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PARIS, THE NEW NORMAL? — Diana Johnstone files an in-depth report from Paris on the political reaction to the Charlie Hebdo shootings; The Treachery of the Black Political Class: Margaret Kimberley charts the rise and fall of the Congressional Black Caucus; The New Great Game: Pepe Escobar assays the game-changing new alliance between Russia and Turkey; Will the Frackers Go Bust? Joshua Frank reports on how the collapse of global oil prices might spell the end of the fracking frenzy in the Bakken Shale; The Future of the Giraffe: Ecologist Monica Bond reports from Tanzania on the frantic efforts to save one of the world’s most iconic species. Plus: Jeffrey St. Clair on Satire in the Service of Power; Chris Floyd on the Age of Terrorism and Absurdity; Mike Whitney on the Drop Dead Fed; John Wight on the rampant racism of Clint Eastwood’s “American Sniper;” John Walsh on Hillary Clinton and Lee Ballinger on the Gift of Anger.
Live from Bethlehem

The Goldman Sachs 2013 Christmas Story

by BILL QUIGLEY

Swaddled in Baby Gap, little Jesus appears to be crying.  Mary tries to gently rock him in her hands, certainly a great moment to remind viewers that you are in good hands with Allstate.    The carpenter Joseph is trying to protect Mary and Jesus, he could certainly use the system he just won from our sponsor ADT.  The cow you see behind them is brought to you by ConAgra, the donkey by Halliburton.  The angels on high in the sky, magnificent 3D computer generated imagery, are from Pixar.  Walt Disney has remixed the angel songs so they sing praise to the shopping opportunities this event has created.

Earlier, there were reports of shepherds in the area but ICE agents stopped and frisked them and are now herding them on your right into the Fox News freedom of expression fenced off area.  Some appear to be singing a protest song about peace on earth.  Over on the left, a panel of MSNBC experts are talking about the shepherds and talking about the shepherds and talking about the shepherds.

In front of us you can see the Republicans, decked out in Brooks Brothers, who have brought gifts of big cutbacks in food stamps to make this couple and others like them more independent and self-reliant.  Democrats, clad in casual elegance from Ralph Lauren, are doing their part tonight by firing drones all over the Middle East and Africa and snooping on the private communications of the family all the while assuring the family this is for their own protection.

Oh look, here come representatives of the rich and powerful!  Both Republicans and Democrats are bowing down to them.  They promise the next time Jesus is born they will provide a better site in Davos, Switzerland so he can get his message out to those who really matter.

Finally, the church people arrive, clerics from Christianity, Judaism, and Islam decked out in fine clothing.   They quickly start arguing among themselves over the importance of the event and who is more closely related to the family.  UN Peacekeepers pry them apart and send them to separate parts of the country so they can pray in their own separate peace.

All the while, representatives from Apple are pushing Iphones on the lovely parents.  Microsoft assures Jesus he can be happy with his own Xbox.   Amazon mini-drones hover with books, groceries, clothing, and jewelry.  While Walmart and Costco assure everyone they have all the same stuff at guaranteed lower prices.

Wait.  Mary and Joseph have picked up baby Jesus and are stepping over the piles of presents.  They are leaving the spotlights and the microphones and the piles of presents.  Where on earth are they going?  What is wrong with them?

Well, that is all for Christmas 2013.  Tonight’s good cheer brought to you by Budweiser.

Bill Quigley is a human rights lawyer, professor of law at Loyola University New Orleans, and a volunteer advocate with the Center for Constitutional Rights.  You can contact him atquigley77@gmail.com