one man's conspiracy is another man's business plan
Saturday, November 27, 2004 | Haley's Nose: A GoodJob Day in America, 2009
Haley frowned at the mirror. Her nose was the problem. There was no makeup trick (and Haley knew them all) that could camouflage that nose. No clever earrings, or hat, or artfully designed spectacle frames had any effect. It was impervious to all that, resolutely, steadfastly, even proudly there, right in the middle of her face, jutting out defiantly, bump and all, dominating her profile.
It was the only feature she had not been able to conquer. Haley sighed, and flipped out her blue contact lenses into their night-time bath, checked her honey-colored hair carefully for black roots, and smoothed pearl cream into her skin. Including the nose.
She went over the figures again. No way she could afford surgery, and if she was forced to get a GoodJob, even less chance she would ever be able to.
She had been pretty lucky, really. Only a couple of Security Forces had ever really noticed the nose enough to question it, and they seemed satisfied with her explanation of an Italian grandmother. Roman nose, she smiled at them.
Incredibly, in all this time, it had apparently never occurred to Homeland Security to ask people to remove their contacts. Or maybe it had, but it was just a question of funding, since so many people had them, and black eyes alone added only a few points to the Score. One could always claim an African-American ancestor somewhere, and any Security Force personnel who challenged that would automatically trigger the lengthy and annoying process of Testing Detention, and in yet another HSA convolution, the Hero points would go to the testor, not the officer that sent the suspect in.
Still, Haley worried about the nose. Since the last HSA procedural review, the Hero Points formula had been revised, and there was more pressure on Security Forces to increase their weekly General Detainee Production. As a General Detainee, testing would be recommended, but might not take place for months, even years, or never, since the only requirement for General Detainee was General Suspicion. It was not necessary to document what the suspicion was. The Wackenhut Provision, they called it, and it was expected to double the company's revenues in the first quarter alone. Acquisition of the behemoth Homeland Depot family of companies insured that streamlined Facility construction would keep up with growing demand.
As an Informally Employed, Haley was not Protected, and was subject to everything from wand search to seizure on sight. Haley preferred to take her chances. She was an unreconstructed Ninetenner. At fifty-five, she simply could not think of GoodJobs as anything but slavery and imprisonment, nose or no nose.
"It's not so bad," her niece had told her at last month's Vacation Hour. "In lots of ways, it's better than before. I mean I don't have to worry about rent any more, or food. And as long as I keep up my Conduct Rating, I get to see Josh every Family Hour."
Haley tried not to look at the remains of the Nutri-Loaf on Kristin's plate. Food? At least Josh and the other kids in the Family Friend Center got milk, veggies, a regular diet, Until they were 16.
For many mothers, seeing their kids only an hour a month was a small price to pay for the knowledge that they would have food, and could not be Selected, even for a few years. Something will happen before then, they told themselves.
Kristin's GoodJob was considered a plum. As a Wal-Mart Associate, she received a guaranteed bunk, a shower three times a week, one Nutri-Loaf for every eight hours worked, and treatment of minor injuries and ailments at the Health Center.
Illness or injury that required hospitalization or more than 24 hours off work invalidated the contract, but most GoodJobbers were young and healthy - they had to be to pass the extensive medical workup required for acceptance, and as the company pointed out, the injury clause of the contract did double duty as an incentive for workers to maintain good safety practices.
In return for her compensation of bunk, shower and Nutri-Loaf, Kristin worked "as needed." It averaged out to around 16-18 hours a day, usually, seven days a week, although occasionally she would be put on 36 on, 12 off for a couple of weeks. As a valued asset and member of the Wal-Mart family, Kristin's contract would be invalidated if she left the Associate Compound when off work, or left the Store while on duty, but the outside world had become a pretty dangerous place, so all in all, the Wal-Mart GoodJob was considered to be one of the better choices available for young people.
The GoodJob Haley was trying to avoid was with OneBanc. Since the Bank of America-Wachovia Merger, and the resultant WachovAmeribank's subsumption into CitiGroup, OneBanc had become one of the foremost GoodJob providers to Golden Boomers. Most of the jobs were sedentary, and took advantage of the education most of Haley's generation had, before the No Child Left Behind Acts and privatization had streamlined the public schools into a sustainable and lean worker-processing machine. In just five years, America's public schools now produced graduates more than twice as likely as their grandparents to be functionally literate, and with the arithmetical skills necessary to enable them to operate simple calculators and cash registers, but without the massive loads of half-learned and forgotten trivia that they would be unlikely to need in order to be useful and profit-friendly assets to their employers.
It was generally agreed by both Administration and Congress Committee that it was neither fair nor kind to subject most children to years of classes in subjects that would do neither them nor the companies that would one day employ them, as study after study had shown that this archaic practice had produced little but unrealistic hopes on the part of the children, and in many cases, their parents, which in turn led to rejectionism and insurgency that gobbled up HSA resources that could be put to much better use identifying genuine Suspects, and channel a robust stream of workers into GoodJobs.
The quality of Post5 education had also improved remarkably as a result, and it was not at all uncommon for children of the affluent to graduate from college at age twelve, and medical school at 16, and while rumors of bribes and corruption were rife, as they are anywhere, anytime, 80% of medical workers were employed at GoodJob Health Centers, and there were few complaints from patients. (And even fewer from foreign medical centers, where the affluent Americans obtained all but the most rudimentary of their own health care).
Haley put out the battery lamp and nestled in to her bed in the storage unit. Morning would come soon enough, and she would have to be up before dawn to secure a good spot on the street to get some morning sales before the Security Forces arrived to clean the area for the business lunchers.
Her store was a very simple, but very functional pushcart, containing her wares - rare books. Most of them were on one or another of the No-Read lists, which enabled her to charge a premium for them, which the more adventurous Professionals were happy to pay for the little frisson of rebellion it offered. Few actually read the books, most of them were old enough to have done so before they were removed from market, and had as little interest in reading today as they had then, but they enjoyed having them on the shelves in their homes. "Look at this one! It just screams 'leftist dissenter!'" exclaimed her excited customer, a trial lawyer who occasionally wore a tiny vintage lapel pin that read "Kucinich." Most of his clients, and almost all of his worthy opponents arguing for the state thought it referred to a little-known vegetable. The lawyer was also known for his dissenting dietary practices.
"No Dairy!" he would shout to the boy at Starbucks, and he didn't care who heard him. He was more than ready to invoke the First Amendment if anyone objected.
Haley gave him a friendly smile, pocketed the $500, and handed him the dog-eared, paper-back copy of "Chain of Command."
Not bad, thought Haley. From this sale alone, she could pay another week on the storage shed, buy batteries and two day's food. No way could she live like this with a GoodJob. All she had to do now was get her cart out of the area before PreLunch Clean and she just might sell another book or two before SafeDown.
It was her lucky day. A liberal security mom in a Hummerado V rolled down her tinted glass window a couple of inches to give Haley $200 for a copy of "The Handmaid's Tale."
"Sorry it doesn't have the covers," Haley stood on tiptoe to pass the book through and take the money.
"No problem, sister," said her customer, eyes darting around, "I'm a progressive!," she hissed in a dramatic whisper as the window hummed back up and the massive vehicle sped away.
Haley decided to call it a day. There was just enough time before SafeDown for a treat.
"Yo, Haley!" Rick shouted to his friend. Come on in hang a bit. Even when she had no money, Rick always gave her some tea, a bit of roti and raita, but today she was flush, and ordered a kebab and a large biryani.
"For your sunlamp treatments," Haley winked mischievously as she slipped an extra $20 into Rick's pocket. "I had a good day."
Red-haired, green-eyed Rick, whose mother had named him Rahim over sixty years ago in Lahore had never once seen a sunlamp, but the alibi worked for him and millions of others whose skin Suspicion Level was beyond the power of pearl cream to rectify. "The things people will believe," he had remarked to Haley once. "Sometimes it works against you, sometimes it works with you." That was the closest they had ever come to discussing their shared coping strategy. No one had ever questioned Rick's assertion that his Pakistani accent was Swiss.
"Rick, you're an artist," Haley said, her mouth full. Rick smiled and switched on the TV. The perky CNN anchor was recounting the latest details of the latest sensational murder trial, the victim, a pretty blonde affluent newlywed found shot in her Carnival Cruise stateroom. The crawl line at the bottom of the screen informed them that while the US preferred to exhaust all diplomatic channels, the European Union's continuing strategy of denial and deception was wearing thin..
The Four Notes interrupted both stories, and the Breaking News graphic filled the screen. "CNN has just learned that President for Life Jeb Bush will make an unannounced address to the nation from the Oval Office."
Rick turned the volume up, and he and Haley watched as Bush repeated after his earpiece the same thing about the EU, denial and deception, and announced that he had just signed an Executive Decree authorizing the Selection of GoodJobbers' children aged eleven and over.
"In authorizing this unprecedented Selection," the President for Life went on, "I am conscious of the brave sacrifices the nation now asks of both the young people and their parents, and as evidence of the transparency and honesty of our Democracy, I also acknowledge that there were those in the Cabinet who presented very sound arguments for lowering the Selection age to seven, but America is a nation that loves our children, they are our future, and we owe them a happy normal childhood."
Haley recalled the blank eyes of her friend Anna's son, a Selectee returned as Honorably Unusable. His burns and the loss of his legs had earned him Hero points good for three months' worth of pain relievers. He had taken the last weeks' worth at once, and cried when it didn't work. The Motivational Supplements Centcom had given him during his Service had left him with a tolerance for drugs that would have been unusually high in a large adult man. Scotty was a little fellow, only fourteen. He had hung himself the next week. No one knew how he did it, or if he had had help, and no one asked. The nature of the duties assigned to Juvenile Selectees required the Motivational Supplements, even the ones who had been through the full Know the Enemy course. Selectees who survived Service were usually warehoused, permanent custodial care, even if they had all their limbs. "Permanent" in this case meant a year. Studies had shown that it took a year for the family to adjust, the visits to drop off, and the news that the Honorably Unusable had passed away peacefully came as a relief, more often than not.
"...the Highest Form of National Service," Jeb finished, "in the words of my brother's worthy opponent in America's second Fair and Free election, and what better gift can we give these young people, our future, than the privilege of that Service in the Liberation of Europe, the continent that gave us our past."
Haley and Rick looked at each other. Finally Haley spoke.
"So," she said, "Do you suppose they'll be rounding up people with European appearance for Protective Detention? posted at
Actions like Sep 11 do not happen in a vaccuum.
Long before those hijackers ever stepped foot on the planes the damage
had been done. They were brainwashed with the same type of garbage
propaganda that is spewed from Fatwa's weblog.
Middle Eastern countries are so much more barbaric today and preAmercia than America can ever hope to be...America has only been around 230 years...who did you blame for everything before that Ductape? I am calling a Fatwa on your bullshit!
IMO - terrorist plain and simple. He is an Al queda operative who
should be put in a cage on gitmo Skinner
My favorite..."In Defense of Holocaust Deniers"
I always thought that "The Enemy Within" was just a metaphore for liberalism, that is, until I encountered Ductape Fatwa. He should be in an orange jumpsuit for sure.
peopleforchange.netductape is either a commie, al queda, or a deep cover mole
Tells you something about this asshole doesn't it. He's really serious.
I believe that DF is nothing but a Republican plant...
Ductape is a commie, a terrorist, and he drinks blood too. He drinks
Capitalist blood. He eats unborn babies too
Give me your address and I'll send you $20 and a thank-you note for taking your hatred elsewhere.
A terrorist with a sense of humor!
He ain't nuthin' but shit
inadequate, halfway house bullshit
You are a dumbass. Fuck you and your condescension about us "benighted sheeple." hamletta
Untruthful, damaging bullshit
no better than the neocons and no different than Timothy McVeigh
dailykos.coma turd in the punchbowl...if DF were Joe Hill he probably would have killed himself rather than get put to death.
A compost pile of fecundity
dailykos.comdespicable and literally mentally ill