"No man is exempt from saying silly things; the mischief is to say them deliberately."
—Michel de Montaigne (1533-1592)
(Swans - December 31, 2012) So what was 2012 about? Increased climate disruptions all over the world; deepening economic crises; increased unemployment; the Afghan fiasco; war without end in the Congo, Mali, Somalia, Sudan, Central African Republic, Syria, etc.; wars over water; wars over oil; wars over any kind of natural resources; gun shooting and killing; political changes that change nothing except the rise of fundamentalism of one sort or the other; an Arab Spring that has turned into a blind Sharia Green Frontier; financiers and speculators doing what they best do, obscene short-term profits; rising inequalities and poverty; violence in our streets and schools; more dogmatism; more curtailed civil liberties; more torture; and fear, fear, fear; the iGadgetization that is dumbing down our culture; more CO2 released in the atmosphere; more polluting and dumping of unwanted consumer products in landfills and in the oceans; depleted fisheries; the list could go on and on.
Strange how Homo sapiens function. Our societies are based on the use of energy. By the late 1970s we already knew that oil depletion was in the making. Yet in 1998 the International Energy Agency doctored a report to show that everything was fine. Fossil fuels, particularly oil, were plentiful. That swindle keeps going on in this 2012 year. We are apparently oblivious to reality and find refuge in the litany listed in the above paragraph.
Under such conditions, finding humor and coming up with our traditional irreverent Swans Infamous Predictions, courtesy of a bevy of Swans, has been a bit of a challenge. But we managed, and hope you enjoy them. As always, take it or leave it.
Scandal at the White House! It is revealed that Barack Obama applies skin-darkening pomade nightly at bedtime.
The same source confirms that Michelle Obama, on her last trip to Chicago, was seen in a hair-straightening salon.
Malia Obama, angry with her racist parents, goes to live with the Pueblo Indians.
Sasha Obama leaves home for Mumbai to be a Hindu goddess in a Bollywood blockbuster.
A new era of Franco-American friendship dawns and Americans spend a good part of the year in Paris and on the Côte d'Azur telling themselves how wonderful the French are.
The Cold War heats up once again and President Obama sends Mitt Romney to Moscow to negotiate with the Russians for another new détente and an arms treaty.
In Mitt's absence, Ann Romney has a ménage à trois with Barack and Michelle Obama in the interest, she says, of strengthening America's ties with France and to encourage Americans to study French.
Upon his return from Moscow, Romney announces that he is a Communist and a Marxist and that he will devote the rest of his life to organizing unorganized workers and moving toward his ideal -- a dictatorship of the proletariat.
Vladimir Putin defects from Russia and seeks political asylum in Egypt, where the Muslim Brotherhood welcomes him as a long lost Islamic brother.
Hollywood buys the rights to the Obama/Ann Romney story and makes a movie with an all-Mexican cast of actors playing the leading roles -- in Spanish with English subtitles -- that will win the Oscar for Best Picture of the year.
Scientists discover a drug that prolongs orgasms, sometimes as long as an hour, and in protest American women refuse to have any sex at all.
French scientists discover an odorless, tasteless gas that makes Americans allergic to French wine and cheese, setting off a mass flight of Americans from France to Canada.
Mitt Romney and Vladimir Putin rule Egypt, Ann Romney gives birth to a black child, Michelle Obama joins the Mossad, and Barack Obama finally tells the truth -- that he was really born in France and that he's the illegitimate son of Francois Mitterrand and his mistress, Anne Pingeot.
Water supply is fully satisfactory. The happy few draw it from Champagne and Bourbon cases. The shrinking middle class drinks it pure from taps or plastic bottles. All the others produce it by themselves, in the form of bitter tears.
The Greek government enacts a solar energy export tax. "We believe the solar energy Greece receives is an important natural resource that must be used for the benefit of the Greek people," said the minister of finance, "so we are enacting a tax to recover such benefit from the solar energy that is removed from our country." Hardest hit by this new tax are German and other Northern European tourists, who must now have their tans measured by a melanin density optical scanner before leaving Greece, to assess their skin darkening and hence their absorbed dose of solar energy against a standard untanned skin tone for their region. Despite initial fears that the new tax would devastate the Greek tourist industry, it is a success at generating much new revenue, which is applied to Greece's foreign debt. As one Greek tour guide said, "they may have the banks up there where it is cold and grey, but we have the sun."
Spontaneous smiling being considered one of the most precious resources on Earth, grinning, laughing, calling names, and professional smiling on working hours are downgraded to "recycled or artificial smiling," of little or no use to save the planet.
Republican senators draft a Shut Your Mouth bill in order to prevent every environmentalist from uttering the statement: "We have been saying for years it would happen, haven't we?"
The Chinese Communist Party is buying the entire Swiss banking industry for $1.7 trillion, the value of its holdings in US securities. The Chinese government's purpose is to bolster its citizens' confidence in itself, as explained by the minister of finance. "Now our politburo members can deposit their personal holdings in the Chinese Swiss Bank without fear of being seen as corrupt," he said. The Swiss bankers invest their Chinese gains by buying the entire banking industries of Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, and San Marino, and continue their business as before.
Capitalists across the world wake up and forget that their sole job in life is to make (rather: take) money.
In a case bought (well, brought) by Goldman Sachs, and bolstered by a host of amicus curiae briefs by large banks, the Supreme Court agrees to review the constitutionality of the 13th Amendment to determine if the present prohibition of reducing a person to slavery because of bankruptcy or a refusal to pay debts, such as underwater mortgages, is unconstitutional. "The property rights of investors are central to our society," a spokesman for the pro-slavery suit declares, "and the Court should correct the legal error that permits flagrant personal irresponsibility to deny the rightful return-on-investment those investors anticipated."
Wall Street remains unoccupied, unaccountable, and unfortunately, unregulated.
Birds across the world join the socialist revolution and deposit white payloads on the heads of the world's leading shitheads.
Prince Charles builds his own stone tower by the Thames to facilitate his escape from modernity (on the weekend, anyway).
Tony Blair's former teddy bear is adopted by David Cameron.
Silvio Berlusconi finally goes to jail. Don't know if that will be before or after he weds his twenty-something mistress.
Feeling neglected and betrayed by François Hollande, the president of France who has renewed a secret relationship with Ségolène Royal, his past concubine and mother of his four children, Valérie Trierweiler leaves France for Néchin, Belgium, and becomes the mistress of Gérard Depardieu, the famous actor who left his mother country in order to escape confiscatory taxation.
When the cast and characters for the new Star Wars movie is announced, there is universal glee over the news that the writers are not bringing back the character of Jar Jar Binks.
Anonymous hacks Facebook and cripples the service for a day. Millions of people panic because they now have time to be productive.
Apple introduces the iMind, which allows users to do just about anything without thinking. Consumers lose their ability to make educated decisions, sales plummet, and the company collapses. The world returns to being a smarter, more connected place.
The State of Iowa announces that its 2016 US presidential caucuses will be held on January 2, 2014. Within an hour, the state of New Hampshire declares that the date for its "first in the nation Presidential primary" for 2016 has been set for December 31, 2013.
Fox News commentator and former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee announces his candidacy for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination on January 2, 2013, while at a Texas pre-school, where he also reads from his recently published children's book, My Pet Bushmaster.
Nike, Ralph Lauren, Apple Computer, and ConAgra simultaneously announce the closing of all of their manufacturing plants in China due to escalating labor costs and environmental restrictions, and the relocation of these facilities to the "tax and regulation freedom zone" in the newly constructed Republic of Corporatania in the middle of the Pacific Ocean.
The Mainway Realty Company begins sales of homes in its new soon-to-be-beachfront development, Prudhoe Bay Shores, on Alaska's North Slope. Savvy investors swoop in to scoop up these half-million to two million dollar properties along what is anticipated to be a vacation destination shoreline in a decade. Each luxury home is accompanied by a large garage for multiple SUVs, and a boathouse and dock for storing and mooring various watercraft. While these properties are some miles inland from the present shoreline of the Arctic Ocean, the president of Mainway Realty is confident of reaping large profits from this venture. "It won't be long before the sea arrives and these property values skyrocket. This is the next Miami Beach," he predicts. The rush of buyers seems to prove him right, and the planting of palm trees along the streets of Prudhoe Bay Shores continues.
The Shell Oil Company begins its "Powering Our Econosystems" television blitz campaign with commercials highlighting its new polar bear rest stops. These platforms, complete with seal blubber dispensers, are attached to Shell's Arctic Ocean oilrigs and aim at providing respite for swimming polar bears that are unable to find any remaining pack ice.
The Oklahoma State Senate approves a recently passed Oklahoma House bill declaring that "every sperm is sacred, every sperm is good," which criminalizes all forms of male masturbation as "unnatural under God and country." Not to be outdone, the Kansas State Senate passes a bill declaring "lustful thoughts unrelated to procreation" to be punishable through death by "enhanced waterboarding."
Canadian prime minister Stephen Harper announces his plans to dismantle the "communistic" Canadian health care system, saying "the era of big Canuck government is over, eh?" In the same speech he proposes a change in the Canadian national anthem from the line "God keep our land glorious and free!" to "God keep tar sands glorious and free!"
American far-right commentator Glenn Beck, adapting to the radio format but missing his beloved blackboard, begins to spend an entire hour during every show scratching his fingernails over said blackboard while he speaks in tongues. Ratings soar.
Both the Mattel and McDonald's corporations sue Sweden through the World Trade Organization for infringing on their right to profit from children due to that Scandinavian country's restrictions on advertising to young children. In a joint statement, Ronald McDonald and Barbie declare Stockholm government officials to be "anti-child and anti-fun Viking barbarians."
NRA headquarters in the "blue states" come under fire from mobs of angry protestors demanding gun control legislation. An NRA spokesman on Fox News declares: "This fits in with what we believe, which is that the American people need their 2nd Amendment rights in order to defend their democratic freedoms." Asked if this meant that the NRA accepted being fired upon -- so far only seven NRA officials have been shot in the sieges -- and did not want police protection, the NRA spokesman said that "on the contrary, we believe that the use of more guns is always the answer to any situation, even when it comes to deciding which group of shooters in a firefight has the greater amount of 2nd Amendment rights."
Spain, Portugal, Greece, and Italy, in response to continued poor economic figures, announce new austerity measures, which include a new "buskers and beggars tax" and tying retirement age for civil servants to TV ratings for "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo" in the United States.
The new president of the conservative Heritage Foundation in the United States, former South Carolina senator Jim DeMint, announces an effort to reduce school violence and mass shootings through requiring on-site SWAT teams at schools, barricaded classrooms, gun training for all staff and teachers, as well as children, beginning in first grade, and mandatory courses on gun history/Second Amendment rights. Funding will come from education budget cuts, staffing cuts, the elimination of preschool, lunch, art, music, physical education, and sports programs, and mandatory corporate sponsorship of schools, individual children, and textbooks.
Concerns about the Fiscal Cliff having passed, attention is directed to the Lascivious Ledge, as the Supreme Court review of California's gay marriage ban and the Defense of Marriage Act approaches. The new End Time date is set to coincide with the ruling, should the outcome favor lasciviousness.
When the Court overturns both, attention is redirected to the Fiscal Cliff that is looming as gays marry in droves and the demand for federal benefits skyrockets. Conservative heterosexuals divorce in protest, leaving the sanctity of marriage a homosexual concept. Attorneys thrive on the divorce boom, and the increased tax rate on alimony fends off the second potential Fiscal Cliff.
J. Edgar Hoover and Jimmy Hoffa rise out of their graves and announce that they're a romantic couple in favor of same sex marriage.
The world's oldest person dies, again.
A nuclear reactor at the Three Mile Island power plant in Pennsylvania falls into a large sinkhole that opened under it following a recent period of fracking under the surrounding area. Because cooling lines to the reactor were severed as it fell, it is overheating and melting its way deeper into the earth. A spokesman for US Outgas, the fracking company, denies responsibility for the disaster, claiming "it was obviously the result of an earthquake, and had nothing to do with our operations." Seismometers record earth tremors occurring as each of the other forty-six recent sinkholes in Pennsylvania open up; all were over trapped gas deposits.
Massive leakage from rampant fracking sites in Pennsylvania and Ohio causes Lake Erie to catch fire. This spreads to feeder streams, including the Cuyahoga River in Ohio, renowned for burning back in the 1960s. Republican Ohio governor Ted Strickland declares the fire to be a far-left terrorist act by the notorious Rachel Carson Avengers, as well as teachers and union members.
Several EPA scientists die after testing water samples from the ongoing study on the effects of hydraulic fracturing. Out of fear of litigation, the agency quietly halts the study, classifies the data, and declares fracking safe.
Former Pennsylvania senator and 2012 Republican US presidential candidate Rick Santorum declares his candidacy for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination and announces his slogan of "God Loves Fracking, Firearms, and Factory Flatulence."
The continuing FBI investigation of e-mail on personal computers linked to possible security leaks from the US State Department and the Pentagon leads to the offices of The New York Times, where it is discovered that the editors and op-ed writers are all secretly reading Swans Commentary to guide them in anticipating the public mood, for purposes of control and in crafting their own editorials that copy those Swans insights they think they can get credit for. "It's absurd to think we collude with government to control the public, or that we would be influenced by such an insignificant publication as Swans Commentary," said a spokesman for The Times. In a related development, drones have been seen circling over Boonville, California, headquarters of Swans Commentary.
In a shocking move, General David Petraeus takes control of the ACLU, vowing to put an end to the unchecked surveillance state and warrantless wiretapping.
In the aftermath of the Newtown, Connecticut, school shooting, the National Rifle Association lobbies for a new government agency, the Department of Home Room Security. To be consistent with their "smaller is better" approach to government, they propose that each school be manned by an unmanned drone.
Karl Rove joins George W. Bush, Donald Rumsfeld, and Dick Cheney in evil oblivion, where they spend their time on the golf course or the shooting range bewailing their unappreciated legacies.
To counter the Right to Work movement, the AFL-CIO introduces the Right to Outsource law, which actually strengthens workers' rights. Corporations fall hook, line, and sinker for the similarly oxymoronic law. In response, they introduce the Right to Life law that ensures workers' demise, not realizing it will take them down too.
The International Cycling Union is found guilty of doping in order to sustain its marathon attacks on Lance Armstrong. The 2013 Tour de France is the first scandal-free race in years.
Flotsam from the 2011 Japan tsunami clogs San Francisco Bay, forcing the cancellation of the 2013 America's Cup yacht race. Oracle CEO and billionaire Larry Ellison is inconsolable, vowing to dedicate the remainder of his life and money cleaning up the environment to ensure that some day, somewhere, he can win at any cost.
The Israeli government decides to build a 1,200-home compound in Judea and Samaria (aka, Palestine) as a repository for the ashes of Ariel Sharon when he is at long last allowed to die. Each home becomes a mausoleum for all past presidents and prime ministers, and, of course, all future ones for the next 5,000 years. The decision is taken in the names of humanitarian intervention and R2P. Ejected Palestinians are relocated to Gaza or Jordan, or wherever, as long as they personally finance their relocation.
Palestinians wise up. Instead of launching rockets at Israel, which is a self-defeating endeavor, they invent a launching device that sends millions of rotten eggs to their friendly Semite enemies. Israel, which is already rotten, slowly dissipates due to the stench and smell of these rotten eggs. No one is killed. No one dies. Israelis move to Wisconsin, a state in need of peace-loving citizens. The land is so infested with the stench that only American evangelists will want to move there. Bon débarras.
Maybe instead of peregrinating to Wisconsin, Israelis decide to colonize Boonville and the Anderson Valley, a most welcome undertaking -- we need all the help we can get -- so long as they leave the rotten eggs behind them in the promise land.
We may want to move the Wailing Wall to the Boonville Fair Grounds. It will attract a lot of tourists, beer will flow, and hot dogs (kosher, obviously) will be served. We at Swans, being poor like Job, will contribute one dollar to the enterprise. We give as much as we receive.
Pope Benedictus XVI, the most modern pope in history after John Paul II, becomes an active tweeter as he wants, according to his device, to be cooperatores veritatis ("cooperators of the truth" -- Saint John). The account is hacked by some malicious youth (must be infidels) and pictures doctored with Photoshop show the genteel pope naked in the arms of his graced majordomo and his favorite choirboy.
Pope Benedictus XVI forgives the pranksters, murmuring "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?"; that is, "O Ali, O Ali why have you forsaken me?" Only god knows.
A fatwa is declared on the editor of Swans for having questioned whether Mohammed was a prophet. A reward of $1,000,000 shall be paid to anyone who kills the apostate. Please send the money to P.O. Box 267, Boonville, California, 95415. Allahu Akbar.
The end of the world did not come to pass on December 21, 2012, but we can assure you with absolute certainty that it will happen on December 31, 2013, or whenever this sot passes away, whichever day comes first. We need millenarians to entertain the company.
One day, one day, love and poetry will carry the day.
1. The irreverent subset of the Swans collective that brings these Infamous Predictions to you features the usual clowns that perform at your local circus on a regular basis, whose cast this year is Michael Barker, Jan Baughman, Peter Byrne, Fabio De Propris, Manuel García, Jr., Jonah Raskin, Glenn Reed, Harvey Whitney, Jr., and, of course, your fearless Gallic editor, who welcomes readers' flames, whines, and outrage while denying all responsibility for the reckless endeavor. Don't sue him. He is penniless. (back)
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