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So … I was just sitting here at my computer, in this second month (already!) of the new year, wondering how many of you happened to catch my prime-time television debut? It wasn’t network television, of course, but merely basic cable, and I only had a couple seconds of actual screen time, but even so, it was kind of a big event here in the McGowan household – or at least it would have been if I had been notified ahead of time that the damn thing was going to air.

For the record, on a Saturday evening (I’ve forgotten which one) in late December, at a few minutes before 10:00 PM, the Discovery Channel aired a short film trailer (of sorts) for one of Hollywood’s recent blockbuster flicks, “National Treasure: Book of Secrets.” In that trailer, some clearly delusional ‘conspiracy theorist’ can be seen and heard offering cryptic remarks on John Wilkes Booth and the Lincoln assassination. That kook, as it turns out, was none other than your favorite Internet scribe.

Needless to say, you are all now undoubtedly kicking yourselves in the ass for missing out on this unprecedented event. And since I feel sorry for all of you – and since I am, after all, a giver – I’m going to give each and every one of you the opportunity to relive this incredible experience. All you have to do is navigate your way to the movie’s official website (at, and then click on “Enter Site.” Once the page has loaded, click on “Features” and then scroll down to the first entry, “Missing 18 Pages.”

If you watch the short video clip very closely, you will notice several things:

1. I am, as it turns out, a real flesh-and-blood person and not just some ethereal Internet presence, as some have suggested.

2. Although my site has been inactive for a good many months now, I appear to be very much alive and well.

3. I will probably never be able to earn a decent living doing voice-over work in Hollywood.

4. I should probably stop getting my hair cut at Supercuts.

And how, I can hear you wondering aloud, did Dave McGowan, of all people, end up in a promotional clip for a major Hollywood film? I’m not really sure myself, but as best I can remember, it went something like this: a production company hired by Disney to put together documentary material that could be used to help promote the film was trolling about for ‘conspiracy theorists’ when they stumbled upon one Robert Sterling, the former editor of the now-cobwebbed website. Due to the fact that Mr. Sterling no longer resides in the Los Angeles area, where the interviews were to be conducted, he had to decline the interview request that he received, but in doing so, he provided the filmmakers with a short list of local cranks and crackpots that they might want to talk to. My name, alas, was on that list.

The production company promptly contacted me via e-mail to see if I might be interested in coming in to talk with them about various ‘conspiracy theories.’ And since I tend to spend a good deal of time talking about such things anyway, usually to people who would rather be doing almost anything else, including watching an entire episode of “Dance War: Bruno vs. Carrie Ann,” I wrote back that I would most definitely be interested. And they, in turn, wrote back to provide me with a time and place to report for duty, so to speak.

Having never met or even spoken with these people, and lacking any clear idea of what it was that they wanted to talk about, I showed up at their production offices in North Hollywood (city motto: “we’re not just about porn anymore”) expecting nothing more than a brief preliminary interview that would determine if I was the kind of guy that they were looking for. Instead, they put me in front of their camera and interviewed me on tape for something like 80 minutes. But that was only after I spent the better part of the day loitering around their offices while enjoying a delicious catered lunch, listening in on two other interviews, slipping out for frequent smoke breaks, and sharing occasional eye-rolls and hushed chuckles with what I believe is called in Hollywood a “PA,” or production assistant.

As it turned out, I was apparently the low man on the ‘conspiracy theorist’ totem pole. This was due, I presume, to the fact that the other two gents had more impressive résumés and a larger audience. I, therefore, had to essentially wait in line behind them. First up was a guy by the name of Greg Bishop, who has apparently written or co-written a few books and who used to be the editor of some ‘zine called “The Excluded Middle.” I was vaguely aware him by name, but knew very little about him. As it turned out, Mr. Bishop seemed to spend a lot of time discussing such things as cryptozoology and UFOs. Unable to decide whether I was more bored or amused, I found myself taking a lot of smoke breaks during his interview.

Once he had finished, it looked like it was going to be my turn – until, that is, a certain Mr. Anthony Hilder arrived on the scene, full of bluster, and immediately began inquiring about where he might find the ‘Green Room’ so that he could prep for his interview. I had no idea who he was, but it was quite obvious that he fancied himself to be rather important, which meant, of course, that he was probably going to move ahead of me in line. Apparently feeling bad about the fact that I had already been loitering around for a fair amount of time, the guy conducting the interviews pulled me aside and quickly inquired whether I might be interested in doing a joint interview with Mr. Hilder, rather than waiting until Hilder had finished. I agreed, though I did so rather reluctantly as I had no idea where this Hilder fellow might want to take the conversation.

The joint interview, however, never transpired, and the next thing I knew, Hilder was taking his seat in front of the camera while shuffling through the three suit coats that he brought along to insure that he would look good in front of whatever backdrop was used. Soon after, he was chattering away while occasionally displaying props that seemed to have little relevance to the discussion, but that I guess he felt he might as well use since he had gone to the trouble of bringing them along. I fully expected him to be hawking DVDs before his time was up. Actually, he may have, though I can’t say for sure since I, once again, found myself taking plenty of smoke breaks.

Though no one ever told me so, it was kind of obvious that Hilder had vetoed the idea of doing a joint interview with a virtual unknown – especially one who hadn’t thought to bring wardrobe changes. Actually, to be fair to Hilder, he probably had the same reservations that I had in that he had no idea what direction I might want to go. And to be honest, my t-shirt would have clashed horribly with his coat and tie. In any event, that veto turned out to be a good thing, because unbeknownst to me, Mr. Hilder is, as it turns out, a … … I was going to say something really nasty here, like “self-important blowhard,” but I have decided, for the new year, to pursue a kinder and gentler approach, so let me just say, instead, that he is an egotistical buffoon the likes of which I haven’t encountered since … you know, I think I might have to go all the way back to Mike Ruppert on this one.

I was not, by the way, the only person in the room who appeared to view Hilder as an overblown asswipe, though no one actually expressed that opinion verbally. Anyway, to make a long story short, or at least shorter, Hilder eventually wrapped up his props-laden presentation and, with suit coats in hand, exited the building. Now, at long last, it was my turn to rant, and, surprisingly enough, once we got going, the folks working on the other side of the camera seemed to think that I actually had some interesting insights and ideas to share and that I presented them well. At least I think they did, based on my reading of their body language and the fact that the interview seemed to run longer than the previous two had.

A good many months have passed since the interview was taped, and I can’t really recall everything that we discussed, but I have to say that, to his credit, the guy conducting the interviews (along with his assistant and the two guys running the camera and sound equipment) was refreshingly open-minded about just about every avenue I attempted to take him down, with the notable exception of that most unmentionable of conspiracy theories – you know, the one about the U.S. government having planned and carried out the attacks of September 11, 2001. This was, after all, a Disney-controlled production, and there was no way, I was assured, that Disney was going to touch 9-11 ‘conspiracy theories.’ That did not, of course, deter me from trying a few times to venture off in that direction, albeit without much success.

We did, I recall, discuss the moon landings of the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, and my scoffing at the notion that we could have done such a thing forty years ago when we lack the technology to do so even today was awarded a covert thumbs-up from the freelance cameraman. But while he seemed to be pleased with the direction that the conversation had taken, I was decidedly less so. I am keenly aware, you see, that faked moon landing theories are viewed by many as being far beyond the boundaries of acceptable conspiracy theories – on par, perhaps, with Elvis sightings and la chupacabra attacks. With that in mind, I began my comments with a lengthy disclaimer that may or may not have contained a reference to the classic film “The Ghost and Mr. Chicken,” and specifically to the courtroom scene where a witness appearing on behalf of Don Knott’s character delivers seemingly credible evidence that is damaging to the other side. In the very next scene, of course, we find the very same witness explaining how the last meeting of the UFO club that he presides over was held on the planet Mars, much to the amusement of courtroom spectators.

This was, of course, a pathetic plea on my part that roughly translated as follows: “please don’t edit this footage to make me look like a complete loon.”

My interview footage, and that of my fellow interviewees, was primarily intended for use in a documentary feature that is, I believe, scheduled for inclusion as a ‘bonus feature’ on the DVD release of “National Treasure: Book of Secrets.” As such, I had not expected any of the footage to surface until that time, which I assume will be sometime in the spring. Truth be told, I was pretty well convinced that that my footage would likely end up on the proverbial cutting-room floor. I was quite surprised, therefore, when I received a somewhat angry phone call from my eldest daughter, who, feeling slighted, demanded to know why I had not bothered to inform her that I would be making my small-screen debut on the Discovery Channel.

As it turns out, her uncle – my ex-wife’s younger brother – just happened to be watching the Discovery Channel in his home in rural Illinois, probably while nursing a few beers, when his television screen was suddenly and inexplicably filled with the image of his former brother-in-law. He promptly picked up the phone and called his sister to inform her that he had just seen her ex-husband on TV. She, as confused as he, just as quickly called my daughter to get to the bottom of this mystery. And she, as we have already seen, then called me, thus becoming the first and only person to alert me to the fact that the spot had aired. Following that, my enterprising wife (the current one) made quick work of locating the promotional video on-line.

What remains to be seen is how much of my interview footage makes the final cut when the DVD is released, and how that footage will be edited. I should probably note here that after the interview had wrapped, I readily signed a release form that, had I actually bothered to read it, would have, I am fairly certain, informed me that I was giving the filmmakers the right to use the footage of my interview in any way they saw fit. And yes, even over the vast expanse of cyberspace, I can hear some of you thinking out loud: “what a fucking dumbass!”

But here is my response to that: even if the filmmakers were the most malicious bastards on the planet (which they didn’t, for the record, appear to be), and even if they took the absolute worst of the footage and edited it in the most deceptive, manipulative, discrediting way possible, I would still come off sounding infinitely more sane and rational than Tom “seven shades of crazy” Cruise does in his latest video offering (and if you haven’t seen it, you’re really missing out; it’s far more entertaining than his big screen forays).

My inclusion in the film promo, by the way, should in no way be taken as an endorsement of the movie, which I haven’t seen and therefore can’t comment on. And in case anyone was wondering what sort of lucrative financial compensation there was for providing the filmmakers with such invaluable raw footage, the answer, as it turns out, is none.

But enough about that. While I have your attention, I should probably comment on other burning issues of the day. Like, for example, the fact that, like so many child stars before her, Britney Spears’ programming seems to be running amok and various attempts at reprogramminghab don’t seem to be working out so well. Speaking of which, my wife, who I love dearly in spite of her television viewing habits, happened to be watching “Celebrity Rehab” the other day, and, despite the fact that I avoid this show like the plague – if for no other reason than because Dr. Drew seems determined to dethrone Dr. Phil from his perch as the most overexposed, overbearing, and just downright fucking annoying TV pseudo-doctor – I couldn’t help listening in as actor-from-the-age-of-two Jeff Conaway (best known for his roles in “Taxi” and “Grease”) dredged up some very heavy baggage from his past. Like how he was, at the age of three, routinely taken by older boys/men (his relationship to them was left a mystery) and subjected to various forms of torture. And how, at the age of seven, he was abused by pedophiles while performing some sort of work for – hang on for this; it’s a real shocker! – the Catholic Church. And how he fairly recently recalled that there were cameras present during these sessions, and it suddenly dawned on him that, even while working as a mainstream child actor (though he didn’t mention that), he had also had a starring role in the production of child pornography.

Following these revelations, Dr. Drew confided to the camera that he was surprised that some of his other hideously exploited ex-celebrities patients didn’t participate in the soul-baring with similar stories of their own, since such stories are, you know, a dime-a-dozen in the big city, particularly if that city is Hollywood, CA. And that, dear readers, is the true nature of the not-so-glamorous Hollywood dream machine. If you don’t believe me, just ask Brad Renfro … oh, wait a minute … it may be a little too late for that. On second thought, ask the grandmother who raised Brad and guided his early career … oh wait another minute … she seems to have died just days after Brad was lowered into the ground. Never mind. Let’s just move on.

That’s not really what you want to hear about anyway. You want me to talk about the election. I know this because some of you have written to me to solicit my opinion on the stage-show in progress. Some of you, bizarrely enough, have even written to inquire as to whether I will be voicing my support for – are you ready for this? – Ron Paul! Do I really need to answer that question?

I’m not exactly sure what it is that I am supposed to say about this mockery of a democratic election campaign. I could mention that it has already been underway for a very, very, very long time. And there is, of course, a reason for that: the brain trust in Washington wanted to shift attention away from Bush and onto his presumed successor, the not-so-subtle message being, of course, “don’t worry about those assholes in the White House; their days are numbered anyway and – hey! –  look over here at all these awesome choices we have for a replacement!”

Of course, we are expected to ignore the fact that, for the entire two years that we drag out this sordid spectacle of winnowing down some two dozen contenders into one winner – your new American Idol … err, President, tens of thousands of bodies will continue to pile up in Iraq and Afghanistan (well, if you count the dark-skinned bodies that is, but we usually don’t), your human, civil, due-process and privacy rights will continue to be stripped away at an alarming rate, abhorrent judicial appointments will continue to be made, and the economy will continue its artificially delayed implosion (because, let’s face reality here, people: the U.S. economy has, for a very long time now, been kept afloat on a massive sea of debt – federal debt, state debt, local debt, and an unprecedented amount of ‘consumer’ – that means you and I – debt in the form of massively over-leveraged homes, sky-high credit card balances, and ever-lengthening auto loans. All of this consumer debt has, of course, been actively encouraged by, and aided and abetted by, corporate America, the banking establishment and the mainstream media. But such an illusory prosperity cannot last forever, nor was it designed to, and now the time has come to pay the piper – which is to say, the time has come for a massive rip-off of the American people.)

“But don’t worry about any of that, because relief is on its way soon. Why, just take a look at this stellar line-up of candidates we have for you – a guitar-slinging fire-and-brimstone preacher, a resuscitated corpse cum ‘war hero,’ America’s Mayor, a guy who can’t decide whether he wants to be an actor or a politician (and isn’t very good at either), a mousy little guy who sometimes seems to be almost telling the truth, a couple of well-coiffed gazillionaires, an icon of sorts for Patriot types, and, if none of those options appeal to you, we even have one candidate who has no penis (well, maybe a strap-on model) and another who is best described as a whitish black guy. Surely there is someone in that diverse pack who appeals to you … right? (and when we say ‘diverse,’ it is understood that we mean that out of the original field of some two dozen candidates, fully two of them were not rich white guys between the ages of 50 and 70). So let’s stop this (very muted) talk of impeachment and let the lame duck serve out his term. What harm can he do now?”

I guess I need to pause here briefly to fend off a barrage of e-mails railing against my ‘racist’ reference to Barack Obama as a “whitish black guy.” For the record, I am not suggesting here that a black man cannot be articulate and well groomed. No, what I am suggesting is that what is fundamentally racist here is the fact that Mr. Obama is universally referred to as “Black” or “African-American” despite the fact that, according to my exacting mathematical calculations, he is actually precisely ½ black and ½ white. Wouldn’t it then be just as accurate to refer to Obama as “White” or “European-American”? Why is he disqualified from inclusion in the Caucasian ‘race’ even though he is every bit as white as he is black? In labeling him as “black,” aren’t we really saying that his bloodline is tainted? Aren’t we saying that, even though he has Caucasian blood, it isn’t pure enough for inclusion in the Master Race?

Anyway … I guess the real question here is: which one of these nut-sacks is going to be pretending to run the show for the next four years? And the most obvious answer, of course, is Hillary Clinton. After all, that has been the program that has been followed now for pretty much my entire adult life, so there is little reason to expect a different outcome this time around. Last time I checked, one of the definitions of “insanity” was performing the same task the same way over and over and expecting a different outcome. So far, the outcome of this task has always been the same, so to expect something different this time around would be textbook insanity.

Allow me to briefly explain: I acquired the right to vote exactly thirty years ago. Since then, there have been seven presidential elections. Every one of them, without exception, has been ‘won’ by a ticket containing either the name “Bush” or the name “Clinton” (for the memory-impaired, there was Reagan/Bush in 1980 and 1984, Bush/Quayle in 1988, Clinton/Gore in 1992 and 1996, and Bush/Cheney in 2000 and 2004). Therefore, logic dictates that since there is currently no Bush in the running, the victory will go to Clinton this year. Assuming, that is, that George Bush abdicates the throne, and further assuming that the Republican nominee doesn’t add, say, Jeb Bush as his running-mate.

At this time, a Clinton presidency is, I believe, the most likely scenario. It has been obvious for quite some time now that Hillary is the anointed one on the ‘Democratic’ side. If there were any doubt before, then surely it was erased when the vote was so obviously spiked in New Hampshire (and likely in California as well) to derail the growing momentum of the Obama campaign. After all, if Obama had scored a decisive victory in New Hampshire after taking Iowa, and had then quickly followed that up, as he did, with a win in South Carolina, the Chosen One would have been left in the dust. And nobody (nobody important, that is) wanted to see that happen.

Of course, there were obvious clues even before New Hampshire. One of the hardest-to-miss clues was the sudden prominence of so-called Super Delegates, who are set to play a major role in the Democratic convention this year, and who, before a single vote was cast in any of the state primaries, were apparently already overwhelmingly committed to Hillary Clinton. And what exactly, you may be wondering, is this Super Delegate business all about? As it turns out, what the Democratic Party did was to take a profoundly antidemocratic institution known as the Electoral College and ‘reform’ it, as it were, by making it even more deeply undemocratic. And that, I suppose, is why it’s called the ‘Democratic’ Party.

Yet another clue came right before SuperDuperFantastic Tuesday, when John Edwards quickly and seemingly inexplicably dropped out of the race virtually on the eve of the first real contests, after spending an entire year pouring time and money into his campaign. The media, of course, had virtually nothing to say about that curious development, but, seriously folks, did that make any sense to anyone? The money had already been spent, the ads had already run, the appearances had already been made – what the hell was the point of bailing out then and pissing in the faces of thousands of volunteers and financial supporters rather than waiting a few days for the outcome of the primaries? I can only interpret such a move as a ploy to throw votes to Hillary Clinton. My guess is that it was either a pre-planned strategy, or else someone made Mr. Edwards “an offer he couldn’t refuse.”

I know what you’re thinking: all the buzz right now seems to be about the Obama campaign – the polls show him surging, he’s picked up high-profile political and media endorsements all over town, his campaign coffers are overflowing, his appearances are reportedly drawing wildly enthusiastic crowds, and he has solidly trounced Clinton in pretty much every match-up since SuperDuperBowl Tuesday. But the buzz we hear now sounds a whole lot like the buzz we heard heading into the New Hampshire primary, where we all saw that a few tears and a whole bunch of compromised Diebold voting machines can easily swing an election by as much as 15-20 points.

In all seriousness, the only way that I can see Obama taking this thing all the way is if the powers-that-be have decided, in their infinite wisdom, that they need someone who is, uhmm, shall we say, ‘expendable.’ Surely it hasn’t escaped anyone’s attention that the media and the Washington political establishment have been working overtime to create a Kennedyesque aura around Senator Obama – and not always in the most subtle of ways: Obama can rarely be seen these days, for example, without some random member of the Kennedy clan either at his side or singing his praises.

The Obama-as-second-coming-of-JFK campaign, not surprisingly, seems to be working. The youth of America, in particular, seem to have caught Obama fever. They see in him a new hope, a new future, a fresh start for America. For many in this country, Barack Obama has made it okay to hope and to dream once again. And that is all very Kennedyesque. As is, of course, Mr. Obama’s youth and charisma and physical attractiveness and oratorical skills. All very New Camelotish. But the problem with that, of course, is that I think we all remember what happened the last time a Kennedy occupied the Oval Office and the American people dared to dream (which was also, by the way, the last time that anyone moved directly from the U.S. Senate into the White House).

In my lifetime, there have been two political events that have had a profound impact on the American psyche: the assassination of John Kennedy and the events of September 11, 2001. Both events resulted in a fundamental shift in American society. And a repeat of either could do so again.

We haven’t experienced a presidential assassination in this country in 45 years, which means that the majority of Americans alive today have no memory of such an event. Perhaps the powers-that-be have decided that we are due for one now. Perhaps Barack Obama is being lionized now so that he may be cut down in the near future, taking with him the misplaced hopes and dreams of millions of Americans. Perhaps while the Internet community busies itself with guessing which American city will fall victim to the next staged terrorist attack, the script actually calls for an entirely different type of ‘terrorist’ attack: a political assassination.

Such a scenario would kill two birds with one stone, so to speak: it would not only crush the nation’s spirit, particularly that of the country’s politically awakened youth, but it would also justify increased police-state measures here at home and an even more militaristic stance abroad.

Perhaps that is indeed the scenario that has been scripted, but I still believe that, one way or another, this will be Hillary’s year, due to the undeniable fact that the ruse has worked so damn well now for so long that there doesn’t appear to be any compelling reason to change course. By maintaining the illusion of a political rivalry between the Bush and Clinton clans – two families supposedly from opposite ends of the political spectrum, with wildly divergent political ideologies – the vast majority of Americans have been left in the dark as the Bush/Clinton cabal has maintained a continuous hold on the White House for some 28 years now. So why rock the boat?

How thoroughly have the American people bought into this entirely manufactured ‘rivalry’? So much so that countless progressive-minded Democrats, who have been screaming for seven years now about the fraudulent elections that brought George Bush to power and extended his stay, said nothing about the equally fraudulent election in New Hampshire that awarded Hilary Clinton her front-runner status. And why is that? Is it because they feel that cheating is okay as long as it favors ‘their’ candidate? There might be a little of that at play, but I think the real problem here is that a lot of folks just can’t wrap their heads around what to them is an entirely foreign concept: that the very same political operatives and political machinery that engineered the elections that brought Bush and company to power have now performed the very same service for Clinton.

Has anyone other than me noticed, by the way, that you never really see Bill Clinton with his former erstwhile sidekick, George the elder, anymore? I mean, for a while there, they seemed to be having quite a blossoming bro-mance. But now, I suppose, it’s far more important for Bill to reassert the mythical rivalry than it is to provide damage control for George the dumber.

Speaking of things that no one else seems to notice, why is it that you never hear any mention of the fact that Hillary – the Democratic Party’s alleged consummate ‘liberal,’ who is routinely described by the likes of Bill O’Liery, Sean Hannity and Rush Limbaugh as being well to the left of Fidel Castro – was, in her college years (when most folks tend to be more left-leaning than they will be later in life), an extreme right-wing ideologue? So much so that, while serving as president of the Young Republicans on her college campus, her political idol and mentor was a man by the name of Barry Goldwater – a man so extreme in his views during that period of time that the Republican Party all but disowned him.

Come to think of it, there is yet another thing that no one seems to want to talk about: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, purportedly the most powerful Democrat in the country, is every bit as much of a fervent Mormon as Mitt Romney. Why is this unpleasant fact never discussed in polite company? Why is it that Romney’s religious leanings are such a crucial indicator of his ability to serve as president, yet those very same leanings apparently have no bearing on Reid’s ability to lead the Senate?

Truth be told, Reid’s Mormonism has far more significance than does Romney’s, since Romney doesn’t really pretend to be something he is not, while Mr. Reid, on the other hand, is supposed to be a liberal Democrat and one of the American people’s top watchdogs tasked with keeping the Bush administration in check. And the problem here, in case you haven’t figured it out yet, is that there is no such animal as a liberal Democratic Mormon. I know this because my wife happens to hail from a virulently Mormon family (although she has distanced herself from the cult church).

* By the way, honey, you can stop reading this newsletter now as there isn’t really going to be much of interest to you. And in case I haven’t told you lately, I sure do love you. *

So as I was saying, Mormons are, by and large, about the most reactionary bunch of ultraconservative whack-jobs you are ever likely to meet. Shockingly enough, a religion that requires its members to adorn themselves 24/7 with long underwear last in fashion at the turn of the last century does not tend to draw in too many progressive or liberal-minded members. Hard to believe, I know, but it appears to be true. So how is it then, I ask you, that arguably the most powerful ‘liberal’ in the country was proudly standing front-and-center the other day for the funeral of the Mormon church’s modern-day ‘prophet’?

One thing that I have noticed, by the way, is that Mormons don’t seem to be too keen on discussing the fact that the founder of their religion and its original prophet, Joseph Smith, was a high-ranking Freemason, and they seem to be even less eager to discuss the possibility that Mormonism itself is grounded in Masonic principles. I’m guessing that they probably also shy away from discussions concerning the church’s propensity for generating allegations of child abuse and pedophilia, though I have never actually brought that up for discussion, probably because I was, as I have mentioned previously, baptized Catholic, which – let’s be honest here – doesn’t really give me a lot of moral high ground to stand on.

So now, having pissed off both Mormons and Catholics, along with Scientologists, African-Americans (though I do have to ask all my readers who consider themselves to be African-American the following question: after seeing him dance on Ellen’s show, do you really want to claim him?), and probably a few women as well (that strap-on joke probably was a little out of line), we now turn our attention to the next burning question: how in the hell did the puppet-masters manage to reanimate the corpse of John McCain?

That was, I have to say, a pretty impressive feat, and one that I will readily admit I did not see coming. It has been fairly obvious for some time now that the playing field on the Republican side was being cleared for someone. Mike Huckabee’s role, in particular, has clearly been to siphon off the Christian Fundy vote from Mitt “I didn’t even have to campaign in Utah and I got 90% of the Republican votes” Romney, thus creating an opening for someone else to capture the ‘front-runner’ position with nowhere near the majority support of the party’s voters.

And by the way, that 90% tally for Romney in Utah? That pretty much tells you all you need to know about the mindset of your average Mormon. Is that an almost surreal example of knee-jerk voting, or what? The rest of the crowded Republican field walked away with about 1 or 2% of the vote apiece, while Romney took a full 90%, presumably based primarily on the fact that he is, you know, one of ‘them.’ I like to think that most people realize that there are good and bad people in all walks of life: good and bad Christians, good and bad Muslims, good and bad Jews, good and bad atheists, good and bad Republicans, good and bad Democrats (among rank and file Democrats and Republicans, that is; in Washington, they are all bad), and, yes, good and bad Mormons as well. And yet, in the state of Utah, there doesn’t appear to be a single Mormon who broke ranks to cast a non-Mormon vote. Not that there’s anything wrong with that … actually, there is a lot that is wrong with that, but let’s just move on.

I had initially thought that the beneficiary of the split-the-Republican-base scheme was to be Mr. Rudy Giuliani, or possibly even the late-arriving Mr. Fred Thompson. And maybe that was the initial plan and both men just proved to be much too difficult to sell to the American people. Or maybe McCain was the anointed one all along, quietly waiting in the wings feigning political death. All that can be said with certainty is that he is clearly now on the path to the Republican nomination, with the full support of the Washington establishment (in spite of his alleged status as a “maverick” and a “renegade”). And don’t pay too much attention to the staged opposition from the likes of Rush Limbaugh; he and his ilk are well aware that to the vast majority of the population, a non-endorsement from them is actually a good thing.

We next turn our attention, naturally enough, to the question of running-mates. For John McCain, of course, the most obvious choice is Joe Lieberman, who is running neck-and-neck with McCain for the title of “most aggressive warmonger in all of Washington.” Such a pairing would be billed, of course, as a ‘bipartisan’ ticket, since Lieberman is supposed to still be a Democrat, more or less. According to their media-crafted images, which bear no resemblance to reality, John McCain is a ‘moderate,’ or slightly left-leaning Republican, while Lieberman is a ‘moderate,’ or slightly right-leaning Democrat. This ticket then would be presented as having broad appeal across the much-coveted political ‘center.’

I have a quick question, by the way, for all of those who now tend to view Al Gore as some sort of heroic figure fighting the good fight to save the planet: what does it say about this man that, of all the choices that he could have made, he selected a figure as appalling as Joseph Lieberman to serve as his second-in-command? I’m just sayin’ …

A McCain/Lieberman ticket would be sold to the American people primarily on the basis of the duo’s supposedly progressive views on social issues. But if McCain were to prevail, with or without Lieberman in tow, the victory would immediately be spun as – guess what? – a clear mandate from the American people for endless, and ever-expanding, war. Because, make no mistake about it, no one has been a more unapologetic supporter of wanton warmongering than John McCain.

Speaking of John McCain, by the way, I have to offer some commentary here on the notion of McCain as ‘war hero.’ Try to imagine, if you can, that you and several generations of your family live a simple, agrarian life. Like all your neighbors in the village in which you reside, you work the land just as your family has done for as long as anyone can remember. To an outsider, it seems a harsh and rather primitive existence. But to you, it is the only life you know – one based on history and tradition and a love and respect for the land that nurtures your crops and feeds your livestock.

Now imagine that that demanding yet bucolic life is under fierce attack from an enemy that you cannot see, for reasons that you cannot begin to comprehend. The faceless enemy attacks only from high in the air, safe from any form of retaliation that you may be able to muster. He is relentless in his pursuit to annihilate you, raining toxic chemicals like Agent Orange and white phosphorous down upon your land and your livestock, unleashing incendiary devices that burn your children alive, and routinely dumping high explosives that indiscriminately maim and kill. For years you endure this, completely powerless to protect your family or avenge your losses.

And then one day, quite unexpectedly, one of the enemy’s death ships falls to the ground. And suddenly, the enemy that has taken so much from you – your loved ones, your livelihood, your very way of life – has a face: the face of John McCain. What do you suppose, given those conditions, the fate of that enemy would be? It is claimed that John McCain was tortured while in captivity. I don’t know how much truth there is to that, but I do know that, under the circumstances, it seems to me that the Vietnamese people exhibited a considerable amount of restraint.

Returning now to our rambling narrative-in-progress, I have to say that it is difficult to imagine John McCain, or any other Republican candidate for that matter, riding this wave all the way to the White House. That could change, however, were there to be a ‘terrorist’ attack of some kind between now and the general election. If such a thing were to occur, a McCain/Lieberman, or, say, a McCain/Giuliani ticket – a ‘tough guy’ ticket, as it were – would suddenly look pretty good to a lot of shell-shocked and scared Americans. However, if such a thing does occur, there is a good chance that the election will be cancelled anyway, rendering it a moot point who the Democratic and Republican nominees are.

Turning our attention now to the Democratic side, my best guess for Hillary Clinton’s choice of a running-mate would have to be Wesley Clark. He is, after all, very close to the Clinton camp, and more importantly, he is a decorated former military commander. As such, he would be the Clinton camp’s best weapon to defend against the inevitable attacks on Clinton’s fitness to serve as commander-in-chief and deal with national security issues. Running a distant second on the running-mate list would probably be John Edwards. I doubt that Mr. Obama’s name appears anywhere on the Clinton cabal’s list of potential second bananas.

If, on the other hand, Obama prevails at the Democratic convention, then we could very well see Hillary emerge as his running-mate, particularly if the pair go into the convention fairly evenly matched in delegates. Keep in mind here, of course, that if the scenario presented herein is accurate, then Obama’s choice of a running-mate would be the most important choice made by any of the candidates, since his VP choice would at some point be elevated to the office of the President.

Come to think of it, an Obama/Clinton ticket actually makes a lot of sense on several levels. It would provide the hidden puppet-masters with a sacrificial lamb with which to engineer the next dastardly ‘terrorist’ act, while Bush’s real successor, Hillary Clinton, waited patiently in the wings, ready to assume the throne under conditions that, conveniently enough, would allow her to shed any pretense of being a ‘liberal’ – because we would, of course, have to ruthlessly avenge the death of our beloved president, as well as protect the American people from the ‘domestic terrorists’ in our midst. It is also worth noting here that, should this scenario come to pass, we will quickly see the emergence of a ‘cottage industry’ as fake conspiracy theorists all across the Internet busy themselves with promoting theories that have Bill and Hillary Clinton personally planning and executing the hit on Obama in their ruthless quest for power. This will keep the cyber-community distracted with inanities for many years to come.

As I write these words, I am becoming increasingly convinced that, if this isn’t the script that has been written, then it is only because, with the writers’ strike and all, the Washington elite probably had to bring in some no-talent hacks to do the final rewrites.

You have likely already read, by the way, about how some of Hillary’s top financial backers and campaign advisers have close ties to the Bush cabal, through such repellant figures as Karl Rove and Dick Morris. When you read these stories, of course, you are invariably assured that the reason for this is that Hillary is being, for lack of a better term, set up. The Republicans, you see, want Hillary to win the Democratic nomination, but only because they know that she can be beat to a pulp in the general election. That is why, so the story goes, Republican Party operatives rigged the election for Hillary in New Hampshire, and why they are bankrolling and guiding her campaign.

The goal of the people who write such rubbish is to preserve, at any cost, the illusion that Bush and Clinton are playing on different teams. They know that the fact that Clinton is being funded and feted by some of the very same people who nurtured George Bush’s candidacy eight years ago can’t be kept completely concealed, so they seek to spin it away with claims that Clinton is essentially the unwitting victim of yet another Republican dirty trick.

There are, I hasten to point out, a couple of major problems with the version of reality that some are trying to sell. The first is that the Clintons are a lot of things, but stupid definitely isn’t one of them. When the right-wing advisers started showing up applying for work, did Bill and Hillary just assume that they all just really wanted to help them advance their ‘liberal’ agenda? When the hard-right money began flowing into the campaign coffers, did they just figure that a lot of longtime reactionaries had suddenly had a change of heart? When primary returns came in that were wildly at odds with pre-election and exit polls, did they say, “Karl Rove really fucked up this time! He tried to rig the election and accidentally gave it to us!”?

My guess is that what was actually said was more along the lines of: “Karl said he would deliver New Hampshire for us and damned if he didn’t do it! Shit howdy, we should celebrate! Let’s call over a couple of hookers! I left my black book at home – did you bring yours?”

The second major problem with this little fable is that, while it is true that Hillary Clinton and George W. Bush have shared some of the same advisers and backers, it is equally true that these same behind-the-scenes movers and shakers were also instrumental in propelling William Jefferson Clinton into the national limelight and ultimately into the White House. And they didn’t, needless to say, secure his position as the Democratic nominee back in 1992 because they wanted him to lose. They did it because they knew that he would do exactly what he did: faithfully advance their agenda for eight years, just as Hillary will do if elevated to the office of the presidency.

You are also likely to read, if you haven’t already, various attacks on Hillary that contain claims about her alleged past history as a radical leftist, which purportedly included such actions as offering aid and comfort to the Black Panthers and affiliating with the Communist Party. These alleged actions were taken, curiously enough, at the same time that Hillary Rodham was unabashedly embracing a far-right political ideology. In other words, Clinton was, at the very same time, both a right-wing ideologue and a left-wing extremist. Kind of like, it bears mentioning, that Lee Harvey Oswald guy, who was both a stridently anti-Castro, right-wing agitator, and a passionately pro-Castro activist.

This may seem a bit mystifying to the political novice, but it really poses no great mystery. The not-so-complicated reality is that Oswald was in fact a right-wing operative whose ‘cover’ was that of a lefty activist. And the same, I’m sorry to have to tell you, is true of Hillary Clinton, both then and now.

That is not to say, of course, that it’s inconceivable that Clinton will take a fall sometime between now and November. But if she does, it will not be because others conspired against her without her knowledge; it will be because she is faithfully playing the role that has been written for her. Not unlike, I might add, that Al Gore chap, who managed to go down for the count against a guy who couldn’t even throw a punch.

Making predictions about future political events is largely a fool’s game. I can’t even remember how many bullshit predictions I have read from the likes of Wayne Madsen, Alex Jones, and numerous others. So rather than a specific prediction, let us just, instead, review the most likely possibilities that we are faced with. One possibility, which would require a combination of Republican dirty tricks, complicity of the Democratic candidate, and massive vote theft, is a McCain presidency. This would not be a good thing. If the country seems a wee bit militaristic to you now, then you probably will not like living under a McCain administration. I have to wonder though whether the powers-that-be really want John McCain in the White House. He appears to be, if we’re being honest here, a little unstable. I’m not sure if he could hold it together for a full term. They might need to install electroshock equipment right there in the Lincoln Bedroom so they can tune him up on a regular basis.

Another possibility is a Clinton presidency. This would also not be a good thing. What we would get, of course, is more of the same. America under Hillary Clinton would look a whole lot like America under George Bush. The right-wing media, of course, will rant and rave and rip into her on a daily basis, but it will all just be a game to convince you that she is something that she clearly is not. And some of the world leaders who have posed as critics of the U.S. will once again warmly embrace us. But all that will have really changed in the White House is the window dressing.

A third possibility, and the one that I am now leaning towards, is an Obama presidency that is preempted to become a Clinton presidency. This would also not be a good thing. In fact, this is probably the worst option of all, which is yet another reason to suspect that it will indeed be the ultimate outcome. I have found that the best strategy is to expect the worst; that way, you will never be disappointed, and rarely will you be pleasantly surprised. If what comes out of the Democratic Convention in August is an Obama/Clinton ticket, my advice would be to not get too attached to that Obama fellow.

One final note here: once the general election rolls around, we may get a clue as to what the final outcome is to be in November. As more alert readers will recall, he last two presidents we have been blessed with were boosted into office with considerable assistance from a ‘third party’ spoiler. Bill Clinton, of course, benefited from the votes that Ross Perot siphoned away from George Sr., while little George got some help from Ralph Nader (not enough help, as it turned out, thus requiring a more heavy-handed approach down in Florida).

We shouldn’t be at all surprised, therefore, to see an entry into the race by a ‘third’ party candidate. The most likely person to drop their hat into the ring would be Michael Bloomberg, who has been the subject of endless speculation. It remains unclear though who would benefit from a Bloomberg candidacy. He has, at various times, masqueraded as a Democrat, a Republican, and now as an Independent. While his views are, overall, decidedly right-wing, he is routinely portrayed by the media as being ‘liberal’ on social issues, so he would not be any more appealing to the Republican ‘base’ than John McCain. Most likely, he would draw a smattering of votes from both parties with a largely negligible effect on the election outcome.

Ralph Nader, needless to say, will likely toss his hat in the ring as well, but no one really gives a shit about Ralph Nader anymore.

For there to be a true spoiler effect on this election, what will be needed is for, say, someone like Mike Huckabee to decide to continue his campaign beyond the conventions under the ‘Independent’ banner. Such a move would, needless to say, insure an easy victory for the Democratic candidate. However, given the mood of the country, such a move would be entirely unnecessary. All that is really needed to insure a Democratic landslide is to hold an actual free and fair election. It is unclear though whether anyone in Washington remembers how to do that. And even if they did, it wouldn’t make the outcome any more palatable.