FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

A Case of Worst Scenarios

by BEN TRIPP

It has often been pointed out that I might enjoy wider circulation as a writer if I didn’t use rude words in my pieces, nor would it hurt if I stuck to the 800 word limit like normal columnists (Ann Coulter). Some readers have suggested a 50 word limit, or maybe I could just write photo captions. I have poo-pooed this advice in the past (poo-poo is not the exact word I used) but I know my readers are very sensitive. Some are so sensitive they could find work detecting W± bosons at the CERN laboratory in Geneva. Suffice it to say their piteous entreaties have pierced my ventricle. Henceforward I will stick to 800 words, none of them naughty words of the type frowned upon by school librarians, William Bennett, or certain parties at the Vatican (you know who you are). There goes my column about Donald Rumsfeld, Belching Rectum Beast of Arabia. Let us instead turn to an issue both wholesome and entertaining for the whole family: the absolute certainty of an October Surprise.

What is an October Surprise? I’m glad I asked. The expression ‘October Surprise’ was coined (in a twist of fate so ironic that it would suffocate a bison in the prime of its youth) by then-Vice Presidential candidate George H.W. Bush, Sr., referring to the possibility that President Jimmy Carter would manipulate an ongoing hostage situation in Iran in order to clinch his re-election. The American national election occurs on November 2nd (November 4th for Republicans — don’t forget to vote!) Consequently, any skullduggery, shenanigans, or monkey business intended to skew the outcome of a national election ought to occur in October, so that even very slow people would have a chance to absorb the effect before voting day. An October Surprise is dirty pool. It’s like slipping a live macaque down the back of your opponent’s shorts during the Olympic pole-vaulting competition. It’s also exactly the kind of boost George W. Bush, Jr. is going to need if he wants to win his first presidential election.

Here’s the scary part: Junior is not the only one who thinks an October Surprise might liven things up this November. Osama bin Laden has something other than Halloween on his mind (he’s going as Andy Gibb this year, by the way ­ the whole outfit with the white sparkly jumpsuit and everything, according to the West Asian Poppy Grower’s Almanac). Just about anybody with a money belt full of C4 and thumbtacks is thinking the same thing. If Spain is any example, one well-aimed petard on October 30 and the USA will vote for Fidel Castro come November 2nd (or 4th, for you Republicans. Don’t forget!) So an October Surprise could come from a variety of highly motivated persons with nothing to lose, consequence-wise. Who will win this egg-and-spoon race from Megiddo to Armageddon? Certainly not the American public.

There are several October Surprise scenarios being bruited about, many of them crackpot in nature, viz. huge numbers of poorly tuned banjoleles will rain down from the heavens on October 27th, causing the man in Bill Clinton’s old office to declare a state of national emergency and postpone or cancel the election. There are, however, more plausible suggestions ahoof. The three most popular go as follows: First, the capture or death of Osama bin Laden is announced, the War on Terror is declared won, and a triumphant Bush rides the wave of popular approval to his first elected term. Second, a catastrophic terrorist attack within the United States (or Guam), engineered by actual terrorists or by operatives within the US government, unifies a terrified electorate behind Bush because he’s a homicidal maniac and that’s what you need in these situations. The third scenario, based on news reports that long-range missile parts of the appropriate vintage are even now being salted around the Iraq desert by US operatives, states that WMD (Weapons of Melvin Destruction) will be ‘discovered’ in Iraq. A thoroughly vindicated Bush rides wave of popular etc. There are myriad variations, but the underlying themes remain constant: either things go improbably right, or things go improbably wrong.

In either case Bush wins and off to Tartarus we go. There is nigh-universal agreement that something will happen Octoberish; the bad news is the above scenarios are optimistic. The worst-case scenario (there are 24 worst in a case of scenario, each 425 ml.) is also the most likely: Bush and his rollicking band of booty bandits (booty in the sense of treasure) will attempt to mount their own October Surprise (cache of Iraqi WMD found in Osama bin Laden’s beard), leaving the remaining thousands of terrorists free to stage an early Guy Fawkes day celebration at the poorly secured domestic nuclear facility of their choice. Trick or Treat, kiddies.

BEN TRIPP is a screenwriter and cartoonist. Ben also has a lot of outrageously priced crap for sale here. If his writing starts to grate on your nerves, buy some and maybe he’ll flee to Mexico. If all else fails, he can be reached at: credel@earthlink.net

 

More articles by:

CounterPunch Magazine

minimag-edit

bernie-the-sandernistas-cover-344x550

zen economics

May 29, 2017
Jim Kavanagh
No Laughing Matter: The Manchester Bomber is the Spawn of Hillary and Barack’s Excellent Libyan Adventure
Vijay Prashad
The Afghan Toll
Melvin Goodman
The Washington Post’s Renewed Attack on Whistlblowers
Robert Fisk
We Must Look to the Past, Not ISIS, for the True Nature of Islam
Dean Baker
A Tax on Wall Street Trading is the Best Solution to Income Inequality
Lawrence Davidson
Reality and Its Enemies
Harry Hobbs
Australia’s Time to Recognize Indigenous Peoples’ Sovereignty
Ray McGovern
Will Europe Finally Rethink NATO’s Costs?
Cesar Chelala
Poetry to the Rescue of America’s Soul
Andrew Stewart
Xi, Trump and Geopolitics
Binoy Kampmark
The Merry Life of Dragnet Surveillance
Stephen Martin
The Silent Apartheid: Militarizing Architecture & Infrastructure
Weekend Edition
May 26, 2017
Friday - Sunday
Anthony DiMaggio
Swamp Politics, Trump Style: “Russiagate” Diverts From the Real White House Scandals
Paul Street
It’s Not Gonna Be Okay: the Nauseating Nothingness of Neoliberal Capitalist and Professional Class Politics
Jeffrey St. Clair
The ICEmen Cometh
Ron Jacobs
The Deep State is the State
Pete Dolack
Why Pence Might be Even Worse Than Trump
Patrick Cockburn
We Know What Inspired the Manchester Attack, We Just Won’t Admit It
Thomas Powell
The Dirty Secret of the Korean War
Mark Ashwill
The Fat Lady Finally Sings: Bob Kerrey Quietly Resigns from Fulbright University Vietnam Leadership Position
John Davis
Beyond Hope
Uri Avnery
The Visitation: Trump in Israel
Ralph Nader
The Left/Right Challenge to the Failed “War on Drugs”
Traci Yoder
Free Speech on Campus: a Critical Analysis
Dave Lindorff
Beware the Supporter Scorned: Upstate New York Trump Voters Hit Hard in President’s Proposed 2018 Budget
Daniel Read
“Sickening Cowardice”: Now More Than Ever, Britain’s Theresa May Must be Held to Account on the Plight of Yemen’s Children
Ana Portnoy
Before the Gates: Puerto Rico’s First Bankruptcy Trial
M. Reza Behnam
Rethinking Iran’s Terrorism Designation
Brian Cloughley
Ukraine and the NATO Military Alliance
Josh Hoxie
Pain as a Policy Choice
David Macaray
Stephen Hawking Needs to Keep His Mouth Shut
Ramzy Baroud
Fear as an Obstacle to Peace: Why Are Israelis So Afraid?
Kathleen Wallace
The Bilious Incongruity of Trump’s Toilet
Seth Sandronsky
Temping Now
Alan Barber – Dean Baker
Blue Collar Blues: Manufacturing Falls in Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania in April
Jill Richardson
Saving America’s Great Places
Richard Lawless
Are Credit Rating Agencies America’s Secret Fifth Column?
Louis Proyect
Venezuela Reconsidered
Murray Dobbin
The NDP’s Singh and Ashton: Flash Versus Vision
Ron Leighton
Endarkenment: Postmodernism, Identity Politics, and the Attack on Free Speech
Anthony Papa
Drug War Victim: Oklahoma’s Larry Yarbrough to be Freed after 23 Years in Prison
Rev. John Dear
A Call to Mobilize the Nation Over the Next 18 Months
Yves Engler
Why Anti-Zionism and Anti-Jewish Prejudice Have to Do With Each Other
Ish Mishra
Political Underworld and Adventure Journalism
Binoy Kampmark
Roger Moore in Bondage
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail