of their toil. Mathematically speaking, the faster they worked, the lower their real wages, because they accomplished more in the same hour for the same amount of cash.
Denial of remuneration to labor for its increased productivity in the latter-20th and early-21st Centuries was the most widespread case of disappearing money since the advent of paid labor. Like most mysterious disappearances that negatively affected the living standards and buying power of labor, rather than injuring the wealth accumulation of the ruling, owning, and speculating classes, however, it has never been the subject of a paranormal investigation.
This story is not going to change that.
Case in point: The National Republican Senatorial Committee, or NRSC. It was later renamed the Nuanced Rick Scott Committee, which allowed it to retain the same initials. The name-change was counter-intuitive, since being named after Florida Republican Senator Rick Scott had long been considered a public relations negative. Even Florida Republican Senator Rick Scott was known to agree with that assessment.
In 1987, Senator Rick Scott was on his way to becoming a big deal in the movement of private buy-up of healthcare services. Ten years later he’d become the CEO of the Hospital Corporation of America, one of the first private hospital companies in the legendary empire known as the United States of America. However, after only four months he had to resign as CEO of HCA due to a federal investigation into Medicare and Medicaid fraud at the company.
The fraud was so fantastically huge that HCA was eventually forced to pay the government 1.7 billion dollars in criminal fines, penalties, civil damages, and other settlements. Many of the fraudulent actions the DOJ found had had to have been signed off on by CEO Rick Scott himself. A lot to accomplish in only four months as CEO.
Maybe because he was so accomplished at fraud, the GOP made Rick Scott chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee and allowed him to name it after himself. Whatever the reason, they may have rued that decision.
In the highly fraught election cycle of 2022 of the Common Era, the NRSC had raised a respectable 173 million dollars to be used for Republican Senate campaigns. By July of the same year, that money had dwindled to less than $28.4 million, a reduction of about 93% of their so-called war chest.
Where had all the vanishing money gone? To quote a story in the Washington Post:
“The NRSC’s chairman, Sen. Rick Scott of Florida, has taken heat from fellow Republicans for running ads featuring himself on camera and releasing his own policy agenda.”
The obvious conclusion was that Rick Scott had used the funds for his own purposes. Given his shady background in the healthcare industry, not to mention his unfortunate resemblance to what scholars believed the then-decades-deceased Klaus Barbie would have looked like after a month in one of his own Vichy concentration camps, it’s easy to see why suspicion would fall on the homely Floridian.
But the details painted a more nuanced picture. (This is why investigators of the paranormal always look at the details: in case they help explain things by way of painting pictures possessed of lots and lots and lots of nuance.)
Let us remember that Rick Scott had never been found to have embezzled money from the Hospital Corporation of America. He was not a common thief or even an uncommon thief. The stain on his reputation came from his association with the nuanced crime of fraud. An uncommon amount of fraud. Lots and lots and lots of nuanced fraud. 1.7 billion dollars’-worth. Billion with a “B.” To call him a mere fraudster would have been to oversimplify the matter. 1.7 billion dollars’ worth of nuanced crime is not simple. It’s major-league. It’s top of the heap. It was not just a stain on his reputation. A stain that big was pretty much the entirety of his reputation, and certainly overshadowed anything else he’d done in his life.
It also may have explained why the NRSC changed its name. With 93% of its campaign funds devoted to highlighting Rick Scott and his unpopular policies, changing the name, the National Republican Senatorial Committee, to the Nuanced Rick Scott Committee was simply honest. It was almost certainly done to thwart the media’s linking them with their chairman’s over-shadowing reputation as a titan of nuanced fraud. “There’s no fraud here,” they seemed to be saying, “We are honestly fraudulent. We’re named after our famous chairman! Like if Communist China had changed its name to ‘Mao Country.’”
So the mystery remained a mystery, as so many remaining mysteries do. Can money simply disappear without a trace? This wouldn’t have been the first time. $23 trillion dollars of defense spending went missing in the violent destruction and failed nation-building in Iraq and Afghanistan in the 21st Century. And who knows how many trillions had been stolen over the years from the United States’ working public, not to mention the public at large?
But who cares about all that? No one. We’re talking here about money meant to retain wealthy elite incumbent Senatorial seats or turn Republican challengers into wealthy elite United States Senators. As vanishing money went, this was vanishing money that really mattered.
And as a mystery remaining a mystery of vanishing money that mattered, it will remain, until further investigation, a mysterious matter of SuperTruth®.
And this has been the Moment of Truth. Good day!
I don’t know about you, but a little thrill goes through me every time the fates dangle the possibility that one or more Trumps or Trump followers or Trump clones or just all-around fascists might come in for some suffering.
So just imagine my giddy ecstasy watching the opening ceremonies of the January 6 Insurrection Hearings. I know it’s cheap entertainment. I know in the larger scheme it won’t change things for most people harassed by the whims of capital, but you should know I also like movies about giant monsters smashing miniature cities. And porn, I like myself some porn now and then, as a reminder that sex still happens somewhere, although evidence of it in my personal life seems to have been expunged as though from a crime scene cleaned by a brilliant, obsessive-compulsive serial killer.
And let me assure you, I’m done feeling even a twinge of envy that the fascists got so close to staging a coup d’etat by storming the nation’s capitol. I mean, these folks were operating under a delusion that their fat fascist Orange Julius was a rightful… something. Had the left done anything like this it would have at least been for a legitimate reason. The right has been building power over the last half-century by feeding a gullible, misdirected base lie after lie, each more inane and insane than the last.
This is not to say the left hasn’t aided in the project with certain clownish antics, but blaming the clownish faction of the left for the right’s success in peddling conspiracies is like blaming clowns for your uncle’s phobia of creme pies. And that your uncle organized a rabid, armed militia of vigilantes against anyone suspected of potential pie-throwing is, of course, not the responsibility of the hero who put a hateful Anita Bryant in her place back in the day with a well-aimed dessert. Face it, your uncle’s a basic a-hole, and that’s a condition he’s aspired to. He's taken his personal paranoia and whipped it into a mob movement.
Meanwhile, the left is accomplishing the unionization of Starbucks baristas in a growing number of cities, and that’s no small achievement. The labor movement seems to be back on its grassroots feet again, thanks to the Overton Window expanding to allow in general anti-corporate discourse, in part aided by the same crisis of capitalism that is the only root of the rightwing forest of delusions grounded in any sort of reality.
The left can win back workers and other precarious demographics the Democratic Party seems to have been intent on losing since the early 90s. An astutely organized left can build power from here, community and workplace power as well as electoral, political power, assuming it avoids too many casualties from secret police infiltration and the circular firing squad doctrine it’s so often succumbed to in the past.
So, I’m not jealous of the right run amok. Many of them are people of decent means, and all were intoxicated by the opium of the conservative movement: fascism. Anyone, even Fat Fascist Orange Julius, or Pocked Poxy Loaf Of Head Cheese Steve Bannon, can get a mob drunk enough with fascism to do damage. It takes real, legitimate anger at an institution, rage inspired by video of any number of lynchings, to get a great mass of people out in the streets standing up to police violence – police violence against those protesting police violence, yet. Talk about adding fuel to the fire.
Not jealous, not experiencing any FOMO, just ready to eat my popcorn and enjoy these chumps getting exposed and spanked by reality once again. Fox News is so butt-hurt they won’t even air the hearings. Which is weird, since they’ve said so often that it was BLM and antifa doing it all. You’d think they’d want to take advantage of the occasion to show some proof of that obvious pathetic bubbe-meise. But no, they decided to have their number one fascist mouthpiece, Cucker Carlson, take up the time telling stories about bad people undermining American values, which in his simple mind is anyone to the left of the dictator of Hungary.
I was jolly watching that opening salvo of the massive ammunition storehouse the January 6 Committee has been sitting on. I love the straightforward subtext beneath every iota of proof that the insurrection was an attempt to stage a coup, incited by Donald J. Trump, and aided by some of the most disgusting people alive, in and out of government. I was heartened and delighted to hear the amoral Ivanka testify against her father. I was gripped by the testimony of that sexy blond cop and that smirking British documentary journalist. By the way, when he was talking about breaking for lunch, he said they broke “for tuckers,” as in tuck, as in eat, not for “tacos,” as one DC Twitter account misheard it.
What good will it do? Maybe none. But what good does it do when Godzilla demolishes a skyscraper? What good does it do when, at the end of Tarantino’s Inglorious Basterds, the basterds machine gun the leadership of the Third Reich? What good does it do for me to shower all the earth with my seed?
It makes me feel good. It contributes to my, what they call, “self-care.” And you’ve got a duty to care for yourself, because if you’re not in decent condition, you can’t help anyone else. You certainly can’t help in the people’s fight if you’re moping all the time, which is a condition to which I fall prey too often.
Government is a resource that should by rights belong to the people. It's a tool for achieving collective goals. No wonder Buckley and Reagan and all haters before and after them constantly peddle the "shrink government till it can be drowned in a bathtub and throw that dead baby out with the bathwater" philosophy. Let's not be fooled. We have to take all our resources back. It all belongs to us, regardless of what legal and rhetorical fictions they contrive to try to sway the populi otherwise.
And, as pyrrhic as the victory is when the lesser fascist beats the greater in a multi-hundred-billion-dollar election, fighting the notion that the people don’t deserve any voice but the voice most deluded and vile is a worthy cause. Whether we can transform a tool founded by bougie colonial would-be aristocrats is an open question. But even if we can’t, we need to solidly instill the right of the people to advocate for themselves under any regime. Any rhetoric designed to contradict that right is ripe for trashing. Any person who actively attempts to manipulate, negate, or steal our plebiscites and people’s power is ripe for burning, in effigy or otherwise.
And, yeah, nothing may come of these hearings. But, as I said last week, fiction and reality tend to shapeshift these days, wearing masks that not only resemble one another but move from and transform the faces they disguise. The cosmos is an eternal dance of masks, when you get down to it. Each thing is a mere fragment of the entire masquerade.
What good are these hearings? As Mary Tyler Moore, George Peppard, and a toucan once asked, “What’s so bad about feeling good?” You might as well ask, “What good is dessert? What good is watching whales? What good is Mardi Gras?”
No good and all good.
This has been the Moment of Truth. Good day!