A fictional tale: “Is the fix in?”

On September 11th, this year, Senator Barack Obama lunched with former President Bill Clinton.  What do you think they talked about?  I let my imagination run away with me, and here’s what I heard as a hypothetical fly on the wall . . .

Obama: Bill, I’m glad you invited me to lunch today.  I could use a few pointers.

Clinton:  I thought you might.

Obama:  I’ve done my best to tell that lie over and over and over again about McCain being the same thing as Bush, but I just haven’t been able to get people to buy into it the way people bought into your lie about not having sex with that woman, Monica Lewinsky.  The polls are headed the wrong way.

Clinton:  Listen to me, Barack, and listen well.  You don’t have to tell any lies until you have to file an affidavit under oath.  You should get the media to tell the lies for you so you can stay above the fray.

Obama: I try to get the media to work with me, but they’ve been to busy lavishing their attention on Sarah Palin.

Clinton:  Just say the word, and I’ll make sure that changes.

Obama: You can do that?

Clinton: Barack, I’ll have the media eating out of your hands.

Obama: Are you really that powerful, still?

Clinton:  Barack, there’s a lot you don’t know about me.  That’s OK.  You don’t need to know.  I just need some assurances from you.

Obama: Like what, Bill?

(Clinton leans in close to Obama’s ear and whispers very quietly while Obama’s eyes bulge and his jaw drops.)

Obama: (stammering)  Well, ah,  sure . . . Bill.  Um . . . yeah,  . . . uh . . . and you promise me the media will be  . . . uh . . . eating out of my hands?

Clinton:  You just watch.  The media will turn a blind eye to anything amiss with you and Joe Biden.  They will absolutely rip McCain and Palin to shreds.

Obama:  You’re sure about that?

Clinton:  Let’s play a simple word association game.  Ready?

Obama:  OK

Clinton: Paula Jones

Obama: Trailer park trash.

Clinton: See?  She’s the sexual harassment victim, but I’m the distinguished elder statesman while she’s just trailer park trash.  Nobody ever, ever, made the suggestion that I was the least bit sexist for using her, did they?

Obama: (eyes widening) You know something, Bill?  You’re right!  That was just masterful how you manipulated the coverage that way.

Clinton:  You came to see the right person, Barack.  I have . . . powerful . . . connections.  You just watch, Barack.  You’ll see fewer and fewer Republican pundits on the networks to present any opposing views as the news anchors just rake McCain and Palin over the coals.  When they convene panels of experts to offer political analysis, it’ll be just journalists and a few Democrats,  . . . but mostly journalists, just to increase the distance between you and the mudslinging.  If a Republican pundit is on a panel, they’ll get less than two seconds to give a sound bite before they’re cut off.  It’s going to be beautiful, Barack.  ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS, CNN, they’ll all do the dirty work for you.

Obama:  And Fox News?

Clinton:  Think positive, Barack.  Fox News is living on borrowed time.  Once you’re in the White House, the Fairness Doctrine will take care of Fox News.

Obama: (with a faraway look) Yeah . . . the Fairness Doctrine.

Clinton: Is it a deal?

Obama:  Sure,  . . . um . . . how soon will this all start?

Clinton: Tomorrow, if you like.

Obama:  Just like that?

Clinton:  Just like that . .  if you just say the word.

Obama: Cool.  Deal.  It’s a deal, Bill.

Clinton:  You know, Barack, you should have never disparaged the old style of politics.  Old style politics can be a powerful ally.

Obama:  Oh, you mean that talk about change and a new kind of politics?  Do you think I meant all that?  If you thought that, then maybe I’m getting almost as slick as you, Bill.  Maybe I’m almost there, after all.

(Obama and Clinton emerge from the room to greet reporters while exhanging winks and grinning ear to ear. I wish I could have heard what Clinton whispered to Obama.)

Family prepared? Big economic storm coming?

I have a recommendation for every household this weekend: stockpile food and other household goods–perhaps 3 months worth.  The financial house of cards on Wall Street is ready to collapse.  It might happen next week, it might happen next month, it might happen next year, but our nation’s financial foundations are not on good footing.

In a prior post, I urged the Federal government to not bail out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  It looks like the fix is in and they will be bailed out.  Lehman Brothers is apparently pleading for federal guarantees so that someone will acquire it.  A decision is expected by Sunday.  Other financial institutions are at risk, as are other industries.  Whether the Federal government bails everybody out or not, there is a risk that our currency could take a big hit, and if that happens, expect an inflation spike.  If inflation spikes, expect that the stuff on store shelves will be really expensive.  If you can manage it, I think it’s good to keep a stockpile on hand to keep your family afloat no matter what happens to the financial markets.

With a short-term inflation spike, some prices won’t be able to move much, such as rent (already stipulated in a lease agreement), mortgage (a contract already agreed to when you purchased your home), and utilities (utility companies would have to get the state of Ohio to agree to a tax hike before they could raise their rates).  Prices of anything not already locked in, though, could skyrocket.

Of course, we are already experiencing financial distress in Ohio, but, believe it or not, it really can get worse.  Among those who think it could get worse is Governor Ted Strickland, who is trimming the state budget to anticipate impending shortfalls rather than tap the state’s “rainy day” fund. (Hat tip to Lisa Renee at Glass City Jungle.)

On the lighter side, maybe another step one can take to prepare one’s family for a nationwide financial collapse is to obtain fishing licenses and hunting licenses, so if food temporarily becomes too expensive, we can gather it ourselves, just like Sarah Palin’s family fishes and hunts for food.  It’s too late to plant a vegetable garden now, but you might want to plan on planting one next year.

Speaking of hunting, the deer population in Ohio is many, many, many times larger today than it ever was at the time the state was first settled.  According to early accounts of Ohio at the time of settlement, Ohio was wall-to-wall carpeted in trees with very few clearings.  The forest canopy shut out sunlight necessary for thick forest undergrowth, so deer didn’t have a lot to feast on in Ohio.  The Native American populations were also small in Ohio, as hunting was not as successful here as elsewhere because of the relative lack of game.  Often, the Miami nation, that inhabited SW Ohio, would make major hunting treks into Indiana and Kentucky, where game was much more plentiful.  These days, there’s lots for deer to forage upon in Ohio, and the large size of the deer population reflects that fact.

In any event, I encourage families to have a meeting to launch an action plan to be prepared in case of severe economic shocks.