BRUSSELS, Belgium, Dec. 26...Upstaged and rendered irrelevant by the rise of Barrack Obama, European leaders have formed a secret task force to find ways to tarnish his image, the Daily Event has learned.
"George Bush was an easy foil who made all our leaders look good," said a Euro diplomat, who asked not be identified be cause he/she is not allowed to speak to the media. "But Obama is outshining us, seducing our volatile populations."
The unit, consisting of intelligence analysts, media specialists and psychological warfare operatives, will seek to uncover scandal, create unflattering stories and exploit weaknesses in Obama's personality. Nations that have been in political and economic conflict have agreed to forget their differences and cooperate fully.
"We are united in our understanding that Obama is a threat to the political survival of every leader in the world," the diplomat said.
The alarm was sounded in foreign capitals last July when 200,000 screaming Germans welcomed Obama to Berlin. Flaunting piercings, strumming guitars and, most distressingly, waving American flags, the crowd massed impatiently across from the Brandenburg Gate where JFK had famously proclaimed "Ich Bin Eine Berliner," and Ronald Reagan had challenged Russian Prime Minister Gorbachev to "tear down this wall." Rock bands and DJ's warmed up the crowd, local politicians, scrambled for a ray of reflected glory.
The crowd cheered as Obama called for greater cooperation in dealing with the problems of terrorism and poverty. "No nation, no matter how large and powerful can defeat these challenges alone," he said. The collective mood was summed up by a student: "Having a black American president will be totally cool."
In her office German Chancellor Angela Merkel watched glumly. She had tried everything to prevent Obama's appearance, saying that it would give the impression that the German government supported his candidacy. But she had been overwhelmed by the world's need for a new charismatic leader. On her desk were German newspapers raving about Obama. On her phone were some very worried heads of state---Sarkozy, Brown, Berlusconi, Putin, Hu Jintao, Saudi King Abdullah and Venezuelan President Chavez.
"I haven't seen a German waving an American flag since 1989," Putin said.
"Let's face it, ragazzi," said Berlusconi. "We've lost our whipping boy."
For the last eight years the world has been able to hide its misdeeds behind the catastrophic policies of the Bush administration. Under Bush the US was the only country to reject the Kyoto accords. Every other nation piously criticized the US while secretly violating the agreement by engaging in meaningless carbon exchanges that actually increased the amount of pollutants in the atmosphere. Under Bush's refusal to lift farm subsidies the other nations were able to conceal their protectionism. European Commissioner for Trade Peter Mandelson was allowed to indulge his penchant for drama, while accomplishing nothing. Bush's invasion of Iraq became a pretext for European inactivity in Africa, South Asia and the Middle East. They were able to pin the blame for their multitude of sins on his scandal-ridden, dysfunctional administration. Putin, faced by the collapse of a mismanaged, single-product economy, could accuse the US of "infecting" the financial system. French Finance Minister Lagarde could obscure the $7 billion fraud at Societe Generale by criticizing the American SEC for "failure to regulate." Iceland could blame the US for its infatuation with risky derivatives. Germany could neatly deflect attention from its tax and banking scandals. OPEC, which had gotten wealthy on $50 a barrel oil could condemn the US because oil producers now needed $90 oil just to survive. China could appeal to its rebellious workers that the US was responsible for their sudden unemployment. It could righteously refuse to help the US out of the economic crisis it had helped to create when it purchased trillions of dollars of debt and artificially devalued its currency to fund American consumers purchase of its defective and dangerous products.
As long as Bush bullied and blundered, the other leaders could shine in comparison. But now Obama has hit the ball into their court. He has asked for their cooperation. Implicit in his appeal is the message: you must do more in this dangerous world. You must take political risks.
"It is cheaper and easier to undermine," the Euro diplomat said.
The task force, code named Operation Smear, has been at work behind closed doors in an obscure office building in downtown Ghent for a month and a half. Sub groups were formed to work on corruption, sexual misconduct, drug abuse, association with criminals, weird hobbies, odd dietary habits, embarrassing odors, anything to promote contempt or ridicule. At their weekly meeting, group leaders admitted they were stymied.
They were admonished by their chairman. "You are the best and brightest scandal mongers, malice spinners, frame artists and disinformation specialists in the world and you cannot dig up one speck of dirt on this man?"
After a moment of abashed silence, a timid voice volunteered:
"We could say he is soft on Israel..."
The room erupted in applause.
"Yes...Yes...He's a tool of the Jewish lobby," someone shouted.
"That always works."
CLARENCE CENTER, N.Y. Feb. 18...On a gloomy Thursday afternoon (Feb. 12) a random sampling of Americans boarded Continental Connection Flight 3407 departing Newark Airport en route to Buffalo.
Psychologist Mervyn Fliegel calls them "the givers."
On that same day another group in D.C., New York, Dallas,Miami, Chicago and Hollywood, were desperately phoning, emailing and texting their lawyers, agents, flacks, trainers, astrologists, aromatherapists--anyone who could help them salvage their public lives.
Fliegel, research director of PUNS (Psychologists United for a New Society) calls this group "the takers."
Several hours later the "givers" were lying dead in the burning wreckage of flight 3407.
The "takers" were still single-mindedly trying to burnish their tarnished images.
"It's an American irony that you can take a random sample aboard a commuter plane and find people with more talent, character, courage and dedication than you'll find in the centers of political, financial and artistic leadership, " Fliegel says.
In his new book Who We Give Our Power To And Why Fliegel tries to answer the question of why ordinary people are morally, ethically and often intellectually superior to those they choose to run their lives. He calls this "American schizophrenia" and uses the event of February 12 as a textbook example.
Among the ordinary Americans who were flying to Buffalo on that day were:
A much decorated Marine (Silver Star, two Bronze Stars), who had survived two helicopter crashes in Vietnam.
A human rights crusader who had tirelessly worked to expose the genocide in Rwanda.
A woman whose husband had been killed on 9/11and had since become a leader of victims' advocates groups.
A young hockey player who had been the first female ever to play on a men's team.
Two jazz musicians, good friends, who were on their way to perform with Chuck Mangione's band.
"These people were social altruists," Fliegel said. "Whether it be human rights, terror victims, hockey or jazz they had sacrificed money, career and family life in the service of a cause greater than themselves."
Among the stars, leaders and role models who were spinning their way out of trouble as they had each done so often in their lives, were:
An ex-president trying to salvage a "legacy" out of the wreckage of his administration.
Another ex-president going insane with thwarted exhibitionism.
A Treasury Secretary who had cheated on his taxes and had been brutally criticized for his financial rescue plan.
A Secretary of State whose husband is collecting millions of dollars in lecture and lobbyist fees from countries with whom she will be negotiating.
A prominent politician who had been forced to withdraw from his cabinet post because of $110,000 in undeclared income.
Still another who had withdrawn from a cabinet nomination because of an FBI Investigation into illegal fundraising.
A baseball star, accused of lying about steroid use, who was trying to buy his way back into the public's good graces with crocodile apologies and a $3.2 million gift to a college baseball program.
A Governor impeached for solicitation of bribery.
A newly appointed Senator under investigation for perjury.
Various disgraced economists and financiers, who had lied, embezzled and misrepresented trillions out of the public coffers.
Movie stars, athletes, celebrities who had abused substances and each other...
"These are the sociopathic elite," Fliegel says. "People who have risen to dominance in every area of American life. Their only cause is themselves and they pursue it relentlessly without regard for truth or scruple."
Fliegel says that these radically different personalities share one character trait. "They are addicted to risk. They tempt fate like reckless drivers, breaking rules, lying, intriguing, even committing criminal acts. The fear of discovery and punishment is an almost sexual thrill for them."
Again he asks: "Why do we give these people power over our lives?"
Fliegel says the American obsession with "world-wide celebrity, astronomical wealth and record-breaking achievement" is so demanding that only liars, cheats and connivers can hope to succeed.
"Those who aspire to success soon learn that it cannot be achieved by skill and application alone," he says. "They become cynical about the system they are subverting, contemptuous of the people they are manipulating."
The true problems begin when the sociopathic elite gain power, Fliegel says.
"The thrill is gone," he says. "They become bored with the every day tasks of this power. They have no respect for the process, only for the prizes. They become inattentive, unfocused. They make terrible mistakes...
"Many are misled...Millions die...Tens of millions are ruined..."
Fliegel says the American political system has to be restructured so that the altruists, people like the passengers aboard that tragic flight, can assume leadership roles.
"We need to put the careful drivers behind the wheel again," he says.
The Daily Event is proud to have guest columnist Igor Yopsvoyomatsky, editor-in chief of paranoiaisfact.com, to answers readers' questions.
I sell souvenirs to tourists on the Staten Island Ferry and after eight years of Dubya I can't give America away. Nobody wants Statue of Liberty piggy banks, FBI caps, "Brooklyn Rules" tees...Not even Michael Jackson wind up dolls. People used to be in awe of how cool we were--NYC, DC, the Grand Canyon, Hollywood. Now they come to sneer and feel superior. Our plunging dollar makes us a cheap date. Our leaders get no respect. After Bush trashed the American brand I thought Obama would turn it around, but his novelty has quickly faded and now I'm stuck with a gross of "Yes I Can" hoodies. I'm afraid America will never be cool again. Is this paranoia or fact?
This is fact. According to a recent Pew survey,the US ranked 117th on the cool index, right under Tierra Del Fuego. Only Russia, China, the UK and Zimbabwe were considered less cool than the US.
America created the 20th. Century in its own image. Victorious in two wars, innovative in industry and the arts, it was a magnet for the best minds and most energetic workers in the world. Everyone loved Detroit cars, Broadway musicals, Hollywood movies, American cigarettes and Elvis. American Capitalism vanquished Soviet Communism by promising eternal, exponential wealth.
America was cool.
Now the American financial house of cards has collapsed. General Motors is begging Government handouts, Broadway is ruled by British imports,Hollywood is a limping subdivision of bloated conglomerates, the Marlboro Man died of lung cancer and Graceland is controlled by Scientology.
In its ascendancy, the US had the coolest leaders. FDR betrayed his class to bring the US out of the Depression. Harry Truman fired MacArthur and stood up to Stalin. Dwight D. Eisenhower, wartime commander and Five Star General, turned on his brethren to warn about the "Military-Industrial Complex." JFK, brought hipness, taste and sophistication into the White House and called Krushchev's bluff in Cuba. Even Lyndon Johnson had the dignity to withdraw from public life when the people rejected him.
During its slow decline the US has experienced an unbroken chain of bizarre nonentities. Nixon inexplicably recorded his own incriminating statements; Carter, a peanut farmer with delusions of prophecy, left office with a 19% interest rate; Reagan, an underpaid Warner Bros. contract player, actually believed that the rich would allow a minuscule portion of their wealth to "trickle down" to the working class; Clinton, a glib, small town Lothario, enabled Wall Street to take over the American economy. The Bushes are the greatest argument against ruling class inbreeding since the Hapsburgs. Obama has seen ingratiation turn into antagonism and doesn't know what to do about it.
American celebrities were the coolest in the world. Could anyone top Marilyn or Einstein (he was a citizen), Astaire, Grace Kelly, Jonas Salk, Jackie O, Brando, Duke Ellington, Broadway Joe--the list is truly endless.
Now you have OJ, MJ, Lindsay Lohan, Elliot Spitzer. You have the dangerous nonentities of reality TV. Sports stars who turn themselves into bionic chimeras with steroids and surgery.
But don't feel too bad, Distressed. At least you can complain. Three quarters of the world must suffer in silence. They live under the heel of oligarchical thugs who maintain their power by censorship, repression, torture, rape and outright massacre.
China hasn't been cool since Confucius, France since Sartre and Belmondo; the UK since James Bond and he wasn't even real. Italy has a seventy-three year old President who brags to teenage girls about his sexual prowess. Russia was cool with Rasputin, but Putin poses shirtless like Mr. Universe and Medvedev, the little man who wasn't there, makes pronouncements that no one hears.
The entire planet is totally, hopelessly...
THE DAILY EVENT Every day brings a crush of momentous events. Mainstream media, depleted by budget cuts and early stage obsolescence, is overwhelmed. Important stories go unnoticed. The Event will work to bring these stories to public attention.