Sunday, November 30, 2008

World Forwards Final Bill to “W” in Crawford, TX (DS)

We had a dream……and in that dream we saw a panic that far surpassed the hysteria witnessed 8 years ago as 1999 was drawing to a close. The fear of ‘99 simmered and swelled on the certain knowledge that our world as we knew it would fatefully end when Y2K made its inevitable entree at midnight on December 31.

Y2K’s frightful millennium shift ultimately proved to be unfounded, or so it seemed on January 1, 2000 anyway. Nevertheless it didn't take us long to realize that we really did have every reason to be afraid, for later in the new millennium’s first year, George W. Bush was elected to his first 4-year term as President. From that moment on, we watched the world we'd once known begin to steadily deteriorate, until the fatal economic barrage hit mid-2008.

In our dream we could see that as the end of 2008 fast approached, a powerful fear gripped the world once again. But instead of hiding out in bomb shelters with stored food stuffs waiting for the end of time, the masses collectively responded in revolutionary anger as they joined forces and decided to finally take matters into their own hard working hands.

The internet spread word of the People’s revolt like wildfire: December 31, 2008 had been declared International BK Day - BK8 for short. It was predicted that every court in the world would be packed to overflowing as the unruly multitudes simultaneously filed their legal version of Chapter 7 Bankruptcy. The People were done carrying the financial burden of international hedge fund greed and corporate mismanagement on their backs.

And then we woke up, and realized that it was probably no coincidence the People's BK8 insurgency came at the disastrous conclusion of "W’s" second term as President. So if capitalism is bankrupt and the People are bankrupt, who will be expected to pick up the tab and fund the now bankrupt system?

For more Treasure Hunt Clues, see our ‘In The Rear View Mirror’ October 1, 2008 posting "Who Took Off With The Bank?"

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Will They Get Dubai a Stairway to Heaven?

X-P “W’s” White House lawn hullabaloo protesting the demise of the Old Guard was indeed an attention getter, but not enough to deter us from watching the super sonic approach of three private jets in our rear view mirror preparing to land at The Gipper’s Airport. The three jets zoomed over our heads in a pattern similar to that of migrating albatrosses looking for a rich ocean to feed in.

It's no mystery that the Big Three Automakers have been relentlessly petitioning Congress to throw them a $25 billion bone. In the big scheme of things, it appears they may have come a’barkin’ a little too late. And everybody knows timing is everything.

Well, it just wasn't the time to consider the pros and cons of effective timing, because now that Congress had finally agreed to hear their supplications, there was no time to waste in making the appropriate D.C. travel arrangements for the big audience. As we sat nearby, it was easy to overhear a group of their executive assistants discussing the various travel possibilities that had been considered just days before.

This would involve a scenic road trip from Detroit to D.C. in their biggest, newest, and most deluxe gas guzzling ‘09 models fresh off the assembly line floor. We quickly realized that by going this route, they could’ve effectively promoted the very products they were in D.C. to represent by proudly parking them out in front of the Capital Building for everyone to see. All of this, along with a savvy sales team placed curbside to distribute attractive marketing brochures and offer seductive sales pitches, who knows? a sale or two may have even been made. Frankly, it was too much like driving to Florida or Seattle for the weekend. Option: Rejected!!

This was worse than Car Caravanning and not only that, travel like the working man? Option: Rejected!!

This would involve standing in a long line to get through airport security checkpoints which further meant they’d have to take off their tap shoes. And there again, travel like the working man? Option: Rejected!!

As a vision of the Hindenburg’s 1937 1-minute incineration loomed before them, this option was promptly nixed. That rejection, however, did not come before they briefly considered that a little promo for Goodyear might not be a bad marketing ploy. There might’ve been a free ride in it for them as well. In the end, it seemed obvious to us that if they weren’t inclined to promote their own products, then why would they promote the maker of the tires their vehicles ran upon? Free ride or no. Option: Rejected!!

Fast, luxurious, equivalent to their elite status and everyone had their very own so no one had to share. Option: The Winner!!

When the Big Three Auto execs arrived at court, we got a rear view mirror flashback to the roaring 20’s. The Big Three were walking anachronisms, dressed in the very clothes of their ancestors …..Tuxedos with bow ties, top hats, tap shoes, and the prerequisite solid gold pocket watches. Wafting invisibly through the airwaves was the tune “Puttin’ on the Ritz".

We watched as GM CEO Richie Rick pulled out his pocket watch to check the time. The pressure he was under was interminable, and this included a stringent timeline - Richie Rick was due to be in Dubai in several days. As he retrieved the solid gold watch from his pocket, he failed to notice the invitation that popped out and fell to the ground beneath his fast dancing feet. It was an invitation to the party of the decade at the new hotel Atlantis on The Palm. We could see he wasn’t too sure at this point whether he’d be celebrating with his tribe in Dubai or crying in his cups as he postured for an Arabian handout.

As the Big Three moved toward the inner chamber to settle in for some serious begging, they were surprised to see not 3 chairs, but only 2, placed out before the open court. And they logically wondered which one of them wouldn’t get to sit in a chair. They didn’t have to wonder long because Congressman Ackerman (D-NY) quickly hit a switch and Led Zeppelin’s “Stairway to Heaven” began to play through the auditorium loud speakers. The three CEOs instinctively began a rapid tap dance around the 2 chairs as they each vied to be in a sitting position when the music stopped.

It was a tap dance that lasted two days, and while they pleaded for the music to stop, the music never did stop. When the music finally does stop, who will get to sit in a chair?

For more on the Big Three Bedrock-style, see our ‘Dream Sequence’ November 14, 2008 posting "Washingstone B.C."

Friday, November 14, 2008

Washingstone B.C. (DS)

We had a dream……and in that dream we saw our favorite modern Stone Age families strike it rich with a newfound energy source called crude oil, and make that big move out of the Bedrock burbs into the political tar pits of Washingstone B.C., where any Neanderthal can have an affect on the evolution of the species homo sapien.

In our dream, it was easy to see how one lifestyle change typically leads to another and having wealth did afford certain options one might not otherwise have. So with the revenues that flowed in like the oil, we saw Wilma and Betty opt to stay behind to raise Pebbles and Bamm-Bamm and do their thing in Bedrock; as Barney and Fred made the decision to move out together and finally get that place of their very own in a nice Bostone community.

It didn’t take Barney F. Rubble (D-MA) long to reach the political heights vital to fulfilling his altruistic dream of positively influencing public policy for the benefit of every primate under his jurisdiction. Repetitive evolutionary cycles were nothing new in the long history of an upstanding man, and we watched in our dream as Barney worked diligently to promote legislative measures he felt were necessary to curb the collective homo sapien’s tendency toward devolutionary back-stepping, which oftentimes occurred when too much power was held in the hands of too few and when deregulated greediness prevailed.

Suffice it to say, Barney was appalled when Mr. Slate – CEO of the nation’s largest Stone Quarry which now looked more like a Strip Mine – held out his hand looking for a large chunk of the newly legislated Big Boulder Bailout (“BBB”). The quarry had been cutting costs all right and Mr. Slate could prove it. His big-wigged henchmen had just laid off 75% of the quarry workers and Fred was one of them. Unfortunately, even the cost savings that strategy realized wasn’t enough to cover the enormous, yet still unpaid, contractual obligations now pressing him for immediate satisfaction.....Not only was his own bonus past due, so were those of his bigwigs. It was critical to the Stone Quarry’s continued economic survival that he keep his mis-management team in place and $40 billion clams was just what he needed to do it. This was, Mr. Slate insisted, in the long term best interests of Neanderthals everywhere.

The Stone Quarry wasn’t the only pit deep in the hole. The Stone Age car makers were way behind the times. They’d persisted in manufacturing energy inefficient cars that did little but produce foot calluses and wondered why no one was buying. Surprisingly, it never crossed their minds that maybe Mr. Slate of the Stone-Quarry-now-Strip-Mine was partially responsible for their slow car sales. All they saw was that Mr. Slate and his bigwigs got a big piece of the BBB without having to give up much more than lay a few workers off, and they wanted some of that action too. With a friend like Speaker of the Cave, Nancy Pebblosi, pleading their case in exchange for a new pearl necklace, they were very hopeful.

Of the three car makers, the loudest and most demanding was “Great Mastodon” (also known as “GM”). “Carnivore” felt that if Lee Iarocka could do it, so could Nancy Pebblosi. They were in. And not to be left behind, “Brontosaurus”, maker of the ever popular Bronto, was certainly expecting its lion’s share of the dole as well.

And then we woke up, and remembered that no matter how dire the straits, The Great Gazoo never seemed to appear when he was called. Will The Great Gazoo ever show up?

For more TARP twisting, see our ‘In The Rear View Mirror’ October 23, 2008 posting "Who are the Wizards Behind the TARP?"

Friday, November 7, 2008

White House Tenant Served 60-day Notice to Vacate

It’s high noon. A trickle of light from the sun has finally begun to seep through and even though we’ve been stalled in the middle of this intersection for what seems like an eternity, we no longer harbor a sense of being abandoned on the dark side of the moon. Yes, we’ve witnessed some incredibly dramatic events unfold as we sat immobilized at the pinnacle of D.C.’s Donner Pass. And true, we’re not for the moment any better off than we were when our car first stalled, but at least the ignition started this time when we turned the key. Moving through and out of this impasse, we can, for a short spell anyway, coast our way downhill into the nation’s capital.

When we arrived at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, we stopped to read the legal notice conspicuously posted for public viewing on the front fence. It was a 60-day Notice to Vacate. Looks like X-P "W’s" second 4-year lease term on the White House is up, and he's been ordered out.

No sooner had “W” been formally served with his 60-day Notice, when the film crews began showing up at his door and they weren’t there for him. Seemed he was now out of the loop, and no one thought to tell him that the White House had just been selected the new winner of an “Extreme Makeover-Home Edition”. When Ty Pennington appeared unannounced with his pros to measure for new drapes and furnishings, and then the “Queer Eye” ensemble popped in to begin their work of designing the new occupant’s flair (china, crystal, silverware, color schemes and seating arrangements) - and all of this without cost to the taxpayers - it was simply too much for a man of his stature to bear.

George immediately got Condi on the phone and secretly arranged a protest rally to take place on the White House lawn. Some would accuse him of being too inebriated to remember much of the 1960’s, but he was sure they used to do something like that back then, didn’t they? Well, instead of picketing for change, the protesters he was calling to action on what was still his front yard would be picketing for things to remain the same. It had been a good ride, and he couldn’t just stand by and watch helplessly as his heady error (or was that era?) of the last 8 years abruptly ended.

When George’s protest rally finally began that warm late fall morning (really it was more like afternoon when tee-times were over), we could see in the rear view mirror that it was a far cry from what had happened back in the 60’s when the lines of rickety buses would pour into Washington D.C. from every corner of the country and unload at the White House gates an endless stream of pot smoking, flag burning hippies wearing tied-dye, flashing the peace sign and crying out for US withdrawal from Vietnam, equal rights, free love and above all, change.

Fall afternoon 2008, Pennsylvania Avenue instead saw a line-up of Rolls Royce limousines, with a few Mercedes and Lincolns thrown in for good measure, far more impressive than any formal White House affair he’d ever hosted during his 8-year reign. One by one, the limos unloaded its Moldy Old White Bread (MOWBs-see definition) sporting tailored Armani suits and Rolex watches, well-fed on the caviar and Dom Perignon that had been elegantly served to them as they reposed in the backseat and waited for an opportunity to emerge from their transports. Once the MOWBs were properly assembled, they began to clamor in unison for US extension in Iraq (the oil revenues were just too good to give up, oh duh), more bail out money to pay their executive bonuses, and above all, keeping the Old Guard.

When “W’s” rally is finally over, will the heads of the protesters continue spinning in drunken power, or will their heads be splitting in pain as they endure the inevitable champagne hangover?

For more on "W's" Retirement, see our ‘Dream Sequence’ November 1, 2008 posting "Will The Lame Duck Be Flying South For the Winter?"

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Will the Lame Duck Be Flying South For the Winter? (DS)

We had a dream…..and in that dream we saw Florida putting its post-presidential election ballot counters to good use, and former President George W. Bush winning a decisive victory in his run for Mayor of Guantanamo Bay.

Too much vacation time went against his workaholic nature and how to spend his twilight years after retirement from the White House in a way that continued to touch the lives of the people was of paramount importance. More important still was his bottom line, yet staring him in the face was an inconvenient truth. He was no math whiz, but he knew without a doubt that his social security checks just weren’t going to be enough to maintain the lifestyle he’d grown quite fond of.

Our dream made it painfully obvious that X-P “W” didn’t spend the last 8 years in D.C. and not learn a thing. He recognized a winning team when it was assembled on his behalf, so he promptly set out to place several of his favorites in key positions in an attempt to re-create some of that “Emperor’s New Clothes” type of magic he’d become most comfortable with.

Mayor George firmly believed he’d gotten things off to a good start when Rush Limbaugh accepted the position of Hostel Camp Manager and Activities Director. In determining the next appointee, even he knew it was critical that Guantanamo Bay’s new Mayor have a big thug (someone who was silent but carried a big shotgun) to put out in front. And without question, Sheriff Dick had an unbeatable track record. In his mind, though, the icing on the cake was when his new BFF, Paris Hilton, agreed to join the team as Director of Marketing and Promotion.

Paris didn’t waste one fabulous minute in putting together a highly impressive VIP guest list for the new Mayor’s inaugural celebration. She managed to procure RSVPs from some surprising world dignitaries, like Hugo Chavez (Venezuela), Vladimir Putin (Russia), Bashar al-Assad (Syria), and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (Iran), to name a few.

In his new position as Hostel Camp MAD-man, Rush’s first big maneuver was to re-open Camp X-Ray under its new name, Camp S+M. Paris immediately began a high profile across-the-globe marketing blitz spotlighting the camp’s new honeymoon-on-the-racks package for only the most discriminating of couples looking to stretch their limits. And Paris wisely included in her saucy promos something to attract the seasoned couple who believed marriage was torture by offering them the perfect setting to take their torment to another level.

No detail was too small and MAD-man Rush always made sure to have plenty of painkillers of the potent prescription variety on hand for distribution to his special guests as they required. He reckoned too it would encourage them to stay longer.

And then we woke up, and got a side mirror glimpse of Castro, in his final hours, making one last executive decision to finally deposit all of those Guantanamo Bay rent checks we’ve been sending him since 1959, then of course, he raised the rent. In pondering George’s short attention span and dubious intellect, are we safe in assuming this will be enough to keep him contained?