The Moment of Truth — March 2, 2002

CATO Strikes Back

Hi, I’m mejeffdorchen, and welcome to the Moment of Truth, the thorn in the belly of the beast.

Got a great email message from one John Mattaboner, who identifies himself as a “member” of the CATO Institute. Not exactly sure what it means to be a member of the Institute. He certainly doesn’t appear anywhere on the CATO website. Perhaps CATO uses “member” the way some companies use “associate” or “team member” — at Starbucks it means “floor mopper.” But maybe “member” is some kind of phallic pun on John’s last name, Mattiboner. In that sense, then, all the scholars and fellows of the CATO Institute are members. If you prick them, do they not bleed? And if they bleed the working class and poor, are they not pricks?

Mr Boner went, in his own words, hysterical, because I criticized an NPR news lackey and a former Pinochet commissar in the same breath in some long ago archived essay of mine. Boner also assures me that the CATO Institute wishes no ill will upon the rank and file humans of the planet earth.

Nevertheless, they did hire José Piñero, former Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet’s former labor advisor, to represent them in their battle to turn over Social Security to their friends, funders and board members in the financial and insurance industries and in big money at large. But does that mean that they will allow Piñero to advocate the assassination, kidnapping and intimidation of union leaders and other dissenters of anti-democratic capitalism that were the hallmarks of the Pinochet regime, activities for which Pinochet has had international legal action taken against him? Not necessarily. Or does it mean, because Brian Naylor uncritically quotes CATO Institute propaganda in his reports that he is sympathetic to their neo-fascist agenda? Of course not! He may merely be embarrassed of it on their behalf. Then again, he may simply be ignorant of it. But if he is, he is certainly willfully so, and in that case, how much respect can he really be expected to have for either the truth, his listeners, democracy, or the profession of journalism? The answer, of course, is none. Does that make him a neo-fascist himself? Yep! But then, as corporate media lackeys, aren’t all news reporters on NPR? At least reporters in the overtly capitalist media outlets don’t try to pretend they have a community mission of some kind. In this sense, the mendacity of so-called “public radio” ranks up there with Boner’s claims that the CATO Institute loves the common people.

But let’s look at some of CATO’s other scholars. Working on their health-care policy statements are the well-respected doctors Jack Kevorkian and Joseph Mengele, reports of the death of the latter having been, in his own words, “greatly exaggerated.” What a card, that Mengele! In Auschwitz he had them in stitches! He also jokes, “Health care privatization is the least of your worries, Jewish pigs — I mean, John Q Public.” Is this a veiled reference to the new movie starring Denzel Washington as a father who hijacks a hospital because he can’t afford a heart for his dying son? Maybe. I spoke to Mengele at a firing range where he was using the John Q movie poster as a target, but to draw conclusions from that would irresponsible. So I’ll just say this: this entire paragraph may be a work of fantasy, but if any neo-fascist think tank could make it come true, it would be CATO.

Working on CATO’s policies for Public Safety and Security is Los Angeles’ own former police chief Darryl Gates. His recent report is entitled “Smackdown on the Ghetto!!!” with three exclamation points. In a recent interview on FOX, whose owner Rupert Murdoch sits on CATO’s board, Gates said, “I’ll take that ACLU down to the arena, and I’ll rip out their hearts, and I’ll stomp ‘em, and I’ll take ‘em apaaaart!” Mr Gates denies charges that he recently raped Santa Claus with a cattle prod, and says the well-publicized video clearly indicates that the activity was consensual.

Mao Xedong, also less dead than previously believed, will head up a panel on Family Values. Kenneth Lay will be the new policy analyst for industry deregulation, abdicating the chair to Dick Cheney when the Vice President rejoins the private sector. Nuclear Safety policy will be the realm of Myskintz Peelinov, formerly the safety inspector at the nuclear plant in Chernobyl. In charge of henhouse security will be a Mr Fox.

The CATO Institute recently announced an opening for a scholar to design their policies for advising the Fortune 1000 on their plans for turning Earth into a desert slave planet. Readers and listeners may recall my mentioning this plan before, and it continues, as anyone paying attention to the global capitalist battle against freedom, democracy, nature, family, and life must realize. If you are interested in applying for the position, simply drink two bottles of Liquid Plum-R and call 888-IMA-NAZI in the morning.

I would like, finally, to comment on the name of the Institute. CATO was the name of the Green Hornet’s chauffeur and sidekick, played on the TV show by none other than the great kung-fu evangelist Bruce Lee. For the Institute to misappropriate the image of Mr Lee, who was a man of the people, and whose life and dreams were ruined by capitalism, is the height of hypocrisy. (See my article of 1/24/98, What’s Truth — Bruce Lee’s Dream.)

As for Mr Boner, if that is his real name, my advice is this: there are a lot nobler institutions you could be cleaning toilets for. Look for a more socially responsible job. In the meantime, think about how you, as a working man, are shooting yourself in the foot by supporting an organization that would gladly sell your body parts to the highest bidder if it could get away with it. And one day it will.

I’m mejeffdorchen and this has been another Moment of Truth.