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Reality Optional Nation

     Before retiring to a casket packed with clods of my native soil, I tuned in the Sunday night late news to find the political struggles of Araby banished from the screen. Charlie Sheen was all over the place, his defiant chin thrust forward as if auditioning for the role as our next president. more »

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Wake Me, Shake Me

     A quickening of events pulses through lands where for so long time stood still, and the oil – what’s left of it – lies locked for the moment beneath hot sands – woe upon all ye soccer moms! – while Colonel Gadhafi ponders the Mussolini option – that is, to be hoisted up more »

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White Is The New Black

     Let it be remembered that, as the world was blowing up, Fashion Week gave the New York news media a case of the vapors. But let them tell it. In the immortal words of The New York Times’s Cathy Horyn: “…amid the parkas and the managed pant-suits there was a story here: the more »

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Next

     For a month, Egypt has been a magic mirror for America to behold its own wonderfulness, like a diorama of “Freedom and Democracy” out of a Kentucky creationist museum.  In this, our hour of national narcissism, we imagine a replay of Bunker Hill, Valley Forge, and Yorktown – with a falafel on top more »

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The Mummy’s Tomb

…President Mubarak has about as much chance of sticking around his presidential palace another fortnight as a bluebottle fly has of conducting the next Easter mass at the Vatican. –Last week’s CFN blog      Oh well, poor call there. It seems that the College of Cardinals actually located an eager bluebottle fly named Franci more »

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The Earth Shifts

     Those Panglossians around the USA awaiting something like an election in Egypt are going to be disappointed. What’s going on in the streets of Cairo right now is an Egyptian election – minus the American-style trappings of corporate grift , scripted “debates,” and polling places that make our elections so satisfying.      more »

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State of Suspension

     You kind of wonder here in the flash-frozen northeast if, a few days from now, scores of dead bodies will be found in unheated trailers across the county. The Weather Channel said 20-below-zero this morning in upstate New York. I know there are people so desperately poor out there because a couple of more »

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The Great Okay-ness

     Days after the Tucson shooting, President Obama rode into town on a gooey gel of good will, but by the time the memorial service – or whatever it was – got underway, the president looked rather ill-at-ease. His speech was preceded by several others, including, for promotional purposes, the President of the University more »

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Jared Got a Gun

     Did anyone else notice that Speaker of the House John Boehner did not shed a tear when issuing his statement about the massacre in Arizona that killed, among others, a nine-year-old girl and left Congresswomen Gabrielle Giffords maimed? The new Speaker notoriously weeps when recounting his own youthful travails rising to fortune in more »

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The Moment of Convulsion

     A little ways off the curb on the Boulevard Henry IV here in Paris, you can see the memory of the Bastille outlined by a course of masonry in the pavement, in particular one of the bulbous towers of the old fortress-prison. It marks one of those threshold moments in history when things more »

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And To All a Good Night

     At this time of year, who can fail to understand the wish to forget all the woes and fiascos of our time, and to retreat into the cozy firelit nooks of Christmas, where a pint or so of grog, or egg-nog, or even seven fingers of Williams ‘Lectric Shave in an empty jam more »

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The Revolutionary Moment

           I overheard a conversation between two employees over at the Price Chopper supermarket last week. (The Price Chopper logo is a picture of a Mercury dime with an ax cleaving into Mercury’s head; in other words, an ax murder.) The supermarket employees were both middle-aged women.      First: “I’m going more »

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The Jobs Picture

      The clarion cries of “recovery” cut painfully through the crisp pre-Christmas air while the now-perpetually unemployed huddle in their tents around the Sacramento delta, and the state AGs slug it out with the foreclosure goons, and not a few mortgage payment drop-outs enjoy luxury living in McMansions with no monthly carrying costs, and more »

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Where the Black Swan Dwells

     When you’re out of the country, as I was last week, it’s good to know that the home folks are keeping up with the Kardashians and bravely venturing into the blood-splattered chambers of cable TV’s latest hit, Bridal Plasty – where candidates for marriage are transformed from Holstein cows into inflatable sex toys more »

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Gross All Over

     I was kind of relieved to be leaving the country again this week with Thursday’s Feast of Football looming, followed by the “consumer” buffoonery of Black Friday. Distance affords reflection and this is a good week to ask ourselves what, exactly, lies on the other side of this massive wall of suspense we more »

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Sixty Lame Minutes

    So, last night CBS hauled Aubrey McClendon, CEO of Chesapeake Energy, on board their flagship Sunday infotainment vehicle, 60 Minutes, to blow a mighty wind up America’s ass (as they say in professional PR circles). America is lately addicted to lying to itself, and 60 Minutes has become the “go-to” patsy for funneling disinformation more »

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Pre Post Mortem

      The poetry of dynamic forces does not lend itself to easy explication. Thought exercise: Imagine the vector of a Chevy Trailblazer and a CSX coal train of four 3000-horsepower diesel engines hauling 88 loaded hopper cars four miles north of Chugwater, Wyoming. The Chevy driver left his meth lab, say, fourteen minutes earlier more »

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Now What?

      On Tuesday, when the Republican Party and its Tea Party chump-proxies re-conquer the sin-drenched bizarro universe of the US congress, they’ll have to re-assume ownership of the stickiest web of frauds and swindles ever run in human history – and chances are the victory will blow up in their supernaturally suntanned, Botox-smoothed faces. more »

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The Tombstone Blues

       The latest version of Pretend – going on a couple of weeks now – is the nation whistling past the graveyard of mortgage documentation fraud while skeletons dance around everything connected with the money system. Halloween came early this year. The USA is getting to look like one big Masque of the more »

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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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