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Still, the Simm case reveals just how much of a risk [NATO] was taking when it gradually expanded eastward after the end of the Cold War. Each of its current 28 member states now enjoys access to almost all the classified information within the alliance. For experts, this is already unsettling enough. But even more worrisome is the fact that members of the old elite — whose loyalties once lay with a completely different political system — now work in the security apparatus of some of the new member states. In other words, people like Herman Simm. –“Betrayer and Betrayed,” Fidelius Schmid and Andreas Ulrich, Der Spiegel
Philippine Suffrage is a cadaver, madly piloting a gurney into an open grave. And being a cadaver, bloodless. Rather, instead of thinking corruption, nepotism, favoritism, cronyism, and fraud, think “royalty” out of which representatives are chosen. In this class, certain families dominate. Old Money. New Money. Old Money, the long-standing families that have owned 95% of the country’s wealth for at least a century. Wonder why there are only two breweries in the Philippines? Cuz cousin cousin, beer is kept in the family, albeit only two. Think Cojuangco. That said, with sugar cane, old tobacco, banks, shopping centers, etc, Old Money has bought its seat in the Forum and there is no law that can evict them. You’d just have civil war. New Money, the actors/actresses of stage and screen. You can just trust the face that has beguiled you for years. As if their scripted dialogue, having moved a nation into the cinema can move a nation out of international debt. In Manila, performers do not retire; they form political parties around their cult of personality. So, whereas term limits are to shorten time in political office, rotate old blood with new blood, what it really does—just shuffle family members and drama queens. –“Conversations at a Wartime Café,” Sean Labrador y Manzano, McSweeney’s
“Vaht khappens to a dream deferred?” he began with a thick Russian accent. “Does it dry up like a raisin in zee sun?”
I was stunned. In a battered old schoolhouse in a tiny industrial city in a Muslim former Soviet republic on Iran’s northern border in Central Asia, a skinny 15-year-old was demonstrating his English skills by reciting a Langston Hughes poem. Contemporary American pop culture spreads far and fast these days. So I hadn’t been surprised to learn that even in an isolated, totalitarian country like Turkmenistan, 50 Cent’s rhymes had snuck into the hearts of thousands of young people via satellite television. But it was a mystery to me how the work of a decades-dead African American writer – one who is growing more obscure in the US with each passing year – had slipped into its public schools. –“From Turkmenistan to America: How I Found Langston Hughes,” Sam Tranum, Literary Traveler
More from Rafe Bartholomew:
Years it would take Jim Bakker to earn enough to pay his federal fine at his current job cleaning prison toilets:
Zoologists speculated that cannibalism among hippos might have led to an anthrax outbreak in Uganda that has killed at least 220 of the beasts. “I knew hippos were nasty,” said one anthrax expert, “but I didn’t know they went around eating each other.”
A white man in St. Louis was charged with punching a black man at a gas station after telling him to “go back to Ferguson.” “I’m going to let the authorities handle this,” said the victim, a former Major League baseball player, “but I’ve had enough of St. Louis.”
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“He could be one of a million beach-bound, black-socked Florida retirees, not the man who, by some odd happenstance of life, possesses the brain of Albert Einstein — literally cut it out of the dead scientist's head.”