The NSA Tapes

Aquarian Weekly
5/24/06
REALITY CHECK

THE NSA TAPES – Reality Check News & Information Desk Hotline Tapped

NSA TapesEditor’s Note: Due to a gaping loophole in the Freedom of Information Act, the following transcripts on private conversations between members of the Check Staff and/or James Campion, with outside sources compiled by the NSA, were obtained and sent to press unedited for the purposes of authenticity. Our legal department omitted last names and referenced names for obvious reasons. Do not be shocked. This could be you.

MARCH 7 – 11:23 AM Incoming call from Jack C.

Melissa (staff bully): Desk, can I help you?

Jack C (stalker): Where’s Campion?

Melissa: We don’t know. We never know. It’s best that way.

Jack C: But I have to speak to him. What’s his cell number?

Melissa: Cell phone? No. No cell phones. You have to use Morse Code.

Jack C: Morse code? Who the fuck uses Morse code anymore?

Melissa: Campion. Morse code – hard to trace and easy to save incoming information.

Jack C: I’m not going to…

Melissa: It’s simple, dim wit, just always remember a dash is equal to two dots and the space between parts of the same letter is equal to one dot.

Jack C: But I don’t have an instrument…

Melissa: And please don’t forget that the space between two letters is equal to three dots. And if you want to really piss Campion off, put more than a single space between two words, because that equals five dots. Five dots! Get it?

Jack C: Ma’am…

Melissa: Are you writing this down, suckfish? (line breaks up here)

APRIL 12 – 2:45 AM Incoming call from Parker P.

Carl (nervous intern): Desk?

Parker P (actress): Never mind, I need to speak to the managing editor, please.

Carl: Ms. xxxxx?

Parker P: You know who this is. I cannot be kept waiting!

Carl: Everyone is asleep.

Parker P: You’re not asleep.

Carl: I’m standing guard.

Parker P. I got problems.

Carl: Call the cops.

Parker P: It’s not that kind of problem. I need money. Tell Campion I need money. Just tell him it’s The Thing. He’ll know what I mean. The Thing. Don’t screw this up. There’s a time situation here, and it’s closing in.

Carl: Do you know what time it is, Ms. xxxxx?

Parker P: I’ll ask the questions here! Tell Campion to wire money to a Western Union station outside of Toledo for The Thing! The goddamned Thing! Make it a rush. In fact, I might need double.

Carl: Perhaps tomorrow…

Parker P: Listen to me, shithead! Some serious stuff is going down, and I’ve got to have this money, and I’ve got to have it before dawn! Otherwise there’s no deal! And I’m telling you right the fuck now, if Campion gets wind that I called and asked for the cash for The Thing and you didn’t wake him, and we miss out, he is going to blow a stack. And then I’m going to drive up there and beat the mortal snot from you with my bare fists. Do you understand me now? (call is cut short here)

APRIL 22 – 5:47 PM Incoming call from the Village Voice

Erin D (wife): What?

Unidentified Village Voice Editor: Wow, you’re answering the phone now? I thought Campion made you up.

Erin D: He did, go away.

VV: We need copy on this McDougal Street Flasher piece.

Erin D: What part of go away didn’t you comprehend? I’m up to my ass in shutters right now and I’m no secretary.

VV: Why did you answer the phone then?

Erin D: Seriously, I’m going to find you and make you pay. Do I even like you?

VV: I’m pretty sure we’ve never met.

Erin D: I know you. Didn’t I whip you in an arm wrestle at Chumley’s?

VV: That wasn’t me, that was xxxx xxxxxxxx.

Erin D: Right. I snapped that boy’s tendon right in half. Pretty good for a five-foot, 97- pounder. I love when men think they can take me. I bet I can take you.

VV: Can you at least take a message or let the machine pick up?

Erin D: Nah. (dial tone here)

MAY 14 – 9:35 PM Incoming call from Peter B.

James Campion: Yes?

Peter B (gadfly): What’s up.

JC: Nothing. You?

Peter B. Not much.

JC: Sounds good to me.

Peter B: Watching the Yankees game.

JC: Got the NBA on. Rooting for Lebron. Wife’s a big Pistons fan. She’s kicking me in the shins every time King James gets to the rack. And he’s getting to the rack, son. Ow!

Peter B: She’s sick.

JC: Why I married her.

Peter B: You know what the hell’s going with this Carl Pavano character?

JC: I think he’s in the witness protection program.

Peter B: He’s been out for a year. They say this is second or third rehab after he fell on his buttocks covering first base in March. His buttocks. Fell. Two months for that.

JC: Jacked on steroids.

Peter B: Likely.

JC: The King for three…! Yes! Hey, put that down… (sounds of struggle here, communication interrupted)

May 16 – 4:19 PM Incoming call from Dan B.

Dan B. (songwriter): Maestro.

JC: Admiral.

Dan B: You know, every couple of weeks I wander into a bookstore and head right for the fiction section and look to see if there’s a new J.D. Salinger.

JC: He hasn’t published anything since 1963.

Dan B: I know, man, The Four – There’s always just the holy, sacred four. That’s all there ever is, or will ever be – just those. But why?

JC: Maybe that’s all he had in him.

Dan B: I can’t accept it. How can anyone that good at something, that incredibly brilliant, just bag it? It’s Salinger we’re talking about! Salinger!

JC: Maybe he still writes, but hates publishers. I hate publishers. I really hate publishers.

Dan B: So? It’s not like Salinger would have to go on a book tour and sit at Barnes & Noble and sign books for three hours or go on the Today Show. He’s friggin’ J.D. Salinger!

JC: Maybe he hates writing. I pretty much hate writing. No, wait, I love writing. On third thought, I hate it.

DB: He has to realize he’s cheating the world. He has too. To be that great at something and kill it off. Halt it. It’s like a suicide. It’s creative suicide. He killed off Seymour Glass and that was it.

JC: He probably writes every day and has hundreds of stories, dozens of novels, and no one will see them until he dies and then his kids will exploit his legacy.

DB: They say he writes ten thousand words a day, and has been since the mid-sixties.

JC: I think that’s kinda romantic, pounding out tons of work for no one, for no cash. He’s obviously clinically mad. That’s it – he’s a nut. Or maybe he’s writing under an assumed name.

Dan B: Thomas Pynchon. Yeah, Thomas Pynchon is Salinger’s pen name.

JC: Maybe Dan Brown. Salinger wrote “The Da Vinci Code”.

Dan B: He writes for TV sitcoms now.

JC: Hey, I’ve got an idea. Let’s become terrorists.

Dan B: Okay. (high-pitched squeals over the line – agents crash in)

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Speed Generation

Aquarian Weekly 5/17/06 REALITY CHECK

SPEED GENERATION All Day, All Night, All Right

Red BullHigh-octane living. That is what we’re about now. No more Turn On/Tune In/Drop Out, no more experimental Kool-Aid-Cheerios-Converse-Pop-Rocks-Freeform-Do-What-Feels-Good-Me-Decade or Voodoo Economics or Roaring Flappers or Over There. This is the Speed Generation – the ultra-caffeine, triple-shot of espresso, double-frappuccino, long-lasting, nighttime-crushing, dawn-stealing, success-driving, ball-busting sprint for sprint’s sake. Higher workforce, focused producers, motivated consumers, and multi-tasking marauders fueled on the best stuff science can cook.

Stimuli.

Yeah.

I’m into big-time energy: Rocket blaster sort of eye-twitching, teeth-grinding, hand-shaking, blood-thinning, heart-pounding speed. I’m speeding right now. Can’t you tell? Can’t you…tell? Jesus, man, catch up. Fast. That’s how I ride. Not ride. Cruise. Not cruise. Burn. I burn. Burning. Racing. Grabbing mine. Grabbing before the other guy grabs. Grab. Grab. Grab. No more lagging. No more lollygagging. No more sitting around watching the wheels and smelling the goddamn roses, bitch! Quickness is in. Quickness and bulk.

We are a nation of fat people who move! Heart-taxing, fast food chompers who double as world-class speed freaks. We eat fast and we work fast and we play hard, really hard – all-night-fucking-long kinda hard. The heart MUST deal. Stop us. I dare you. Stop us.

Death Race 2006.

Bitch.

Give us something that picks us up, gets us going, rides the lightning, brings the pain…IS IT IN YOU?

I have a necklace sponge drenched with some Asian shit call XanGo. They tell me it’s pure gelatinized equine adrenaline glands. I suck on it hourly all day long. It’s a kick, let me tell you, like electroshock therapy without the odious ember scents.

It’s in me, big time. All at once: Red Bull, Venom, Adrenaline Rush, 180, ISO Sprint, and Whoopass. Gallons of Whoopass, chased with Mountain Dew Amp. I dig on an absinthe smoothie laced with Kabbalah and Steven Seagal’s Lightening Bolt. Last week I soaked a headband in a liquid concoction called Tunguska Blast, but made the crucial mistake of boiling Cherry Charge and spiking it with something Anheuser Busch is calling “Energy Beer”. Unfortunately I was forced to throw up for six hours straight. I’ll tell you though, dehydration is a wicked rush.

Hey, I’m like you. I started off with a pedestrian amount of coffee, some Dunkin’ Donuts, some Soy Lattes at Starbucks. Recreational usage. Occasional weekend warrior. I used to think that gave me the shakes, spiced up my REM sleep. Then I did some Red Bull and gin, and then vodka, and tequila, whatever. Better, but not best. Until nothing could sustain anymore. Endurance. That’s the ticket. You MUST ride, man. So it was onto dangerous mixtures of questionably legal cocktails for me, until…face it, I’m a human chemical spill – like Barry fuckin’ Bonds, without all the nasty head growth. Strong. Stronger. Strongest.

Got Ephedrine…Guarana…Ginseng?

Viva la Internet. You can buy anything online. Mail Order Brides, Plutonium, Holy relics blessed by Sukiis, fresh placenta, torpedo launchers, diamond cock rings, Indonesian child slave labor, 1952 NY Yankees World Series Trophy, free range lemurs, anthrax poster board, Allen Ginsburg’s skull, you name it.

And you can buy bloated vats of perfectly legal speed.

I have a necklace sponge drenched with some Asian shit call XanGo. They tell me it’s pure gelatinized equine adrenaline glands. I suck on it hourly all day long. It’s a kick, let me tell you, like electroshock therapy without the odious ember scents.

I also make it a point to bathe in Hansen Purified Energy Water. I rub it on my genitals all the time. Try it. I dare you.

You ever spread pure authentic South African Hoodia Gordonii all over a raw steak, then throw it in a blender at high speeds and suck it through a straw? Energy drink? It’s Energy Squared with a protein infusion that causes your brain to bend slightly off kilter. Tibetan monks call this state “living in the in-between.” I call it morning. The resultant effect is that of hugging a torturous mountain turn on a badly tuned motorcycle with bald tires at 100 MPH. Now you have some idea of what kind of kick 130-proof Hoodia can offer your nervous system.

Now we’re talking.

I can write 10,000 words in 40 minutes on Bally Blast sports energy shakes, although this stuff gets right on top of me. I’m not sure if I’m writing or taking dictation from The Voices. Flowing along swimmingly, pounding out the good stuff, and the next thing you know I’m spitting out guttural brays like a wounded kookaburra, a haunting sound at 2 am for any adult human to make. Have you ever heard that kind of noise and expect to just roll over and go back to sleep? Not with a head full of liquid crank and a weak grip on the senses. It’s a little scary, like force-feeding a kindergarten class PCP. It’s a serious shock for sure, but a welcomed shock nonetheless.

Of course none of the work is coherent or usable, but much of it ends up in this space. Sorry. No time to edit. No time at all. Let those paid for that kind of patience take care of it. Rearview mirrors are for suckers, rearview mirrors and brakes.

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james campion.com

Aquarian Weekly 5/10/06 REALITY CHECK

PRAISE BE TO OIL BARONS Why Chairmen Of Huge Oil Companies Should Be Worshipped As Gods

And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land Canaan, for an everlasting possession; and I will be their God. – Genesis:17-8

Our LordI have finally found religion, and with it, a god I can bank on. The religion? Oil profits. The emissaries of this god are the chairmen of the companies showing these miraculous, some might say, sanctified profits. Yahweh has nothing on these guys. Allah? A piker. Jesus? Well, he did say, “Our father who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.” Of course he was talking about retired Exxon Mobil CEO, Lee Raymond, who recently collected a $400 million send-off package. This is not a typo. $400 million. Really. What invisible omnipotent monotheistic patriarch can deal with that? None. What new age nonsense peddled by nincompoops like Tom Cruise can provide this kind of beatific joy? Nada. The Bible says Abraham was a grossly wealthy man, but even he couldn’t hold a menorah to Lee Raymond.

If there is such a thing as a kingdom of heaven it resides at Exxon Mobil, and/or Conoco or Chevron, who have all reported records profits over the past calendar year and recently set all-time records for cash flow. These companies are not just in the black, they are in the deepest of black, the blackest of all black, or as Nigel from Spinal Tap might say, “None more black”.

How black, smoky?

According to the Wall Street Journal, the bible of our new and improved religion, this past January, Exxon posted the highest quarterly profits of any public company in history: $10.71 billion for the fourth quarter of 2005 and $36.13 billion for the full year. The highest profit margin in history. History! These people are printing money. Not even drug dealing, pornography, or gambling rakes in that kind of scratch.

This is why the American people see this as some sort of crime. It has to be. “The rich bastards are insatiable fiends!” Bullshit. Not a crime – perfectly legal, or the perfect crime, if you will. Perfection. This is the aim of all the world’s religions. But they suck air compared to this. I dare say sex sucks air compared to this. Can we call it the greatest thing known to living man? Sure. Why not? World record profits from something as asinine as refining a natural resource? It’s insane, but true. It makes raising Lazarus look like a bad David Blaine Special.

Profit is no crime. It is masterful business practice. It is as pristine as transmogrification. Better. Transmogrifying is crap. Ascending into heaven? Why? When you can have more money then, say, God? Yeah!

All big-time oil companies are riding high, but the true god is Exxon Mobil Corp. This past week they posted the fifth highest quarterly profit for any public company in history, and with oil prices above $70 a barrel it could go down as the company’s weakest quarter of the year. It’s a goddamn down turn and they’re in the top five earning periods ever! Stockholders are outraged! “Christ, what has become of our golden cash cow? Send Moses up the mountain for a few more tablets!” Thou Shall Not Point The Graph Downward.

Raymond forbid.

Profit is no crime. It is masterful business practice. It is as pristine as transmogrification. Better. Transmogrifying is crap. Ascending into heaven? Why? When you can have more money then, say, God? Yeah!

Remember, all of the world’s religions started out as some kind of crime against the cultural landscape. Have an open mind here. It’s all I ask. Jehovah’s Witnesses are always yammering on and on about eternal rewards. To hell with that, jack, true rewards come in the black gold!

These numbers are so off the charts and gas prices are rising at such an alarming rate that Congress is now investigating and the president is making speeches standing at the pumps. Congress? The president? Are we supposed to buy that these whores aren’t on the take? All of a sudden after years of generous government appropriations, environmental regulation rollbacks, conglomerate tax breaks, and Middle East wars that there isn’t enough moolah to spread around? Right. And the AMA isn’t pushing Pfizer products. Halliburton isn’t making a windfall from dead soldiers. Yes, sir. Everyone is innocent.

The perfectly legal crime.

No crime. Religion. Feel the love. Open your hearts and wallets. Past the basket! Praise the Petroleum! Give ’til it hurts. Volatile flammable liquid hydrocarbon mixtures for believers! Infidels be damned!

Face, it, the only crime here is that you and me aren’t in on the take. You pump uncontrollably into these gas-guzzling monstrosities I see you dingbats trying to parallel park on Third Avenue, and for every gallon the gods take in 9.5 cents. Nearly 10 cents a gallon profit! And then they grease these robotic anti-environmental, capitalistic mouthpieces to defend your right to own as big a vehicle as you want. “Don’t let the tree-huggers tell you that you can’t drive a Hummer! Drive whatever you please! As long as it takes gasoline, sucker. Lost and lots of gasoline.”

Have you accepted Exxon Mobile as you personal savior? Well, then…you’re shit out of luck, pal. Get on board. Get born again! It’s all the rage. But instead of some silly non-profit salvation, you get to buy mansions with high brick walls and moats and sail yachts and purchase small islands in the pacific so you can treat people like lepers.

I read in last month’s Forbes that Chevron’s CEO David O’Reilly pulled in $37 million in total compensation last year while doing the moonwalk across the main office’s water fountain. He might have healed the sick and the lame, but you won’t find too many infirmed at the company picnic this year. Their souls are safe as milk.

Business Week also ran a series this past winter on James Mulva, Conoco Phillips’ CEO, who received $17 million for a Christmas Bonus. There is no truth to the rumor that he was visited by three wise men, but there is plenty of evidence he was able to move several miles of the Rocky Mountains rather than take the long walk himself. “Fuck Mohammad,” Mulva proudly stated. “He only moved one mountain! I moved a whole friggin’ range!”

Later in the six-page spread, Dick Chaney was incensed to find an unflattering artist’s rendering of Mulva in the Washington Post. The vice president was quite adamant that any cartoon depiction of Oil Barons would be grounds for death. Many Chevron employees considered rioting, but they were too busy at the bank.

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Iran Crisis A Fraud

Aquarian Weekly 4/26/06 REALITY CHECK

IRAN CRISIS IS A FRAUD No Sense Wasting Valuable Paranoia On Macho Bullshit

Mahmoud AhmadinejadSometime very soon Americans will finally be sick and tired of hearing about the Middle East and its nations’ collective religious, political and cultural madness. Maybe not tomorrow or next week, or perhaps not even by 2007, but the time is coming. Sooner than you think. It became tiresome eventually for the French and the British, and soon we will tire of it. There’s only so much theocratic nonsense one can stomach before giving up and leaving them to their bad craziness. Oil keeps us interested, and 9/11 opened many eyes, but really, what are we dealing with: A few hate-mongering sand cretins and Qur’an fanatics? Nothing Israel can’t handle with a little leeway from the UN and a back-turning exercise from the United States. All gone. Soon.

Let’s get this out in the open right away: Iran is no threat to anyone. Let them develop nuclear weapons or energy, or whatever it is going on over there. The Russians are all for it. Of course they are, it’s their only hope to secure the region from either complete chaos or U.S. colonialism. Right or wrong, that’s how they see it. We screwed them out of millions when Hussein went belly up. We’ve got troops all over the desert. It’s only fair they get a dog in the fight. So throw them a bone.

Granted, Iran is a loony bin. It’s run by atavistic royal Pooh-Bahs horny for international attention and scared shitless the Big Bad is going democratic next door in Iraq. We know now this is why Saddam lied to everyone about weapons, whether he had a few or not, because he was pretty sure (and right on the money, actually) that it was just a matter of time before the Iranians would waltz across his border and rape his land. He had it coming. Back before the whole Kuwaiti thing, Hussein tried invading Iran. He claimed it would take 48 hours. Eight years later he limped back and chose another enemy, one less dangerous, the U.S. That is until the spring of 2003 when it all went sour and he’s now reduced to ranting like a cartoon character before doomed judges. Soon he will hang and that will be that. Thankfully.

Go ahead and tally up the potential devastation. I dare you. Know this: The Iranians will not come out on top.

But as far as Iran taking over as “The New Threat”, many familiar with the region and the country’s capabilities for war know it pales in comparison to what Israel holds and is more than willing to use at the drop of a hat. And pretty soon, if someone is wacky enough in this crumbling administration to will it, there could be word that they’ll have to fend for themselves. And once the IDF gets the green light, they will point the finger at Iran. Go ahead and tally up the potential devastation. I dare you. Know this: The Iranians will not come out on top. Not even the most fervent Allah freaks can allow that, and certainly not Vladimir Putin and the Russians. No one wins a war with Israel. They trail only us and the Chinese for missile tonnage.

Why do you think Captain Shoo-In is huddling with Chinese President Hu Jintao? We need a crazy buddy. The Chinese are crazy. Really crazy. Crazy rich too. We’re into the Chinese for so much cash I’m pretty sure they own the Pentagon and Fort Knox by now. Which is good for me. Let them deal with the horrendous fallout of the past three years. We’ve got American Idol finals to cope with.

But enough about our Boy President, he’s looking more and more like a flat broke black jack loser stumbling into the hock shop looking to pawn daddy’s watch for one more hand. His wild ride on this bloated national debt has made him China’s cabin boy. He’s a goddamn deadbeat with Nixon-like approval ratings. If the Democrats manage to steal Congress back in November, he’ll be impeached and spend his remaining White House time lawyering up the place. It’s the Israelis who will take over soon. And the Israelis are 2-0 in these things.

About a dozen Arab nations, some all at once, tried to take on the Israeli Defense Force twice, and both times it was not much of a fight. Sure they want to wipe out the Jews, but you know what? They can’t. Not today, not tomorrow, not ever. And if they insist on it, everything will be gone. Then we’ll have to get those Hybrid cars up and running. But history tells us the rich and powerful sitting on billions in their lavish palaces rarely put it on the line for a losing cause. This has only happened once, right here, 240 years ago, when the rich land barons took on Mother England to avoid taxes. But an ocean separated the combatants, not a border or two. You wonder how far George Washington’s rag-tag militia would have lasted if England was, say, Canada.

This brings us to this asinine speculation that the U.S. can and will threaten to use force against Iran. This is not going to happen, even if the military wasn’t already embroiled in several Middle Eastern fights. It is nearly impossible invading Iran. For one, it’s four times the size of Iraq with three-times the populace, and we’re having enough trouble there. Secondly, we’re not ruthless enough to deal with these maniacs. We’d be building hospitals and starting governments in no time. Meanwhile, the remaining sickos will be ramming jeep explosives into tents. It’s a nightmare that only works once at the expense of America’s sons and daughters. I’m pretty sure Cindy Sheehan would get her own network late night show if that happens.

Look, I’m all for fearing maniacs. Try North Korea. This is one steaming pile of trouble harboring no compunction to reduce us to cinder, and they have the backing of the aforementioned Chinese, who are biding their time until we are completely dead broke from war games and have to sell them the mid-west at rock bottom prices.

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Scooter Libby Will Sing

Aquarian Weekly 4/19/06 REALITY CHECK

SCOOTER’S SONG Who Will Lewis Libby Bury To Stay Out Of The Stockade?

Rove Damage ControlIt’s looking more and more as if Lewis “Scooter” Libby is going to sing. He is no Ollie North. He’s more like John Dean. And just as both of those gentlemen were caught in the whirlwind of Washington power plays, he will have a choice to make: Take one for the team or twitter like a canary. Of course Libby’s front may be the most egregious of all, because it is the kind of muss and fuss which normally accompanies a furious ramp-up for war. Ah, but when the music stopped, and all the chairs had been taken, the man his buddies once affectionately called Scooter was the sucker left to take the fall. But, the thing is, on the way down Libby decided he would not go alone.

This latest furor over the president’s leaking of “classified” information that wasn’t necessarily “classified” because the president can declassify anything he wants is only the beginning. There will be more. I am told by very reliable sources, much more. It will doom the Republicans on Capital Hill come fall and put the final nail in this lame duck second term, which has all but flat-lined anyway.

Writing in this space eight years ago, it was at this crucial point in the Monica Lewinsky mess that I knew Bill Clinton was more or less finished. The wild flim-flammery of the definition of certain verbs and skewed timelines had the distinct odor of guilt. I did not require any taped mia culpas or stained dresses. The jig was up for the Minister of Fun right then. He was on the trail of no return. And that is where we find Captain Shoo-In, the Boy President. He is done for, in more ways than one.

The deeper ramifications of this “he said/he said/they said” nonsense reside in what Libby is willing to do to stay out of prison. Does it mean he goes after the CIA, George Tenet, blast open the case for war, the strangely vacillating intelligence reports, read and then misread and finally compiled for the UN under the masquerade of back-room dealings? Does he take the case inside the White House; break out the details of weird meetings with Saudi kings and EXXON bagmen burning up the direct line to the oval office? Does Libby take down his boss, the unflappable Dick Cheney, who has managed to shake up the power structure in this administration time and again on every foreign policy decision since the towers came down in lower Manhattan?

A figure this powerful with serious connections in Washington cannot be trusted to handle the pressure of being locked up. The man has already claimed fractional dementia with clinical memory lapses. He’s fainted more than once during inquisitions and there is mounting evidence he has harmed himself in several ways to elicit pity. He is a loose cannon by any stretch of law-speak.

Where does Mr. Libby’s story end?

Not even Libby’s lawyers know. A figure this powerful with serious connections in Washington cannot be trusted to handle the pressure of being locked up. The man has already claimed fractional dementia with clinical memory lapses. He’s fainted more than once during inquisitions and there is mounting evidence he has harmed himself in several ways to elicit pity. He is a loose cannon by any stretch of law-speak. He can say anything, and anyone you talk to surrounding this case tells you he will say anything.

The best the administration can do now is paint Libby as insane, jabbering with fear and unable to handle the notion of going to prison, stammering on about smear campaigns, faulty premises for war, and hazy memories of the vice president stumbling around the halls of the White House in the middle of the night drooling like an animal, brandishing a shot gun, and calling Junior out for a showdown. “Jesus, just to think of a proud man like I. Lewis Libby struggling to free himself from a straight jacket fills us with a sadness we cannot bear. We pray for he and his family and wish him a speedy recovery from his delusions.”

Believe me when I tell you Karl Rove is not going let a message boy like Scooter Libby bring down his president. Pretty soon you’ll hear some pretty graphic stories about Libby’s secret stash of amphetamines and his preternatural proclivity for young boys. Oh yes, it will be disturbing, and make you wince to think of a deviant like Scooter Libby working side by side with a great American like Dick Cheney. The pure sensationalism alone will make you forget about any real crimes

And you can be sure the disseminator of this information will not be dumb enough to allow anyone to reveal his identity. And to think all of this to intimidate and discredit Joe Wilson’s criticism of the Iraq War; terribly cheap tactics like the Daniel Ellsberg/Pentagon Papers leak that drove Richard Nixon into the kind of despicable acts that dwarf all others. The Bush people, most notably Rove, believed Wilson was a threat to national security. Robert Novak was on the payroll. There isn’t a journalist in Washington who would refuse to go on record to confirm that. Novak would take cash from the Flat Earth Society to pen a scathing expose on Galileo’s cross-dressing obsession. Hell, I would do it for half price.

Threatening Wilson through his wife’s connection to the CIA was two-fold: Send shockwaves through the place the way Kennedy did after the Bay of Pigs disaster or Nixon did when Howard Hunt, a former CIA man, lead a trail of deceit right to Pennsylvania Avenue, and then put the fear into Wilson.

This is an age-old routine, using the press to smear opponents. Thomas Jefferson did it every chance he could. It’s inexpensive and effective and the citizenry tends to buy it. However, as history has proven in many ways, Jefferson was no dummy. He employed one of the most powerful and brightest political minds of the era to bludgeon his enemies, leaking half-truths, weird innuendos, and downright lies to the press for a laugh. James Madison, author of the Federalist Papers and a future president, was Jefferson’s mad dog, not some insipid crony named Scooter. This is just another glaring example of how the political gene pool has gone in the shit can these past 200 years.

The good news is no one on George Bush’ payroll is as conniving as Madison, not even Rove, who has become as overrated as James Carville. The bad news is these idiots are as bungling as advertised. The rest of this story rests in what the vice president’s assistant is willing to divulge and its eventual collateral damage. But the mere notion this is not a house of cards is way off the mark. It’s just a matter of time now.

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Immigrants Equals Cheap Labor

Aquarian Weekly 4/12/06 REALITY CHECK

VIVA LE CHEAP LABOR!

Immigration ReformAs Congress nears its eventual vote on illegal immigrants gaining amnesty and/or probation, we must remember what this body of government represents; the whole of the republic, a republic built on the strength of free and cheap labor. Let’s face it, kids, without slavery none of your big empires make it out of the garage. Whether we’re talking Egyptians, Greeks, Romans, Great Britain, you name it, there’s slavery involved. Good way of building and maintaining a bottom line. Free labor and war, these are the bedrocks of any decent empire. We have ours, and its history is littered with it.

We’re the Big Bad because we got people to do the shit work for free. And when that went kablooey with the razing of the South, we imported others to do the shit work for practically free. Then unions were formed, and that went the way of the Charleston. We ran out of victims, so we let them sneak in and had them work for peanuts. Now some 11 million illegal immigrants currently living in this country predominantly survive by doing the kind of manual labor card-carrying citizens refuse to do or do for living wages, for next to nothing.

These people are everywhere. And right now as you read this, a preponderance of them are being exploited.

Illegal immigrants = Illegal workers = Illegal employers.

Wowie, do we have a fine mess, Ollie.

Until recently, they were invisible, however. They don’t pay tax, but how much tax could they possibly pay? And they don’t have benefits, but how many benefits could they earn? They were the big white elephant in the corner, even after 9/11, when Americans were horny to export and expunge and vilify anyone not “on the team”. But now its time to “fix it”. Fix what, exactly?

What are we really voting on here?

The continued use or abuse of desperate people to do anything – anything – to avoid returning to their native land? Or is this a referendum on finally securing our borders? Perhaps it’s some kind of nifty do-over, like after the Civil War, when half the country’s “citizens” were criminals. But, hey, what are you going to do after 600,000 people are massacred? Do over!

So, what are we really voting on here?

Survival 101. It goes on all over the globe. No one is exempt. Keep the wheels greased and the engines moving. Not everyone can live in the big house. Some people have to push the broom. You gonna push the broom, princess?

People? We’re not voting on people. Business is the business of this country. People are flotsam. It’s the Calvin Coolidge two-step, quite popular in the halls of this government, the very foundation of it, in fact. Not only do rich snobs use illegal immigrants to raise their little crawling trophies, (god forbid we clean junior’s ass) companies also hire them for construction, landscaping, and whatever mass employment lends to keeping costs down and production up.

Cost down. Production up.

These are not just tenets of good business, they are tenets of a good economy, a solvent economy that lends and borrows and makes war, trades and deals and makes due. Survival 101. It goes on all over the globe. No one is exempt. Keep the wheels greased and the engines moving. Not everyone can live in the big house. Some people have to push the broom. You gonna push the broom, princess?

It’s not about people. Never is. People are table scraps in the grand buffet of profit. Collateral damage. It’s about money, bubba. Everything is about money. For instance, if the law means anything, there should be a mass evacuation of these people. Not affordable. Perhaps securing the borders. Too expensive. You wanna build a wall around this country? Whose gonna pay for that? You? Me? These bankrupt, in-debt-to-the-tits federal budget gorgers? Right. Next week.

The other inescapable element of this whole “voting on amnesty” farce is it does not bode well for this nation to be freeing people of other nations while kicking out the impoverished immigrants. Especially since this is a nation of people rank with despot ancestry either kicked out of other countries, on the lamb, yanked from the jungles, escapees of some kind of genocide or refugees from the kind of abject poverty that had the huddle masses traveling countless miles for countless months with nary a piss pot while entire families waited at home for the first post card from Golden Street, USA.

I’m proud to say I am the offspring of that last bunch, yearning to breathe free and get to work in the sweatshop for five-cents an hour. Dragging your garbage around so you won’t have to see it. Yeah, I have that coursing through my blood, Jack. It feels good. Makes you want to see somebody else get a break. Right?

As I write this there is a story coming over the wire that the Senate has some kind of descending penalty plan. If you are in the country illegally for five or more years, you get to take a test for a green card. If you are in for more than two or les than five, you have to do laps and forty push-ups or whatever, and if you just busted in, you have to go back. In other words, anyone breaking the law for longer, gets preferential treatment. I would love this if it didn’t screw up my plan to renounce my citizenship and then sneak into the country to avoid paying taxes. Damn it!

But don’t worry, those who are sent back can apply for citizenship, and when they pass they can be dumped on our streets to try and survive on meager wages while donating forty percent of it to Social Security and Federal and State taxes. Then they’ll run back out and sneak back in again.

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Andy Card We Hardly Knew Ye

Aquarian Weekly 4/5/06 REALITY CHECK

MR. MOJO SINKING

Goodbye DeadweightThus, we will begin the coronation on what has in recent years proven to be, if nothing else, an entertaining embarrassment: The Second Term. Seeing how second terms have not been kind to any president in my lifetime, to say I have every confidence it will end in disaster is to barely scratch the surface of the girlish excitement that rattles my bones. And those who didn’t live through Watergate, Iran-Contra, or may have forgotten the beauty of 15 months of Monica Lewinsky and Kenneth Starr, could not fully understand the opportunity it provides cynical old political junkies like myself. SECOND TERM MADNESS Captain Shoo-In Gets a Rousing Rubber Stamp (Issue: 11/12/06)

Andy Card is small potatoes. As Chief of Staff, he was impotent in this whole mess, and his sacking (resignation/firing/retirement) will be of small significance to any proposed “shake-up” the frightened Republicans on the Hill have been calling for. Seven months remain for the GOP to defend its power in Congress, seven months for this president to rise from the ashes as another second-term causality, and seven months for things to appear radically different before the hammer comes down and the wheels spin in the other direction.

History tells us it’s sooner than later, but I maintain, with redistricting and retirements and other unforeseen mishaps this summer, it will be nearly impossible for the Democrats to take back the legislative branch of this government and put the Bush Cabal up on trial, as fun and apt as all of that might seem. But it doesn’t mean the dents have not become irrevocably deep or there isn’t this one-way-street type of speed-addled careening out-of-control vibe that has taken hold in the Beltway now. Reversals are out in ’06. It’s time to stand in the fire and take it like champs.

People still basically like Bush, they just think he is a lousy president, like everyone around here loving former NY Jets coach, Herm Edwards. He was a funny guy, likable, the kind of chap you want over for a beer. He just couldn’t coach a football team worth a damn.

So this Reaganian dumping of the main staffer, Card, for damaged goods, budget director, Josh Bolten, doesn’t have the same resonance it once did. Donald Regan had the old man’s back, making calls, smoothing over the curious. He had to go. Iran-Contra was patently criminal. Wrong, for sure, but with a gargantuan heaping of corporate arrogance that ended up ceremoniously defecated on the Constitution. It was not lying about war, or reactionary John Wayne tactics, or the badly formulated war-hawk nonsense we have here. This is fucked, yeah. The sheen is off the apple, jack, but it ain’t enough bloodletting for yours truly.

A lot more people are going to have to go to jail for that to happen, and that is not going to happen. Not on this planet, smoky. Down here we lobby like a motherfuckers, provide the lip service, and then throw the mild mannered to the wolves. Good advice if you’re taking on water, can’t get the vehicle up to speed. Survival guide tactics; throw off the useless weight, and then, according to our boy president, the new baggage will be in charge of cleaning some more house.

According to former adviser to both Bushes, Mary Matlin, “The president’s given (Bolten) full license to remove or to recalibrate for the purposes of re-energizing and getting our mojo back.” Matlin went on to tell CBS News there would be more changes, but what that would do in regards to “changing any mojo”, she was not entirely certain.

Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist told the Washington Post, Bolten “rides motorcycles” or some other insignificant claptrap, and that’s good enough for me. I’m used to it. It tickles me in the private places I enjoy. But where is the mojo, son? Gone hiking with the credibility sherpa and a parade of hungry huskies trying to get the hell out of here before the final shovel-full of dirt comes down?

Holy shit, that was way too many conflicting metaphors, even for this space. Ignore it. They’re only words, like mojo, or budget director or recalibrate. None of them have anything to do with the fallout that is The Second Term. They’re merely symptoms, like the media.

Ahhh, the ugliness has now hit home. It ain’t the media after all. We came late to the dance. We gave this gaggle of hubris-mongers a free pass, and now lookie here, it’s a goddamn gaffe and the approval ratings are Nixonian and Carteresque, and soon when the history comes due on this rampant disjoint generations will wonder who the hell was minding the store.

Look, Card had nothing to do with the run-up on Iraq or the fallout of Katrina or the Dubai extravaganza or the Medicare Bill that will soon reap the whirlwind of bankruptcy. He did not have his fingerprints on anything to do with sailing past the law of the land on wire-tapping the citizenry, which is likely to end in impeachment proceedings unless the Democrats are left out of the barn. And this country is not ready for any kind of reprimand or even censure of the commander in chief. People still basically like Bush, they just think he is a lousy president, like everyone around here loving former NY Jets coach, Herm Edwards. He was a funny guy, likable, the kind of chap you want over for a beer. He just couldn’t coach a football team worth a damn.

And speaking of sports farces, this whole cleaning house/infusing new blood stuff on Pennsylvania Avenue is as flaccid as Major League Baseball’s “investigation” into steroid use. What a joke this is. What are they investigating, something we already know? Too late, bub. Genie has left the bottle never to return. I have a good idea, let’s take away home run records and pennants and MVP awards, and let’s get all the owners to give back all the money these chemical spills brought in, then let’s run the commissioner out of town on a rail.

You know what this all is, you fans of politics and baseball? White noise. Muzak to relax yo mind and float downstream.

Tap your foot and get in step.

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Jane Siberry at Zankel Hall

 

Aquarian Weekly 3/22/06

GLIDING THROUGH THE ETHER
JANE SIBERRY / ZANKEL HALL 3/11/06

New York, New York

Jane SiberryEmerging out of the winged shadows like a Beat diva from the fog of Warholian lore, accompanied by the strains of pre-recorded strings and the faint echo of birds, singer-songwriter, Jane Siberry settled into ninety minutes of free-form poetry, a cappella yearnings, an engagingly dry wit, and an eclectic spectrum of song styling which seemed oddly comfortable in the Broadway surroundings. As a storyteller, Siberry has few peers, as a poet she floats random association headfirst into a post-modern cul de sac, but as a songstress, and most chillingly, as a vocalist, she is one of the finest I have ever seen.

Alone on piano and acoustic guitar for most of the performance, Siberry deftly, almost too comfortably, commanded the auditorium as if she were literally born in mid-lyric. Her expression as art, body and soul is astounding to witness, as esoteric as a Sixties drifter and as elegant as a pre-war siren. Confronted by the sweet caress of the melodies, woven with dissonant jazz chords and vicious key changes, it is not hard to fit her songs, or her supple voice, into any era, any genre. Even the drawing of her breath pulses in key.

The intimate surroundings of Zankel Hall, and its rapt audience, framed the perfect canvas for the willowy Siberry, who demurely announced during several encores that she is championing a new way to sell her music: an on-line “self-determined” pricing of her 10-plus CD catalog, including live recordings. “I am restless to reduce the abyss between the audience and the artist,” she gleefully announced amid cheers.

The set, partially and beautifully, backed up by a quartet of violin, cello, French horn, and oboe, illustrated the point perfectly. Each song – strike that – each note was presented with the utmost care and attention to detail. The ensemble buoyed such goose-bump inducing numbers as “You Don’t Need”, “I Paddle My Canoe”, the wonderfully moving, “In My Dream”, and the brilliant, “Love is Everything”.

Siberry, the consummate composer with a unique reverence for the spoken word and a subtly to emote, adroitly eschews the pretension of the eccentric artist for the transparent minstrel: songs as parables, poems as mirrors.

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High School Tries President

Aquarian Weekly 3/22/06 REALITY CHECK

PRESIDENT ON TRIAL AT LOCAL HIGH SCHOOL Batten Down The Hatches, The Kids Are Taking Over

To be filed under the increasingly over-crowded Asinine Over-Hyped Paranoia heading this week, we have the case of a Parsippany High School 12th grade politics and government class under fire. The students, and their 37-year-old teacher, Joseph Kyle, are being vilified in the press, and the fast dwindling rah-rah home team Bush apologists for conducting a “hearing” on the “war crimes” of the president. Okay. So? What the hell is the problem here? People who defend Bush are offended? Descent American outraged? The very foundation of our democracy challenged?

This is a goddamn High School. If the Daily Record, a Morris County newspaper here in NJ, didn’t run the story, and the always-banal Drudge Report didn’t post it on the Internet, who would care? It’s an academic exercise, nothing more. No one is actually putting the president on trial for anything, and if they did – still a distinct possibility – it is unlikely to be run by teenagers.

Although…?

Liberal bias among faculties of both college and high school run amok!

That’s the hue and cry from heavy breathers like Joe Scarborough, who has a Herculean enough effort filling 42 minutes of air time with his limited broadcasting skills, mawkish interviewing acumen, and overall grappling with articulation daily on MSNBC. This makes his desperate attempt at a personal crusade against using taxpayer money to brainwash children with liberal agendas understandable. It’s just not plausible.

The same teacher, into his ninth, and heretofore-uneventful year, at the school had a similar trial against Bill Clinton during his impeachment hearings at Montclair High School. Scarborough might remember Big Bill. He was president when the now talk show host was a member of the Gingrich Revolution. He might still be up on Capitol Hill wasting taxpayer money himself if he wasn’t such a dipshit.

So as Scarborough’s “guests” went haywire in the usual talking-head spurious clap-trap raid on sanity about how a high school is no place for this kind of anti-American blah, blah, blah, we decided to investigate further. Imagine that? Actually researching a subject before babbling like incontinent hyenas. I think I’m onto something here.

Upon further review, Kyle’s class is an advanced placement elective, wherein the general lesson plan is “to explore current events and foreign policy in an interactive way”. So it’s precisely the place for this type of progressive inquiry into the deeds and results of authority and government. The only item these nimrods on the Scarborough goober-fest can protest to is the class is not a propagandized blur-machine of patriotic nonsense. They have a point there. Other than that, they’re idiots.

The other rant that has permeated the outrage of this innocuous event, is that our taxes pay for this. Yes, and if you had any idea the utter wasteland that is the education system in this country, especially at the high school level, there could be trouble. But there isn’t much trouble, because you have no idea. And that’s good. Lord knows we do not need any violent uprisings now. The economy is fragile enough.

The least of our problems is that we pay for children to expand their minds on controversial subject matter, and, once again, I maintain that the damning of a president’s actions during war is not all that controversial. I defy you to name a president from Lincoln on down that did not commit some form of war crime. Then you might have a story. But you can’t, so don’t try. The bigger problems with our tax money being dumped into an education netherworld are a subject for another column. It does not belong here, other than to point out the absurdity of this counter-argument about school kids play-acting.

Enter the gutless hierarchy, as is the custom in media outcries. This week’s reactionary coward will be played by Parsippany-Troy Hills School District, interim superintendent, James Dwyer. Poor guy is interim. Talk about unlucky. Dwyer decided, logically, that playtime would continue, but a verdict by a “five teacher international court of justice” will not be rendered. Whatever the hell that is. In other words, let’s protect the system from goofy lawsuits or continued bashing by keeping the faculty out of it.

Well, that is a rousing endorsement for enlightened thinking, and standing by your principles, or principal, whatever the case may be. An excellent lesson for all young people: First sign of trouble make with the lip service. Every student should aspire to this kind of hedge betting. It’s the kind of gamble that lands the high rollers on the discount bus from Atlantic City, but does not engender faith of any kind in our educators.

Although I vaguely recall similar gutless weasels in high positions when I roamed the hallowed halls of state schooling. It brings back sweet memories. Mediocrity for all and all for mediocrity!

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Asterisk Nation – Dan Bern

Aquarian Weekly 3/15/06 REALITY CHECK Guest Columnist – Dan Bern

ASTERISK NATION Look In The Mirror, It’s Barry Bonds

Barry BondsHaving already beaten this particular lifeless steed into oblivion some 13 months ago, almost to the day, I decided to place a call into the badlands and rile up my brother-in-arms, Dan Bern. The man this space affectionately anointed The Admiral some years ago has become my favorite songwriter, author of a damn fine book I helped fashion to some degree, and an award-winning sports columnist. But I didn’t call on him for any of those reasons. The man loves Barry Bonds. True love. Unconditional amore. Sick. Unwavering. Enviable.

This week Sports Illustrated printed excerpts from a book due later this month by San Francisco Chronicle scribes that details Bonds jacking himself with every known steroid to modern man for some seven years. This has caused a furor among baseball purists who want his miraculous 2001 single-season home run record of 73 to be stricken from the record, or, if possible, place an asterisk next to his name in the all-time list, of which Bonds is fast approaching number two with a bullet.

But for Bern, the SF Giants are his team, and Bonds, his man. He will follow both into the bowels of hell, an offer he once proffered to me after a night of too many in the desert. I might take him up on it some day. For now, he gets the floor.

jc

 

So you want to put an asterisk after his name. Fine. Put an asterisk after his name. As long as his name’s still up there, put anything you want after it. Barry Bonds.* Or is it Barry Bonds*. Asterisk then period, or period then asterisk? I think the last one’s right. Asterisk then period.

Why does it have to be an asterisk? How about an ampersand? Barry Bonds&.

Barry Bonds%.

Barry Bonds@.

That looks pretty good. Barry Bonds@.

What did he do, really? Violate a drug policy that was never in effect? You know he looked at McGwire in ’98, with bovine calves, and figured, man. If that big ox can take whatever he’s taking and hit 70, what would a truly great player hit? Namely me? Barry Bonds^. Not bad.

Barry Bonds^, Rafael Palmeiro^ and Jose Canseco^.

How about the senators who led the grand inquisition? How about the Zoloft, Ativan, Prozac, Levitra in their veins when they’re legislating? Do they get asterisks, too?

John McCain*. Elizabeth Dole*. Tom Delay**:{&!

In fifteen years, when genetic engineering really gets going, steroids are going to look like Chicklets.

Where do we draw the line? What is not a performance-enhancing substance? Contact lenses? Double frappuccino? Viagra? Bee Pollen? Gatorade? One-a-Day? In fifteen years, when genetic engineering really gets going, steroids are going to look like Chicklets. And what about Steffi Graf and Andre Agassi’s kids? Isn’t that genetic engineering? Isn’t that a little unfair? Don’t those kids needs asterisks, too?

Barry Bonds#.

Barry Bonds$. Hmm. Maybe that’s too attractive. Everybody’s gonna want one. From here, the whole thing looks like Smoke Screen Central. War bad, economy bad, popularity numbers bad-how’s about a Steroid Scandal! Let’s get Bonds-no one likes him anyway! Let’s get him before he gets the home run record away from Ruth. What? Ruth doesn’t hold the record anymore? Who? Aaron? Well….at least he was a nice boy….

Barry Bonds+. Yeah. No kidding.

Barry Bonds=. Wow. Wonder what’s on the other side of that.

Barry Bonds;. Kinda cool. A semi-colon. You’re always stopping sentences, making them pause before they can continue. That Bonds;–he always makes you take a breath.

The Steroids Era. I can kinda buy it. Like the Dead Ball Era, the Ruth Era, the War Years.

The Steroids Era. 1986 (Canseco’s* Rookie Year) – 2004 (inclusive). The Steroids Era saw monstrous home run totals and equally monstrous physiques. The Steroids Era saw Brady Anderson* hit 50, Greg Vaughn* hit 50, Luis Gonzalez* hit 50. McGwire* hit 50 four years running, Sosa* hit 60 three out of four years. McGwire* hit 70 and Barry Bonds* hit 73. Ken Caminiti* died.

Maybe if I were trying to get the big guy out, I’d be more worked up about Bonds*. But from what I hear, a lot of the pitchers were juicing, too. The guys who were doing it invariably say, “It just maximizes my workouts. I recover faster.” Which is pretty much what the guys who take Vitamin C say. Of course, the guys who don’t take steroids (or who haven’t gotten caught) say other things: “He’s superhuman. His hat grew three sizes.”

Maximizing my workouts, assuming I’m working out, sounds pretty good to me. Heck, half the stuff, they advertise on the radio late at night. “Human growth hormone.” Wow. That sounds pretty good. Honey, can I get that? And The Cream and The Clear, can I get that too?

The Cream* and The Clear*. It sounds so, well, clear. They aren’t even pills. You just rub it on your skin. That sounds nice. Kind of like a nicotine patch. And how about that? Isn’t that cheating? Shouldn’t you have to quit smoking without artificial enhancements? Shouldn’t nicotine patch people have an asterisk, too?

Or if you’ve had a flu shot? Two hundred years ago they didn’t have flu shots. They just died. Without your flu shot, you’d be dead. Shouldn’t you have an asterisk, too? How are we supposed to compare actuarial tables from 1806 with actuarial tables from 2006*?

All right, kids. Enough. Have a great Cialis* weekend. Enjoy your asterisk-less existence while you can. Today they come for Barry Bonds*. Tomorrow they come for you*.

db

Dan Bern is the author of “World Cup – A Sort of Diary” and “Quitting Science by Cunliffe Merriwether”. Some of his recordings include “New American Language”, “Fifty Eggs” and “Fleeting Days”. He has a new one due out this year and will be performing at Carnegie Hall on 4/22.

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