Archive for April, 2008

Dowbrigade Denies V.P. Rumors

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Barack Obama’s press conference this afternoon may have been the death knell of his ersatz presidential campaign, if not of his aspirations. In an ingenious twist in the script, by utilizing a surrogate as the scandal object, Obama can lose elegantly and remain a viable player in future electoral cycles. It’s nice he’s going quietly; he possesses a gentle grace rarely seen on the political stage. The Clinton’s scriptwriter (the Mastermind?) is to be commended; having their support-sapping surrogate undone by a surrogate of his own is both ironic and karmicly balanced.

The press conference was almost embarrassing. Although he handled his prepared statement fairly well, when the reporters began their aggressive questioning, he stopped speaking grammatical English and started wandering down twisted paths of hems and haws and”…umm, that is, I, or rather we, ummm, let me say this, that was not my intention…”

Everybody knows that kind of hesitant pussyfooting is prima facie evidence of guilt and moral vacillation. Your President can be as guilty as Lee Harvey Oswald, but you don’t want him or her looking or feeling guilty. And the last thing Americans want right now is a President experiencing the kind of moral vacillation or personal reorientation that renouncing ones Spiritual Advisor usually involves.

So, bye bye Barry and hello Hillary. The Clintons cut it close; they almost let this one get away from them. They clearly underestimated the speed and ferocity with which the ABC (Anyone But Clinton) forces aligned behind even as deeply flawed a candidate as Barack Obama. It is probably better for all concerned they managed to stop the runaway freight train before it crested the hill. Had Barry actually accumulated a majority of the delegates, the opposition would have had to resort to Plan Z to blow him out of the water, which probably would have involved large quantities of drugs, underage kinky sex, or similar evidence of moral turpitude, and from which resuscitation would have been unlikely..

Which brings us to the question of the day – who is going to be Hillary’s VP? Despite rumors to the contrary, the Dowbrigade is not in the running to adorn the Clinton ticket. Although we have no doubt we could bring sizable demographic support to the ticket (never underestimate the dingbat vote), after considerable divination and soul-searching we have concluded that those unsubstantiated rumors of our connections to white slavery rings and previous ayahuasca abuse have rendered us unelectable.

Which leaves a sorry field of party hacks, corporate sell-outs and career sycophants. Let us review the field.

Barack Obama – while his apparent graceful fade and considerable support would seemingly recommend him, and we can certainly see him on the stage in Denver with one arm around Hillary and the other around Bill, we don’t expect him to be the candidate. It would be the most unbalanced ticket in recent Democratic history; something for almost everybody to hate. The problem is that people hate Hillary and Barack for different reasons, so if you add together all of the people who can’t stand one or the other you have built an electoral majority.

No, what Hillary needs is a nice stable adult white male, a jocular, reassuring Daddy or Granddaddy figure to inspire confidence and buff down some of her sharp edges. Someone who makes voter’s say, “Well, if Hillary shits the bed we can always impeach her like her old man and bring in good old Frothington.” But who can play the role convincingly?

John Edwards – as an affable Southern gentleman who could deliver a valuable demographic and geographic segment, he would seem to be a prime candidate, and he is obviously interested (why else has he not endorsed anyone yet). However, we have a hard time seeing Hillary picking someone prettier than her. Think how bad it would look on all of the posters and campaign buttons.

Bill Richardson – our personal favorite with the requisite affable, reassuring personality and a demo-geo-graphic contribution to make, but it appears that Hillary already has the demo (Hispanics) part locked up, and she hates redundancy.

Al Gore – the surprise pick of the litter is actually the logical choice for a number of reasons; he hits the same southern gentleman note as Edwards but is not as pretty, he has proven he can do the job (and be an effective and loyal Clinton consigliere), and has given every indication he enjoys a lifestyle with a high profile, little real work, and an endless series of dinners and banquets. Those who say he has lost the lust for politics underestimate the addictive allure of the Big House, dwarfing anything a dynamite baron can offer.

Of course, she could always go the other way, and select someone so scary that all potential usurpers would give serious pause before proceeding. Someone like, say, one of the Jesses (Jackson or Ventura) or Barney Frank. If she’s got the goods on John McCain like she has on Obama, she may just go that route.

999 Luftballoons

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SAO PAULO, Brazil (AP) — A Roman Catholic priest who floated off under hundreds of helium party balloons was missing Monday off the southern coast of Brazil.

Rescuers in helicopters and small fishing boats were searching off the coast of Santa Catarina state, where pieces of balloons were found.

Rev. Adelir Antonio de Carli lifted off from the port city of Paranagua on Sunday afternoon, wearing a helmet, thermal suit and a parachute.

He was reported missing about eight hours later after losing contact with port authority officials, according to the treasurer of his Sao Cristovao parish, Denise Gallas.

Gallas said by telephone that the priest wanted to break a 19-hour record for the most hours flying with balloons to raise money for a spiritual rest-stop for truckers in Paranagua, Brazil’s second-largest port for agricultural products.

from AP

He probably had a date with the Flying Nun… 

The Last Days of Barack Obama

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The demolition of the Obama phenomena is now well underway, and the only matters remaining to be resolved are timing, deniability and how far the destruction needs to go.


Meanwhile, the denouement of Act One must be accomplished with pathos, transcendence and redemption. After unbelievable trials and tribulations, beat up and counted out more times than Rocky, the future Queen Hillary will in the climatic scene be transformed from Plucky Pauper to Proud Princess.

In the process, the comeuppity knight will be vanquished to his subservient domain by an onslaught of trials and misfortunes. Reverend Wright and the “bitter” imbroglio are merely love taps compared to the barrage of insinuation, inuendo and incriminating evidence which will appear between now and the convention. How far it will go depends on Obama himself and whether he hopes to salvage a future in the Democratic Party, as well as on how much sleaze it takes for the American public to decide they’d better take a pass on this guy, at least for now.

We all know that Hillary’s hit team has a lot more ammunition in the armory. Barack Obama is running up against one of the signature conundrums of the media age; anybody interesting and inspirational enough to make a good President has probably done something which, were it widely known, would disqualify him or her from winning a national election.

Clearly, Obama is not alone in having transgressed in his youth. John McCain was reportedly a wild man as a hot-shot fighter pilot, and even Dubya has admitted to having had a drinking problem and at least trying other “substances” in his admittedly misspent youth. The only exception to this norm seems to be Hillary, who has apparently been fastidiously circumspect in all of her actions since she decided she wanted to be President at age 11.

But Obama admits to having been a regular user of pot and blow, and has the unfortunate burden of having grown up in the electronic generation. This means that somewhere out there there is a photograph, or a video, or a tape recording of Obama doing some bad things with some bad people. During his college years the Ivy league campuses were awash in drugs of every description and provenence. During his years as a community organizer in the South Side of Chicago the streets were awash in a kaleidoscopic variety of groups, cults, angels and devils. If his Pastor was damning America, one shudders to think what his more profane associates were saying.

It’s not that we think that Clinton staffers are locked in a secret research center pouring over ancient video and tracking down old Obama homeboys to gather dirty tidbits. We are convinced they already have the goods, and have had them for quite some time.

All that remains to be resolved are timing, deniability and how much ammo needs to be used. In politics, as in baseball and sex, timing is everything. Obama has shown an amazing resiliency, and if a bomb is dropped too early its effects could pass before the convention. We expect a gradual cascade of escalating mini-scandals will be the most effective.

Of course, none of these scandals can be traced back to the Clinton campaign or the effects could backfire. In this day of electronic trails and millions of nosy bloggers anonymous leaks are harder to achieve, but not impossible. Plus, Hillary does a credible “Who, me?”

Finally, a lot depends on when Obama sees the writing on the wall and slides back into line. If he does so before the really heavy artillery is brought out he can salvage his career and his image and probably nail down a cabinet post in the Clinton administration. If not, he goes the way of Gary Hart and Thomas Eagleton.

The scriptwriters’ idea is to reconcile in the final scene of Act One, to gather together all of the new voters energized by both campaigns, to mobilize the fundraisers and the canvassers and the bloggers and to march forward to face the Evil Warlord in Act Two. Like a hit network TV show this script was written long ago, yet we sit rapt, week by week, and watch the story unfold.

If you think this part is good, just wait for sweeps week.

Growing Up Retarded

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Anyone who has been to the supermarket lately (which means everyone except the very rich and Presidential candidates) is aware of what is happening with food prices. Even with weekly specials, manufacturers coupons and heavy reliance on store brands, $80 just doesn’t fill the larder like it used to.

While the average American is beginning to react to the pinch of rising food prices by choosing a cheaper cut of steak or a budget bottle of wine to accompany it, for the hundreds of millions of human beings living dangerously close to the starvation line, the adjustment is nothing short of catastrophic.

The U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) keeps tabs on world food prices, and they have determined that in 2007 their Global Food Price Index surged a shocking 40%. For a significant percentage of the people on the planet, struggling to rise from abject poverty and partake of the tantalizing promise of Globalization, this abrupt increase amounts to a death sentence for them, and most significantly, for their children.

According to the UN, of the current 6.1 billion inhabitants of our orb, almost 1 billion, or one thousand million people, are trapped between the poverty line and the starvation line. These are people so poor that they or their childred were going to bed hungry at least 3 or 4 times a week. And that was before food prices went up 40%.

These people were just barely keeping their heads above the water. Now the water has gone up three feet.

Not having enough food to eat, or access to clean water and a balanced diet, does much more than send people to bed on an empty stomach. People without enough food are weak, lethargic and depressed. They are unable to work hard, hold jobs, go to school or look for work. They are susceptible to myriad diseases and conditions brought on or exacerbated by inadequate diet.

The effects are not limited to the physical, either. Chronic hunger causes personality disintegration, depression, apathy, neglect, uncontrollable outbreaks of anger and violence and a breakdown of law and order. Who among us, faced with returning empty-handed to a hovel in a slum to face the tear-stained faces of our children slowly dying of starvation would not consider desperate measures, robbing, rioting or even strapping on a suicide vest in a last, desperate gesture of rage and despair?

Cruelly, it is the most innocent who suffer the worst. Anthropologists have found that while adults can survive a period of inadequate nutrition with a little weight loss and wasting from which they later recover, children under the age of five who pass through a similar period suffer permanent mental and physical retardation. This means their IQ’s, their stature, their physical strength and health, will all be limited to 75-80% of what they would normally be.

This is not a new phenomena, but with the increase in food prices it will soon be endemic around the world. Vast regions, entire countries, even continents will be struggling along with the majority of their surviving populations suffering from extreme retardation. Their geniuses will just have average intelligence, and the normal people will be, well, slow. How can they be expected to compete in the increasingly competitive and cutthroat global marketplace?

And all of those retarded people will be hungry, and desperate, and resentful of the waste and opulence that they can see daily on television; today even the poorest of the poor have access to televised images. Shanty towns sprout forests of antennas – even tiny villages in the Amazon or the Himalayas or the Australian Outback have one or two screens. Television has become the true opiate of the people.

And these hungry huddled masses, the wretched refuse trapped on those teeming shores, will prove fertile ground for extremist sects, violent religions and messianic leaders, and poor candidates for good neighbors or democratic allies.

The problem is extreme and immediate, and will not get better soon. The factors causing the sudden run up of food prices – fuel and fertilizer costs, bad weather caused by climate change, growing population and competition for arable land – will not abate in our lifetimes.

The ultimate irony is that we already have the space and the know-how to feed the entire population of the planet until and after the global population stabilizes, which most experts feel would happen if everyone had access to education and economic opportunity. It is simply a problem of priorities and distribution of available resources.

The Dowbrigade feels strongly that this is the only road to a happy ending to the troubled history of the human race. There exists a solution to the Malthusian dilemma, but only through fully developing our human potential all over the planet. Statistically speaking, there is an Einstein alive somewhere right now, and a da Vinci and an Aristotle and a Mahatma Gandhi.

But if they have the bad luck to be born in the half of the world that is growing up retarded, together with billions of others, then we don’t stand a chance.