WASHINGTON DC - Engaged a relentless battle against time and fatigue, a select group of message scientists assembled by the White House's Center for Narrative Control say they will take "all steps necessary" to contain a recent outbreak of scrutonium, a deadly poll-eating supervirus that attacks the immuno-hope system, leaving victims vulnerable to material facts.
"Failure is simply not an option," said an exhausted Mission Chief David Axelrod. "If left unchecked, this virus may actually force us to move back to Chicago."
The recent re-infection of scrutonium into the body politic has been a harrowing turn of fortune for Axlerod and his scientific team. In November 2008, they had declared scrutonium "all but extinct," although they kept small amounts of the strain for use in laboratory experiments with Republican tax returns. It was thought to be in containment as recently as five weeks ago, with scientists citing poll results showing resistance to doses of unemployment previously considered fatal.
All that changed on September 12 after an unexpected outbreak in Benghazi, Libya. Although it caught Axlerod and his team by surprise, they were temporarily able to keep it under control with a regimen of YouTube blame therapy and gaffe-meme injections. But the new Benghazi strain proved stubbornly resistant, and has continued to slowly spread.
Amid their battle to contain the Benghazi strain, a second - and even more deadly - outbreak appeared in Denver on October 3. Nicknamed "the Doomsday Strain", the Denver scrutonium virus has thusfar been impervious to any attempt at containment.
"We're dealing with the ultimate buzzkiller here," said Senior Narrative Engineer Stephanie Cutter. "This one directly attacks voters' ability to hallucinate happy thoughts, or even ignore the obvious - no matter how many squirrels we innoculate them with."
Despite all-out efforts to contain the virus, by Friday daily internal gauge readings at CNC headquarters indicated a public opinion disaster was in the making. In order to buy time, Axlerod called on reserves from the 101st Media Narrative Squadron.
"With a virus this aggressive, you need boots on the ground to help fight any new outbreak and sterilize the area with distractions," said CNC jounalistic affairs liaison David Plouffe. "Luckily, the 101st is highly trained, unquestioningly loyal, and completely immune to all known post-2008 strains of scrutonium."
"That Mitt Romney sure seemed awful testy, didn't he?" said hazmat-suit clad Lt. Ben Smith of the 101st's Politico Company, sweeping the rubble of Denver for trace readings of scrutonium.
While Smith and others work around the clock to quarantine the virus, Axlerod and his team remain deep beneath the White House in a specially constructed containment laboratory, racing to find a cure before it has a chance to wipe out Washington as we know it. Although all their experiments have thusfar proven unsuccessful, Axlerod refuses to concede.
"If I've learned anything in this job, it's that hope is a strategy," he said, wiping flopsweat from his combover.
"For instance, maybe Joe Biden will find a cure Wednesday night," he added.
This was no ordinary rubber chicken affair. That was my reaction to the extraordinary keynoter at Tuesday's Better Government Association annual luncheon. Lara Logan, a correspondent for CBS' "60 Minutes," delivered a provocative speech to about 1,100 influentials from government, politics, media, and the legal and corporate arenas. Such downtown gatherings are a regular on Chicago's networking circuit.
Her ominous and frightening message was gleaned from years of covering our wars in the Middle East. She arrived in Chicago on the heels of her Sept. 30 report, "The Longest War." It examined the Afghanistan conflict and exposed the perils that still confront America, 11 years after 9/11.
Eleven years later, "they" still hate us, now more than ever, Logan told the crowd. The Taliban and al-Qaida have not been vanquished, she added. They're coming back.
"I chose this subject because, one, I can't stand, that there is a major lie being propagated . . ." Logan declared in her native South African accent.
The lie is that America's military might has tamed the Taliban.
"There is this narrative coming out of Washington for the last two years," Logan said. It is driven in part by "Taliban apologists," who claim "they are just the poor moderate, gentler, kinder Taliban," she added sarcastically. "It's such nonsense!"
Logan stepped way out of the "objective," journalistic role. The audience was riveted as she told of plowing through reams of documents, and interviewing John Allen, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan; Afghan President Hamid Karzai, and a Taliban commander trained by al-Qaida. The Taliban and al-Qaida are teaming up and recruiting new terrorists to do us deadly harm, she reports.
She made a passionate case that our government is downplaying the strength of our enemies in Afghanistan and Pakistan, as a rationale of getting us out of the longest war. We have been lulled into believing that the perils are in the past: "You're not listening to what the people who are fighting you say about this fight. In your arrogance, you think you write the script."
Our enemies are writing the story, she suggests, and there's no happy ending for us.
As a journalist, I was queasy. Reporters should tell the story, not be the story. As an American, I was frightened.
Logan even called for retribution for the recent terrorist killings of Christopher Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya, and three other officials. The event is a harbinger of our vulnerability, she said. Logan hopes that America will "exact revenge and let the world know that the United States will not be attacked on its own soil. That its ambassadors will not be murdered, and that the United States will not stand by and do nothing about it."
In the "good old days," reporters did not advocate, crusade or call for revenge. In these "new" days in a post-9/11 world, perhaps we need more reporters who are willing to break the rules.
Logan hopes that America will "exact revenge and let the world know that the United States will not be attacked on its own soil. That its ambassadors will not be murdered, and that the United States will not stand by and do nothing about it."
Yeah, what she said. Even if it takes a while.
Is it my imagination or do white South Africans have a certain insight when it comes to devolving situations?
Why does Lara Logan have such a clear understanding of the situation in Afghanistan but our leaders not?
Sun Tzu said: "In war, then, let your great object be victory, not lengthy campaigns."
We have not paid much attention to this maxim in the last two wars. If we are interested in nation building and that is questionable, it should come after annihilation (breaking the will) of the enemy.
Perhaps Sun Tzu should have spoken to the notion of Perfumed Generals and Political Correctness but then maybe he did in so many other words.
Wahahaha doc, you've been reading too much Ilana Mercer.
Wrong member of the Army of Steve. Never heard mention of Mercer before, just my impression from a couple of people I've known, and maybe the odd Rantburger. Perhaps not insight, but simply the experience of watching it all come down around them.
Mercer is the South African born author of "Into The Cannibal's Pot". She makes some vary stark comparisons of her native land and what we are seeing take place in America today. Apologies for the name mix up.
Hey, I've been called worse! A happy accident really, since I've never come across Mercer before. Look forward to reading her book. Should be a nice antidote to all that optimistic Tom Barnett Core/Gap stuff.
"In the "good old days," reporters did not advocate, crusade or call for revenge. In these "new" days in a post-9/11 world, perhaps we need more reporters who are willing to break the rules."
We've had reporters crusading for leftist causes and whitewashing Islamist atrocities for years. What we've lacked are reporters willing to tell the truth about the failure of leftist solutions and Islamist atrocities.
Posted by: lord garth ||
1) Even though you may hate the Apaches, don't arm the Commanches who also hate your guts as much as the Apaches do.
2) When the Commanches win the big fight, don't hang around in Indian territory without adequate armed security.
3) After you get yourself scalped for not having armed security, don't go after a film maker who made a film about how much the Commanches hate you and everyone else, just because the Commanches were offended by that, too.
I therefore nominate Harley (my horse) to replace Hillary, but ONLY if Romney wins.
Much of the news out of Egypt since the "Arab Spring" uprising has focused on the Muslim Brotherhood and its role in the collapse of the Mubarak government; and later its victory in the parliamentary elections in 2011 and slender win in the presidential election in 2012. Compared to the carnage in Libya, Yemen, and Syria, the first Egyptian revolution was relatively restrained. By the end of it, a thousand people rather than tens of thousands had died, the creaky physical and industrial infrastructure of the country remained intact, and the organs of state authority appear to continue to function however corrupt and inefficient.
But appearances can be misleading as the country's coming economic crisis could lead to an unraveling of the state. Egypt faces four economic crises: rapidly rising food prices and budget deficits, a precipitous economic slowdown driving high unemployment even higher, and a long-term crisis over the water resources of the Nile River.
The political chaos in the country has damaged Egypt's tourism industry, which represents nearly 7 percent of the country's GDP and represents its largest source of foreign currency needed to import wheat--the staple grain nearly half the population survives on. Official sources report tourism declined by 30 percent in 2011, but unofficial sources report much more precipitous declines of between 40-80 percent in 2012. Prior to the revolution the economy was growing at an impressive 5 percent, while last year the economy grew an anemic 1 percent. Under 25-year-old unemployment may be more than 50 percent and rising.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Egypt is the largest per capita importer and consumer of wheat in the world and is thus particularly sensitive to world food prices. Egypt subsidies bread to maintain political stability, but those subsidies are now economically and fiscally unsustainable. Any reforms of the Egyptian food system--however badly needed--could destabilize a fragile political system in a precarious transition. And yet bread and energy subsidies are bankrupting the national treasury. Energy and food subsidies amount to almost 30 percent of the national budget and are on the rise. They promote widespread corruption and reduce the productivity of the economy, but they keep the streets from exploding. The Morsi government is out trying to get billions of dollars in loans from the World Bank, the U.S. government, and Gulf states to shore up the budget and economy. But they will only increase the national debt and limit future growth.
Perhaps the most serious challenge facing Egypt over the long term is the water flows of the Nile River. Without the Nile there is no Egypt. Nile waters have been declining for decades, but may reach a crisis level over the next five years. The Ethiopian government is now building what may be the largest dam in Africa, using the waters of the Blue Nile. The Egyptian government is so concerned by the dam that it reportedly signed a secret agreement with the Sudanese government to build an air force base on the border of Sudan and Ethiopia in order to potentially bomb the dam, an agreement both countries has since denied. In addition Sudan is constructing four new dams on the Nile River north of Khartoum.
The new government Morsi has put in place, not unsurprisingly, is dominated by the Brotherhood's own inexperienced loyalists. The policymakers and managers needed to guide Egypt out of this economic morass are slowly and quietly being forced out of the government and universities. Morsi's cabinet is described by many as second tier, and incapable of dealing with these complex set of issues. The Muslim Brotherhood has a deep and broad grassroots organization in Egypt, but it has no experience governing a country at the national level facing a crisis as daunting as this one.
The economic crisis facing Egypt would challenge even the most skilled policymakers and political leaders, but the potential exodus of skilled Egyptian technocrats increases the risk that the Brotherhood will fail, and may fail miserably. In which case its popular base of support will erode as food prices rise and the poor cannot feed themselves. Then out of desperation the Brotherhood will most likely turn to the Salafist party, which represents the most extreme Islamists, for help to shore up their diminishing ranks. That will increase pressure for the Brotherhood's government to embrace even more extreme and untenable positions, thus accelerate the flight of the educated elite, putting Egypt's future at risk.
Western countries and the Gulf States have a strategic interest in ensuring the new Egyptian government does not fall into this economic abyss because of the instability that would ensue, the humanitarian crisis it would produce, and its political fallout.
Or we could have a strategic interest in letting them fail deeply and thoroughly, as a lesson to the rest to abjure Islamist government. Because the humanitarian disaster will happen no matter what we do.
The new government Morsi has put in place, not unsurprisingly, is dominated by the Brotherhood's own inexperienced loyalists. The policymakers and managers needed to guide Egypt out of this economic morass are slowly and quietly being forced out of the government and universities. Morsi's cabinet is described by many as second tier, and incapable of dealing with these complex set of issues.
No WONDER our President feels such a close kinship with his Egyptian counterpart!
Black helicopters they will be ferrying the people to the new show room trial for all the world to see to push the final picture of their fake fraudulent one world government on the dumb ass idiotic American people!
My only quibble with the article is the implication that the problems lie only in the Pentagon: Strategy determines tactics that directly impact ROE, and PC does not make for good Strategy if your ROE is "stuck on stupid".
California has the nation's highest gas taxes and fuel prices, and the tightest supplies -- and reputedly one of the worst-maintained infrastructures, with out-of-date, overcrowded, and poorly maintained freeways. When I head home each week from Palo Alto, I feel like an Odysseus fighting modern-day Lotus Eaters, Cyclopes, and Laestrygonians to reach Ithaka, wondering what obstacle will sidetrack me this trip -- huge potholes, entire sections of the freeway reduced to one lane, or various poorly marked detours? If the nation's highest gas taxes give us all that, what might the lowest bring?
Although the state is facing a $16 billion annual budgetary shortfall, Governor Brown is determined to press ahead with high-speed rail -- estimated to cost eventually over $200 billion. Such is his zeal that he intends to override the environmental lawsuits that usually stymie private projects for years. The line is scheduled to pass a few miles from my farm, its first link connecting Fresno and Corcoran, home to the state prison that houses Charles Manson.
Yet a money-losing Amtrak line already connects Fresno and Corcoran. I often ride my bike near the tracks and notice the half-empty cars that zoom by. Most farmers here are perplexed about why the state would wish to borrow billions and destroy thousands of acres of prime farm land to duplicate this little-traveled link. Support for high-speed rail is strongest in the San Francisco Bay Area, but there is no support for beginning the project where the noise and dirty reality might be too close to home for green utopians.
The high-speed rail to almost no where? I feel sorry for the honest, hard-working, responsible people of Kalifornia who get a lot of unwanted tax sucking and unwanted projects forced upon them. Kalifornia does not deserve 55 electoral votes. These votes should be redistributed to other states who are fiscally responsible and their people sane.
And if California is home to one-third of the nation's welfare recipients and the largest number of illegal aliens, it is nonetheless apparently happy and thus solidly for Obama, by a +24 percent margin in the latest Field poll. The unemployment rate in my hometown is 16 percent, the per capita income is $16,000 -- and I haven't seen a Romney sticker yet.
Poor people have poor ways. That's why they're poor. You can give them all the money you want and they will squander it. You might as well put your money in the fireplace and burn it.
But I will say, yet again as I have here many times before, that not all of this is the fault of Californians. The lack of enforcement of US immigration laws and the failure to secure our border with Mexico is a FEDERAL FAILURE NOT A CALIFORNIA FAILURE. In this respect we really are victims. And remember, if it can happen here it can happen to all of the rest of you.
You can talk about Jerry Brown all you want, and I'm with you on that. But...
It's hard to teach the children in our schools who don't speak English.
A lot of the prisoners in our overcrowded prisons are illegal aliens.
Finally, if your were unemployed, homeless, shiftless, drug addicted and had nowhere to sleep but outdoors where would you rather be, California or New York? Personally, I would let them starve but as a society we seem unwilling to do that. So what are we in California supposed to do when these people from other states and other nations show up here?
In a booming economy, large numbers of hard working Amigos are very much needed. In a busted economy with nearly zero new home starts and business construction, who can blame them for not taking the dole? Demographics, they do matter, and cheap labor comes with a price. I have no problem with documented Amigos. If there is work to be done, you'll find few who will worker harder.