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My two most cherished conspiracy theories are:
1. Bush knows the exact location of Osama bin Laden and Saddam Hussein, and he’s waiting until late October of 2004 to make the busts, thus ensuring he’ll win on a tsunami of popular approval as the President Who Won The War On Terrorism (favorite fillip on this theory is that it will be orchestrated so both misdemeanants are found in the same location, possibly a bath house or adult novelty shop, thus proving Bush was Right All Along.)
2. Code Red on Election Day-for God’s sake, keep out of the streets. Martial law. Chaos. Are you crazy? Elect someone new in the middle of a friggin disaster? We may see Chicago nuked, or Godzilla rise from the sea and trample the Mid-Wilshire district in Los Angeles. Bush to appear on national television during election day, his face grave and soot-smeared from personally digging victims out of the rubble and handing turkey sandwiches to the survivors. He encourages voters to go out there and vote for whoever they think is the right man for the job. He dashes a tear from his eye and gives CPR to an infant.
3. Michael Jackson was framed.
See, since the aircraft carrier hoopla and the secret trip to Baghdad, I understand that these Bush League pillocks will stop at nothing. W. has become his own stunt double. There will be no more sedative-addled rushes between secure locations such as occurred on 9/11. There will be no more blowback such as followed the notorious ‘Mission: A Codpiece’ appearance aboard that Navy aircraft carrier, following which the war in Iraq actually began. From now on, the Bush operatives are going to run things their way, which means into the ground, which means they are going to get their boy elected if it kills him.
This has been the most political White House in American history ( I should know, I’m writing a book of American History and I’ve had to research every last one of the sons of bitches-turns out there were about three good administrations since 1801). By ‘political’, cher lecteur, I don’t mean this White House contains an unusual proportion of politicians, although White Houses do contain on average more politicians than, say, a circus or a gynecologist’s convention (excluding Bill Frist). Rather I mean that the motivations of this White House are predicated entirely on political means and motives. It has no public policies except those based on political advantage. Crush opposition, ram through personal agenda, sodomize public, rinse and repeat. There is no legacy here, except the legacy of wealth the ultra-rich are accreting under cover of confusion. What we have is a machine entirely devoted to self-perpetuation. It cares nothing for cost. It cares nothing for environmental impact, workplace safety, or the common good. This here machine chugs night and day, spewing fetorous Hadean reeks, making more of itself. Dr. Seuss warned us this would happen, but we grew old and forgot.
For people accustomed to the simple concept of Doing Whatever It Takes, it was merely a matter of time before they started reading the paranoid conspiracy web pages and decided to act out the best theories. “I know,” one of the Neocons must have said during the donut & prayer meeting one morning, “Let’s send Junior to Baghdad. He can parachute in with a bag of toys on Christmas morning. Maybe if we can work it he could fight Saddam in hand-to-hand combat and kill him. We just have to get a couple cameras in there.” Bush got all excited and piped up: “fuck yeah, I could yell, ‘this is for America! This is for Freedom!’ and gut him like my Mom used to gut wild boars.” That calmed everybody down and they settled for whisking him into Baghdad a couple hours during Thanksgiving Day. This is how they’re thinking, if thinking is the word I want. Bill Frist shows up for his first week as Senate Majority Leader and immediately starts saving people in road accidents and resuscitating heart attack victims. You notice he hasn’t done any of that heroic stuff recently? The Bush people noticed, too. Lesson learned: all you need is a photo op, then get the hell on to the next thing. Promise nothing. All der Hosenscheisser had to do was land on the carrier. The banner was overkill. So in the refined version of the same human cannonball routine, they merely have him show up somewhere dangerous for a few minutes. No message, no embarrassing graphics. The simple fact that he’s there is enough. If Bush’s operators could have gotten some advance warning, you can bet he would have pried that tiger’s jaws off pouf celébre Roy Horn during a whistle stop in Las Vegas.
The deadly part of this is that we’re occupying two foreign nations (Iraq and Afghanistan, for those of you who may have forgotten) for reasons having little or nothing to do with the terrorist threat that emerged as Bush’s raison d’etre (since he stopped drinking, before which he had a raisin d’etre–a little yock for the francophones out there). Not only are we fighting these two wars, and apparently losing both of them through sheer hubris, but we’ve exploded, so to speak, the terrorist menace from its original ‘small but determined enclaves’ into ‘anybody with a grudge that doesn’t eat ham’. Which takes some doing. At this point if we want to wipe out terrorism by force of arms we’ll have to demand everybody on Earth eat a crispy chicharrone, and anybody who refuses, we shoot him dead. In fact my anti-terrorist tee-shirts (emblazoned with a picture of raw pork) are selling like corndodgers. Terrorism is running rampant the world over. Meanwhile, in America (you remember that place) we’ve given up huge chunks of our liberties, our economy is looking lively as a corpse with farded cheeks, the visible holes plugged with mortician’s wax; we’ve got a deficit so big that like a black hole or Donald Rumsfeld’s ass it will suck all matter into itself. Our old people, our poor people, and our working class (at this point all three categories are the same people) have been publicly and brutally screwed; and the rest of the world, with which we have in past times enjoyed some laughs, is afraid to come near us lest our condition prove to be communicable. Meanwhile, Michael Jackson.
On a day when British embassies came under lethal attack as a direct result of precedent Bush showing up in London (they should have flown him in during the wee hours, like in Baghdad), a day when embassies exploded, when an immense and angry crowd rose up and staged effigy-toppling in the heart of England’s capitol-on this day, Americans tuning in to the news didn’t see any of it. We saw an empty parking lot instead. A parking lot across which, God willing, erstwhile entertainer Michael ‘Do I Look Like Lilian Gish Yet’ Jackson would walk into captivity. Once again, our news media failed us. The rest of the world was in flames, and we were watching Lot C, Row 14, from a helicopter. One of my other favorite conspiracy theories is that the Bush people know a dirty secret on every desk editor of every news agency in North America, and they make quiet phone calls whenever it’s time to look the other way, sort of a journalistic version of the boxing maneuver known as ‘taking a fall’. But I suppose the actual problem is they don’t make real journalists any more. I suspect, however, someone on the Jackson case got a phone call from somebody in the DOJ suggesting that day would be an excellent day to make a bust. And the same person then called Fox and CNN. The timing is timeous, to say the least. In any case, the conspiracy loop is complete. Four more years.
Even if they can’t manufacture any propitious good news, such as the capture of a prominent terrorist viz. bin Laden or Noam Chomsky, all Bush’s people need to do now is send Bush on a few more quasi-daredevil stunts like his dawn raid on Mesopotamia and make sure they get the footage (News Flash! George Bush gets to Baghdad a day before Hilary Clinton! News Flash! George Bush runs with the bulls at Pamplona!) Then create a national crisis right around election time that requires just exactly the sort of figurehead Bush is, and also keeps voters away from the polls in droves (Abe Lincoln pointed out vis-a-vis wartime presidencies that “you don’t change horses in midstream”, by which he may have meant ‘horseshit’, but obiter dicta). Finally, they need to throw in a celebrity scandal whenever a real story breaks that doesn’t suit them. The day Bush is impeached, expect Brad Pitt to be arrested while masturbating to a Richard Simmons exercise tape and Britney Spears to be found strangled to death in Ben Affleck’s garage).
Alert readers, and you know who you are, will suggest that there is a fourth conspiracy here: the rigging of the voting machines. All the Neocons need is low voter turnout and a close race, and with the machines under the control of Republican operatives, the election can be snatched simply by altering the required few thousand digital ballots. What about that conspiracy? Bad news, fellow humans. That’s not a conspiracy. It happened in 2002, and it will happen again in 2004. I’m only talking about unfounded speculation here. Or is peculation the word I want?
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: firstname.lastname@example.org