L. Neil Smith's
Number 198, November 11, 2002


A Manhattan~Canada?
by Lowell Potter

Special to TLE

Last night, after getting dinner variously roasting and simmering, I reclined in front of the idiot box. With a large beaker of happy juice in my hand, I would wait for the stove to do its work. Precisely plumping the pillows to facilitate an agreeable drinking posture, I tasted the first sips of my generously concocted Manhattan~Canada, a Waist Watcher Ginger Ale softened blend of fiery Northern whiskeys and institutional strength California sweet vermouth on four very large rocks.

Almost immediately I noted with satisfaction the ameliorating effects of my libation upon the miasma emanating from the small screen as I clicked through the channels with a disdainful alacrity. The televised fare this evening was particularly noxious owing to the fact that it was election eve.

Every corporate (read: government) network frequency was literally awash in obligatory, last-minute campaign advertisements, many curiously denoted by adamant exhortations to, "Call candidate So-and-so, and tell him that blah blah blah....."

What's that all about, anyway? A crazy reverse-psychology type twist dreamed up by some whiz-kid Madison Avenue suit that every election committee in the universe has muckled on to like it was the Holy-freaking-Grail?

It strikes me as being 'just plain' stupid, ....but then, what do I know?

As my drink steadily shrank, however, I noticed my revulsion and disgust waxing philosophic. After all, this little snippet in time was merely illustrative of the eternal human condition, was it not?

Power, force, control, hierarchy, position, license, corruption.... There really is nothing new under the sun. It's all been done before.

World politics and its collusionary complement, journalism, in their present modern televised incarnations, are blatantly overt planks in the obviously redundant bread-and-circuses governance platforms employed by oligarchs and plutocracies since time immemorial.

I guess it doesn't really avail any benefit to get one's panties all in a bunch over it. History is replete with inexorable proofs that power structures will feed their subjects increasingly larger and larger amounts of garbage until their hands are finally bitten. Also historically demonstrated is the sad correlation that the larger the hand that feeds, the more teeth are required to bite it to any significant detriment.

Oh, well. Thank God for the internet and books....


Yes, ....those funny little bundles of bound paper leaves imprinted with words. ( Careful now! Let's keep this down to a dull roar, lest we provoke any "officials" or offend any "victims" by the fact that some of us still enjoy the free exchange of [gasp] ...ideas!)

Meanwhile, my drink has become four tiny ice chips circling forlornly in the bottom of my glass, and a cookie-cutter MSNBC.comABCFOXnewsCCNnetwork channel announcer is zealously trumpeting the latest war on Iraq program, "Countdown to War," or something like that.

"Everything you need to know about Iraq in this special hour-long report here on blah, blah, blah", he drones on with matter-of-fact assurance. Truly, all you really need to know about Iraq is that there will soon be cruise missiles raining down there in the streets.

This war is a done deal, Brother. Aren't you watching your tv news? To the delight of the mindless and ubiquitous flag-wavers, the cowboys are gonna go in and kick some Iraqi ass! Them wimmens and childrens and motley goatherds don't stand a chance agin' these here 'smart' weapons, Mis-tah!

And we don't need no steenking badges, either! Why, ...hain't we the duly appointed guardians of God's chosen people, Israel? ...and the rightful po-leece of the whole damned wide world, anyway?

I'll go out on a limb here and predict that Saddam will slip away, probably into the same mists as our old buddy Osama, but that's O.K.. Remember, it's not really about Saddam (hell, he's one of our former employees!) ...it's all about business. Big business, ...and war is the biggest business. War is the business of government.

I got up to fix another drink.


Flight From Eden by Kathryn A. Graham - America's religious right has gone mad, but if you are looking for a political lecture, go elsewhere! Instead, let the Texas Director for Armed Females of America take you on the science fiction adventure of a lifetime. And the journey is only beginning!

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