The Pile – Prologue

aka PAX VIOLENTIAE aka For Want of A Violence aka Kvetching to Erebus

Violence stopped on February 7th. No one is sure of the exact time, but historians and harmologists patched together accounts from the period’s most violent figures, including Blessings Manda –The Butcher of Monkey Bay, to paint a vivid picture.

Blessings and his rebel force, the People’s Protection Army (PPA), were in the middle of a raid on the Mitumbiri Village Mosque. The PPA’s celebratory raid was in honor of the People’s Protection Army Football Club’s (PPAFC) down-to-the-wire win over their archrivals, the Namitembo Trade and Agricultural School Football Club (NTASFC). Desiring to thank their Christian god for the victory, which extended their three-game winning streak[1], Blessings ordered his men to sack the local mosque, seed any women they found with righteous, Christian offspring, and retire to a quiet evening of reflection and prayer. Barely 10 minutes into the mosque razing, the PPA noticed the violence they were employing, which in the past, as they assured historians in subsequent recitations, had come as naturally as breathing, was not working. Blessings and his men did their best, but, try as they might, the hands and feet of their victims stubbornly resisted removal via machete. After a valiant effort, and with great remorse, Blessings had to call off the raid and return home sans trophy appendages. And he was not alone.

All across the globe, similar cases of impotent brutality were cropping up. In their effort to craft a precise timeline, harmologists narrowed their focus to a 30-minute window, between 1800-1830 GMT. Their data included the famously failed lethal injection of convicted serial rapist and murderer Donald St. James in the Butts County, Georgia Diagnostic and Classification State Prison, and the unfortunately timed Uyghur rebellion of Xinjiang province, where months of preparation went for naught when Memteli Azizi, who was first over the fence of the provincial governor’s compound, couldn’t even slit the throat of the first guard he encountered,  resulting in intensely awkward standing around, a few muttered apologies, and the eventual confused withdrawal of the young women and men involved in the incursion. This was all to the bemusement of the armed guards and police, who were equally stymied in their efforts to capture the governor’s would-be executioners. Regardless of the exact time, somewhere between 1800-1830 GMT on February 7th, human civilization took a sharp turn.

Without violence, humans were helpless to harm one another. Rules governing global society evaporated. Cities were looted, buildings were burned, and institutions were overthrown, all without the loss of a single life. Over time, via stern mass marketing, the overpowering tsunami of disrupting masses settled once more into the familiar trickle of the criminally insane. The primary psychological and sociological impetus behind the Great Calming Down (GCD), as the miracle came to be called, was attributed to the terror the species felt at being thrown into a world in which they, the individual, were entirely in control of their own lives. This terror, coupled with the well-worn comfort of being told what to do by titles in suits on television and the internet, proved a potent combo to restore a fragile order.

Competitive government’s scrambled to pump cash into military-science budgets, desperate to be the first to discover the cause and cure for the ailment. Global talking head common wisdom consensus held that the first nation to discover the cure, thus obtaining a monopoly on hard power, would become the default hegemon. The re-arms race was on.

In the months following the cessation of all violent acts directed towards and emanating from human beings, top scientists the world-over were unable to determine the cause of the phenomenon. In fact, the mechanics of Non-Functional Violence Syndrome (NFVS), a term coined by Hubert Slovache, famed former cryptozoologist and resident chief harmologist at the National Academy of Sciences, were so opaque that most scientists studying the disease found themselves at increased risk for developing severe tendinitis in their shoulders and elbows owing to the continual throwing of their hands into the air in exasperation.

With time and through extensive research, the academics studying NFVS were able to define the parameters of the condition. Their empirical data demonstrated conclusively that human beings were now unable to commit violent acts against one another. This included indirect violence, such as sending a letter laced with Anthrax to your cousin or shooting a rope holding a piano, which falls on a beam, launching a brick that hits a switch dropping a ball which rolls down a ramp, striking a match lighting a fuse attached to dynamite. Even though the dynamite was several steps removed from human agency, it failed to inflict even a basic level of violence on any of the drafted volunteers.

One unlucky rat near the volunteers’ holding cell was less intact after the explosion, leading scientists to conclude that only violence from and towards humans was affected. Thousands of dead rats, pigeons, orangutans, moray eels, and porcupines later, their conclusion was confirmed.  At a public Congressional hearing on the progress of their research, Dr. Slovache demonstrated, to wild applause from the gallery, that placing the muzzle of his father’s old .45 Magnum between the eyes of his eager assistant and pulling the trigger resulted in the usual flash and bang but absolutely no violence. Placing the muzzle of his father’s old .45 Magnum between the eyes of a cute, brown puppy and pulling the trigger, however, resulted in a flash, a bang, and a fairly large puddle of cute, brown puppy all over the committee room’s floor.[2]

Dr. Slovache, determined to ascertain the full implications of NFVS, next exposed his medical guests to every disease grown or known by his species. The annoyance felt by one participant when she was late to pick-up her daughter from soccer practice due to a delivery delay during the bubonic plague test was the most extreme case of suffering observed. Investigating a bit further down the molecular road, Dr. Slovache stumbled upon a startling fact; the telomeres that normally shortened whenever human cells replicated were no longer shortening. The ramifications of this change to basic biology were enormous; in essence, human cells were immortal. Cell death would never occur.

Naturally, the plucky harmologist called for the nearest obituary page. According to legend, when he opened his Plain Dealer and confirmed his worst fears, Dr. Slovache looked to his staff and stated the now famous words that nearly started a war, “There is a force at work here that toils from beyond the physical realm”[3]. It seemed that cell and tissue degradation were considered violent acts by whatever was causing NFVS and all ailments, including time, were no longer existential threats. Wondering what this meant for the aging process, the erudite men and women of the harmology department at the National Academy of Sciences[4] began an exhaustive battery of tests on every age group. Through the tests, the team concluded the body would reach an equilibrium of peak functionality, then sustain itself indefinitely. This equilibrium, or “the perfect physical age” as Dr. Slovache put it, averaged out to be 23 years, 5 months, 13 days, 10 hours, 17 minutes, and 6 seconds. The scientists regretted the impossibility of a more accurate estimate due to the limitations of their instruments.

After discovering the human race’s inability to die, attempting to replicate successful violence became an obsession for harmologists everywhere. Pre-NFVS-era action films and Ultimate Fighting Championship matches were used as research material to study the means employed in successful cases of violence. Even when conditions were precisely reproduced and variables were tightly controlled in the form of two bruisers pummeling one another in a cage match broadcast on pay-per-view for $49.95; the results were sub-par compared to their pre-NFVS counterparts. Each time a walking mass of muscles lashed out with what should have been a devastating and thrilling blow, the violence simply would not operate correctly. Post-fight tapes confirmed the velocity of each kick, punch, and head butt were up to industry standard. The only difference seemed to exist in the impact of the violence. This led some scientists to posit that violence was actually a separate, non-physical entity, similar, they theorized, to Descarte’s formerly-dismissed-but-now-on-second-thought-not-such-a-bad-description of the human soul. This “Spirit of Violence,” the scientists explained, had previously existed as an innate part of the human species, but had now disappeared for reasons yet unknown. They believed research funding should be directed away from finding the physical cause of NFVS and towards understanding the spiritual cause. These findings split the scientific community the world over, with a majority scoffing at the idea[5].

The scholarly schism established two intellectual camps on the question of violence and why it’d stopped. The newly created scientific school of harmology found favor with the majority of the academic community, firmly believing the cause of NFVS was entirely physical and that a cure would inevitably be discovered and developed as humans refined and advanced their technology. Spirit of Violence Crazies (SVCs), also known as Spirit of Violence Believers (SVBs), the former serving as the scientific community’s official classification of the group and the latter acting as the self-defined and preferred label, were a splinter group of scientists, philosophers, and religious figures who felt the preponderance of evidence pointed towards a spiritual explanation, and the solution to humanity’s non-functional violence problem would only be solved through a thorough investigation of both society and the self. This extremist rhetoric frightened enough officials to spur many governments to classify the SVC movement as a dangerous terrorist organization.

During her infamous Congressional hearing, top SVC scientist, Her Reverence Chandra Sen, posed the question of how any organization could be considered dangerous in a world with NFVS. Senators of the government of the United States of America responded by instructing agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigations to take her into custody. This plan went awry, however, when the agents were unable to employ the crucial “force” step in their by-the-book forceful detainment of H.R. Sen. The resulting confusion, caught on tape in what is generally agreed to be the most thrilling few minutes in the history of the Cable-Satellite Public Affairs Network, witnessed a visibly annoyed H.R. Sen stand up and walk out of the chamber, casually slipping the impotent grasp of the equally annoyed Federal Bureau of Investigation Special Agents as Senator Stovall (R-OK), Chairman of the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, screamed at them in vain to “Stop that terrorist bitch!”

The political firestorm led to the public persecution of anyone suspected to be an SVC or SVC sympathizer. Though they couldn’t harm SVCs physically, anti-SVC activists seized bank accounts, smashed up property, and caused as much emotional stress as possible for members of the targeted fanatical group. As a result of these “SVB Pogroms,” as they were later dubbed, controversially, by a reflective and sympathetic public months after they ended, over two million SVC bank accounts, houses, and car windows had been seized or destroyed in the United States alone.

The tide of public opinion turned against the heavy-handed actions of the government and anti-SVC bloc when a recent but devout SVC convert named Jake Tampala took to the streets in dramatic fashion to protest the treatment of his people. Mr. Tampala, equipped with nothing more than a red plastic container filled with gasoline and a matchbook, set up camp in front of the United States Capitol Building, poured the contents of the vessel all over his body (which, for an undisclosed purpose, was disrobed), and struck a match. These actions transpired at such a pace that the local police were helpless[6] to prevent Mr. Tampala’s self-immolation. Though the act itself ended up as a whole lot of pomp and circumstance and very little burning flesh, the camera crews and professional news teams[7] on hand were eager to get their scoop on the naked man who failed to burn himself alive.

Mr. Tampala’s story of persecution and desperation may have culminated in a futile attempt to sear his own flesh, but the resulting media frenzy surely ignited the mind of the public, quickly shifting the acceptable usage standards within the politically correct lexicon from SVC to SVB. The political cadre responsible for the SVB’s “Time of Troubles,” including the fiery Senator Stovall, were drummed out of office and replaced with moderate voices preaching cultural harmony and relativism. The en vogue group for repression became those culpable in the recent repression of people-who-used-to-be-called-SVCs-but-are-now-called-SVBs. Though entirely non-violent in nature, the verbal abuse, hiring discrimination, and general pariah status of the former subjugators took a severe emotional toll on the targeted individuals.

With the common bond of injustice, despair, and jingoism, the newly subdued group felt they had no choice but to form their own society. They would create a paradise far away from a harsh world that accepted every idea but theirs, their idea of course being to accept no other ideas but their own. These sorry individuals felt the United States had lost both its righteousness and moral compass by allowing the continued existence of the hated “SVCs.” Drastic actions were necessary to re-seize the wheel and steer their beloved nation back into that shining strip-mall parking lot on a hill.

Led by the famous military hero, Lieutenant Colonel Bertram Crowley[8] the newly formed Americans Fighting To Keep America The America We Have Known And Loved For Our Entire Lives, With Great Respect And Admiration For Our Esteemed Founders Who Knew What They Were Doing And Shouldn’t Be Questioned, or AFTKATAWHKALFOEL,WGRAAFOEFWKWTWDASBQ for short, and AFFA (Americans Fighting For America) for really short, established their base of operations in the wastelands of Senator Stovall’s summer estate on Martha’s Vineyard  and began strategizing.

The United States Government decided to list AFFA as a terrorist organization[9] and initiated an extensive surveillance program, even passing a number of controversial laws allowing for a broader range of snooping powers. These included giving police the power to enter and search any household earning less than $100,000 a year without a warrant and wire-tapping any cellular telephones not considered a “Must-Have Gadget of the Year” by major technology publications. Though these laws were heavily protested during their Congressional debates and inevitable filibusters, a majority of Americans approved of the laws, feeling their security was more important than their privacy. Polls showed nearly 60% of the group “most likely to have their home invaded by the government” supported the new measures, with an overwhelming 90% of the group “most likely to never be hassled by any government official due to demographic immunity” in favor. Dissenters blamed a massive misinformation and scare campaign in the media as the primary reason so many Americans seemed to vote against their own interests. Protestors and liberal members of Congress claiming the need for security was significantly lessened in the context of NFVS were dismissed as naïve idealists by moderates and a threat to national security by hawkish conservatives.

While the AFFA’s terrorist activities were primarily limited to angry, full-color pamphlets, well-produced but poorly-acted list-of-demands videos, and the occasional major-bombing of an urban center, their continued existence and the United States Government’s inability to use violence to detain members of the group was a source of great agitation to the general public. Billions of dollars in military, Central Intelligence Agency, Federal Bureau of Investigations, and National Security Agency funding were diverted into research projects investigating alternative methods for destruction and detention.  With each agency, jealously guarding its unique project and refusing to share information, very little progress was made on the alternative violence front. After months of work and over a trillion dollars in federal funding, a representative from each agency was instructed to present a status update in a highly classified session of the Senate Armed Services Committee.

The military kicked off the meeting with a presentation of their Ricocheting Missile and Bullet technology (RMB). The theory military scientists held, while unsuccessful so far, was that if they could launch bullets and missiles that could ricochet a set number of times before finally hitting their target, theoretically you could dilute the human origins of the violence to negligible levels. Therefore, each subsequent ricochet after the initial shot would inject a small bit of functional, non-human violence back into the bullet or missile. The scientists estimated it would require 45 ricochets to bruise a target and 76 ricochets to kill. When Senator Flaffen (D-MA) pointed out the restraints of NFVS meant that humans could neither commit violent acts nor be the subject of violent acts, even if the source of that violence was non-human, the military representative became visibly flustered and quickly wrapped up his testimony, stating further tests were needed before they could draw any conclusions.

The Central Intelligence Agency was next in the chute. Their proposal involved the training of animals for the purpose of capturing and holding enemy combatants. They envisioned a crack team of chimpanzees, gorillas, cheetahs, falcons, and dolphins[10] trained and proficient in extraordinary rendition operations and tactics. To demonstrate the potential of their project, the Central Intelligence Agency spokeswoman brought in their first recruits: a male eastern-lowland gorilla named Marcus Steele, a female common chimpanzee named Sparkles, a brash, young Peregrine falcon nicknamed “Jackrabbit,” and two cheetahs, a male and a female, whose true names were highly classified but were known amongst the research team as Mr. and Mrs. X[11]. By connecting a large web of an ultra-high-molecular-weight polyethylene Dyneema netting to both large boiled leather harnesses fastened around the torsos of Mr. and Mrs. X and a small harness fashioned for the audacious “Jackrabbit”, which, in a rare bipartisan decision of 18-1, the committee ruled “decidedly cute,”[12] and alternating between electric shock and gastronomic based incentives, the Central Intelligence Agency research team was able to coax the elite squad into gently placing a net over a seated assistant with slabs of beef tied to his head. Marcus Steele and Sparkles then sprang into action at the sound of a bell and gathered the ends of the net to pull across the room, taking the hapless assistant along for the ride. The committee voted 14-5 to burst into thunderous applause. The Senators voting against the motion believed animal cruelty should not be applauded. However, democracy won out and they dutifully clapped with the rest of the members of the committee, though slightly less boisterously as a form of non-violent protest. After wrangling the animals out of the committee chamber, the Central Intelligence Agency assured the representatives that an increase in funding would certainly result in superior performances and the creation of a Bravo heavy assault team consisting of lions, tigers, and perhaps some bears if the National Zoo could be convinced to spare a few in the name of national security.

The Federal Bureau of Investigations representative presented their new concept of Bouncing Bullet technology (BoBulls) the next day, which worked on the principle that each successive bounce after the initial shot would allow for the projectile to regain a degree of violence. Before the representative could mention their team’s estimation that they could achieve a significant level of violence after only 67 bounces, Senator Flaffen (D-MA) cut him off, shouting testily, “The military had the exact same brain-dead program! How much money did you waste on this?” The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s spokesperson, stunned, asked to have time to commission a study to determine exactly how much money had been wasted before being dismissed.

Last on the docket was the National Security Agency. Their bold initiative, the representative explained, involved tunneling under the targets, creating a gigantic sink hole, and allowing the objective to collapse into the depths. Afterwards, tons of earth would be dumped onto the site to seal the targets inside. While the collapse may not kill the targets, it would take them out of commission until they dug themselves out. If the hole were deep enough, it might take the affected party years to resurface. The committee reacted in a generally positive manner to the idea, though a few members had reservations about “kicking the terrorist-can down the road”. The thought of angry, immortal terrorists emerging from underground after years of clawing their way up from the pit gave these Senators pause. But the National Security Agency spokeswoman assured the Senators that they would not be leaving their children in a worse situation because, by that time, Science would most certainly have developed better solutions to humanity’s violence problem.

A resolution was quickly drafted to use the Central Intelligence Agency’s Animal Agent Program (AAP) in conjunction with the National Security Agency’s Big-Hole Initiative (BHI) to deal with the immediate threat posed by AFFA.

The resulting catastrophe, Operation Atlantis, saw the escape of every AFFA member, the sinking of Martha’s Vineyard into the Atlantic, and the tragic loss of Sparkles the common chimpanzee when Mr. and Mrs. X mistook her for Lieutenant Colonel Crowley during the confused, botched raid. After this disaster, the reputation of the United States Government reached an all-time low and the country was on the verge of dissolving back into a level of chaos not seen since NFVS was discovered.

It was then, with the threat of a new Dark Age looming, that humanity’s savior emerged.

[1] The PPAFC was 7-1 in the season and ranked 2nd overall in the Monkey Bay Football Association’s (MBFA) standings, with their only loss coming at the hands of the Malamia Mosque Football Club (MMFC) (8-0) out of Mangochi. This bitter defeat three weeks earlier was the result of a disputed corner that gave MMFC the lead in stoppage time. Blessings had sworn on the Bible he often strapped to his chest that MMFC defender Azibo Chilima had last touched the ball before it went out of play and that the Muslim referees were calling the game in favor of MMFC. Though the instant replay disproved his claim, Blessings maintained the footage was faked and vowed revenge.

[2] When the good doctor reloaded his revolver and wheeled out a troop of volunteer fetuses-in-a-test-tubes to definitively demonstrate NFVS did not occur until the third trimester, the politically skittish Congressional committee forcefully balked, though not before lauding the scientist for his “cutting edge techniques” and “intellectual bravery”.

[3] In Dr. Slovache’s official autobiography, The Death of Violence, the great thinker claims he never actually said this exact phrase, but rather the spiritual-language came from Her Reverence Chandra Sen, who’d been assisting Dr, Slovache before she was forced to flee during the anti-SVB riots.

[4] After a quick call to their brokers instructing them to divest in Pfizer.

[5] When asked to describe their own theories, the skeptics would remember an important appointment and regret their lack of time.

[6] Also: hesitant and intrigued.

[7] Having been invited to the event through trilingual, calligraphically engraved letters. As Telemundo was an invitee and Mr. Tampala was a fierce proponent of immigration reform, the Spanish was understandable. The lack of any major Chinese media on the invitee list, however, led most of the attendees to speculate that the use of a third language on the invitation, Mandarin, was merely linguistic hot-dogging on the part of Mr. Tampala. In a case of serendipity, however, later in the festivities The Epoch Times made an (uninvited) appearance, giving Mr. Tampala an opportunity to field questions in his serviceable Mandarin.

[8] Crowley was famed throughout his hometown for his logistical prowess, said to be able to deliver bullets to troops on time every time, in keeping with the finest military traditions of the man behind the man behind the gun.

[9] Coincidentally the addition came during the same session Congress officially removed the SVCs from the list in a rare case of true governmental efficiency.

[10] To be used in the event of an amphibious operation.

[11] No relation

[12] The single dissenting vote coming from the good Senator from Montana, who claimed he had “seen cuter.”

NWV: Ivory Coast Enjoys Peace

NFVS brings period of unprecedented peace and prosperity to African nation

(Abidjan) – Awa Drogba, 12, carries a bucket of water from the communal well located four kilometers from her home village as she has every day over the past four years. Eight is age when Awa says she was strong enough to make the walk with the group of local children who take this trip each day. Eight is also the age at which Awa saw someone murdered for the first time and the age at which she was first raped.

“The men would sit near the well with nothing to do. Sometimes they would let us pass with no problem, but sometimes they wouldn’t.” Awa recalls as we walk together in the blistering Ivorian summer heat. She doesn’t recall how many times the men she referenced took her, nor which man infected her with HIV, but it’s clear that since the beginning of NFVS, her life has improved significantly, “Now we walk to the well and bring back water, no one can hurt us. Life is much better now.”

When we reach the well, a man approaches us and makes a half-hearted grab for Awa, who sidesteps him and walks by to calmly fill her bucket. Appearing defeated and resigned, the man turns to me and identifies himself as Fabrice Toure. I ask the man why he stays at the well when he knows he can’t inflict any violence on the children. He shrugs and responds, “Maybe one day it will change back.”

Awa’s success is reflected all over her country, where happiness, good fortune, and bounty are in abundance for the first time in the nation’s history. No one is being exploited, no village is being looted, and no ethnic group is being massacred. These are exciting times for the formerly troubled developing nation.

“NFVS has been wonderful to us!” declares Estelle Kalou, the Ivorian Economic Minister, “As soon as people could go about their daily lives without horrific violence threatening from all sides we saw a remarkable spike in productivity.”

And truly, The Ivory Coast has never been more productive. Without the conflict, disease, and strife that wracked the nation for decades after the imperial powers looted and destroyed the fabric of their society, an economic boom has taken place. This trend has been reflected across the continent, with the notable exception of South Africa, where white rioting and terrorism has crippled the nation’s infrastructure.

Moussa Gnanhouan, director of the Ivorian Committee for Tourism, says business is booming, “With our warm, peaceful beaches and gorgeous landscape, previously wary westerners and easterners alike are eager to explore a land that just months before felt too dangerous. It’s like a whole new world has opened up to them and we are delighted to be their guide!”

Back in the small villages still scattered across the countryside in which the residents seem content with their customary way of life, Awa and her family seem appreciative of the changes, but also cautious, “It seems too good to be true. I’m enjoying each day of this paradise, but I’m trying not to get used to the luxury. When I have to go back to the old life, I want to be ready.”

NWV: Russian Government Crumbles

Rising non-violence and world peace cripples Kremlin political strategy

(Moscow) – As Muscovites wake to a beautiful spring morning, they also wake to an uncertain future and a national identity crisis. Russia, the country to which they owe their allegiance and in which they hold citizenship, has ceased to exist.

“Above all, don’t lie to yourself. The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others. And having no respect he ceases to love.” With these parting words the now-former Russian President Dima Bilan stepped down from his post and ended his rule.

The Russian state’s sudden demise is self-inflicted, a victim of deep introspection and a nationwide existential crisis. When the historically belligerent nation found itself incapable of violence, unable to invade other territories or disrupt the West, the compulsory inactivity spread existential malaise from person to person, settling over the land like a harsh Siberian winter. Coupled with the Russian far-right’s impotency while torturing and raping homosexuals, the Russian enemy-of-the-state du jour, the nationwide depression spread to all corners of the government. This culminated in the entire bureaucracy refusing to leave their bedrooms, claiming sickness and hallucinations involving dead Chechen children.

The stateless people of the newly free territory are rightfully dubious of their future, “It is amazing how complete is the delusion that beauty is goodness,” Moscow resident Bogdan Bezrukov muses when asked for his thoughts on his government’s fall, adding, “Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself.”

Former Russian Minister of Defense, Filipp Kirkorov, found drowning his sorrows at the bottom of a bottle in a dingy back-alley bar, gave his perspective on the reason for his nation’s dissolution, “Any idiot can face a crisis; it’s this day-to-day living that wears you out,” he slurred, adding, “What a fine weather today. Can’t choose whether to drink tea or to hang myself,” before looking away and downing his glass as if he’d never spoken at all.

Rather than take advantage of the lawlessness, citizens seem content to sit at their dinner tables staring at one another without ever actually seeing anything at all, family members turned to grotesque strangers intruding on sacred solitude. What little news journalists deign to publish centers around questions of the soul, with op-ed sections chock-full of convoluted proofs for and against the existence of divinity and various foibles of the Russian peasantry.

Taking stock of the situation, former Foreign Ministry official Gleb Kirillov sums up the current mood of his people, “Do we ever get what we really want? Do we ever achieve what our powers have ostensibly equipped us for? No: everything works by contraries…They don’t listen to me, they don’t hear me, they don’t see me.”

NWV: Tibet Secession Standoff Continues Amid Rising Tensions

Crisis enters 66th day as China prepares 73rd assault on rebel monks

(Lhasa) – The weather is fair and mild in Lhasa, but the calm is belied by the simmering tensions between the Chinese military attempting to retake the city and the rebel monks holding it in defiance of Beijing’s demands.

Chinese troops camped outside the provincial capital appear restless and impatient with the intractable situation. When asked, many fondly remembered pre-NFVS campaigns in which they would, “stomp on the throats of western puppets with our boot heel,” as one soldier put it.

Major General Li Jun, the overall commander in charge of the operation, had more to say on the matter, “We are extremely pleased to announce that our great nation has just christened and launched its third modern aircraft carrier. This great advance will help us secure our borders and increase our standing as a leader in the global community.”

Access to Lhasa is strictly controlled and few supplies are smuggled in or out of the city. The blockade itself is proving less effective than military officials had first hoped due to the lack of starvation and disease within the besieged population. To complicate matters, many of the rebel monks are of an ascetic order that has foregone modern conveniences and electricity for thousands of years.

Frustration with the situation is palpable in Beijing where party officials are working to assure the greater population of China that they can still offer protection from dangerous minority groups. “The economic growth of China is set to exceed expectations and reach 9% this quarter,” states Wang Jie, a party spokesman, “At this rate we are set to double the size of US economy in 50 years.”

The 72 and counting failed offensives against the rebels, attributed to the military’s inability to kill or dislodge the rebel monks from their demolished stronghold, has some Chinese citizens questioning the efficacy and wisdom of staying the course.

“Lhasa? What’s a Lhasa?” asks Shanghai resident Liu Fang, turning in confusion to her boyfriend, Xi Bo, who shrugs his shoulders in response, his arms burdened with their daily haul from the shopping mall.

Not everyone is so pessimistic, however. Renowned scholar Zhang Chung of Peking University sees lessons to heed in history, “The United States has seen many cities burn and destroyed by its out-of-control citizens. Even in its own capital of Washington DC the government has lost control. Clearly western-style governance has failed. China is the future.”

Though the outcome of this protracted conflict is uncertain, what is clear is that China will be forever changed by the hard lessons learned in Lhasa.

NWV: K-Pop has K-Stopped

Linked to outbreak of Non-Functional Violence Syndrome say top harmologists                    

(Seoul) – The popular music industry in Korea is in an uproar over its suddenly humbled royalty, with many fans distraught over the idea that their beloved K-Pop may be gone forever.

The trouble began at a 2N2209E0XWWZWWJD concert, one of the highest-grossing groups in South Korean history, when the lead vocalist, Cho Hyun-min, suddenly fell silent during the group’s well known ballad “Baby, Baby, You are my Baby-Star, Baby, Star, Love, Star-Love, Baby-Love”. In a panic, the audience tried to pick up the tune, but found that they were also unable to produce even a few notes from the international hit. The concert was cancelled halfway through as disappointed and confused fans exited the stadium-venue and entered their new nightmare.

“I went home and tried to play a song from the new Gal Pal Gaggle album Eat My Foot, Baby Babe and it just wouldn’t play,” says inconsolable fan Lim Hye-ri, her eyes welling with tears as she recalls the traumatic memory and brandishes ten copies of the same album along with a set of trading cards depicting members of the group she loves, “I thought it might have just been that album so I tried another, but I got the same result! It’s like K-Pop just doesn’t work anymore!”

Within days of the disaster, the South Korean government directed its top scientists to find the cause of K-Pop non-functionality as a matter of national security. K-Pop is a staple of the government’s Korean-Wave cultural strategy.

“They told us we’d better find a solution soon or else…They left the ‘or else’ up to us,” biologist Lee Hyun-jae remembers, “But no one had any idea where to even begin. Fortunately the Americans arrived soon after and made sure our government accepted their explanation, so we never found out what they meant by ‘or else.’”

By the time K-Pop research was underway, the United States had begun funding the famous NFVS project under Dr. Hubert Slovache, who loaned South Korea a few scientists in response to formal requests by the South Korean President.

“Non-functional K-Pop is related to non-functional alright, there’s no mistaking it, all the signs are there. But what we can’t understand is why this very specific genre of music has been targeted,” an American harmologist speaking on the condition of anonymity due to security concerns related, “I mean, I kind of like K-Pop. It’s really catchy and the girls are super-hot.”

With the future of K-Pop in question, South Korean consumers have been forced to look elsewhere. Though most have latched onto still-functional popular music from other nations, some have ventured into Seoul’s long ignored independent music scene, which has seen an unprecedented 200% increase in sales and concert attendance in recent weeks.

Choi Ki-seok of the twee-folk band Die Hippie Fucker, Kill Kill marvels at the change, “We had like 20 people at our last show! I’ve never seen that many independent music fans in one place at one time in Seoul! If this keeps up I might be able to pay my rent this month!”

NWV: Mexican Cartels See Record Low Recruits for 3rd Consecutive Quarter

Drug runners feeling squeeze as NFVS diminishes luster of outlaw life

(Mexico City) – Santiago Jaso Cabello, known better internationally as La Rata Gruñendo (The Growling Rat), sits on the back porch of his secret mountain villa sipping lemonade from a tall, perspiring glass discussing the new challenges his industry has faced since the end of violence.

Speaking through a translator, La Rata Gruñendo is morose about the state of his business, “It wasn’t like this before, it’s never been like this. Before when we had a problem with a rival cartel, or the government launched an offensive against us, we would just kill lots of people and scare the hell out of everyone in the most creative ways we could come up with. Now it’s all just talking and talking and talking. There’s no art anymore.”

The drug kingpin isn’t the only one in the drug game who feels this way. According to sources within each of the top three Mexican cartels, without violence the life of a bandito outlaw no longer attracts the impressionable youths the cartels have historically used to swell their ranks. While new recruits are increasingly scarce, veteran employees are also choosing to pursue other careers.

“It just didn’t have the same thrill anymore,” says Diego Javier Rivera, a former cartel enforcer now working as a grocery bagger at a small bodega outside Mexico City, “It became all about numbers and quotas and margins and less about beheadings and torture. Writing reports on quarterly coca yields isn’t why I got into the business.”

In an industry requiring a great deal of institutional knowledge from its employees, this new high-turnover rate is causing major headaches. Without specialization and lifetime employment commitments from employees, some cartels have been forced to turn to temporary hiring agencies.

“We were first contacted by the Cabra Negro Cartel’s human resources department maybe two months ago,” remembers Gabriel Padilla Falto, manager of a local temp agency, “They were looking for young adult males with loose morals, but I only had a few of those. It seems they were desperate, so they really just took anybody we had.”

The influx of workers untrained in the tricks of the trade has meant more shipments seized by the government, more missed deadlines, and a tighter bottom-line for organizations used to the free-flow of massive capital.

Back at La Rata Gruñendo’s, the changes are beginning to take a personal toll, “If the business stays like this I might have to sell my place in Martha’s Vineyard and leave the game altogether. It’s starting to feel like it isn’t worth the hassle anymore.”

As the cartels have waned, multi-national corporations have stepped in to take their place and fill growing demand. Many drug aficionado’s poo-poo these new mass-produced corporate products and continue to seek out traditionally grown substances.

A self-declared ‘drugie’, the newly repurposed slang word meaning one who seeks out artisanal drugs, Jordan Maxwell of Denver puts it thusly, “Corporations are getting into, like, everything and ruining these, like, traditional family businesses. You gotta stop them, like, somewhere right? You know that quote, ‘First they came for my weed, and I said nothing’…or something like that. You gotta stand for something.”

NWV: Election Booth Blockade Project a Bust

Israeli walls fail to stop determined Palestinian electorate                                                 

(Tel Aviv) – As polls close on this all-important Election Day, one that will decide the future of the Palestinian territories, the Israeli people shuffle home. A profound sense of defeat lingers in the air. By now they know their government’s gambit has failed; they will not see their promised amusement park.

Proposition 3, which, if passed, would turn a huge swath of the Gaza Strip into the world’s largest amusement park exclusively reserved for Israeli citizens, is set to fail due to a massive influx of last-minute Palestinian votes.

As part of a UN-brokered agreement, Israel must allow Palestinians to join Israelis in voting on propositions if the subject of the proposition deals with an encroachment on Palestinian territory. Israel agreed to the conditions, but immediately began construction on 20-meter high concrete walls around all election centers used by Palestinian voters.  Checkpoints were placed at the entrance requiring special ID’s which could only be acquired at an office behind a second checkpoint in a separate location, itself requiring ID’s only acquired behind a third checkpoint, which requires ID’s that can only be acquired behind the first checkpoint.

The election proceeded with this system in place and analysts predicted a landslide victory for the amusement park. Unbeknownst to anyone outside the Palestinian Authority, however, the people of Gaza had an Election Day strategy of their own.

“We knew about the walls and the checkpoints, and we knew it was impossible to get around this bureaucratic system and keep this amusement park from destroying our homes and displacing thousands of our civilians, so we had to come up with a solution.” says PA spokesman Salman Abu Achmad.  “Fortunately we had thousands of unused mortar tubes and rocket launchers sitting around from the last intifada. We put two and two together and…well you’ve seen the result. We’re thrilled with this victory.”

With its mortar tubes and rocket launchers, the PA organized Election Fire Teams, who launched Palestinian voters over the walls and into voting booths all over the territory. The strategy proved even more effective when Israel’s vaunted “Iron Dome” failed to register the flying Palestinians and counter accordingly.

Avner Ben Haim, an engineer working on the Iron Dome System, was shocked when he first heard the news, “It’s a glitch! A loophole! We’ve programmed this thing to shoot down anything of Palestinian origin, but apparently forgot to program it to shoot down the Palestinians themselves. It will be fixed and this will not happen again.”

So far the Israeli government has remained silent on this political fiasco, but a response is expected in the next 24-hours as the Israeli people take stock of their losses and regroup.

UPDATE: The Israeli government has defied the threat of sanctions and began construction on the Gaza Amusement Park.

UPDATE: The United States has vetoed sanctions on Israel put forth before the Security Council.