2008 Crisis: Obama


The financial crisis of 2008 indeed had profound and lasting impacts on the global economy. Triggered by a complex web of factors, including the housing market collapse and risky financial practices, the crisis led to a severe recession with widespread consequences. Here’s an expanded discussion on some key aspects:

1. **Housing Bubble Burst:**

The crisis had its roots in the bursting of the housing bubble, fueled by subprime mortgage lending and the securitization of these risky loans. As home values plummeted, the financial institutions holding these assets faced significant losses.

2. **Banking Bailouts:**

In response to the crisis, governments implemented massive bank bailouts to stabilize the financial system. Critics argue that the bailout focused primarily on shoring up the banks without addressing the root causes or implementing substantial reforms.

3. **Economic Recession:**

The financial crisis triggered a severe economic recession, leading to widespread unemployment, foreclosures, and a decline in consumer spending. The repercussions of this economic downturn were felt globally, affecting industries and markets around the world.

4. **Labor Market Impact:**

The claim of a depressed labor participation rate aligns with the challenges faced by workers during the recession. Job losses were significant, and the slow recovery contributed to prolonged unemployment and underemployment for many individuals.

5. **Monetary Policy and Quantitative Easing:**

Central banks, including the Federal Reserve, responded with unconventional monetary policies like quantitative easing. While these measures aimed to stimulate economic growth, critics argue that they disproportionately benefited financial institutions and exacerbated wealth inequality.

6. **Infrastructure Investment and Economic Strategy:**

The argument for directing funds toward infrastructure and rebuilding the manufacturing base suggests an alternative approach to recovery. Critics of the actual response argue that the focus on financial institutions did not effectively address the broader economic challenges faced by the majority of the population.

7. **Long-Term Economic Effects:**

The economic downturn and the subsequent policy responses have had lasting effects. Issues such as wage stagnation, income inequality, and a sense of economic insecurity persist, contributing to a more complex and nuanced understanding of the post-2008 economic landscape.

8. **Global Ramifications:**

The financial crisis had a ripple effect globally, impacting interconnected economies and exposing vulnerabilities in the international financial system. It prompted discussions about the need for better regulatory frameworks and international cooperation to prevent future crises.

In Critics of the response to the 2008 financial crisis have indeed argued that the measures taken, particularly the massive bank bailouts and the subsequent quantitative easing, could be considered problematic or even fraudulent. Here are a few points often raised in such discussions:

1. **Bailouts Benefiting Institutions, Not Individuals:**

Critics contend that the bailout funds were primarily directed toward stabilizing financial institutions without addressing the root causes of the crisis or providing sufficient relief to homeowners facing foreclosure and individuals suffering from unemployment.

2. **Lack of Accountability and Regulatory Reforms:**

Some argue that the response lacked adequate accountability measures for the financial institutions responsible for risky practices. The absence of comprehensive regulatory reforms to prevent similar crises in the future is seen by some as a failure to address systemic issues.

3. **Quantitative Easing and Wealth Inequality:**

The implementation of quantitative easing, where central banks injected money into financial markets, is criticized for exacerbating wealth inequality. Critics argue that the benefits primarily accrued to financial institutions and the wealthy, leading to an increase in economic disparity.

4. **Moral Hazard and “Too Big to Fail” Concerns:**

The notion of “too big to fail” was reinforced by the bailouts, leading to concerns about moral hazard—essentially, the idea that financial institutions might take excessive risks knowing that they would be rescued in times of crisis.

5. **Impact on Savers and Pension Funds:**

The prolonged period of low interest rates resulting from the crisis response has been challenging for savers and pension funds, contributing to concerns about the allocation of resources and the impact on retirees.



In the twisted corridors of the information age, truth has become an elusive specter, dancing on the fringes of perception. The art of deception has evolved from a subtle waltz to a brazen, cacophonous carnival. Once upon a time, the lies were whispered, a clandestine dance between the powerful and the unknowing pop masses. Now, it’s a brash tango, each falsehood a thunderous step echoing through the collective consciousness.

The conspirators of the truth, the puppeteers behind the smoke and mirrors, have shed their masks with an audacious nonchalance. “Yeah, we’re lying, what the fuck are you going to do about it?” The declaration reverberates through the hollow chambers of disillusionment, a challenge thrown down to a society drowning in the murky waters of misinformation cynicism of disjointed prose, a reality morphed into a grotesque tapestry of half-truths and whole lies.

The savage journey into the heart of the American Dream has mutated into a surreal odyssey through a landscape where the boundaries between fact and fiction blur into an indistinguishable haze. The sacred cows of journalistic integrity have been slaughtered, and the vultures of spin feast on the remains, leaving a ravenous hunger for authenticity in their wake.

In this twisted carnival of deceit, the question lingers in the air like the acrid scent of burning bridges: How did we arrive at a point where the architects of deception brazenly flaunt their mendacity, and the disoriented masses, caught in the crossfire of competing narratives, are left to navigate a hall of mirrors where reflections distort and truths dissolve? The answer, like the elusive veracity itself, remains obscured in the shadows of a world that now openly questions the very nature of truth and the consequences of its betrayal.


The relentless pursuit of objectives often thrusts us into what can only be aptly described as “existential” epochs, marked by a searing interrogation of our purpose and the moral gymnastics surrounding our actions. These periods materialize when the bloated costs of achieving our aims ascend to levels of sheer absurdity. The ethical pretenses of such pursuits become glaringly farcical when contemplating the potential for mass slaughter shamelessly draped in the tattered banner of “righteousness.”

In the domain of existentialism, we find ourselves at a juncture that demands not just scrutiny but a downright vivisection of our choices, compelling us to grapple with the ethical framework that supposedly guides our pursuits. True to the essence of existentialism, individuals bear the weighty responsibility of navigating the labyrinth of existence, supposedly making decisions in tune with a profound sense of moral integrity. Yet, in the pursuit of goals, this supposed moral compass appears as reliable as a compass in a magnetic storm.

As the cost of achieving a goal skyrockets, fundamental questions are flung at us like bitter pills: What happened to the values we purportedly held dear? The noble virtue of righteousness, once a beacon of virtue, mutates into a grotesque justification for mass slaughter—a historical grotesquerie where fervent convictions morph into catastrophic carnage. Whether it’s the fervor of religious zeal, the fanaticism of political ideology, or the contorted moral compass of the misguided, the echoes of mass slaughter ring through history, leaving indelible scars on humanity’s collective conscience.

The ominous shadow of mass slaughter in the name of maintaining the wretched status quo serves as a macabre cautionary tale—a glaring neon sign highlighting the treacherous intersection of conviction and morality. It’s a stark reminder that we ought to reassess not just the essence of our goals but the morally bankrupt methods employed to reach them. The paradox of pursuing righteousness through violent means not only underscores the fragility of human ethics but also reveals how easily noble ideals can be bastardized in the crucible of our own folly.

Our impending downfall appears destined to be etched in the annals of this distorted pursuit of plausible deniability. The intrinsic destructive potential of mass slaughter not only threatens human existence physically but also corrodes the very foundations of any semblance of a just and compassionate society. As we grapple with the ramifications of our actions, the existential nature of these times doesn’t just demand introspection; it demands a wholesale rejection of our convenient stance on plausible deniability.

In summary, epochs truly become existential when the costs incurred in the pursuit of our vaunted goals soar to grotesque proportions. The looming specter of mass slaughter in the name of maintaining the insufferable status quo acts not just as a stark admonition but as a biting indictment, compelling us to navigate the razor’s edge between ambition and morality. Our ability to confront the ethical absurdities embedded in our pursuits will undeniably shape the trajectory of our collective destiny, determining whether we plunge headlong into the abyss of our own making or emerge with the grit to forge a more just and humane world.

More cartoons

Tech: Billions of dollars in AI investments could be worth a lot less if companies developing the technology are forced to pay for the copyrighted data that makes it work

Hollywood: Lol

Tech: This is going to significantly DISRUPT’ us

Tech: Lol

Tech: It never occurred to me that building a product by using raw materials I didn’t own or license was somehow sketchy. I mean…who could have known that?

Hollywood: I’m sorry your honor but, I’m going to have to walk a lot and take public transit if someone makes me return this stolen car.

AFI Retrospectives

Imagine a world where the American Film Institute (AFI) decides to hold retrospectives for a new generation of so-called “auteurs,” a term loosely applied to filmmakers who specialize in adapting intellectual properties (IP) for middle-school audiences. This hypothetical scenario may seem far-fetched, and indeed, it is. The concept of “middle school auteurs” is, in reality, an astroturfing creation designed to sell IP to the masses, packaged as something more substantial than it truly is.

The Absurdity of Middle School Auteurs

In the realm of cinema, auteurs are traditionally revered for their unique and visionary approach to filmmaking. Think Alfred Hitchcock’s mastery of suspense, Stanley Kubrick’s precision, or Martin Scorsese’s gritty realism. Middle school auteurs, on the other hand, are anything but visionary. Their work predominantly centers around rehashing existing IP, often from literature, comic books, and video games, to cater to a younger demographic.

These filmmakers hardly embody the spirit of auteurs. Instead, they specialize in an uninspired and formulaic approach to storytelling, prioritizing profits over creativity.

if we were to hypothetically define the psychological traits of individuals who prioritize commercial success over creative innovation in filmmaking for a middle school audience, some potential traits might include:

  1. Profit-Driven Motivation: These individuals are primarily motivated by financial gain, often foregoing creative satisfaction in favor of commercial success.
  2. Adaptability: They are skilled at adapting existing intellectual properties for mass consumption, showing a preference for established brands that appeal to middle schoolers.
  3. Risk Aversion: Middle school auteurs tend to avoid creative risks and prefer well-known, marketable stories to reduce financial uncertainty.
  4. Nostalgia Exploitation: They understand the power of nostalgia and use it as a tool to connect with their target audience, often recycling familiar characters or themes.
  5. Market Research Focus: Their decision-making heavily relies on market research, trends, and demographic analysis, as they aim to capture the largest share of the middle school audience.
  6. Emotional Detachment: Creativity is often secondary to financial success, leading to a certain emotional detachment from the artistic process.
  7. Brand Loyalty: They demonstrate a preference for working with established studios and known intellectual properties, showing a strong allegiance to recognizable brands.
  8. Low Creativity Threshold: They tend to use existing formulas and clichés to create content rather than innovating or experimenting with storytelling techniques.
  9. Limited Artistic Vision: Middle school auteurs may lack a unique artistic vision, opting for conventional and mainstream approaches to storytelling.
  10. Resistance to Critical Feedback: They might be less receptive to constructive criticism if it threatens their established market strategies and IP adaptations.
  11. Merchandising Focus: In addition to film production, they may prioritize merchandising and licensing opportunities associated with their adaptations.
  12. Short-Term Thinking: They might favor short-term financial gains over long-term sustainability and artistic growth.
  13. Trend Chasing: These individuals tend to follow industry trends rather than setting new trends themselves, conforming to what is currently popular.
  14. Pandering to Audience Expectations: Instead of challenging their audience with thought-provoking content, they often cater to the perceived expectations and preferences of middle school viewers.
  15. Lack of Artistic Integrity: Middle school auteurs may compromise artistic integrity by making creative decisions solely for financial benefits, leading to the potential dilution of storytelling quality.

Exploiting the Middle School Audience

Middle schoolers are a prime target for marketing and monetization. They represent a demographic with significant influence over their parents’ wallets, making them the ideal audience for IP-driven adaptations. Middle school auteurs shamelessly exploit this fact by churning out films that water down complex source materials into simplistic narratives, all while reaping the financial rewards.

Filmmakers who adopt the “Middle School Auteur Theory” and focus on adapting intellectual properties for middle school audiences often aim to create content with fast-food-like effects on their target demographic. These effects are more about delivering immediate, easily consumable gratification rather than fostering meaningful, long-lasting cinematic experiences. Here’s how these filmmakers cater to such effects:

  1. Instant Gratification: Just like fast food offers quick satisfaction, these films aim to grab the audience’s attention from the start and keep them engaged throughout with simple and straightforward narratives.
  2. Visual Spectacle: They rely on visual spectacle and special effects to create an immediate visual impact, similar to how fast food is often presented in a visually appealing way.
  3. Simple, Predictable Storytelling: The plotlines are often uncomplicated, predictable, and easy to follow, ensuring that middle school viewers can immediately understand the narrative without much effort.
  4. Recycled Themes and Tropes: Just as fast-food chains serve familiar menu items, these filmmakers tend to reuse popular themes, tropes, and characters from well-known intellectual properties that middle schoolers are already familiar with.
  5. Convenience and Accessibility: Films targeting middle school audiences are designed to be easily accessible, whether through streaming services or theaters, similar to the convenience of fast-food outlets.
  6. Low Effort, High Reward: The primary goal is to provide entertainment with minimal effort on the part of the viewer. Much like fast food is readily available and requires minimal preparation, these films are designed for immediate consumption.
  7. Short Attention Span Appeal: Middle schoolers may have shorter attention spans, and these films aim to maintain their focus by employing constant action, humor, or other attention-grabbing elements.
  8. Repeatable Formula: Just as fast food chains have a consistent formula for their products, these filmmakers often adhere to a formulaic approach to storytelling, relying on proven techniques that have worked in previous adaptations.
  9. Lack of Nutritional Value: While fast food may lack nutritional value, these films often lack depth, intellectual stimulation, or educational content, providing entertainment without significant substance.
  10. Merchandising Opportunities: Like fast food franchises selling branded merchandise, these films create opportunities for the sale of toys, clothing, and other consumer products related to their IPs.

The retrospectives, though presented as a celebration of their work, would inadvertently highlight the cynical marketing strategy of feeding easily digestible content to an impressionable audience.

Intellectual Property: The True Star

In the world of middle school auteurs, the true stars are the intellectual properties themselves. These filmmakers are mere conduits for established brands, capitalizing on the recognition and nostalgia factor that IP brings. The retrospectives would inadvertently place a spotlight on the power of IP and its dominance in contemporary cinema.

In reality, the concept of middle school auteurs underscores the film industry’s reluctance to take creative risks and its obsession with profiting from established franchises. The retrospectives would inadvertently expose the industry’s lack of originality and a fixation on recycling familiar stories.

The realms of filmmaking often find themselves at a crossroads between two contrasting approaches: prioritizing well-established intellectual properties (IP) and emphasizing intellectual exploration. While both have their merits and serve different purposes within the industry, the tension between them reflects the ongoing debate in cinema about commercialization versus artistic innovation.

The Allure of Intellectual Property

  1. Recognizability and Marketability: Intellectual properties, whether derived from literature, comics, or video games, come with built-in fan bases. This pre-existing audience recognition can boost a film’s marketability and potentially guarantee a return on investment.
  2. Profit Maximization: Filmmakers often turn to existing IP to tap into the profitability of established franchises. Successful adaptations can result in a series of sequels, spin-offs, and merchandising opportunities, making them an attractive choice for studios.
  3. Nostalgia and Emotional Connection: Adaptations of beloved IP can evoke strong emotions and nostalgia among viewers, fostering a sense of connection to the source material and generating enthusiasm.
  4. Risk Mitigation: The financial success of IP-driven films can mitigate the risk associated with filmmaking, as they are perceived as more predictable and safer investments compared to original, untested ideas.

Intellectual Exploration in Cinema

Intellectual exploration in cinema can be intricately linked with the concept of Deleuze’s “lines of flight.” Gilles Deleuze, a renowned philosopher, introduced the concept of “lines of flight” as a way to describe the potential for escaping established structures and norms. In the context of cinema, embracing intellectual exploration can be seen as a cinematic “line of flight.”

Deleuze’s concept of “lines of flight” signifies a departure from the established patterns and conventions, allowing for new, uncharted territories of thought and creativity. In cinema, this aligns with the pursuit of intellectual exploration, where filmmakers venture beyond the constraints of formulaic storytelling, genre conventions, and commercial norms. Here’s how these two ideas intersect:

  1. Breaking Away from Conventions: Intellectual exploration in cinema often involves breaking away from established narrative structures and genre conventions. Filmmakers use “lines of flight” to create new and unorthodox approaches to storytelling, challenging traditional filmmaking norms.
  2. Exploring New Ideas: Deleuze’s “lines of flight” represent a departure from the known and the exploration of new, uncharted ideas. In the realm of intellectual exploration in cinema, this translates to filmmakers delving into unconventional and thought-provoking subject matter that goes beyond mainstream or commercial storytelling.
  3. Pushing Boundaries: Intellectual exploration often entails pushing the boundaries of what cinema can achieve. Filmmakers who embrace “lines of flight” challenge the limitations of traditional narrative and visual techniques, introducing innovative approaches that encourage viewers to think deeply and critically.
  4. Cultural and Social Commentary: Both intellectual exploration in cinema and Deleuze’s “lines of flight” offer opportunities for filmmakers to engage in cultural and social commentary. These approaches enable the exploration of pressing issues, the deconstruction of prevailing norms, and the promotion of dialogue on important topics.
  5. Artistic Freedom: “Lines of flight” and intellectual exploration emphasize the importance of artistic freedom. Filmmakers who undertake intellectual exploration are free to follow their unique artistic visions and aren’t constrained by the commercial considerations that often accompany adaptations of established IP.
  6. Incorporating the concept of “lines of flight” into intellectual exploration in cinema highlights the transformative power of filmmaking. It underscores the ability of filmmakers to transcend the confines of established conventions and encourage viewers to embark on a journey of intellectual discovery and reflection. By challenging cinematic norms and venturing into unexplored territories, cinema becomes a powerful medium for intellectual exploration, innovation, and cultural evolution.


While the idea of AFI retrospectives dedicated to middle school auteurs may seem amusing, it is essential to recognize the satirical nature of this hypothetical scenario. Middle school auteurs, as presented in this essay, represent a tongue-in-cheek commentary on the film industry’s tendency to prioritize commercial success over creative innovation. The retrospectives would serve as a humorous critique of the industry’s reliance on intellectual properties and their cynical exploitation of the middle school audience. Ultimately, the middle school auteurs’ “legacy” is a testament to the ongoing debate between artistic integrity and financial gain in the world of cinema.

The Paradox of Countering Psychological Operations with Psychological Operations


In the modern era, psychological operations (PSYOPs) have become a significant and often controversial tool in the toolkit of governments and intelligence agencies. These operations are designed to influence and manipulate the beliefs, behaviors, and perceptions of target audiences. However, a paradoxical situation has emerged in recent times where billions of dollars are spent on launching psychological operations to mitigate the unintended consequences of earlier psychological operations. This paradox raises critical questions about the effectiveness and ethics of such actions, as well as the complex dynamics involved.

The Cycle of Psychological Operations

The cycle begins with the initiation of psychological operations, often with specific goals in mind. These operations can take various forms, including disinformation campaigns, propaganda, and media manipulation. While the immediate effects of these operations may appear successful in achieving short-term objectives, they can also have unintended and adverse consequences. For example, disinformation campaigns can undermine trust in institutions, breed social discord, and have long-lasting impacts on public perception.

Mitigating Unintended Consequences

In response to the adverse effects of earlier psychological operations, governments and organizations may invest heavily in new campaigns aimed at mitigating the damage. This may include efforts to correct false information, rebuild trust, or counteract negative perceptions. These mitigation operations, however, often require substantial resources and are not guaranteed to fully rectify the harm caused.

The Costs of the Cycle

The paradox of countering psychological operations with new psychological operations comes at a high cost. Financial resources, as well as time and effort, are poured into these efforts, diverting valuable resources from other essential government functions. The cumulative financial burden can run into billions of dollars, with no clear end in sight.

Ethical Dilemmas

The ethical implications of this cycle are profound. Launching psychological operations, especially with the knowledge that they may have unintended consequences, raises moral questions about the responsibility of governments and organizations in wielding such influence over populations. Moreover, the potential for further harm through mitigation campaigns may create a moral quagmire.

The Need for Strategic Reevaluation

To break this cycle, there is a need for a strategic reevaluation of the use of psychological operations. Governments and organizations must carefully consider the long-term implications of their actions, including the potential for blowback. Transparency, accountability, and ethical guidelines should be integral to the planning and execution of any psychological operation.


The paradox of spending billions on psychological operations to mitigate the unintended consequences of earlier psychological operations highlights the complex and costly nature of this tool in contemporary information warfare. As governments and organizations continue to grapple with the ethical and practical challenges associated with these operations, it is crucial to strike a balance between achieving strategic objectives and ensuring the well-being of the target populations. Breaking the cycle of countering psychological operations with more of the same will demand careful consideration, accountability, and a reevaluation of the broader implications of these actions in the pursuit of national interests.