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The Story So Far
May 29, 2002
By The Staff of The Bean Magazine

Part I - The Story So Far

In a certain large country to the west of one place and the east of another, an ambitious group of southerners manages to convince a large minority of their fellow citizens to vote for their presidential candidate, a compliant cretin with the morals of a rabid mink. Unfortunately, in a winner-take-all democracy this is not enough for him to win, so the mostly southern military obligingly sends in a few thousand illegal absentee ballots to tip the scales and the cretin's gutless opponent refuses to challenge him.

"Whoop-de-doo!" shout the handlers when the cretin dons the crown. The cretin and his handlers are in charge for four long years. They immediately start pursuing a loony right-wing agenda, trucking billions to all their rich friends and putting military leaders and their civilian catamites in positions of power -- long the custom in all banana republics.

But, much to the consternation of the handlers, the majority who actually won the election just won't sign off on their increasingly loony proposals. What they need is what they had in the good old days of a global face-off with a now defunct enemy: emergency powers, the pretext of a massive threat to the nation's security to crush or imprison their enemies, steal still more of the nation's common wealth, and pare down the annoying institution of democratic government to a useless nub.

Purely coincidentally, an old friend of the cretin, who's had a born-again experience and has decided that the great nation to the west of one place and the east of another is Satan incarnate, starts to make plans for an assault on the fortress of evil. Word comes to the cretin's handlers that this is in the works but rather than taking steps to pre-empt it they start top-secret internal discussions (from which the cretin is of course excluded). What if this attack, whatever it is, is allowed to proceed? they wonder.

The cretin's old friend is not a whole lot smarter than the cretin himself, coming from the same kind of rich, over-privileged spoilt-brat background with not the slightest knowledge of how his obsessions and whims and loony opinions affect real people in the real world. All his previous attacks have been indiscriminate hit-and-run bombings of poorly defended targets.

How much damage can this kind of nitwit really do on home ground? "A few casualties, sure," they admit, "but think what a pretext this will give us! A foreign attack on our great nation! Once again we will have a shadowy network of conspiratorial zealots across the world to threaten our security our very existence! Once again we will be able to assume emergency powers -- and then the sky's the limit!"

As the weeks of summer roll on, more intelligence comes in. The old friend is thinking about planes. For what isn't clear but (remembering the "how much damage can this kind of nitwit do?" scoff) the handlers decide to let the plane-related plans proceed -- no way the banana republicans will heighten airport surveillance, even though it's the most lax in the developed world.

The buddy's plan is bound, they think, to be a hijacking, which is always dramatic, and dramatic is what they're after.

More information comes in, and the story gets better yet. It now seems from the informers that the old friend/nitwit has his eye on a great city in the north which despises the southerners and their puppet president and which the southerners, in turn, never fail to smear, denigrate and deny funds to at every opportunity. So now they're killing two birds with one stone; a disaster of some kind will strike the city they despise and they'll get their pretext to declare that crucial emergency.

The handlers rub their hands with evil glee at the news. This is double the reasons for letting the cretin's old friend do his worst! All they tell the cretin is that his old friend is planning some craziness and that it will be taken care of, not to worry, have a nice vacation.

Then one sunny morning the old friend pulls the trigger. It's far worse than the banana republicans ever dreamed (and actually than the old friend ever dreamed). When the cretin gets the news -- it's hard to think on your feet if you're a cretin -- his eyes pop out of his head with panic and fear. The handlers whisk him off in a plane and fly him around the country for eight hours while they explain why this disaster may actually be the greatest thing that ever happened to a banana republic in the entire history of banana republics.

The great northern city is devastated and its people massacred but luckily it has a great and courageous man as its mayor so no one notices or cares that the frightened panic-stricken cretin (who, you may remember, is acting as president in this story) is nowhere to be found.

The very next day the banana republicans kick off their emergency powers initiative: illegal search and seizure, illegal detention, torture, suspension of human rights at home and abroad, military kangaroo courts, vast expansion of police powers, emergency payments of vast sums to their cronies, plans for war in a country they've had their eye on for years, massive increases in the already insanely huge military budget, suspension of immigration, and rigid censorship of the already docile press.

All this, as hairy as it sounds, is simply testing the water to see how pliant a wounded public really is. Down the road are plans to eradicate abortion, women's rights, the teaching of evolution, environmental regulation, and the separation of church and state, not to mention legalization of government bribes and a host of other loony schemes of the kind that are familiar to anyone who's spent time around banana republicans.

A loyal citizenry, horrified by the brutal attack on their country, goes along with these measures for the moment and the cretin reaps the reward; all he has to do is stand there and mouth the platitudes his handlers write for him. And the nation is grateful.

But then something starts unraveling. The banana republic the southerners dream of hasn't really taken hold of course, except in their own fevered brains; the great nation is still a democracy, messy and unpredictable. Of all people, one of their southern friends (for his own pig-headed, narrow-minded reasons) starts asking whether the cretin knew anything about this staggering disaster before it happened.

The cretin is hugely alarmed and demands to know what to do. His handlers are not cretins; they know that outright denial would be foolish and lead them eventually down the dread path of cover-up which has destroyed many smarter presidents than the cretin. So they admit that they did know something was in the air (or would be in the air), but not its extent and not that it would directed against the city they hate so much. That way people will be satisfied that they're seeming to be honest and straightforward and to some degree apologizing for a certain level of incompetence. Hopefully they can control the damage or some other disaster will show up and their precious emergency powers will continue...

Part II - The Future

But alas for them, that doesn't happen. You can't control the truth in a democracy especially when government wrong-doing has allowed thousands of innocent people to die. Soon the sources of the original intelligence start to get cold feet. Knowing that they could be the ones blamed, as in the past -- the messengers of bad truths are always vulnerable that way -- they decide they're not going to the mat for this bunch of traitorous loonies. So little by little with the banana republicans denying and fighting them all the way, assassinating character one day, trying to whip up a distracting military engagement the next, the truth comes out. The press creeps out from under its rock once the wind is blowing its way and starts -- belatedly -- doing what it's supposed to do.

Pretty soon the truth that a few people, condemned as traitors and worse, suspected right from the beginning, starts to emerge. The cretin who actually knew little or nothing about the crime, tries to claim that his handlers kept him in the dark, but this truth only makes him look more cretinous. The southerners start deserting him as most of them have deserted other frontmen before -- more than once -- when their loony plans went astray. A scapegoat appears or rather is found (a black woman looks like the most likely candidate, as it turns out) and she and the cretin crash and burn in utter disgrace.

Meanwhile the great city continues to mourn and bury its dead, and try to recover from the death-blow it took. The cretin's crazy born-again old friend is still at large and the banana republicans go to ground, where they can regroup and live to fight another day against democracy, decency, justice, and peace.

The End?

The Bean Magazine is a leftist political and cultural satire outlet currently in pre-production. It will be launched in late summer, 2002.

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