Friday, November 30, 2012

Fiscal Cliff Gets Makeover

During an ice-breaker at their recent fall conference in Chicago, members of the American Academy of Clinical Psychiatrists reportedly connected a vast number of dots configured it turns out in a picture of a country suffering from a mass syndrome presumably caused by the looming fiscal cliff.

It seems American mental patients and their loved ones across the land have been struck by the obsessive impulse to just hold hands with somebody next to them and maybe say “I love you” as we all sail together into the fast-approaching Grand Canyon of economic woebegoneness.

Explained Dr. Brennan Cox from the American Psychiatric Association, “It makes perfect sense. Here we all are almost twelve years into a worldwide American financial and war and environmental crime spree. The domestic road behind us is piled up with the half million or so corpses of those we just watched die because they couldn’t afford health care. And this is to say nothing of the cold-blooded killing off of any hope that America has any democratic mechanisms left for changing its ways.

“So I’m not sure why anybody would be surprised when Americans decide to hold hands and do a collective Thelma and Louise when a big cliff presents itself.”

According to sources, there is now growing concern in the mental health community and elsewhere that the economic boon of the final-hour, completely irresponsible holiday spending sprees they’re seeing patients and their families give themselves over to will lower the fiscal cliff just enough that when Americans open their eyes back up after having gone over it, they’ll be faced with the devastating realization that they have survived only to face the specter of the next personal and nationwide fiscal cliff their reckless economy-saving spending spree has paved the way for.”

Said Dr. Roberta Grier from the AACP, ”I just don’t think the fragile American psyche can take another institutionalized boom and bust cycle.

“The responsible thing to do, and indeed perhaps the only thing left to do as the clock winds down, is to mold the metaphor into a less fatalistic, less embraceable shape.

“In my own practice, I’ve had some luck framing this looming financial moment of truth, or untruth as the case may be, as an austerity bomb. I’ve found that clients, perhaps inspired at some psychological level by the Sergeant James character in the film The Hurt Locker, are now armoring themselves against the crisis as opposed to walking into the bright fiscal light so to speak.

“Colleagues have seen similarly positive results from framing the whole thing as a fiscal pane of Hollywood saloon glass. Visualizing the situation as an ambush by the President and Congress and Wall Street and the media has been particularly helpful.”

“And I just read an intriguing paper by a colleague in the Southwest who kept the cliff metaphor but gave it a lighter-hearted Wile E. Coyote dimension. Minus the falling anvils and grand pianos, of course.”

In a related story, Grover Norquist, adapting to the mounting evidence that Republicans are finding the personal courage to question the wisdom of his no-tax pledge, is reconceptualizing his approach to holding the nation’s economy hostage.

Working with Orwellian supergenius Frank Luntz, and inspired by the “chickie run” scene in the film Rebel Without a Cause, Mr. Norquist has been drafting a new “covenant” that reportedly, in so many words, will involve Republicans swearing to God that they will never be the first to jump out any time their party and the Democrats race their respective stolen cars toward a fiscal abyss.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

GOP Set to Divvy up its Figments

In the building post-election split-up between the diehard and the dieharder halves of the Republican party, a custody battle has begun raging over the prodigious brood of so-called zombie ideas the right wing has hatched and populated the social and political landscape with in recent decades.

Said senior Republican strategist Ted Spencer, “Nobody expects this battle between the downers and the double-downers of the GOP to be the least bit amicable. It’s just really not in their DNA to share. But given the well known staying power of Republican bugbears, we just hope these two worthy opponents can avoid making up stuff about each other as we go forward in protecting America from the America- and God-hating, gay- and alien-loving liberal socialist baby killing terrorist enablers."

At stake in this less than civil war between GOP reactionaries and overreactionaries, or the so-called Herbal Tea and the Tea parties, is ownership of such politically potent, thoroughly discredited imperishable brainchildren as the bogeys that Barack Obama is a Muslim socialist from Kenya itching to take away Americans’ guns and grandmas and hand their country over to the UN by way of the Delphi method of mind control; that the Clintons are a modern-day Bonnie and Clyde who literally get away with murder; that Saddam Hussein’s fingerprints are still all over 9/11; that voter ID fraud is the problem with the nation’s electronic electoral system; that FEMA’s real mission is to inter Americans in concentration camps.

On the bargaining table as well is the unkillable litter of far out claims that empirically substantiated liberal claims regarding such issues as global warming and voting fraud and torture and other war crimes and simple geology and human history are far out.

Said Dr. Nathan Daniels, chair of the Political Science department at Dartmouth University, “Republicans have more than enough secondary zombie ideas to go around. If the so-called tory and hallucina-tory factions of the party have to divide up all the Soros- and Obama- and Clinton- and Gore- and LBJ- and Roosevelt- and UN- and homosexual- and foreigner- and feminist-spawned zombie ideas between them, I think everybody on the right’s going to be just fine.

“Where the Grand Old Party’s going to get itself into trouble is if the two sides can’t negotiate joint custody of the Republican darlings—the immortal ideas that wealth trickles down, that every American could be filthy rich, that tax cuts lower deficits, that America can’t live without the filthy rich, that the way to fix the problems caused by deregulation is to deregulate, that government is the problem, that the media is liberal, that liberal is a dirty word, that the way to win hearts and minds is always to stop them from operating.”

Added Dr. Daniels, “And it’s not just a matter of hammering out who gets the zombie ideas either. Perhaps even more crucial is the question of who takes charge of the machinery that keeps all these unbelievable ideas alive. Who works the levers and dials and knobs of the elaborate life support system of think tanks and conservative radio and television and wishful and paranoid thought waves?

“And what about all the new easily discredited but not so easily erased ideas that get hatched from now on? What happens when Sarah Palin out there in the god-forsakenly far right, for instance, gives birth to the idea that it’s the lamestream liberal media that’s to blame for making America think there’s a war between her and the merely far right of the Republican party? What’s to keep the merely far right from using her brainchild without asking or from even taking all the credit for it?”

“It’s definitely a tricky question,” admitted GOP strategist Spencer. “But I’m confident we can come up with a system for issuing birth certificates to these zombie ideas that will meet the very high standards of proof demanded by all the real and true Americans on and in the right.”

Friday, November 23, 2012

Obama Apologists Brace for Fiscal Cliff

In a move to preemptively defuse the likely widespread outrage over the looming next chapter of the so-called book President Obama is writing on the economic betraying of his Democratic base, a team of top Obama apologists from all sectors of society have launched an all-out campaign to burnish the President’s image as a man with a genius for finding unexpected ways to reach Democratic ends.

Said Diane Whitman, the so-called commander of the Barackback Mountain Brigade, a pro-Obama organization formed by the mothers of gays in the military, “Let’s just take President Obama’s taking of the single-payer approach to healthcare reform off the table. He’s been pretty mercilessly abused for bargaining away this seemingly simple answer to the horrible human and economic toll our healthcare system is taking on our country.

“But if everybody would just calm down a little and take a deep breath they might just maybe see the method to the President’s madness. I mean, what would have happened had we gone with the single-payer, Medicare for all plan the vast majority of Democrats favor?

“In the two years leading up to the 2012 election alone what we would have had is upwards of 100,000 people who didn’t die needlessly because they couldn’t afford health insurance. One-hundred-thousand. That’s a one followed by five zeroes.

“And how many more people over that same period do you think would have been made able-bodied by a healthcare system everybody actually had access to? Twice that number? Three times? Four?

“The point is, that had President Obama not taken single-payer off the table, what we would have had is an extra mob of Americans in a position to walk down to their local unemployment office and play right into Romney’s hands by pushing the unemployment figure up over the critical 8% threshold.

“If the professional liberals want to explain to me how Obama gets re-elected with unemployment up over 8 or 9 or even 10 percent, I’m all ears.”

Added Juanita Reyes from the Barack O’ Bust super PAC, “And you have to remember, the President hasn’t had the luxury to make the economic landscape any better for those Americans at or below the income threshold separating the insured from the uninsured.

“He couldn’t very well have followed the wise counsel to keep his fiscal enemies closer to him than his friends if he hadn’t done everything he possibly could to make sure the wealthy didn’t suffer from this Great Recession.”

In related news, the Obama administration today is touting a preliminary report announcing that Obamacare is still on pace to reach its goal of keeping below 40,000 the number of Americans who die needlessly this year because they can’t afford healthcare.

Said White House press secretary Jay Carney, “Certainly we’ve still got the flu season coming, but even the worst case scenario brings the number of uninsured or otherwise financially impeded needers of healthcare who die needlessly to only 39,000 or so, maybe thirty-nine five on the outside.”

Added Mr. Carney, “It’s true that Obamacare hasn’t had as much luck bringing the proportion of bankruptcies caused by healthcare-related debt to under 50%, but it’s also true that in these tough economic times, which, by the way, expose uninsured Americans to untold health-undermining stresses, it takes much less healthcare debt to send Americans into bankruptcy.” 

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

New Surge in Petraeus Sex Scandal

Shining City Gazette has learned of a new series of twists in what’s being called All-Ingate, the rapidly widening and deepening sex scandal that began with media darling and now ex-CIA director General David Petraeus and one of his many  hagiographers, Paula Broadwell, author of All In - The Education of General David Petraeus.

According to sources, during the routine warrantless monitoring of FBI agent Frederick Humphries in his capacity as a US citizen, CIA agent Mary Beth Waters uncovered a trove of email and phone and face-to-face communications that indicate that in the warrantless monitoring of Paula Broadwell’s communications with General Petraeus that FBI agent Humphries conducted in response to Florida socialite Jill Kelley’s complaint about the threatening emails she was receiving from Ms. Broadwell, who reportedly was jealous of Ms. Kelley’s cozy relationship with General Petraeus, FBI agent Humphries himself fell deeply in love with the dangerously fit and irresistible former supreme commander of US forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Undiverted by FBI agent Humphries’ wildly overcompensating for these new homoerotic feelings for the General by sending shirtless photos of himself to socialite Kelley, CIA agent Waters kept warrantlessly sifting through all the communications involving the initial extra-marital love triangle until she uncovered not only FBI agent Humphries’ love for General Petraeus, but also the jealous, threatening emails he’d begun anonymously sending to both Ms. Broadwell and Ms. Kelley.

In the course of her warrantless monitoring, CIA agent Waters apparently herself fell under the spell of the man behind the so-called Bush Surge.

According to sources, CIA agent Waters’ subsequent jealous, threatening emails to FBI agent Humphries were inadvertently picked up by agent Angela Espinosa from the National Reconnaissance Office.

It seems that in her routine warrantless monitoring of the American press, NRO agent Espinosa uncovered Holly Petraeus’ anonymous spamming of news outlets across the country with an email jealously threatening reporters and columnists and editorial boards for their so-called “group sucking of the General’s d**k.”

It was in her follow-up, off-duty warrantless monitoring of the growing number of parties involved in All-Ingate that NRO agent Espinosa stumbled first across CIA agent Waters’ threatening emails to FBI agent Humphries and then across the involvement of Washington Post columnist David Ignatius in this exponentially propagating sex polygon.

It seems Mr. Ignatius, still dazzled by the charm he’d succumbed to when General Petraeus had embedded him for several weeks in the Middle East, had sent threatening emails to Senate Intelligence Committee Chairwoman and war profiteer and hawk Diane Feinstein for her so-called “public sucking of the d**k of General Petraeus.”

Senator Feinstein then, acting on the bad intelligence that it was President Obama sending her the threatening emails, began sending emails to the so-called Commander in Chief threatening to turn him in for violating the Uniform Code of Military Justice plus any number of private and public-sector laws against sexual harassment by “constantly sucking the d**k of a subordinate.”

According to sources, this is when agent Phillip Daly from the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency comes into the picture.

During the routine warrantless monitoring of Senator Feinstein and the rest of Congress, NGIA agent Daly reportedly discovered the threatening emails spammed to Congress by the National Press Association, whose investigative reporting team had mistakenly identified Congress as the authors of the jealous, threatening emails Holly Petraeus was sending them.

It was agent Pamela Snyder from the Defense Intelligence Agency who, during routine warrantless monitoring of Mr. Paul Ryan in his capacity as a simple US citizen, discovered that Senator Ryan was receiving threatening emails from the rest of Congress, who were acting on the bad intelligence that it was Mr. Ryan sending jealous, threatening emails to them over how much more attention General Petraeus’ physical fitness always got than his did.

It was also DIA agent Snyder who discovered that it was the neoconservative strategic experts at Brookings who were sending emails to Senator Ryan calling him a “big pu**y” compared to General Petraeus.

Friday, November 16, 2012

In Bold Move, Obama Switches Sides

In what some are calling an act of unprecedented political courage, President Barack Obama today changed his political affiliation from Democrat to Republican.

Explained the president’s new spokesperson, Ari Fleischer, former White House press secretary for George W. Bush, “The president just doesn’t see any other way to stop himself from spending another four years slapping the people who voted him into office in all their dumbstruck faces.”

Said Mr. Fleischer, “Look, this is a president who from day one has been up front about his inability to act like a Democrat if he’s not forced to do so by all the Democrats who vote for him. How many times has he publicly begged the Democratic establishment to hold his feet to the fire of his campaign rhetoric?

“And then what happens when he looks forward and not backward or even side-to-side at the war crime wave perpetrated by his Republican predecessors? Nothing. What happens when he keeps looking forward and not backward or even side-to-side at the financial crime wave perpetrated by the likes of the very Wall Street people he chooses to surround himself with instead of anybody even remotely interested in championing the cause of the 99%? Again, nothing.

“What happens when he unilaterally just gives away the public option? When he extends Bush wars and tax cuts? When Guantanamo celebrates one anniversary after another? When he throws a record number of whistleblowers to the wolves of his War on Terror? When the Surveillance State gets permanently added to the union without a scintilla of public debate? Nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing, and more nothing.

“What happens when he starts assassinating American citizens and their teenage children? I’ll tell you what happens. He gets cheered. What happens when he orders drone strikes that obliterate kids and then the people who come to retrieve the body parts of the kids? He gets cheered even louder.

“What happens when after all that happens he suddenly starts talking a populist line and asks all those people who voted him into his first presidency to give him their votes again? They give him their votes again.

“Come on, people. What is this president supposed to do when his people keep apologizing for him for actions and policies they’d never let him get away with if he were a Republican?

“Well I don’t know what he’s supposed to do, but I’ll tell you what this courageous president has done. He’s become the Republican his former people will maybe now get up off their butts and stop before he uses all the political capital they just gave him to bargain away their Social Security and Medicare and who knows what other bulwarks against nationwide epidemic destitution.

“Somebody desperately needs to do something to stop President Obama from going through with this great betrayal of his Democratic base, and the only man in America with the political courage I guess to do so is President Obama himself.”

In very related late breaking news, the nation’s political commentators are already seeing signs that President Obama’s bold move to join the Republican Party by way of achieving Democratic ends may be backfiring.

Apparently Republicans’ animus toward President Obama substantially outweighs their hatred of Democratic principles.

Pundits from all along the political spectrum are predicting that with President Obama now explicitly championing conservative ideals, as opposed to his tacitly having done so for the past four years, Republicans will take a sharp turn to the left, in which case in these so highly polarized times the left will reflexively turn sharply to the right.

Said new White House deputy press secretary Dana Perino, “It may seem like we’re heading back to square one, but the fact of the matter is that the pundits have forgotten to factor in the high likelihood that now that this president is a Republican he’ll soon begin flaunting conservative principles, which is to say that all by himself he’ll be acting exactly like the Democrat he’s been so futilely begging the Democrats to make him act like.”

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Rove Wants Four More Years

The Wall Street Journal is reporting today that when Karl Rove showed up on November 7 at the carpet he was called on by the Confraternity of Corporate Persons, he surprised everybody with a PowerPoint presentation that not only did not include a letter of resignation or an apology, but actually laid out a reportedly airtight argument for why he should be given four more years as the operative in charge of firing up enough Americans to vote against their own best economic interests that Republicans can win.

According to sources, Mr. Rove began by pinning the blame for the squandering of so many hundreds of millions of corporate dollars worth of campaign donations squarely on the corporate persons themselves.

With a series of graphs and color-coded pie and other kinds of charts Mr. Rove showed how Corporate America had shot itself in the foot by making the economy tank so badly and then so stubbornly doing nothing to fix it that it seemed so impossible that President Obama could win re-election that not enough corporate donations were earmarked for electronically rigging the vote.

Mr. Rove went on to assure his audience that he had the seemingly bleak demographic outlook for Republicans well under control.

Said one corporate person speaking to Shining City Gazette under the pseudonym of Pat, “It was great to hear Karl put to rest the notion that in election cycles to come there won’t be enough white people in America for Republicans to win.

“It was most definitely reassuring to find out, for example, that at the local level we are well situated to more than double the number of abstinence-only programs in Republican strongholds.

“I can easily see how the white baby boom resulting from these efforts coupled with our ongoing anti-abortion and anti-contraception crusades will start offsetting the breeding and illegal immigrating habits of non-whites.”

The CCP was also reportedly made privy to internal analysis by Mr. Rove’s American Crossroads super PAC showing that the growing epidemic of autism works in Republicans’ favor.

Explained Pat, the corporate person, “As all these socially challenged kids from all along the racial and ethnic spectrum keep growing toward voting age it should be child’s play to exploit their low sense of responsibility to others for Republican political gains.”

Added Pat, “And it’s true what Karl says that to boost short-term Republican prospects we could also be doing more to garner a greater percentage of the still rapidly expanding obese vote.

“I love Karl’s plan to have the Academy of Neoconservative Scientists put out a report or two calling into question the downsides of obesity. I think the morbidly obese in America would be very grateful to us for offering an upbeat message to counter all the gloom and doom the Michelle Obamas of the world keep morbidly shoving down their throats—at a high cost, by the way, to the junk and fast food and buffet industries and the larger economy.

“Certainly this doesn’t solve our long-term demographic problems, as the life expectancies of more and more grossly overweight Republicans will plummet, but Karl’s got a can’t-miss strategy for the larger war that is pure genius.

“It seems the scientific elite have done us the big favor of painting a high-definition picture of what kind of childhood leads to a right-wing mindset later in life.

“Hilariously, as many on the left help us privatize education, all according to Karl’s plan, they are setting the table for our embedding in every school kid in America all the fears and personal frustrations we can then prey on when they reach voting age and beyond.”

According to sources, the slide in Mr. Rove’s presentation that the corporate persons in attendance found most comforting was the final one, in which the so-called Turd Blossom promised in writing to never ever champion the nuclear option of letting enough wealth trickle down that a majority of Americans would just naturally vote Republican and thereby undermine Corporate America’s hard-earned right to use their inordinate wealth to exclusively keep America safe for Capitalism.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Rip in Social Fabric Detected

A team of theistic scientists at the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture announced today that they have detected the long-predicted rip in the social fabric caused by same-sex marriage.

Explained Timothy Bishop, M. Div., from the Discovery team, “As opposed to the mysterious invisible hole in the ozone layer or the so conveniently impossible to see carbon overcoat supposedly warming the globe, the gaping tear the gays have created in Our Lord’s Intelligent Social Design has now been outed so to speak for all to see.”

“We couldn’t of course have done it without the Good Lord Himself,” said Discovery team leader Roger Bacon, S.T.B. “In His inimitably mysterious way He let us know that we were getting warmer and warmer as we closed in on the perfect vantage point from which to get a good, clear look at the hole the homosexuals have poked so to speak in the social contract with God.

“There it was,” said Mr. Bishop. “A tattered window into oblivion. And unsurprisingly, according to our rigorous and double- and triple-checked calculations it has the exact dimensions it would take for the devil to slip through.

“It’s also, by the way, a fissure that will only widen as all the decency in our society pours out through it in a raging flood of biblical proportions.”

“Technically, a more precise way to describe it,” said Mr. Bacon, “is to say that the infernal heat from the everlasting fires of hell is abhorrently rushing in through this rip to fill the void left by all the decency rushing out.

“And just for the record, by the way, the quantity of heat pouring in thanks to this tear in the social fabric precisely matches down to the last decimal point the amount of warming all the secular scientists keep squawking about.

“So I suppose you can say global warming is man-made—if you want to call gays and lesbians men.”

Added Mr. Bishop, “At the risk of sowing an unrighteous despair, based on an array of meteorological models derived from centuries of Old Testament weather patterns, we can say with well over 110% certainty that if something isn’t done about this runaway global warming, the sea of traditional matrimony is just going to dry up and blow away.”

Further added Rita Martinez, master’s degree candidate in Divinatory Psychology at Liberty Bible College, “According to our calculations, the odds are better than even that God Himself will rid us of all these two-man and two-woman Sodoms and Gomorrah threatening the holy institution of traditional marriage.

“So it’s critical that we immediately begin a campaign to educate traditional wives about the dangers of sneaking a peek at the meting of holy justice out to the sodomites.”

In other science news, paleo-biblical archeologists digging between the lines of scripture in and around the Book of Deuteronomy have discovered that it was the prophets Elijah and Joshua, with the help of the mysterious Ambidextrous Angel, who planted the dinosaur bones all over the world.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Evolutionary Riddle Solved

In a breakthrough that is rocking the paleo- and politico-anthropological world, Dr. Mitsuko Sakaki from the American Institute of Evolutionary Biology announced today that she and her colleagues have settled the century-long quandary about how Neanderthals fit in the arc of human evolution.

“As it turns out,” said Dr. Sakaki, “Neanderthals were not overlapping precursors to modern humans at all, or even an aberrational coexisting species from some other line of hominids, as some have argued. They were actually a group, or perhaps more accurately a party, of homo sapiens who began retrogradely evolving at a point in human evolutionary history that almost exactly coincides with the dawn of politics.”

Further explained Dr. Sakaki, “A closer look at the fossil human record using new osteo-forensic tools and state of the art anthropological models has revealed that at roughly 30,000 BCE a subpopulation of homo sapiens defined primarily by a blind adherence to a primordial religiousness began thinking with their spleens and gall bladders instead of the right and left hemispheres of the rapidly developing human brain.”

“Very interestingly,” said politico-anthropologist Dr. Divesh Amin from the Sakaki team, “as this phrenic shift is occurring among these primeval reactionaries, we also see creeping into the cave drawings and petroglyphs of these widely polarizing peoples a political messaging pitched at an intelligence level normally associated with Cro-Magnon Man and below.

“It is also at this time that the mass production of roughhewn, solid-rock prototypes of the soap box bursts onto the social scene.

“As early man and woman, but mostly man, began working out humanity’s issues by way of this confrontational new tool called politics, something fundamentally transformational happened to the god-fearers among them.

“Already deeply spooked by their fledgling conception of an all-powerful god, and feeling a little bit more vulnerable than usual thanks to an advancing brain taking them places they weren’t ready to go, these primitive mossbacks almost immediately saw politics as a do or die proposition in which all was fair.

“In the anthropological blink of an eye the heated campaigning and the debating triggered in this new right half of the species the then more highly developed fight half of the fight or flight response. That is, in the compromised mental state caused by the chronic hyperactivity of their sympathetic nervous system they allowed the simple deep-seated Darwinian impulse to be the fittest to warp into an uncompromising need to win any and all debates and elections at any and all costs.”

Said physiognomical anthropologist Dr. Eva Chen, “In very little time, the perpetual game face these political belligerents wore gave them the brutish features we’ve come to associate with the caveman and woman.

“The hallmark beetle brow of the Neanderthal was a function of these people’s constant aggressive furrowing of their brows as they tried with less and less success to make sense of the complex real world their spleens and gall bladders were not really built for processing.”

Said Dr. Amin, “As far as we can tell based on some of the unbelievably boneheaded social and economic choices made by homo sapiens in the years before their devolving cousins died out, these harbingers of the modern day right wing became quite adept at winning politically.

“At surviving, however, not so much.” 

Friday, November 2, 2012

Nob Heads Getting Bigger

The Graphs and Charts division of the Allied Hatters and Milliners Association of Corporate America is reinforcing today the findings from a number of scientific studies showing that the heads of the so-called swells in society are literally swelling.

Said James Cavanagh from Graphs and Charts, “In some industries, for instance in banking, we’re seeing heads puff up as much as two full hat sizes and more.”

Explained Dr. Natalie Mitchell, professor of Epidemiological Studies at Princeton University, “When the Centers for Disease Control started connecting the dots on all the bigwigs if you will complaining to their private doctors that their top hats were cutting off the blood flow to their brains and their comb-overs were no longer reaching the other side, we knew we had an outbreak of spontaneous macrocephaly on our hands.

“We of course at first assumed we were dealing with a bad reaction to some new fad that had swept exclusively through elite circles. Perhaps some impossibly rare and pricey black market male enhancement potion or miracle hair growth ointment.

“We even worried that the nob class if you will had gone back to thinking drinkable gold is the mythical Elixir of Life.

“These early conjectures, however, did not end up panning out if you will. Certainly we found plenty of trendy, unbelievably expensive sovereign remedy abuse. Addiction to the powdered organs of endangered species, for example, was rampant. But none of these costly nostrums could be tied to water on the brain or cranial hyperostosis or any sort of systemic inflammatory response syndrome.

“So we handed this head scratcher if you will over to our colleague Dr. Trina Martinez in the Department of Epidemiological Psychology.”

Said Dr. Martinez, “Our first working hypothesis was that these people were collectively suffering from a hysterical swelling of the brain as a consequence of mentally beating themselves up for the unprecedented harm all their greed and their runaway sense of self-importance have caused societies and individuals across the globe.

“But we couldn’t find one single shred of evidence that these people were feeling the least bit of shame or guilt whatsoever.

“So we reasoned that the swelling must be a consequence of cudgeling their brains, as they say, to reconcile all the overwhelming evidence that they are the banes of the species with their certainty that they are its stars.

“But our fMRI studies have shown that when the ultra-rich are forced to entertain the obvious truth that the world would be a better place without them, they exhibit no more brain activity than it takes them to dismiss a butler, say, or liquidate a company.”

Said Dr. Mitchell, “The breakthrough came when we teamed up with our colleagues over in Evolutionary Social Biology. It seems that what we’re seeing is a re-awakening of a long dormant social evolutionary survival mechanism from our more communal hunter and gatherer days.

“In a collective dynamic not yet fully understood, those among our prehistoric ancestors who grew overly proud of themselves, and thus threatened to unravel the tight-knit social fabric, experienced a swelling of the head that made them quite unattractive to the females of the species, who of course didn’t exactly relish the idea of passing the huge-headed gene-delivery boys of these stone-age megalomaniacs through their birth canal and into the next generation.

“As for how much more head swelling we can expect to see in the modern-day versions of these threats to the social fabric, archeological evidence suggests that the heads of their ancestral counterparts kept growing till they exploded.

“So there’s hope.”