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The Surrealist Vista

     Some profound seismic infarction deep in civilization’s very soul – brought on, no doubt, by the sludgy buildup of vast swindles and frauds – now propels deadly tsunamis toward the land masses where money dwells. And when they break over the shorelines of banking and capital, little may be left standing.      more »

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Bank Shot

     The banking authorities were shocked – shocked – to discover last week that an awful lot of mortgage paper in this country is not quite in order… appears to contain, er, irregularities… seems less than kosher… frankly, exudes an odor like unto dead carp or, shall we say, a heap of dead carp the more »

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Full Bore to the Vanishing Point

            Last evening at twilight I was driving my rent-a-car up Interstate Five north of Seattle with a vivid testicular fear of being trapped in the very metaphor of a failing society racing into a dark future. All around me loomed the monuments of an out-of-control financial credit Moloch – the tilt-up more »

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The Disservice Industry

     Let’s put aside for a few moments the moral insanity of anyone – myself for instance – flying in airplanes hither, thither, and yon in order to make a living. Don’t worry, we’ll return to this. But for now, let’s just consider the exorbitant sadism of the airlines and the quality of experience more »

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Puke Time

     Our county fair put me in mind of that American classic, Moby Dick, this year. So many white whales among the try-pots bubbling with rendered blubber, where crews of savages from all corners of the world toiled to bring forth batter-dipped Mars bars, Pop Tarts, corn dogs, funnel cakes, and other rarities of more »

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Scary People, Scary Times

    In that order. The scary people have already started coming out of the woodwork. The times lately have been mostly uncertain, but soon they’ll turn scary, too, as it becomes clearer that the people running things in the USA have no idea what’s going on or what they’re going to do about it — more »

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In The Headlights

     The toils of summer are bygone now. The days grow shorter and America stands in the darkling road of its own prospects like a dumb animal frozen in the blinding light of approaching fury. The White House must be a strange place these days with the management of the USA turned over to more »

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One Lump Or Two?

           Here come the Corn Pone Nazis!      Fox News entertainer, former drug addict, and professional weeper Glenn Beck took center stage at the Lincoln Memorial exactly forty-seven years to the day after Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech for a rally dedicated to “restoring honor,” which is tea more »

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What I Did On Summer Vacation

     Oh what a mighty spewage of vinyl weighs heavy on this land!      A dark mood spread through the body politic like a septic infection last week in response to bad numbers in employment, housing, and commerce, not to mention unease about the now complete takeover of the stock market by robot more »

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Vacation Special — Excerpt from “The Witch of Hebron”

    The Witch of Hebron is the sequel to World Made By Hand, a story of the post-oil American future. It is set in and around the town of Union Grove, Washington County, New York. The time is several months after the action in the first book, the week before Halloween.       This excerpt more »

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The Queasy Season

      A scarlet tinge colors the Virginia creeper, the Canada geese grow restless out on the fairways, an ominous canapé fatigue spreads through the Hamptons, and cyclonic weather blobs march west across the Atlantic – you know that time of the year has arrived. Fall approaches on busy feet. The name itself suggests slippage. more »

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Skidding Toward Fall

     This economy has a destination for sure, but it’s not in the direction where all eyes are trained in moist hopefulness: that glimmering horizon of longed-for growth. You will not get that kind of growth — the kind that increases the overall wealth of the organism in question. A few people will make more »

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What Is It?

     The New York Times ran a story of curious import this morning: “Mel Gibson Loses Support Abroad.” Well, gosh, that’s disappointing.  And just when we needed him, too. Concern over this pressing matter probably reflects the general mood of the nation these dog days of summer – and these soggy days, indeed, are more »

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What If He’s Right?

       Just when America was celebrating the provisional end of BP’s Macondo oil blowout, and getting back to important issues like Kim Kardashian’s body-suit collection, along comes Matthew Simmons with a rather strange and alarming outcry on doings in the Gulf of Mexico that contradicts the mood of renewed festivity, as well as more »

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Where Have We been? Where Are We Going?

       On a hot Saturday in mid-July in my corner of the country, when everyone else is cavorting on Million Dollar Beach at Lake George, or plying the aisles of the home Depot, or riding their motorcycles in faux-outlaw hordes, I like to slip away to the neglected places where nobody goes.  I more »

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My Tea Party

     Now that congress has passed a fake financial reform bill that will accomplish absolutely nothing to correct a recently engrained culture of swindling, I want to start my own tea party. I don’t want to associate it with the other tea parties that have already formed because I am allergic to much of more »

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Say What?

           I think America missed something. It must be the time of year, what with inhaling all those fumes from the charcoal starter… and fueling up the Jet-skis so as to turn a perfectly good mountain lake into something like a Cuisinart on the guacamole setting… and the rousing evenings in the more »

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Mismanaging Contraction

     Lesson of the Macondo:  Blowout preventers don’t prevent blowouts. This comes as a shock to people attuned to the on-schedule arrival of techno-miracles. Now, all the acronym-studded invocations of techno-mastery by men wearing interesting hats will not avail to put the schnitz on an epic horror show in the Gulf of Mexico.     more »

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Fierce Urgency

     The exquisite morbidity of the BP oil spill has concentrated the collective national mind like few other events in this ongoing long emergency. How many times a day does it occur to you — perhaps while sitting in traffic, or oogling some girl in a nearby cubicle, or cruising the freezer stacks in more »

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Which Horizon?

     Did the nation heave a sigh of relief when BP announced that their latest gambit to “cap” the Deepwater Horizon gusher will result in hosing up fifty percent of the leaking oil? If so, the nation may be sighing too soon since the other half of the oil will still collect in underwater more »

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Welcome Home To Slum Nation

     It’s sad to be a citizen of a nation that can’t do anything right. While BP was fumbling its “kill shot” into the Deepwater Horizon hole, and the dying pelicans were flopping in the poisoned marshlands, and rumors seeped across the Internet that nothing short of an atom bomb would avail to stop more »

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Out of Darkness

     If the Devil created an anti-city, a place where people would feel least human, Atlanta would surely be that place — despite the prayerful babble of tongues emanating from the evangelical roller rinks at every freeway off-ramp. One might think: Los Angeles, but that city at least came up with the amenity of more »

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Something Happened

     Everybody in the world is broke, except for maybe Lloyd Blankfein, and he may not end up broke so much as broken — by a political meat-grinder that is revving up to turn the world’s woes and swindles into a new kind of Long Emergency sausage, to be distributed among the roiling, angry more »

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And Chicks for Free?

     The European Union came up with a trillion dollar bail-out for itself at the dawn’s early light. Plus, each member gets a Latvian prostitute, gratis. The Germans will love this. It already goosed the Euro back above $1.30 — just when they hoped a lower Euro would help them move a few more more »

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Worse Than 1789?

     Senator Levin pretty much had Goldman Sach’s Lloyd Blankfein dead in a casket with that now-notorious email from GS’s head of sales and trading, Tom Montag, describing one of their billion-dollar investment “products” as “one shitty deal.”  Levin seemed to delight in crossing the boundary into the realm of the unspeakable, knowing that more »

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