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The Collapse of a Rotten Edifice

Nemesis is always hot on the trail of hubris, across time and space, and the goddess has been particularly busy in destroying the carefully crafted images of Bono, John Edwards, Timothy Geithner, Al Gore, Eliot Spitzer, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Dominique Strauss-Kahn, Anthony Weiner, and a host of others. What do their tax hypocrisies, sexual indulgences, and aristocratic socialist lifestyles all have in common?

Collectively, they represent a self-appointed or elected global elite that oversees, lectures about — in sanctimonious fashion — the ethical responsibilities of the redistributive state. Bono and his ensemble may be the highest paid rock group in the world, the most eager to shake a finger at Western governments on their moral duties to help the less fortunate. He is a pop icon always ready to fault the consumerist Western lifestyle. But Bono and his pals are quite determined to avoid Irish tax laws to ensure more of their hard-won capitalist profits so necessary to support their global lifestyles, at a time when their alma mater is broke and unable to fund its once ample entitlements.

Little need be said any more about Al Gore, his homes, his private jetting, his hyping Armageddon on his way to a billion-dollar eco-empire other than that he is a totem for a sophisticated, wealthy class of Westerners who find psychological penance for their own lavish lives by making others less fortunate feel miserable about getting up in the morning and driving to work or taking a hot shower. In that regard, his carbon credit/offset schemes were medieval indulgences to the core. “Crazed sex poodle” indeed — or so the masseuse claimed.

John Edwards built a mansion, replete with a 3,000 foot “John’s Room” playhouse in the compound’s inner sanctum, as he oversaw a University of North Carolina center with the pompous title “The Center on Poverty, Work and Opportunity.” The more he posed with his cancer-stricken wife, the more he spun lies to hide his tawdry relationship, all subsidized by someone else’s money. The best that can be said of Edwards is that he was a classic parasite, who made millions off the productive state by honing his rhetoric skills before gullible juries. The more I heard him lecture us in 2004 about “two Americas,” the more I expected his mansion to end up in Dr. Zhivago fashion as a collective residence for the poor.

I confess I never understood Timothy Geithner’s tax schemes. As I understand it, the soon-to-be overseer of the IRS pocketed monies given to him specifically to pay his FICA taxes, while claiming his son’s camp as a business expense — all as a requisite to his contemporary lectures on the need for higher taxes to fuel the Obama redistributive state. (Note well that former OMD director Peter Orszag assured us that the soon to be $5 trillion in borrowing was necessary as he entered the revolving door of Citicorp.)

All I can say about Eliot Spitzer is that I never have watched his show except twice — when he reported on the sexual misfortunes of Arnold Schwarzenegger and Strauss-Kahn. As another aside, why do elites bombard us with publicly funded messages about “safe sex,” specifically to use a condom and to be sure to know the sexual pedigree of our partners — as if the HIV epidemic is spreading solely among the ignorant and uneducated? It may be; but a better use of such funds would be directed at the nation’s governors: "Arnold, Eliot, please use a condom or do not visit prostitutes, given the danger of sexually related diseases spreading to one’s spouse."

Arnold, of course, was a strange case; in the midst of his angry pushbacks against his opportunistic opponents in 2003 who were peddling rumors of his serial infidelity and more, he had already fathered a child by his live-in servant. What goes through one’s mind in such scenarios? I leave the possibilities to you the reader.