drug dangers


Tag Archive for 'Politics'

THE DAILY EVENT FUTURE BEAT:EXOPLANET IN DEFAULT BLAMES “EARTHGREED”

Reprint from March 27 2009

The colonial policy of the capitalist countries has completed the seizure of unoccupied territories on our planet. For the first time, the world is completely shared out…

-Vladimir Lenin, 1904.

The Capitalist cabal has sucked every asset on the planet into its maw. Under the Theory of Continual Growth the Oligarchs acquired everything on earth. Now there is nothing left to own. Like bored Olympians they push the same pile of chips across tattered green felt of the earth’s surface in an endless poker game. One day the East has more chips, the next day the West. Total wealth doesn’t grow, it is merely redistriibuted. But a closed system gradually loses mass and energy. The pile is diminishing. Entropy is setting in. There is only one solution…Monetize the Galaxy.

-Igor Yopsvoyomatsky, 2011.

The US Air Force launched a top-secret rocket Wednesday carrying what is believed to be a space probe. US officials have declined to give any details about the purpose of the rocket, where it was going or when it would reach orbit…

-Associated Press, 2012

THE DAILY EVENT FUTURE BEAT

Sparing no expense in its determination to pique the interest of its demanding, easily distracted readership, the Daily Event has sent reporter Dale Arden hurtling atnear light speed–and great personal risk–through a space/time wormhole into the future. This is her first dispatch.

EXOPLANET INDEFAULT BLAMES “EARTHGREED”

SPACE STATION MAMMON, March 27, 2059…Plagued by non-performing loans, fund redemptions and collateral calls the planet Gliese 581c edged closer to bankruptcy yesterday.

Trading on theGliesian “Astral” was halted after it plunged to As11,000 to the dollar on the Near Space Currency Exchange.

Rhapsodia, which is what Gliesians called their planet, B.C. (Before Contact) had been trying to negotiate bridge loans and an extension on payments due, said Chief Monetizer Etaoin Shrdlu, but”our terrestrial counter-parties have turned their backs on us.” He said thatGliese 581c with a mass 1.5 times the size of earth is “too big to fail,” and warned that”unless we receive emergency aid we’ll all be consumed in a financial super nova that will reduce our bi-solar system to a shantytown of barren asteroids.”

In Beijing, Galactic Reserve Bank Chairman Heng Mao agreed that “we cannot easily overcome the gravity of this situation,” butaccused Gliese of “gamma ray rhetoric.”

“The Gliesians have created an unsustainable consumer economy based on easy credit, baseless speculation and chaotic deregulation,” Heng said. “To bail them out now would be to throw more money down a black hole.”

The Earth-Gliese Articles of Confederation promise “sempiternal harmony” to the peoples of both planets, but in recent years the union has been shaken by accusations of mismanagement, malfeasance and corruption. This is a tragic development to elderly earth scientistswho remember the morning of April 24, 2007 when news came from the La Silla Paranol Observatory in Southern Chile that an exoplanet had been discovered orbiting the red dwarf Gliese about 20.5 light years fromearth.To the gleeful astronomers who had been “planet hunting” for years it was a possible kindred spirit in the vast, ever-expanding universe. Orbiting in what they called “the Goldilocks zone,” not too hot or too cold, it had atmospheric conditions that could support life forms similar to earth’ s. The temperature range was between 32 and 104 degrees Fahrenheit. Some computer models posited a rocky, mountainous surface; others detected a “seaworld” of temperate oceans with a profusion of life forms flourishing beneath the surface.

Radio waves were instantly beamed from observatories and satellites all over the planet. For years there was no response, but the scientists persisted. Then on December 24, 2015, a faint wave was received. Some described it as “tentative, almost reluctant.” Later it emerged that the Gliesians, a shy people, had been unnerved by this bombardment of signals, not understanding that there was an intense competition on earth to see who would be the first to communicate with them.

Scientists on both planets worked tirelessly to develop a rudimentary code.A technology was perfected to transmit graphics…then photographs…then videos. Linguistics specialists created a new language and soon the planets were conversing with fluent comprehension.

In those heady days the two planets were exhilarated to learn that they were not alone in the universe. Every bit of information was a revelation. The computer models had been half right. Gliese 581c was half-rock, half-ocean. In grainy images transmitted across 20.5 light years the rock people looked like centaurs, half-being, half-vehicle with bulbous heads and four suction casters for climbing. The sea dwellers were like mermaids, half-being, half-motorized tail. Anthropologists were amazed at how closely they resembled creatures from earthly myths. But some were alarmed. On Fox News Network Bill O’Reilly warned that “these Gliesians obviously visited earth in our prehistory, planted commands in our preconscious minds, and now plan to return to enslave us.”

In spite of their physical differences the Gliesians were a united people. They werestressless and amiable, each group supplying the needs of the other. They had achieved voluntary immortality, controlling their moments of what they called “inception” and “cessation.” Eager to please their new friends on earth they agreed to change the name of their planet to Gliese.

“They live in tranquil cooperation,” Dr. Phil said, and was overheard muttering to an assistant: “if this spreads to earth it will put us all out of business.”

But analysts soon found that there was one area in which the Gliesians were deficient: They had no economy.

“They were less sophisticated than the most primitive village in the Amazon,” says economist Elliot Gruber-Yonge. “They didn’t even understand potlatch.”

“We had been humbled by their superior lifestyle,” adds psychologist Anne Grosspiske. “Now we realized we had something to teach them.”

Economists set to work helping the Gliesians build an economic system.

“First, we created a currency, the astral, which would replace barter and capricious generosity as a way of dispensing and acquiring services ” says Gruber-Yonge. “Then, we encouraged the Gliesians to value their assets. This was tremendously exciting as they realized that some of them owned property that was more valuable than their neighbors.” A flourishing real estate market grew up overnight. Luxurious caves and underwater palaces were built. Earth attorneys helped the Gliesians devise a legal system to enforce contracts and settle disputes.

“The next step was to get the Gliesians to value their own labor,” says Gruber-Yonge. “Many were delighted to see that their skills were worth morethan their neighbors.” Compensation schedules were created.An elite separated itself from the mass. Comparative wealth created rich and poor, upper and lower class…” Gruber-Yonge pauses with a reverent look. “It was alike watching the six days of creation.”

The inevitable conflicts of a flourishing economy caused tension and resentment, which the legal system expanded to resolve. Police agencies were created to enforce the laws. Prisons were built.

Meanwhile, bankers on earth created an exchange to trade in Gliesian stocks, property and currency. The Chinese, who had run out of places on earth to invest, were enthusiastic about this new market. Astrals were converted to dollars. Fortunes were made.

“The Gliesians were amazed at how we could create wealth out of thin air,” says Gruber-Yonge. “They formed hundreds of corporations for their new stock exchange. They checked the prices every day. Used their astrals to invest in the earth markets.”

Earth bankers converted stimulus billions into astrals, which they lent to Gliesian monetizers, who then lent them to theirfledgling capitalists and returned the interest to earth in the form of astrals, which were quickly converted into dollars. Earth bankers traded astral futures among themselves and made gigantic bets in the Gliesian markets.

“Gliesians were fascinated by the concept of leverage,” Gruber-Yonge says. “To them it was magical. They praised us to the sky.”

With the astral pegged at one to two dollars profits were astronomical.

“In a leveraged developing economy there are no losers,” Gruber-Yonge says. “A fishtail (we called them rockheads and fishtails) borrowed a milliion astrals to build an underwater yo yo factory and sold it for forty million three months later.”

But slowly, imperceptibly a consumer economy took hold.

“Gliesans were purchasing and manufacturing products they didn’t really need,” says Gruber-Yonge ruefully. “They were caught up in a spending and leveraging frenzy. Then, they woke up one morning and there was nothing left to buy.”

With sagging demand factories closed, jobs were lost, loans and mortgages were delinquent. Earth banks began to report losses as Gliesians defaulted. The astral plunged. The dollar was incrisis. The Chinese, enraged that once again their trillion dollar investment had been devalued, called for the creation of “an intergalactic reserve currency that is disconnected from individual planets and remains stable.”

Earth governments intervened and nationalized the banks, wiping out the Gliesian shareholders.

Gliese, faced with massive unemployment, plunging property values and social unrest, appealed to earth.

“Your greed has brought us to the brink of this precipice. You will create more credit for your banks and recover your wealth, but we are ruined.”

And now the Gliesians learned a new economic concept–the write-off. Earth bankers sent their regrets. There was nothing they could do.

This morning inwhat was described as an energy-saving move, Earth switched off its communication links with Gliese.

As the signal faded, a Gliesian could be heard lamenting:

“We’ll never be able to call ourselves Rhapsodia again.”

ANALYST ASKS: ARE DEMS PLOTTING AGAINST OBAMA?

GREENPOINT, Bklyn, July 24…Are the Democrats too hip for the room? In their attempt to be evenhanded, ironic and transparent are they unintentionally undermining Barrack Obama’s candidacy?

Or is something more sinister at work?

This is the question that Igor Yopsvoyamatsky posed last night. Speaking to a hostile audience at the Kosciusko Bridge and Polka Club he accused the Democrats of deliberately sabotaging Obama’s campaign.

“Reverend Al Sharpton, HBO movie “Recount,” New Yorker Magazine cover…Just a few examples of plot to bring down Obama,” he shouted over the jeers and heckles from the predominantly Democratic crowd.

“Make no mistake,” he said, “Obama is big threat to transparty oligarchy that really rules America…”

“What is a transparty oligarchy anyway?” someone shouted.

“It is term coined by Eastern European scholar Tom Gallagher,” Yopsvoyamatsky said. “It means heads of so-called opposing parties who really work together to maintain status quo for billionaire rulers of so-called Democracy.” He pointed to a heckler. “McCain is non-factor. This election is Obama against transparty oligarchy.

Why is Obama a threat?” someone shouted.

“Because he will bring new demographic into electoral process–African-Americans, Hispanics, immigrants, gamers, slackers, how you say playuhs. The rich see that their housekeepers, their gardeners, even their stupid over-medicated children will have a say in how this country is run. They will never permit this.

“Party leaders have been afraid of him since he appeared on the scene,”Yopsvoyamatsky said. “Soon after his election to Illinois State Senate he was offered professorship at University of Chicago if he left politics. They even offered to appoint his wife head of school’s legal clinic.”

The crowd was quieted by this revelation. Finally, a man in a dashiki decorated with photos of Obama jumped up.

“Yeah, well how is Al Sharpton is part of a plot against Obama?” he sneered.

“He is a tool like you pamyawt,” Yopsvoyamatsky sneered back. “CNN, allegedly pro Obama media, always has Sharpton and other black talking heads on to defend Obama. Never nice white, gray-haired white lady like Obama’s grandmother, but Sharpton, who white people hate from notorious Tawana Brawley episode.” He winked at a young blonde woman in cut offs and a tight fitting “Change America” T-shirt “This is subliminal plot to frighten white voters, no?”

“I guess so,” she said with a tentative smile. “But why the movie, “Recount?”

Yopsvoyamatsky leered down at her. “Very astute question. This movie, made by Obama supporters purports to be truthful account.”

“It is true,” someone shouted.

” I cook a pot of truth every morning,” Yopsvoyamatsky said, and turned to the blonde. “Stalin said that.”

“Who?” she asked

“Exactly,” he said, and turned back to the crowd. “Recount is clever whitewash of James Baker, good friend of HBO boss, Time Warner, CEO and Republican loyalist Richard D. Parsons, who put him twice on cover of Time Magazine. It portrays Baker as clever, charming man working within system, instead of ruthless subverter who brought issue to Supreme Court where he had already fixed the outcome. It shows Democrats to be weak, divided…Not a good party for power, no?”

“I guess,” the young blonde said with a shrug. “I really don’t know.”

Yopsvoyamatsky squeezed in next to her. “You have an open mind. I like that in a woman…”

A You Tuber stuck a Camcorder in his face. “Anyway, the New Yorker cover is ancient history…”

Yopsvoyamatsky pushed him away. “Maybe to you, pascudniak, but not too pop cultural establishment, which is terrified at prospect of Obama…”

“Really?” the young blonde said.

Yopsvoyamatsky put his arm around her. “Perceptive inquiry, my dear…You see Obama is not funny. This is big problem for culture. If you try to make joke it falls flat or someone calls you racist pig. Not good for Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert. Comedy needs controversy, it needs to be in the opposition. That’s why there is no Daily Show in Pinsk. Culture establishment looks at eight years with Obama. Boring, self-righteous time.No jokes, no ratings. They are back to playing Comedy Castle in downtown Peoria. Better with McCain. Senile jokes, incontinent jokes, Viagra and Metamucil…”

The blonde sucked her knuckle with a puzzled look. “So what can Obama do to win?”

Yopsvoyamatsky patted her knee. “. He must convince transparty oligarchs that he is one of them. He wears a yarmulka in Israel… only fair. He gives immunity to telecom conglomerates so they can deny civil liberties to citizens…better. He tells black people it is all their fault…excellent!”

“So maybe he is a transported autopark,” the blonde says.

“Brilliant synthesis, my dear,” Yopsvoyomatsky said. “I have power point in my room. Want to see?”

“I guess,” she said.

He walked behind her, nodding appreciatively. “You know you are very clever for an American girl. You want some Vitamin Water…?”

GAZPROM vs. OPEC, WHO’S BLUFFING WHO?

MOSCOW, Russia, July 8…In a 1956 reception at the Polish Embassy, a tipsy Nikita Kruschev, then First Secretary of the Soviet Communist party, threatened the capitalist West: “History is on our side,” he said, referring to Marxist ideology. “We will bury you.”

Forty-three years later, in 1989, it was the Soviet Empire that was buried in the rubble of the Berlin Wall.

But the Empire has risen again–at least in its own mind. Only now, the weapon it intends to use to subdue the West is energy.

In remarks last week, Alexei Miller, chief executive of the Russian state-controlled gas group, said that Russia will soon overtake OPEC as the world’s dominant energy supplier.

“We think oil will reach $250 a barrel in the foreseeable future,” he said and indicated that Russia will extract maximum profit and political influence from this rise.

Russia, which is not a member of OPEC has repeatedly defied the cartel’s requests to bring its production in line with OPEC standards.

“OPEC doesn’t have any real influence on the global market nowadays,” Miller told the Financial Times. “Not a single decision has been passed of late that would really influence the global oil market.”

This, according to Africa Oil Week, “set the scene for a Cold War between Moscow and OPEC.”

Russia has surpassed Saudi Arabia as the world’s leading exporter of oil, pumping 8.6 million barrels a day to 7.96 million for Saudi Arabia. With global demand rising Russia will probably increase production to 9.2 million barrels, energy experts say.

Analysts estimate that the oil reserves of OPEC nations will be exhausted by 2050, while Russia with only 6% of the proven reserves in the world will only be beginning to use its resources.

Russia has the energy starved countries of Western Europe in a stranglehold, Miller hinted. With its new South Stream pipeline, which would take gas under the Black Sea to Bulgaria and then onto Western Europe, Russia will be able to turn the faucet on and off to extract financial and political gain.

“The sharp rise in Russian exports…raises the question: Is OPEC doomed,” said Leo Drollas of the Center for Global Energy Studies in London.

And is Russia poised to reclaim its Cold War superpower status?
“No to both of those questions,” says Igor Yopsvoyomatsky of The Gryazneezhid Think Tank in the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn.

Interviewed at Golubchiks Tavern, Yopsvoymatsky was emphatic. Raising a glass of vodka he declared: “Russia is the diseased old whore covered with face paint to hide her syphilitic scars.”

The customers cheered and the bartender slid another glass across the bar.

“For its entire history Russia has bluffed the world,” Yopsvoyomatsky, a recent immigrant from Pinsk said. “In 1787, Russian minister Potemkin had facades put up along the Dneiper River in Crimea to convince Empress Catherine that he had built villages to resettle Russians. There was nothing behind those facades but torches made to look like lamps and cooking fires.”

He dropped a lighted match on his corduroys trying to light a foot long Russian cigarette, but continued without noticing.

“In World War I Russian sent soldiers to battle with wooden rifles made to look like real thing,” he said. “They were immediately overrun by Germans…”

“Igor, your pants are burning,” the bartender said.

Yopsvoyomatsky waved irritably. “In Cold War, Russia impoverished its people trying to keep up with West. Its Army was poorly equipped with no spare parts. It could not afford to sustain nuclear program and did not have enough nuclear weapons to defend itself against attack. But frightened people in West thought it was a military juggernaut and then when it was beaten in Afghanistan they could see it was Potemkin military…”

A waitress swatted at his trousers with a wet towel, raising a cloud of smoke.

“Now in Russia you have thousands wealthy, siloviki, ex-KGB thugs, and everybody else poor or worse,” he said.

He raised a finger.

“One…Russia has lowest birth rate, 1.3 children per family, in its history, which means there will be no workers for its so-called big economic miracle…”

He managed to raise another finger…”Two…Russians alcoholism rate has tripled, according to consumer protection agency,” he said. “Russians drink three times as much as they did sixteen years ago. And now they are seeing alcoholics as young as thirteen in treatment centers…”

He tried to raise a third finger and fell over against the bar. “Three…Russian Ministry of Health says suicide rate is among highest in the world with over 60,000 suicides in 2007.”

With his head in a puddle on the bar, Yopsvoyomatsky continued. “Human Rights Watch says Russia has not ability treat rampant rise in drug addiction…Russian inflation is up to 15 per cent, Russian oil exploration and development has stalled because of corruption, inefficiency and xenophobia…”

A spark ignited Yopsvoyomatsky’s woolen socks and flames flared around his ankles. The bartender poured a pitcher of water over him and the waitress rushed in to pull off his burning pants.

“Russia rule the world?” Yopsvoyomatsky shouted. “Pfui, I say. Pfui!”

POLL: CHANGE PRESIDENTIAL RACE, FIRST MAN TO A BILLION WINS

LAS VEGAS, Nevada, June 27…The Electoral College is obsolete, the popular vote can be fraudulently manipulated. The only thing you can depend on in this country is hard cash.

That’s what people are saying all over the US. Or at least in front of Stash’s Kielbassa in the Greenpoint section of Brooklyn, N.Y. where neuroconomist, Efraim Durg has been conducting an informal poll since the primary season began.

“People are confused about who the best man might be,” Durg says. “So they say let the richest man win. Let’s give the White House to the candidate who raises a billion dollars first.”

Durg, CEO of Give The Schmucks A Nudge, a Behavioral Marketing think tank and consultancy, says that Americans have reached “a saturation level” of cynicism.

“Disillusion cuts across party and demographic lines,” he says. “Nobody believes in anything anymore.”

Durg says the recent Democratic primary was decided by money, pure and simple. ” Research shows that 67% of the news stories were about who was raising the most money,” he says. “Candidates were too close on the issues to decide. But Obama’s numbers soared when he outraised Hillary by four million dollars in one week. And Hillary was doomed when she lent eleven million dollars of her own money to her campaign. ”

Durg says studies verify that people associate fundraising with sexuality. “You can’t get off if you can’t get the money. You’re the guy or girl who goes home alone.”

In a recent poll with a 4% margin of error Durg asked voters to choose which of three campaign promises they would believe:

1. I will bring the troops home from Iraq.

2. I will make the US energy independent.

3. I will raise more money than my opponent.

The response was overwhelming, Durg says. “78% of the people said they would believe answer 3.”

This is a paradigm shift away from issue-oriented elections. and “calls for a revolutionary reappraisal of how we elect a president in this country.”

“It’s called a race so let’s make it one,” Durg says. “Forget what you’ve already got in the kitty. As of Labor Day let’s start from scratch. We’ll let a respected accounting firm like Price Waterhouse keep the books. On November 4th, instead of counting votes we’ll count money. And we’ll have our winner.”

Durg has done research for Obama’s economic advisers, but says his numbers speak for themselves. Still, he admits that Obama may have a slight edge over McCain.

“Obama loves money,” he said. “McCain is ambivalent about it.”

Phrenologic measurements show that Obama’s face actually expands when he discusses money. His eyes widen and his normally impassive demeanor becomes almost animated. Sophisticated vocal measurements also show that his voice goes up a few decibels as well.

“The other night when he said he had some donors who could write big enough checks to cover Hillary’s campaign debt his metrics were off the chart,” Durg says. “He was almost reverent.”

McCain’s metrics on the other hand show deep ambivalence, Durg says.

“McCain never had to sweat the rent,” Durg says. “In the military he had three hots and a cot. He then married a wealthy woman and was set for life. This is why he manifests deep-seated feelings of inadequacy when discussing economic issues. His phrenologic profile shows his face shrinking. His eye rolls increase and his voice goes down a few decibels. ”

Durg’s psychometrics have McCain making revealing slips in which he seems to identify his wife with the economy.

“In a speech to the American Legion he was quoted as saying: ‘I will veto any beer that comes with birthmarks,” Durg says. “He quickly revised that, saying he would veto any bill that came with earmarks. But later in response to a question about offshore drilling he said: ‘Offshore wives will increase production by a million kegs a day…’ And had to be taken offstage to compose himself.”

Although Durg claims to be “an objective social scientist,” he responds with a nudge when asked who would win the race to a billion.

“I think Obama has a head start.”

US TOPS SOMALI LIST OF “CRUMBLING EMPIRES”

MOGADISHU, Somalia, June 25…There was no joy in Mogadishu recently when the war-torn nation of Somalia edged out Zimbabwe and the Sudan to take first place on the Failed States Index.

The Index, put together by Foreign Policy Magazine and the Fund for Peace focuses on ” twelve indicators of risk,” and is based on “thousands of articles and reports” that are processed by special software.

After studying and grading its indicators the Index has decided that Somalia is the poorest, most unstable, most polluted, most unhealthy and most dangerous place on earth.

This angered the Ministry of Tourism, which is trying to promote Somalia as a vacation paradise.

“We feel this is a case of blatant racism,” said an official, who preferred to remain nameless for fear of retribution.

To prove it he unveiled what he called his “Somali Index of Crumbling Empires” at a press conference today.

“Using the same criteria as the Fund for Peace we found that the crumbling American empire is as polluted, unhealthy, dangerous and corrupt as we are,” he said.

He cited the Fund’s claim that Somalia would not be able to respond when an “unexpected food crisis or devastating hurricane strikes.”

“The American empire was unable to respond to Hurricane Katrina,” he said. “Almost four years later the great city of New Orleans has yet to be rebuilt.”

He pointed to a map of the US. “How has the US responded to the flooding of the Mississippi River, the destruction of homes, villages and farmland? We hear reports that the natives who had no insurance have been driven into destitution…Meanwhile, he said, the rising price of food has forced millions of poor Americans to deplete the food banks, of their scant supply raising the specter of starvation and urban unrest.”

The official poked bitterly ironic fun at the Fund’s “twelve indicators of risk.”

“They say we have massive movement of internally displaced persons causing humanitarian crisis,” he said. “So did they during Katrina and the floods. So do they when factories close and people are suddenly dislocated from their ancestral homes.. When undocumented immigrants move from place to place fleeing from Immigration Police while they seek exploitative menial employment. ” The official paused for a glass of cloudy water…”They say we have tribal conflict and group paranoia,” he said. “So do they when black and Mexican gangs engage in open warfare in inner cities and overcrowded prisons. When evangelical Christians threaten Muslims with damnation and say that God doesn’t heed the prayers of the Jews.”

He was sarcastically dismissive of the fund’s economic indicators. “They say we have uneven economic development,” he said. “But in America the gap between rich and poor is growing every day. They say we suffer from severe economic decline, but America is in crisis due to the sub-prime collapse caused by the greed of its ruling class.”

He shouted down the questions of the mainly Western press. “They talk about deterioration of public services in Somalia, but they have bridges collapsing, urban infrastructure falling apart and no money to fix things because of billions spent in Iraq…He paused for a breath and wiped his face. “They say that we violate Human Rights. What did they do in Abu Gharib, Guantanamo, secret prisons all over the world?”

A group of Somali brandishing AK 47′s rushed onto the podium. As they dragged the official away he shouted “you say we are controlled by other states or external political actors. Well, where would America be without Chinese and Middle Eastern trillions propping up its dollar…?”

There was a burst of automatic weapons fire offstage. In the silence that followed the assistant to the Minister of Tourism faced the clamoring crowd of reporters with an ingratiating smile. “We disavow the irresponsible comments of that deranged Ethiopian,” he said. He referred the reporters to an interview that Minister of Tourism recently gave to the Economist in which he promoted Somalia as a prime “time share” venue.

Abdi Jimate Osman spoke of Somalia’s unspoiled beauty. He said the national parks were among the most “secure and restful” in the Horn of Africa. There is no fear of predatory animals,’he said “because we have eaten them all.”

“We will arrange day trips to all the great historic sites,” Osman said. “The only problem is they are all destroyed, but the trip can be very exciting as we fight off robbers and rival warlords.”

He dwelled on the attractions of Mogadishu’s Sharmo Hotel. The restaurant is renowned for its lobsters, which are brought ashore by Somali pirates who raid the fishing boats on a daily basis. The Sharmo terrace offers inventive local cocktails and a breathtaking view of the tribal fire-fights in downtown Mogadishu.

Osman did caution visitors to book an armored car and at least ten heavily armed bodyguards for the trip from the airport. He promised tourists that they will leave Somalia alive and said “hopefully they won’t be kidnapped.” But if they are, he said the euro will facilitate their safe release.

“Euros please,” he said with an apologetic smile. “No dollars.”

DESIGNER TO OFFER OBAMA FLIP FLOPS AND MCCAIN PAMPERS

NEW YORK, N.Y. June 20…The hottest souvenir at the Republican Convention in Minneapolis-St. Paul this summer won’t be McCain buttons–it will be Obama flip flops and matching shorts.

So says Efraim Durg, president of Shmatte Statements, a design firm that specializes in politically-themed clothing. Three pregnant workers have died since Durg put his Chinese factories on twenty-four shifts, churning out the millions of units he predicts he will sell at the convention and throughout the election season.

“We’ve invented an anti-advertising strategy that will become the standard for all future campaigns,” he says. “Instead of tee shirts with boring slogans like “Hope for a Change,” or “Get on the Truth Local,” we offer an eye-catching garment that also provides ammunition for political debates.”

Durg says his “eureka moment” came while watching coverage of Obama’s latest decision to forgo public financing for his campaign.

“The phrase flip flop kept being repeated,” he says. “At first I wondered why Obama was so strongly identified with a piece of casual foot-ware. Then I realized that this could be the hook for a revolutionary fashion line.”

Durg describes his Obama flip flops as “walking metaphors.” The straps have pictures of the young Barry Obama going right through the Harvard years to the present Barack Obama incarnation.

Durg swells with pride as he describes what he calls “the sole iconography.”

“On the left sole we have Obama’s old friends–the Reverends Wright and Pfleger, Hamas biggie, Zahar, Tony Rezco, Jimmy Carter, etc. On the right sole we have a large caricature of his new best friend, Ehud Olmert..

“Left and right, get it?” he asks with a nudge and a twinkle.

But Durg is proudest of his shorts. Made out of silk like basketball gear they have two sides.

“On the flip side, the front we have some early statements,” Durg says. “You know, like ‘I will accept public financing,’ or ‘Nafta benefits all Americans,’ something like American Jews have an excessive concern for Israeli security or Oil companies must pay a windfall profits tax. Then you turn to the flop side on the back and you see Public financing is a way for Republicans to game the system or Jerusalem will be 100% Israeli, and maybe something catchy like Nafta Shmafta.”

Durg has left room on the shorts for more flips and flops which he will sell as iron ons. “We can ship ‘em almost as fast as he can say ‘em,” he says.

But Durg isn’t satisfied with half the market. On the drawing board is a McCain line, which he will break out at the Democratic convention in Denver.

“We start with a pair of orthopedic shoes with three inch lifts for McCain’s debates with Obama,” he says. with a visionary gleam in his eye. “Then a pair of plain blue serge trousers with panels, front and back. When you open the panels you see a pair of adult diapers-inscribed with some of McCain’s priceless statements. I’m thinking We’ll be in Iraq for a hundred years or The surge is working or the classic Bomb Bomb Bomb Bomb Bomb Iran.

“But here’s the beauty part,” Durg says, hugging himself with glee. “When you spray a little water on the diapers it activates the invisible ink and you see the stuff McCain wishes he hadn’t said. You know like Nobody leaves this plane until I get my Flomax or I think I mean: The work is surging, plus something like CINDY, YOU F…..G C..T and ending with another Beach Boy classic, You’ll Have Fun Fun Fun When Daddy Gives You Tax Breaks Today.”