Monthly Archive for December, 2008

New Year Special – Extending Free Downloads

Dear Readers,
We have expanded our download capacity and can offer Leading Lady audiobook, Fort Apache, the Bronx, Cocktail and Corporation Freak for 99¢. Click on the link below.


Dear Readers,

We have to remove our offer of free downloads for the rest of the month of January. We have exceeded the limit of downloads for our site for the month. We will have another offer in February. Until then, come to the blog for the latest news from the Daily Event.


Dear Readers,

I’m sick of thinking about money, talking about money, worrying about money. So I’m offering the Leading Lady audiobook and the books Fort Apache, the Bronx, Cocktail, and Corporation Freak downloads – FREE. Click the download link below . Happy New Year. Any problems email us from the Contact Us page.


Secret EU Unit Seeks To Scapegoat Obama

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.”

Holiday Special

Dear Readers,
We have expanded our download capacity and can offer Leading Lady audiobook, Fort Apache, the Bronx, Cocktail and Corporation Freak for 99¢. Click on the link below.



Dear Readers,

We have to remove our offer of free downloads for the rest of the month of January. We have exceeded the limit of downloads for our site for the month. We will have another offer in February. Until then, come to the blog for the latest news from the Daily Event.


Dear Readers,

I’m sick of thinking about money, talking about money, worrying about money. So I’m offering the Leading Lady audiobook and the books Fort Apache, the Bronx, Cocktail, and Corporation Freak downloads – FREE. Click the link below and have a Happy Holiday. Any problems email us from the Contact Us page.



New York City, Christmas Eve, 1973…Global warming hadn’t become an A-list cause. Ozone layer sounded like something you inhaled at a party.

In Washington, the hottest present was a bootleg White House tape of President Nixon drunkenly ranting about the Watergate investigation to Attorney General John Mitchell. It was played at office parties all over town.

On Dec. 16, with the help of an Eagle Scout and a Brownie, Nixon, planted a 45 foot Colorado spruce, which was to be the first live White House Christmas tree. A few days earlier the North Vietnamese had rebuffed Kissinger’s peace plan. That day the Arab oil producers had announced they were lifting their oil embargo against every country but the US and Netherlands, who they said were being punished for giving aid to the Israelis during the recent October War with Egypt. As he delivered his greetings to the nation, promising to “maintain the integrity of the White House,” Nixon knew that the Joint Chiefs of Staff were running an espionage operation against the White House. Not only were the Democrats crying out for his impeachment, but his own military commanders were spying on him.

It had been a cruel month. On December 17, ice storms had delayed the opening of the Stock Exchange. Christmas Eve, a blizzard was dumping 30 inches of snow on Buffalo. In the city , a dark cloud settled like a wet blanket over the stars. Fluttering shreds of wrapping paper clung to my legs as I walked to the subway. Twin brothers in Santa hats marched outside the 72nd. St. station carrying signs reading “USEFUL IDIOTS FOR THE CIA.”

The energy shortage had curtailed the decorations on the tree in Rockefeller center. Fifth Avenue wasn’t its usual glittering self. The faltering economy, the war in Vietnam and the Watergate scandal had dampened the Christmas spirit.

Downtown, in Soho, the only way you could tell it was Christmas was that the galleries were closed and the sweatshops had sent their Hispanic ladies home early. The artists emerged from their lofts, hunched in fatigue jackets, with an occasional scarf as a gesture to the cold. Everything was closed. Only one light burned like a beacon in the night–Spring Street Bar.

We had no tree, no lights, no Christmas dinner. And we only had one customer: Kobe, the son of an Admiral in the Japanese Navy. Rumor was that he had been sent packing after he stabbed some guy with his father’s ceremonial sword. Earlier in the evening Mei, the Chinese busboy, had knocked over his drink It seemed like an accident, but then I saw Loq, the Chinese dishwasher giggling in the kitchen doorway. Kobe saw him, too. Now he was downing tequilas and glaring at Mei, visions of the Rape of Nanking dancing in his head.

Marisol was a famous Venezuelan artist, who was having an affair with Jack, my bar partner. She was known for her explosive temper. “Get ready for some shit, I stood her up today,” he had muttered as she lurched in, having fortified herself elsewhere for an epic confrontation.

I watched warily as he poured her a red wine, which she knocked back like a shot of whiskey, while glaring at him. Then thrust her empty glass at him for another…And another…

A couple came in out of the flurries. She was tall, graceful, wet snow glittering on her dark hair and cashmere coat, the kind of beauty who never buttoned her coat, even in bitter cold. He was shorter than she and softly fat. Biology hadn’t given him a break. His face was red and chapped by the cold, just as it would be red and blistered by the sun. He steered her to the bar and glared as I smiled at her. There was a lot of glaring going on tonight.

“What would you like?” he asked her with what sounded like a parody upper class drawl.

“I don’t know…anything.” Her indecision gave me an excuse to look at her. Dark eyes under thick, unplucked brows, were focused somewhere else.

“What was that crazy drink you loved in Venice?” he asked.

She shook her head. “I don’t remember.”

Pousse cafe,” he said.. He threw down the challenge. “Can you make that here?”

I had never made one in my life. “I can make it anywhere,” I said, defiantly.

I rummaged in the office behind the bar and found a torn copy of Mr. Boston’s Bar Book. Pousse cafe had six ingredients floated on top of one another to produce what the author called “a striped rainbow of color.”

The liquors had to be floated in the right order, the heaviest down to the lightest. I would have to make the drink in front of her because if I carried it the colors might run.

First, I covered the bottom of a highball glass with Grenadine. Using the back of a mixing spoon I floated Yellow Chartreuse on top of that. Then… reddish Creme de Cassis…White Creme de Cacao…”

A stool scraped.

“Nobody move please,” I said. With a steady hand I floated Green Chartreuse and a final layer of Cognac.

I stepped back and contemplated a work of art, one layer of gorgeous color on top of another.

“This is probably the greatest thing I’ve ever done in my life,” I told Jack.

But the girl pushed it away with a sob. “I can’t.” The drink came apart, its colors sloshing and bleeding into one another. She got up.” I’ve got to go back there.”

“No…” He pushed her down and whispered vehemently. “We’re going to have a Christmas drink just like we said…Then, we’ll go uptown…”

You stand behind the bar and try to get the story straight. This looked like a long term relationship finally crumbling. He trying to hold it together. She desperate to escape.

Peggy, the waitress, sipped the ruined pousse cafe. “It tastes like poisoned candy,” she said.

The girl found a crumpled cigarette. He fumbled with his lighter. “What do you think they’re doing now?” he asked

She took a sucking drag and blew the smoke through her nose. “I don’t know what they do anymore.”

“Your Mom’s making her special egg nog like she always does, right? Well, we can have one, too.” He turned to me with a pleading look. “Bartender, two beautiful Christmas egg nogs…”

We made a classic egg nog at Spring Street. Three parts heavy cream, two parts cognac, one egg yolk and gomme syrup in a mixing glass (we didn’t use blenders back in the day.) Shake vigorously and pour in a tall glass. Sprinkle with nutmeg.

The beauty lit one cigarette off another. Not a good sign.

“Talk to me,” the fat kid said urgently. “What did you do on Christmas when you were a kid?”

“You know…”

“Tell me anyway…”

Another deep drag. “We’d spend a few days in town with Daddy…Skate at the Wallman rink…Then he’d put us on a plane to Aspen to meet Mom and Bart. Mom and Bart would go skiing and Francy and I would freeze in that dark chalet…When it was dark, they’d come back with their friends. Bart would try to get the fire going and everybody would laugh because he was so loaded. Mom would come out of the kitchen. Time for my special egg nog, she’d say…”

Almost on cue I laid the drinks in front of them. He took a tentative sip and brightened. “This is good…Just like your Mom used to make… “

She could hardly put it to her lips. When she did she shook her head…”No, it’s not like it at all …” And got up again. “I have to go back there…”

On second look I saw that her long, graceful fingers were yellow with nicotine. The face under that mass of dark hair was gray. The eyes had the panic of a trapped animal. “Let me go back there, please…”

What was “there?” A pile of coke? An abusive lover? Was this fat, red-faced kid trying desperately to save a tragic beauty he would hopelessly love forever? Suddenly, his face had a suffering nobility. His shoulders sagged and he stepped away. “I’ll get a taxi.”

He slid a twenty under the ashtray.

“Sorry about the egg nog,” I said.

He shrugged like it didn’t matter. “Merry Christmas.”

He stood arm raised in the middle of Spring Street where cabs never came, while she shivered in a doorway.

Peggy took a sip of my spurned masterpiece and made a face.

“More like ugh nog,” she said.


BEIJING, China,…Dec. 9 A top-secret report prepared for China’s Ministry of State Security (MSS) predicts that none of President-elect Obama’s appointees will be in office at the end of his first term.

They are all qiao zong huo fan,” the anonymous author says, using the Chinese term for bridge burners. “They will depart, leaving flames in their wake.”

The report, which was leaked to the Daily Event by officials who prefer to be nameless out of fear of summary execution, analyzed bios and interviews to compile a profile of the typical appointee.

“He or she is addicted to conquest,” the report says.” But once success has been achieved becomes bored and either moves on or self-destructs.”

The author sees Obama’s cabinet as a “snake pit of militant egos,” Three appointees sought the presidential nomination–Clinton, Richardson and Daschle. “Clinton feels great bitterness toward Richardson and Daschle for rejecting her to support Obama. She regards Richardson as an apostate who turned on her after all she and her husband had done for him.

“Richardson for his part, feels that he has not been rewarded for courageously spurning Clinton to support Obama in the early days before the outcome was clear. Every cabinet meeting will sting like a slap in the face as he sees Clinton sitting on the president’s right hand in the job he coveted.”

“Clinton and Richardson will make a public show of working together, but will intrigue against each other in private.”

Daschle, was humiliated by his defeat in 2006 when Democrats were sweeping into office everywhere else. The report says that he he must engineer a major health care initiative to restore his political viability and predicts that his possible opponents in 2016 will try to block him at every turn.

“Competitive people do not give up their dreams,” the author says. “The three who lost still aspire to ultimate power. Secretly they will wish Obama to fail.”

The report predicts that the early days of the new administration will be rife with conflict and controversy. “Each cabinet officer will be given daunting tasks that they will be unable to perform.”

As Secretary of State Clinton will be charged with persuading the Europeans to contribute more troops and money to the War on Terror.

“This they will not do.”

Iran will not swayed from its nuclear path, the report says. “Clinton will try to ignore the Israeli/Palestinian conflict, but a series of attacks and retaliations will force her to engage…and fail.”

The exit from Iraq will be messy. “American troops will fight bloody rear guard actions designed to extract the utmost humiliation.”

Wary of appearing weak Obama will not remove the missile shield in Eastern Europe and Clinton will try to mollify the Russians into accepting it.

“This she will not do,” the report says.

Defense Secretary Gates is a possible Republican contender. He will be looking for a way to maximize his credit while subtly detracting from his possible opponent in 2012. Sensing this, Clinton will try to minimize his influence. “There will be much backstage plotting,” the report predicts..

“After the last American soldier has left, Gates will resign…”

Clinton and new Treasure Secretary Geithner will try to get the Chinese to open their financial markets and let the yuan appreciate.

“This of course, we will not do,” the report says. It concludes that Clinton’s tenure will be dogged by one failure after another that, fearing for her place in history, she will have to find a way to escape. A seat on the Supreme Court might provide a graceful exit.

Attorney-General designee Eric Holder has been chosen to “prevent revenge prosecutions,” the report says. “The left wing of the party will want to indict Cheney and Rumsfeld. It will seek prosecution of high level financial donors. Obama does not want to alienate Republicans by going after Bush war criminals. Holder will hold the fort for Obama’s wealthy patrons as long as he can. He will suffer a great loss of public prestige and will return to his lucrative law practice.”

As Commerce Secretary Richardson will have to create business opportunities in a depressed global economy.

“This he will not do,” he says. “He will be diminished politically.”

Treasury Secretary Geithner will try to find a way to keep taxes and inflation down while Government expenditures soar into the trillions.

“This no one could do.”

Lawrence Summers, Obama’s top economic adviser is “a brilliant careerist, but not an original thinker,” the report says. “Faced by a real unemployment rate of 15% he will be unable to innovate. Watching his fabled reputation wither as the economy languishes he will focus on the job he really wants—Chairman of the Federal Reserve. Current chairman Bernanke, weakened by the crisis, will be easy to topple. Summers will have a job that confers the maximum of prestige with the minimum of thought.”

The report expresses puzzlement that Obama has not chosen loyalists, but “competitive individuals with deep personal agendas.” It asks: “does this show that he is a naive bungler? Or is he brilliantly creating scapegoats for the failures he knows will come?”

It says a deeper analysis of Obama can be delayed in the short term. Given the turmoil in the US, China’s future is not threatened.

“If we control dissent, stifle protests among migrant workers and farmers and keep the yuan artificially low we will continue to prosper. The US will not stop us.”


Igor Yopsvoyomatsky,
editor of
answers readers’ questions.

Dear Igor,

On the advice of Nobel Prize winner Linus Pauling, I began taking eighteen grams of Vitamin C daily twenty years ago. Now my doctor tells me new research shows that far from being a miracle cure Vitamin C actually protects malignant tumors, causes kidney damage and lowers the body’s resistance to dangerous disease. On top of that he says the Chinese have monopolized the manufacture of Vitamin C and nobody knows what they are putting in those tablets because the FDA does not test supplements. My bowels are shot, my bank account depleted. I’m in a panic that an evil nanobot has been planted in my brain, which can be activated to make me assassinate investment bankers or cable news commentators. Am I the new Manchurian Candidate?
Sanguo Peridonto,
Ciudad Constipato, Paraguay

Dear Sanguo,

You might very well be. Vitamin C is the scientific equivalent of the Tulip Craze, the South Sea Bubble and the subprime fiasco all rolled into one. Almost every living thing can produce it internally. Only bats, guinea pigs and humans need to take it externally. It is essentially a cure for scurvy, a disease that no one has anymore. But it has been elevated to the status of Wonder Drug and we have to ask why?

Scurvy was first diagnosed in the Fifth Century, B.C. by Hippocrates, a Greek physician. noticed that slaves were collapsing in bloody, delirious hulks on the Acropolis. A cursory work up revealed starvation as the probable etiology. Greek medicine was limited to cold baths, leeches and hemlock shooters. Feeding the slaves was not an option.

On his maiden voyage of discovery Christopher Columbus observed his Portuguese crew members spitting blood, swooning and shirking their duties. Convinced that they were either bewitched or suffering the plague he had them put into boats and cast out to sea. The desperate crew made landfall on an uninhabited island, which had an abundance of wild fruit trees.

When Columbus sailed by the island months later, his own crew depleted by disease, the Portuguese swam out to meet him, vigorous and fully restored. Columbus was convinced they had landed on an enchanted island and named it Curacao for “cured.”

Ghost ships provided the next clue. They were found floating aimlessly their crews dying or demented. In 1612, after millennia of nautical mystery a British naval surgeon named John Woodall hit upon an explanation:

“They ran out of food.”

Woodall recommended a simple cure. “Three teaspoonfuls of lemon juice given in the morning.” But the British Admiralty, reluctant to pamper the crews, overruled him. Naval historians estimate that in the next two centuries 800,000 British seamen died as a result.

In 1747, British Naval Surgeon James Lind noticed that German crews were fat and vigorous while the English could barely lift their noggins of grog. He decided it had something to do with the barrels of fermented cabbage or “sourkroute” that they carried. The English called them “krauts” and made fun of their ration, but Lind thought it might be saving their lives. He devised the first controlled experiment in medical history. He gave his sailors lemons and oranges, while feeding a control group of French prisoners a mixture of elixir of vitriol, vinegar and seawater. The English flourished, their protein intake enhanced by feasting on dead Frenchmen.

Still, the Admiralty resisted. It was only in 1794 when the crew of the Bounty mutinied over Captain Bligh’s refusal to let them eat breadfruit that the Crown relented. British crews took so enthusiastically to their citric rations that they turned bright green and became known as “limeys.”

A hundred and twenty years later Kazmir Funk discovered chemicals, which helped release energy, build cells and protect against disease. He named them vita(for life)mins.

During World War I, Hungarian Albert Szent-Gyorgi, a self-proclaimed “mad” scientist shot himself in the arm and claimed he had been wounded by enemy fire so he could get back to his researches on the new discovery ascorbic( for anti-scurvy) acid. He was one of the few Hungarians who disliked paprika, the national condiment. When his wife served it to him he said: “Honey, I’d love to eat this, but I have to use it for my experiments.”

With his fingers crossed and his suspicious spouse looking over his shoulder, Szent-Gyorgi went to work. Luckily, he found he could produce kilograms of pure Vitamin C from paprika. He won a Nobel Prize and spared himself a nasty divorce.

Now Linus Pauling enters the saga. He explored human biochemistry right down to the molecular level. He won a Nobel Prize. The range of his mind was unfathomable. And he was an apostle of Vitamin C.

Once, when Szent-Gyorgi was in bed with a bad cold Pauling entered his sick room and advised: “Take more C.”

Szent-Gyorg took massive doses. He also secretly slurped gallons of his wife’s chicken soup. He recovered completely.

Pauling believed in his science. He discovered the genetic roots of sickle cell anemia . He believed in his politics. He became a crusader for nuclear disarmament and won a Nobel Peace Prize. He was the only person ever to win Nobels in different fields.. It added to his self-belief.

Pauling became convinced that Vitamin C was the answer to all the world’s ills. He wrote a book called Vitamin C and the Common Cold in which he claimed that massive doses of the vitamin could prevent and cure colds. The book became an instant best-seller. The vitamin industry exploded.

Pauling recommended 18 to 20 grams a day, more than eight thousand times the minimum requirement. He claimed to have experimental evidence to back up his theories, but hundreds of studies failed to confirm his findings.

Paulson raged at his critics, accused them of performing imperfect studies, of deliberately rigging the results to disprove him. He broadened his advocacy, now claiming that massive doses of C could cure cancer as well.

In anyone else it would be called faddism, but in a man of Pauling’s genius it could only be insanity. In addition to his C regimen Pauling drank five shots of vodka a day. He claimed alcohol added to “a feeling of well-being.”

Over the years studies consistently showed no significant benefit to taking Vitamin C. Mystics noted that its powers only worked on diseases that started with the letter “C” –colds, cancer, constipation, collagen deficiency, Nevertheless, its reputation grew.

The Chinese saw that it fit their business model of slave labor and cheap manufacturing. They developed a shortcut for the synthesis of ascorbic acid. The Chinese government subsidized the vitamin industry allowing it to lower prices and undercut the competition. Companies in other countries were forced out of business. Within five years China had 60% of the vitamin market.

The Chinese manufacture C under contract to companies which then sell it under their “brand” name. If a vitamin says “packaged and distributed by,” but not “Made in USA” or “Made in Canada,” its C component was probably made in China. The FDA does not test food supplements so you could be taking a useless pill with a possibly lethal additive put in to cheapen the process.

Or it could be an implanted nanotransmitter. At this moment, an agent in Guangdong could be whispering instructions right into your brain.

If you wake up one morning with an almost irresistible urge to shoot Chris Matthews suck a lemon and lie down. It will soon pass.




Igor Yopsvoyomatsky
Editor of
Answers readers questions.

Dear Igor,

My Western Civ. prof, Leon Notsky says Obama is not the saviour we have been hoping for, but just a counter swing in the dialectical pendulum from right to left. He says nothing will change in Washington but the faces. Is this paranoia or fact?


Berkley, CA

Dear Hopeful,

This is fact. Obama can revive America, but cannot save it.

But first a little background. In the Book of Judges the Hebrews, chafing against rigid divine rule, appeal to the aging prophet Samuel: “Make us a king to judge us like all the other nations.”

God punishes the Hebrews for rejecting him by granting their request. He plucks Saul, a clumsy, unlettered peasant from the ranks and elevates him to kingship. And thus the “charismatic Ruler,” the tragic figure that has haunted history, is born.

At first, Saul is a hero, uniting the tribes and leading them to victory. But he proves unable to control his pillaging troops. And later cannot master his homicidal jealousy of the young David. The people lose faith. Even his own son turns against him. In desperation he turns to witchcraft. A sorceress summons the ghost of Samuel, who predicts Saul’s downfall. The next day he is killed in battle.

This is the paradigm of the rise and fall of the Ruler. It continues through the Bible and into recorded history in the stories of the Roman Emperors, the kings of Europe, the Czars, and Napoleons; the totalitarian cult figures of the 20th Century; the demagogues of bourgeois Democracy. The people, unwilling to assume responsibility for themselves, rush to surrender their autonomy to the charismatic one. At first he (or occasionally she) is a hero, bringing triumph, wealth and national pride. But inevitably the Ruler becomes mired in the swamp of daily rule; the rise of an oppressive bureaucracy, the petty squabbles and intrigues of the courtier class. As the Ruler’s power grows so does the resentment against it. Sensing that it has lost the faith of the ruled, the Ruler strengthens its power over them. It oppresses dissidents, rewards favorites, encourages corruption and deceit, plays off competing cliques. In the end, nothing avails and the Ruler is discredited or overthrown.

Obama has studied history. He knows how charismatic Rulers crash and burn. He was a cautious child, treading carefully through an alien society. His rule will be circumspect. He has sought to dampen messianic expectations, backtracked on some of his promises, warned that tough times lie ahead. His administration will be lullingly familiar. We will have Clinton, Gates, Summers, Holder, etc.—familiar faces from previous controversies of arrogance, lost opportunities and abused power.

But as cautious as he is, Obama will be beset by the parasites on the body politic.

The bankers and CEOs who believe that they are the victims of the crisis they caused and will oppose any attempt to curb their wealth or influence.

The oil companies who profit from waste, pollution and over consumption.

The racists who will seek to undermine with rumor and innuendo.

The hypocritical radicals who will condemn him for not leading a revolution that they secretly do not desire.

The sub- cultures—abortion crusaders, animal rights zealots, gay marriage advocates, gun owners, BCS critics, etc., who will judge him through the monochrome prism of their single issue.

The Chinese, who have declared economic and cyber war on the US.

The Russians whose suicidal bravado will increase as their power declines.

The Europeans whose anti-American schadenfreude is so intense they act against their own interests to confirm it.

The runaway media that is increasingly addicted to scandal and exaggeration.

A popular culture that encourages self-pity, greed, over-indulgence and outright stupidity.

On Election Day America gave itself a reprieve. If the world does not change the fault will not be with Obama but with ourselves.

But at least we will live to be discontented another day.