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The Buying of the President 2004: Who's Really Bankrolling Bush and His Democratic Challengers -- and What They Expect in Return

The Buying of the President 2004: Who's Really Bankrolling Bush and His Democratic Challengers -- and What They Expect in Return

Arrogant Capital

Arrogant Capital

Great American Political Repair Manual

Sam Smith's Great American Political Repair Manual: How to Rebuild Our Country So the Politics Aren't Broken and Politicians Aren't Fixed

American Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune, and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush

American Dynasty: Aristocracy, Fortune, and the Politics of Deceit in the House of Bush

Death in the Air: Globalism, Terrorism & Toxic Warfare

Death in the Air: Globalism, Terrorism & Toxic Warfare

The Velvet Coup: The Constitution, the Supreme Court and the Decline of American Democracy

The Velvet Coup: The Constitution, the Supreme Court and the Decline of American Democracy

into the buzzsaw

Into the Buzzsaw: Leading Journalists Expose the Myth of the Free Press

Amazon Light

Stop Policeware

Campaign for Audiovisual Freedom

Just consider what current events will sound like two thousand years from now -- the greatest nation on Earth bombing some of the smallest and weakest for no clear reasons, people starving in parts of the world while farmers are paid not to plant crops in others, technophiles sitting at home playing electronic golf rahter than the real thing, and police forces ordered to arrest people who simply desire to ingest a psychoactive weed. People of that era will also likely laugh it all off as fantastic myths...

It is time for those who desire true freedom to exert themselves -- to fight back against the forces who desire domination through fear and disunity.

This does not have to involve violence. It can be done in small, simple ways, like not financing that new Sport Utility Vehicle, cutting up all but one credit card, not opting for a second mortgage, turning off that TV sitcom for a good book, asking questions and speaking out in church or synagogue, attending school board and city council meetings, voting for the candidate who has the least money, learning about the Fully Informed Jury movement and using it when called -- in general, taking responsibility for one's own actions. Despite the omnipresent advertising for the Lotto -- legalized government gambling -- there is no free lunch. Giving up one's individual power for the hope of comfort and security has proven to lead only to tyranny.

from Rule by Secrecy by Jim Marrs

You had to take those pieces of paper with you when you went shopping, though by the time I was nine or ten most people used plastic cards. . .It seems so primitive, totemistic even, like cowry shells. I must have used that kind of money myself, a little, before everything went on the Compubank.

I guess that's how they were able to do it, in the way they did, all at once, without anyone knowing beforehand. If there had still been portable money, it would have been more difficult.

It was after the catastrophe, when they shot the president and machine-gunned the Congress and the army declared a state of emergency. They blamed it on the Islamic fanatics, at the time.

Keep calm, they said on television. Everything is under control.

I was stunned. Everyone was, I know that. It was hard to believe. The entire government, gone like that. How did they get in, how did it happen?

That was when they suspended the Constitution. They said it would be temporary. There wasn't even any rioting in the streets. People stayed home at night, watching television, looking for some direction. There wasn't even an enemy you could put your finger on.

. . . Things continued on in that state of suspended animation for weeks, although some things did happen. Newspapers were censored and some were closed down, for security reasons they said. The roadblocks began to appear, and Identipasses. Everyone approved of that, since it was obvious you couldn't be too careful. They said that new elections would be held, but that it would take some time to prepare for them. The thing to do, they said, was to continue on as usual.

from The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

By the time Oscar reached the outskirts of Washington, DC, The Louisiana air base had benn placed under siege.

The base's electrical power supply had long since been cut off for lack of payment. The aircraft had no fuel. The desperate federal troops were bartering stolen equipment for food and booze. Desertion was rampant. The air base commander had released a sobbing video confession and had shot himself.

Green Huey had lost patience with the long-festering scandal. He was moving in for the kill. Attacking and seizing an federal air base with his loyal state militia would have been entirely too blatant and straightforward. Instead the rogue Governor employed proxy guerrillas.

Huey had won the favor of nomad prole groups by providing them with safe havens. He allowed them to squat in Louisiana's many federally declared contamination zones. These forgotten landscapes were tainted with petrochemical effluent and hormone-warping pesticides, and were hence officially unfit for human settlement. The prole hordes had different opinions on that subject.

Proles cheerfully grouped in any locale where conventional authority had grown weak. Whenever the net-based proles were not constantly harassed by the authorities, they coalesced and grew ambitious. Though easily scattered by focused crackdowns, they regrouped as swiftly as a horde of gnats. With their reaping machines and bio-breweries, they could live off the land at the very base of the food chain. They had no stake in the established order, and they cherished a canny street-level knowledge of society's infrastructural weaknesses. They made expensive enemies. . .

Louisiana's ecologically blighted areas were ideal for proles. The disaster zones were also impromptu wildlife sanctuaries, since wild animals found chemical fouling much easier to survive than the presence of human beings. After decades of wild subtropical growth, Louisiana's toxic dumps were as impenetrable as Sherwood Forest.

from Distraction by Bruce Sterling


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Saturday, May 24, 2003

Tom DeLay used the FAA to track down one of the AWOL Texas Demos [Agonist]

3:54 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

You get the impression from this article that cloud-seeding before Russian parades (and weather manipulation in general) is old news -- it's news to me [drudge]
Vladimir Stepanenko, head physicist of St Petersburg's Geophysics Observatory, said: "Our aim is to empty all clouds of rain before they hit the city borders." Such practice may strike awe into the heart of every rain-soaked Brit, but Russians take "cloud-bursting" for granted, having enjoyed its benefits over public holidays since Stalin gave the order to research weather control in the 1930s.

Over decades, the observatory in St Petersburg has developed techniques to dispel clouds, divert hailstorms from harvests, arrest avalanches, disperse fogs from airports and bring rain to drought-afflicted regions.
Which makes you wonder about rumors that NASA and whoever in the US have gone even further. . .

3:27 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

Friday, May 23, 2003

14 Defining Characteristics of Fascism [Samuel Morales Jr.]
1. Powerful and continuing expressions of nationalism
2. Disdain for the importance of human rights
3. Identification of enemies/scapegoats as a unifying cause
4. The supremacy of the military/avid militarism
5. Rampant sexism
6. A controlled mass media
7. Obsession with national security
8. Religion and ruling elite tied together
9. Power of corporations protected
10. Power of labor suppressed or eliminated
11. Disdain and suppression of intellectuals and the arts
12. Obsession with crime and punishment
13. Rampant cronyism and corruption
14. Fraudulent elections
No this isn't the whole story of what's going on.

But go ahead and tell me it isn't . . .

8:28 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

Nice piece by Pepe Escobar on the Bilderbergers
The Bilderberg mingles central bankers, defense experts, press barons, government ministers, prime ministers, royalty, international financiers and political leaders from Europe and America. Guests this year, along with Rumsfeld and Perle (US Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz is also a member) included banker David Rockefeller, as well as various members of the Rockefeller family, Henry Kissinger, Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands, Queen Sofia and King Juan Carlos of Spain, and high officials of assorted governments. The Bilderberg does not invite - or accept - Asians, Middle Easterners, Latin Americans or Africans.


There are innumerable shady, still unexplained connections between the early Bilderberg club and the Nazis, via Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands, the father of Queen Beatrix, who founded the club in Bilderberg in 1954 (the name is taken from a Dutch hotel), aiming to "increase understanding between Europe and North America". Bernhard was a member of Adolf Hitler's SS. One of the founding members of the Bilderberg is Otto Wolff von Amerongen - who actively improved business links between Germany and the Soviet bloc and served on 26 boards of directors, including Deutsche Bank. Few people know him - and perhaps for some good reason: he has been linked to the Nazi's theft of Jewish holdings before and during World War II.


An influential Jewish European banker reveals that the ruling elite in Europe is now telling their minions that the West is on the brink of total financial meltdown; so the only way to save their precious investments is to bet on the new global crisis centered around the Middle East, which replaced the crisis evolving around the Cold War.


Europe's elite, according to those close to Bilderberg, are suspicious that the US does not need or even want a stable, legitimate central government in Iraq. When that happens, there will be no reason for the US to remain in the country. Europe's elite see the US establishing "facts on the ground": establishing a long-term military presence and getting the oil flowing again under American control. This could go on for years, as long as the Americans can guarantee enough essential services to prevent the Iraqi people from engaging in a war of national liberation.

2:32 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

"The truth is the more democratic the Saudis become, the less cooperative they will be with us. So why should we want that?"

Asia Times reprints an excellent article by Stephen Zunes on the ethically challenged but venerable -- and now increasingly fragile -- relations between the US and Saudi Arabia
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has traditionally been the most important US ally in the Arab or Islamic world. It is run exclusively by a royal family that allows neither public dissent nor an independent press. Those who dare challenge the regime or its policies are punished severely. There is no constitution, there are no political parties, and there is no legislature. It was under such an environment of repression that Osama bin Laden and most of his followers first emerged.

Long shielded by the monarchy's willingness to supply the United States with cheap oil, to subsidize the US arms industry with major weapons purchases, and to make lucrative deals with other major US corporate interests, the US has allowed this family dictatorship to get away with practices that would have been considered unacceptable from almost any other country.


Fifteen of the 19 September 11 hijackers were Saudi, most of the al-Qaeda leadership is Saudi, and much of the money trail has already been linked to Saudi Arabia. By contrast, none of the hijackers were Iraqi, no one in the al-Qaeda leadership is Iraqi, and none of the money trail has been linked to Iraq. Yet the administration of President George W Bush and the leaders of both parties in Congress insisted that Iraq - and not the pro-American Saudi government - had to be the priority in the "war on terror".
So aside from the black gold, cultivating terrorism -- indirectly of course -- serves both regimes.

2:21 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

No end to Chechnya quagmire for Russians
The latest deadly explosions in Chechnya clearly show that Russia is not winning its war. Moscow cannot afford either to lose Chechnya or to continue a protracted conflict there for long. Russian President Vladimir Putin has indicated he will opt for a "Chechenization" of the war. His new strategy aims to give pro-Moscow Chechens broad powers to govern and fight there while isolating the diehard Islamic militants. While with some strong points, this plan is unlikely to change much in Chechnya since the militants' supply channels will not be cut.

1:50 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Thursday, May 22, 2003

British MP framed as recipient of money from Saddam [u]
Papers offered for sale in Baghdad were said to prove the Glasgow MP took millions of pounds for supporting the Iraqi dictator.

But the documents, offered by former Republican Guard General Salah Abdel Rasool, contain obvious mistakes.

A scrawl claimed to be Mr Galloway's signature on "receipts" has no similarity to his real one.

The operation, revealed by the Mail on Sunday, also threw up glaring misspellings of Iraqi officers' names and mistakes in the title of Saddam's son Qusay, also said to have signed the document.

10:04 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

Am I in Wonderland or what? file:

Christian/Jewish Zionists say "Roadmap for Peace" is heresy
A Washington conference of Christian and Jewish Zionists yesterday heard attacks on the U.S. "road map" for peace in the Middle East as a breach of a 4,000-year-old covenant between God and Israel.

"The land of Israel was originally owned by God," said Gary Bauer, president of American Values and a Republican presidential contender in 2000. "Since He was the owner, only He could give it away. And He gave it to the Jewish people."

10:01 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

Pentagon can't account for a trillion dollars in financial transactions plus millions in ordnance [u]

9:54 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

New, large-scale federal study finds drug screening schoolkids has no effect -- despite Supreme Court rulings based on deterrence outweighing privacy [u]

9:49 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

America spirals into fascism file:

Pre-emptive arrests of activists spreading to other areas
An unnamed eye witness described the raid at the Bolozone, a co-housing project on Illinois Street. He saw 6 vehicles arrive at the house during breakfast. Several cop cars, an inspector's car, a large truck (empty) and a board-up truck (carrying boards to board up the house) arrived. The cops put zip-ties on everyone and arrested about 10-15 people. The inspector went through the house, which is undergoing rehab to keep the house up to code, and looked for violations. The police began to remove things from the house, including 16 bicycles, duffel bags, stilts, tools from the workshop, and puppets. One cop took a beer bottle from the house and put a rag on the top, and showed it to the other cops, saying he'd found it that way in the house (implying that it was a Molotov cocktail). Other cops were placing candles into sponges and putting them in the house.

9:43 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

American soldiers vandalize world's oldest city [u]
Ur is believed by many to be the birthplace of the prophet Abraham. It was the religious seat of the civilisation of Sumer at the dawn of the line of dynasties which ruled Mesopotamia starting about 4000 BC. Long before the rise of the Egyptian, Greek or Roman empires, it was here that the wheel was invented and the first mathematical system developed. Here, the first poetry was written, notably the epic Gilganesh, a classic of ancient literature.

The most prominent monument is the best preserved ziggurat - stepped pyramid - in the Arab world, initially built by the Sumerians around 4000 BC and restored by Nebuchadnezzar II in the sixth century BC.

The Pentagon has elected to build its massive and potentially permanent base right alongside the site, so that the view from the peak of the ziggurat - more or less unchanged for 6,000 years - will be radically altered.


There are reports that walls have been damaged by spray-painted graffiti, mostly patriotic or other slogans, and regimental mottos. One graffiti reads: 'SEMPER FE' - Always Faithful - the motto of the Marines, who stormed through this region on their way to Baghdad, and form a contingent at the base.

Other reports by groups who cannot be named for fear of losing access to medical patients being treated on the base say there has been widespread stealing of clay bricks baked to build and restore the structures at Ur.

9:26 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

The Vinnell Corporation appears to be the target of the recent and '95 Saudi bombings [Undernews May 16, as were the last 2 posts]
The Vinnell operation represents everything that is wrong with the U.S.-Saudi relationship in the eyes of anti-monarchist revolutionaries. The corporation, which employs ex-military and CIA personnel, has close connections with a series of U.S. administrations, including the current one. It has had a contractual relationship to train the Saudi Arabian National Guard since 1975. The corporation was instrumental in the American "Twin Pillars" strategy, whereby both the Saudi Arabian regime and the Shah of Iran would serve as U.S. surrogates in the Gulf region to protect American interests against the possible incursion of the Soviet Union.

Even before the first Gulf War, when the United States established a formal military presence in Saudi Arabia, Vinnell was a "stealth" military presence in the Kingdom. It was seen as a military colonizing force. The Saudi Arabian National Guard, by extension, was seen as a de-facto American military force.

Additionally, the Guard has the specific duty of protecting the Saudi Royal Family, which the revolutionaries see as corrupt. Without the National Guard, the family would be weakened, perhaps to the point of dissolution.
Here's the Name Base page.

2:11 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Don't cry for Argentina -- get pissed off

How the IMF/World Bank/US et al dissembled Latin America's most equitable society and created the abyss between rich and poor that exists today

1:58 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

The Nature Conservancy -- exposed recently as a fake front for corporate pillage -- scrambles furiously, like a clumsy, depraved flasher, to limit the damage

1:54 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Nice TMW: "The Republican Matrix"

1:06 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

New documents show Bayer knowingly sold hemophiliac medicine tainted with AIDS to Asian and Latin American markets for a year [drudge]
The documents -- internal memorandums, minutes of company marketing meetings and telexes to foreign distributors -- reveal and chronicle Cutter's decision to keep exporting the older product after it began making the new one, which was heat-treated to kill H.I.V. The heat treatment rendered the virus "undetectable" in the product, according to a government study. (There are few available records documenting the actions and decisions of the three other American-based companies that also sold unheated concentrate after offering a heated product.)

Doctors and patients contacted overseas said they had not known of the contents of the Cutter documents. Bayer and other blood-product companies, though admitting no wrongdoing, have already made some payments to foreign hemophiliacs. It is unclear if Bayer could now face legal liability specifically for selling the older product after a safer one was available.

Federal regulators helped keep the overseas sales out of the public eye, the documents indicate...
Nice one.

Little experiment with population control guys?

12:29 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Wednesday, May 21, 2003

Pentagon spins police state surveillance program

The good news is they'll probably never get it to work.

10:05 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

The American Police State file:

6 French journalists visiting the US to cover a video game convention, are harassed, interrogated and deported

9:36 AM - [Link] - Comments ()


Haven't really felt like posting much lately. It's been coming on for awhile.

So it might be pretty quiet here.

12:51 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Monday, May 19, 2003

Link to pdf (318k) of ACLU report "Freedom Under Fire", on abuses of dissenters since 9/11

10:46 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

Americans for a Society Free from Age Restrictions

12:48 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Lobbyists spend $130,000 per legislator a year -- but you'll never know the way laws are now [u]
More than half the states received a failing grade for their registration and spending disclosure requirements filed by legislative lobbyists. In fact, no state received an "A" on the Center's 48-question survey. Washington State came in at the top, garnering 87 out of a possible 100 points. Pennsylvania scored a zero because the state's court system rendered the lobby statute null and void in 2002, leaving lobbyists virtually unregulated and the public completely in the dark.

12:39 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

1 out of 8 grads walk out on Santorum at commencement

12:17 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Sunday, May 18, 2003

A hidden factor in the Israeli conflict: water [u]
Mr. Fuller and Mr. Zakaria, like most observers in America, said nothing about the relationship of water to the independent Palestinian state. But access to water will define the nature of that state, and in so doing, the nature of Israel as well.

Over half of Israel's water comes from territories conquered in the 1967 War. For years, Israel has been consuming more water than nature is replacing - and now it is in the third year of the worst drought in over 100 years. The Sea of Galilee is at the lowest level in recorded history. The water level in the mountain aquifer is near or below its red line - the level below which nature cannot replenish itself. Salt water is seeping into the coastal aquifer after years of over-pumping, causing irreversible damage. Israel has been driven out of Lebanon, the only state in the region with a water surplus.

Israelis consume well over three times as much water per capita as the Palestinians. The ratio between settlers and Palestinians is even more unequal, as much as five or six to one. In Gaza, per capita Palestinian consumption is at least 30 per cent below the minimum standard of 100 litres a day set by the World Health Organisation.

How would a separate Palestinian state on the West Bank and Gaza affect the water budget of Israel? It would sit on top of 90 per cent of the replenishment area feeding the mountain aquifer - the underground reservoir that flows from the highlands in the West Bank to the lowlands in Israel. According to Israel's Prime Minister, Mr. Ariel Sharon, this aquifer supplies one-third of Israel's water. Today, Israel consumes over 80 per cent of its annual flows. Under international law, establishing an independent Palestinian state on top of the mountain aquifer would make that aquifer an international waterway. The Palestinian state would be an upstream riparian, giving it a claim on this water. To be sure, Israel would have downstream water rights - but those rights would be like Mexico's water rights to the Colorado River. The unequal distribution of this water would give the Palestinian state a powerful moral as well as legal claim to a far larger share of this water.

2:41 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

"Scaring people about their health is one of the country's most profitable industries, but it also drives up health costs something fierce."

Sam Smith on the ill effects of American health paranoia
In short, medicine has done a fine job of improving America's longevity but it is slowing down. The hyping of health problems - and declaring tens of millions of people to be ill or health-impaired for one reason or another - reflects far more a cultural and commercial choice rather than a health one. And it is a choice far healthier for drug companies than for citizens.

2:13 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

Silence on the Mountain: A Story of Terror and Forgetting in the Coffee Fields of Guatemala

David Stoll's review of Daniel Wilkinson's new book on terror, evangelism, and feudal capitalism in Guatemala is a good primer on its political travails
Coffee is one of those tropical commodities with more history than most of us care to think about. Coffee and its opportunities were what persuaded Guatemala's horseback caudillos to proclaim a liberal republic in the late nineteenth century. Coffee required the land and labor of the country's Mayan Indian population for new plantations. Coffee enabled Guatemala's upper classes to claim to be a modern nation on the basis of a semi-feudal labor system. And along with the proverbial banana, it was coffee that brought about a national land reform, the CIA's destruction of which in 1954 led to a guerrilla war that concluded only recently.

Ever since the Eisenhower administration ended Guatemala's most credible experiment with democracy in 1954, the country has attracted foreigners looking for a revolution to right this and other wrongs. Despite the coffee economy's importance, researchers tend to stay in the capital or to head for picturesque Mayan towns in the congenial, spring-like highlands. And once installed there, they rarely descend to the suffocating humidity of the coast, where agribusiness reigns, or to the coffee piedmont, where, until the recent collapse of coffee prices, much of the Mayan population spent part of the year as plantation labor. Consequently, little has been published about the conflict between the army and the guerrillas in the coffee region.

1:37 PM - [Link] - Comments ()

US Army Major relieved of duty for trying to protect Iraqis' freedom of speech [xymphora]
The U.S. Army issued orders for troops to seize this city's only television station, leading an officer here to raise questions about the Army's dedication to free speech in postwar Iraq, people familiar with the situation said. The officer refused the order and was relieved of duty.

The directive came from the 101st Airborne Division's commander, Maj. Gen. David Petraeus, who has ultimate authority in Mosul and the rest of northwest Iraq, the people familiar with the matter said. They said it was aimed at blocking the station from continuing to broadcast the Arabic news channel al-Jazeera.

2:41 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

EPA repeatedly slammed by seniors on "cost-benefit analysis" that devalues those over 70 [u]
The acrimony that developed at meetings in Tampa, Pittsburgh, Iowa City, San Antonio and Los Angeles prompted EPA Administrator Christine Todd Whitman to cut her losses when she took the podium in Baltimore. Before any seniors could upbraid the agency again, Whitman said the EPA would no longer use the analysis that attaches less value to lives of senior citizens when it does calculations to figure out the benefits of environmental rules.

Normally, the EPA uses $6.1 million as the value of life in all its calculations, regardless of age. The alternative approach first prominently used in a clean-air policy initiative early last year reduced that value to $3.7 million per life, and then $2.3 million for citizens over 70. Critics seized upon it as the "senior death discount."

One group circulated a flier before the Baltimore meeting saying the EPA calculated "Seniors are Worth 3/5 of a Person."

1:51 AM - [Link] - Comments ()

Nebraska factory workers expected to make up time lost during shrub speech [u]

1:48 AM - [Link] - Comments ()


from Sassafrass (9/23/02)
"Unconventional viewpoints at 'charging the canvas'

Opinions that will ruffle feathers, from someone who clearly knows their way around information and the blogosphere."

Blog of the Day


In the eyes of posterity it will inevitably seem that, in safeguarding our freedom, we destroyed it; that the vast clandestine apparatus we built up to probe our enemies' resources and intentions only served in the end to confuse our own purposes; that the practice of deceiving others for the good of the state led infallibly to our deceiving ourselves; and that the vast army of intelligence personnel built up to execute these purposes were soon caught up in the web of their own sick fantasies, with disastrous consequences to them and us.

-- Malcolm Muggeridge

Next the statesmen will invent cheap lies, putting the blame upon the nation that is attacked, and every man will be glad of those conscience-soothing falsities, and will diligently study them, and refuse to examine any refutations of them; and thus he will by and by convince himself that the war is just, and will thank God for the better sleep he enjoys after this process of grotesque self-deception.

-- Mark Twain

(link to list against Iraq War)


Philip K. Dick


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questions, questions...
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insound (music and mags) (books & music cheap)
Web Source Sales (ink carts cheap)

Invisible Web search


[Get Opera!]


They were past the motels now, condos on both sides. The nicer ones, on the left, had soothing pluraled nature-names carved on hanging wooden signs, The Coves, The Glades, The Meadowlands. The cheaper condos, on the right, were smaller and closer to the road, and had names like roaring powerboats, Seaspray, Barracuda's, and Beachcomber III.

Jackie sneezed, a snippy poodle kind of sneeze, God-blessed herself, and said, "I bet it's on the left, Raymond. You better slow down."

Raymond Rios, the driver and young science teacher to the bright and gifted, didn't nod or really hear. He was thinking of the motels they had passed and the problem with the signs, No Vacancy. This message bothered him, he couldn't decide why. Then Jackie sneezed and it came to him, the motels said no vacancy because they were closed for the season (or off-season or not-season) and were, therefore, totally vacant, as vacant as they ever got, and so the sign, No Vacancy, was maximum-inaccurate, yet he understood exactly what it meant. This thought or chain of thoughts made him feel vacant and relaxed, done with a problem, a pleasant empty feeling driving by the beaches in the wind.

from Big If by Mark Costello

*       *       *       *

Bailey was having trouble with his bagel. Warming to my subject, I kept on talking while cutting the bagel into smaller pieces, wiping a dob of cream from his collar, giving him a fresh napkin. "There's a pretense at democracy. Blather about consensus and empowering employees with opinion surveys and minority networks. But it's a sop. Bogus as costume jewelry. The decisions have already been made. Everything's hush-hush, on a need-to-know-only basis. Compartmentalized. Paper shredders, e-mail monitoring, taping phone conversations, dossiers. Misinformation, disinformation. Rewriting history. The apparatus of fascism. It's the kind of environment that can only foster extreme caution. Only breed base behavior. You know, if I had one word to describe corporate life, it would be 'craven.' Unhappy word."

Bailey's attention was elsewhere, on a terrier tied to a parking meter, a cheeky fellow with a grizzled coat. Dogs mesmerized Bailey. He sized them up the way they sized each other up. I plowed on. "Corporations are like fortressed city-states. Or occupied territories. Remember The Sorrow and the Pity? Nazi-occupied France, the Vichy government. Remember the way people rationalized their behavior, cheering Pétain at the beginning and then cheering de Gaulle at the end? In corporations, there are out-and-out collaborators. Opportunists. Born that way. But most of the employees are like the French in the forties. Fearful. Attentiste. Waiting to see what happens. Hunkering down. Turning a blind eye.

from Moral Hazard by Kate Jennings

*       *       *       *


When the sashaying of gentlemen
Gives you grievance now and then
What's needed are some memories of planing lakes
Those planing lakes will surely calm you down

Nothing frightens me more
Than religion at my door
I never answer panic knocking
Falling down the stairs upon the law
What Law?

There's a law for everything
And for elephants that sing to feed
The cows that Agriculture won't allow

Hanky Panky Nohow
Hanky Panky Nohow
Hanky Panky Nohow

-- John Cale

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