Monday, May 20, 2013

Propaganda Review: “Trickle Up Poverty” by Michael Savage (2010)

In which a gay-bashing Mexican-hater suggests the only way to defeat make-believe despotism is to counter it with ACTUAL fascist policies



I didn’t really know all that much about Michael Savage until I read “Trickle Up Poverty: Stopping Obama’s Attack on Our Borders, Economy and Security.” After completing Savage’s gargantuan, hate-filled manifesto, I took it upon myself to learn as much about this “Savage” character as I could.

After all, I’d hate to write about one of the worst pieces of shit I’ve ever read without knowing as much as I could about the even bigger piece of shit that wrote it. (And throughout this review, I’ll drop some periodic facts about the book’s author. They’re all 100 percent true, even though you’ll be praying to whatever deity you elect to follow that I was making them up.)

The big problem with “Trickle Up Poverty” -- an already dated, Tea Party-flavored piece of 2010 agitprop that I picked up for approximately one/twenty-fourth its original MSRP -- is that it’s loud. As in, voluble, ear-splitting and shrieking. You may not think that its physically possible for a book to give one a cochlea-ache, but trust me, after churning through all 316 pages of Savage’s spite-spewing opus, you’ll feel like you just returned home from a Slayer show, too. “Trickle Up Poverty” is an apoplectic, vein-stretching, spit-scattering, insane diatribe the likes of which is rarely seen outside of mental wards; once you finish off the tome, you’ll feel less like you just read something than you had your ear canal raped by a coked-up Glenn Beck.

My, where to begin on this one? Before I begin analyzing Savage’s wildebeest-on-angel-dust-like tirade about how everything even remotely associated with Obama is part of a Satanic communist ploy to overthrow America, I guess I should start off by stating my opinion on this Barack fellow. (Side note: just how long do we have to wait before Spell Checker accepts “Barack” as an official pronoun, anyway?)

On Obama, I’m fairly neutral. I can’t say that I’m a big fan of all of his practices, and pretty much all of that stuff he said he was going to do back in 2008 never came to fruition, but on the whole, I admire the guy for being able to put up with so much bullshit from the radical right contingency (and also, I kinda like the cut of his jib when it comes to healthcare, military and telling Wayne LaPierre to shut his face hole policies, but those are merely asides, I suppose.)

While it is true that W. caught a lot of flak during his presidency, at least the things people accused him of doing were, you know, based on actual things, like Iraq, Katrina and all of that suspicious market deregulation nobody on the right ever seems to bring up when discussing today’s contemporary economic unpleasantness. What Obama deals with, however, is something completely different -- as in, large throngs of people thinking he’s an impossible Marxist Communist Muslim Socialist Black Panther from Kenya that may or may not have killed his gay lover in a cocaine-fueled rage and/or teleported to Mars before. When tens of millions of people genuinely believe the logic-defying, lunatic rancor that neo-conservative blowhards like Savage puke over the airwaves, I think it’s next to impossible to NOT feel a little bit of sympathy towards this Barry chap.

MICHAEL SAVAGE FUN FACT:
A Russian Jew that grew up in New York, Michael Savage (born Michael Weiner…seriously) frequently criticizes leftist academics, despite the fact that he holds a Ph.D. (in ethnomedicine, of all things) from one of the nation’s foremost leftist academic hotbeds.

In the introduction to the tome, Savage wastes no time at all before mercilessly deriding Obama, slandering him as “The Destroyer” of American exceptionalism, the “traitor-in-chief” and a “reverse Robin Hood” that steals from the middle class and redistributes to the wealthy. Of course, Savage never really makes an effort to explain what constitutes “middle class” in America, but hey, who needs to elaborate on what class divisions are in order to refute the existence of class divisions, anyway?

As Savage continues to barf out his fingertips -- spreading the vitriolic upchuck through his keypad and into an electronic document, no doubt through some sort of nutritional science black magic he picked up at Berkeley -- he accuses Obama of attempting to forge a two-class society (the “U.S.S.A.,” as he nicknames it), which is part of some greater Pan-Leninist movement that the author never really elaborates upon. Which is probably for the best: the last thing this already backbreaking literary cinder block needs is a couple of  more irate pages on the European welfare state. He writes that the American “sheeple” (a term which he uses more frequently in the book than punctuation marks) are tired of Obama’s (at-the-time) one year reign, and cheers the then-emerging (and now practically mummified) Tea Party Movement as a citizens revolt against communist tyranny or some other buck wild bull shit that don’t make any sense.

MICHAEL SAVAGE FUN FACT:
Savage is the author of more than 35 books (some of which, it is worth noting, aren’t even written in crayon.) Among his illustrious literary forays? Books with such affable monikers as “The Death of the White Male,” “Liberalism is a Mental Disorder,” a book where he spends 200 pages comparing political figures to various zoo animals and no less than TWENTY tracts about homeopathic medicine (including 1984’s superb “Getting Off Cocaine,” which considering the palpable author slobber all over this book, is probably something Savage never actually did)

Chapter one begins with Savage referring to Obama as a “red diaper doper baby,” which must really sting if you’re in the first grade. His tendency to constantly use rhyming patterns as sentence glue becomes apparent quite early on in the manifesto -- at one point, equating “science” with the utterly nonsensical “lie-ence,” because that really gets the message across. For all you communication majors out there, you might note Savage’s logorrhea, tachylogia and cluttered speech as symptoms of “flight of ideas” syndrome -- a brain-to-mouth disorder that’s generally indicative of ADHD, schizophrenia or abuse of psycho stimulants. Not that this dude is a self-professed expert on cocaine, or anything.

More nerve-popping, schizoid rage follows, as he accuses Obama of appointing Maoist land grabbers to cabinet positions. He drones on some more about the redistribution of middle class wealth (once again, without giving us a number to demarcate WHO is middle class) and praises the proven to be Astroturf tea-party movement as a genuine grassroots phenomenon. He brings up Dale Robertson’s 15 Tea Party demands (a not at all fascist laundry list that defines gun ownership as a divine right and that once and for all, this here country belongs to Jesus and nobody else) and considers them a good start to mass reform. He then said that Obamacare is actually a thinly veiled reparations program, and that America’s entitlement programs are being exploited by “parasites from a different country of origin.” Citing a Tax Foundation study, he said that 60 percent of U.S. citizens take more from the government than they pay in taxes. You know, because all of those disabled people, senior citizens and children? Just eff them, man, just eff them. Taking a detour into some magical fantasy land where Reagan’s supply side policies created “trickle up affluence” (historical note: it did the exact opposite), he then segues into chapter two, which is more or less a putrid character assassination attempt that starts off with the author referring to Medicaid as nothing more than “socialized medicine for welfare recipients.”

Cue that old chestnut about Obama being trained by commies like Frank M. Davis and Bill Ayers, and some utterly imaginary chatter about the president going on a global “apology tour” to various world leaders. Then, Savage describes Obama as both a communist AND an anarchist, because shit, it’s apparently possible to be two completely antithetical things at the same time now. He calls Van Jones a thug (remember: to all right wingers, any black dude taller than Webster and more muscular than Urkel HAS to be a street criminal) and says Obama will do whatever he can to censor negative portrayals of him in the media, which fully explains how Savage has been able to successfully mass market half a dozen books accusing the President of being a Moslem Marxist that wants to destroy America without any difficulties.

Direct quote time: “Without question, Obama and his minions are out to do nothing less than imprison us in a totalitarian socialist system in which the federal government usurps our God-given right to make decisions for ourselves. That’s what his socialist redistribution of our earning through confiscatory tax policies and legislative initiatives is all about. He’s assuring that trickle up poverty becomes institutionalized in America.” Anyway, imagine that blowhard, grandiose bullshit being reshuffled over and over for 300 pages, and you pretty much have the entire book right in front of you.

Savage asks why Obama hasn’t released his college records yet. Apparently, despite having a PhD and spending all those years in post-secondary education, nobody told the author what FERPA was. He says that the primary reason liberals exist is to bring about the downfall of Western capitalist democracies (yep) and then rounds out the chapter by illustrating the fact that he has no idea what the differences are between Trotskyism, socialism and Leninism.

MICHAEL SAVAGE FUN FACT:
Savage, an ardent critic of homosexuality, was fired from MSNBC in 2006 after telling a gay listener to “only get AIDS and die.” Interestingly, Savage’s only “non-fiction” work, a 1984 book titled “Vital Signs,” was about a secretly homosexual, middle aged Jewish herbalist with a father complex that liked to hook up with ethnic prostitutes and say things like “Inner voice screaming at me for years, first rational, then crazy, telling me to do mad things. Every form of relief tried, painting, psychotherapy, running, diet, vitamins, etc., etc. Almost uncontrollable now. Impulses to stab children, strangers, wife, self with scissors.”

Chapter three is all about Savage’s anti-communist upbringing in New York, which includes a passage on how Marx was a deadbeat hippie (probably one of the few statements in the book that has any historical merit to it whatsoever.) He goes on a couple of more tirades against Lenin, Stalin and Saul Alinksy (as in, that guy that all neo-cons perpetually demonize, even though the entire Tea Party organizational structure and outreach model were patterned after “Reveille” and “Rules for Radicals”) and he says some shit about how Boeing is so much better than Airbus because Boeing wasn’t receiving government subsidies (even though they were - in the form of about $5 billion in illegal state aid.) Also, the irony meter almost breaks when Savage quotes J. Edgar Hoover -- the liberty-torching mastermind behind the Gestapo-esque COINTELPRO program of the 1950s -- on the subject of how precious freedom is.

With chapter four, things start getting REALLY kooky, with Savage stating that the Great Recession was actually engineered by George Soros through manipulation of his hedge fund management firm. Of course, Savage never explains WHY multi-billionaires would want a socialist-regime in place, before halfway (and by halfway, I mean not even remotely) explaining it by way of the BILDERBERG/NEW WORLD ORDER conspiracy. And how exactly bitter market/ideological rivals like Eric Schmidt and Bill Gates and Rupert Murdoch and Diane Feinstein can furtively work together to bring about Armageddon is thoroughly explained by…not being explained, in any way, shape or form, by Savage.

He said that auto union and SEIU employees were Nazis, and says that government employees, by way of benefits, make more money than private sector employees (or do they?) And of course, during Savage’s phlegm spraying spiel about the market meltdown, not once does the word “deregulation” appear as a potential (read: the actual) culprit behind the economic downturn.

The healthcare chapter begins with Savage telling a story about how he was an unlicensed pharmacist in his youth, and how he felt there was nothing at all wrong about  middle schoolers chopping up and distributing prescription drugs to members of the community. After making a reference to the “Jerk-it Court in San Fran-sicko,” Savage goes on a warpath about the Ready Reserve Corps and the Independent Medicare Advisory Board, stating that such ACA components are PROOF that death panels are real. He then starts referring to liberal adversaries as “demoncats” (which sounds like the name of an awesome 1980s cartoon, by the way), calls Dennis Kucinich a “whore,” and says Nancy Pelosi “desecrated” God by holding an ACA vote on Sunday. He rounds out the chapter by saying that everybody should just claim a religious exemption from Obamacare, citing Schechter Poultry Corps v. United States as a basis for “defeating” the Affordable Care Act.

Chapters six, seven and eight can be summarized as such: climate change is a pseudoscience (unlike herbal medicine) that will lead to $7 a gallon gas and the government forcing us to own electric cars, illegal immigrants cost us $4.3 billion a year in health costs (while pumping in about $1.4 trillion in total economic expenditures, but shh!) and are spreading DENGUE FEVER all over the place and that the ACORN scandal that wasn’t really a scandal at all is proof that Obama hates Israel because he’s a “Marxist Islamist.” And as to how someone can be a radical adherent of Allah while simultaneously being a radical adherent of a necessarily godless socioeconomic policy…well, uh….

MICHAEL SAVAGE FUN FACT:

Right after saying that the Obama regime is trying to create a “permanently disadvantaged underclass” of uneducated and uncultured Americans (which, last time I checked, is already a plurality in the nation), Savage said that the House Un-Americans Committee ought to be brought back to root out “Marxists” like Thomas Friedman from media occupations. He talks about how leftists gutlessly compared Bush to Hitler, yet sees not a shred of hypocrisy in the fact that he just spent the last 200 pages of his book comparing Obama to everybody from Stalin to Pol Pot. He said that the NEA had been infiltrated by communists (calling Rod Paige a “terrorist” in the process) and accuses D.C. of having the world’s worst public school system -- yes, even worse than those schools down south that teach kids dinosaurs and humans once coexisted. After attacking Air America, “Avatar,” Wolf Blitzer and Keith Olbermann, he said that Canada is the most restrictive non-Arab nation on the planet -- even though our neighbors to the north posted identical scores to the U.S. in the four leading freedom indices in 2013.)

The book’s penultimate chapter starts off with Savage recounting his childhood love of the local freak show, which segues into a passage about how AWFUL it is that the U.S. ratified a new START agreement in 2010. Being anti-nuclear war, you see, is actually being a “radical Marxist,” he explains. While the privatization of virtually everything else in America doesn’t draw a peep from Savage and his neocon kin, the fact that NASA outsourced some of its bids to private contractors draws the full ire of the author, who goes on to champion the racial profiling of Muslims and claiming to be “a pacifist,” even though he routinely promotes the idea of executing liberal opponents and gunning down civil rights proponents on his syndicated radio program.

The final chapter of “Trickle Up Poverty” is basically Savage parroting the “Contract from America” demands, alongside a few more suggestions to “improve” American life. Among the executive orders President Savage would issue, if he could: militarize the U.S/Mexico border (which is clearly something a self-proclaimed “pacifist” would lobby for), cut government spending across the board (except for the military: we need to increase that shit), INCREASE tensions with Iran, place Japan-like tariffs on China, give government subsidies to heterosexual couples to combat gay marriage, outlaw abortions, force welfare recipients into mandatory community service and MAKE women on welfare take birth control (nothing freedom-squelching about government-endorsed druggings and indentured servitude!) and establish a “contract with the Judeo-Christian god.” His final advice for the reader is that leaders should operate America like a business instead of an empire: because as we all know, tyrannical, centrally-planned businesses, with clear class divides and open exploitation of cheap labor, are, never, EVER successful. Ever.

I only spent one dollar on Savage’s potboiler, and I already find it a much worse waste of 100 pennies than that time I bought a supposed spider prop for Halloween that was just a garbage bag and a couple of twist-ties. The Internet is prone to hyperbole, but I am 100 percent sincere when I say that successfully completing Michael Savage’s 2010 tome is one of the worst experiences of my life. I’m not sure how many hours I put into that hardback turd, but it’s probably enough to make me question the decency of my soul. Why would I invest so much time and energy and effort into such a black hole of ideological hatred? All in all, I think I had more fun reading my mother’s obituary than I did “Trickle Up Poverty.”

There’s absolutely nothing here of intellectual nutrition. Unless your idea of “enlightenment” is having some narcissistic, self-loathing wannabe-shaman yell permutations of “commie” at you and blame America’s poorest citizens for the downfall of the nation for 300 pages, I’d highly suggest you steer clear of this mental toxic waste. A rebuttal to its contents and claims isn’t even necessary: the greatest criticism you can lob at the book -- and Savage’s outlook as a whole -- is to simply restate what he says, take a step back, and marvel at the insanity of his comments. The fact that there are people out there that legitimately share this dude’s perspective (which I believe is, mostly, played up for the hayseeds and mega-nationalists) is not only depressing, but pretty damn frightening, too.

Only to bulimics would I consider “Trickle Up Poverty” a worthy investment. For if you’re in
in the mood to feel the core of your humanity vomit, this stuff acts as the literary equivalent of syrup of ipecac.

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