Previous commentary

January 10, 2024

Houthi Terror Hits Americans in the Wallet!

 

I’m starting to wonder who’s pulling my leg,
‘Cause the stores where I shop my belief beg’,
Or at least the clerks who solemnly declare
Prices are rising from this big Red Sea scare,
With Houthis hitting ships tall with containers,
And leaving our malls chock-full of complainers.
.
I bought some tomatoes and stared at the price:
I told Jane, «That’s more than I make in a month twice.»
She said, «Well, I hear it’s that doggone Red Sea:
Some creeps called Youthies have gone on a spree,
Since it takes three weeks more to send the least thing,
I have to raise prices to make cash flow sing.»
.
Said I, «These tomatoes come from the Bear State.
What ship, what Red Sea, what creeps demand sate?»
«But it’s all connected,» with a wave did she claim,
«Nowadays the little guy to must play the great game.
Oil prices, Latam markets, my e-impact stats:
I plan my day by biz roundtable chats.»
.
At Swell’s I thought I’d buy a nice shirt or two,
Until I saw numbers that turned my face blue.
I talked to Joe Swell, who me told this sad tale:
«Phil, those friggin’ Houthis make my blood pale.
Fact is containers now go ‘round the Horn,
Why in the Sam Hill don’t we send Jason Bourne?»
.
I said I could wait extra weeks for my shirts,
But Joe called the matter «our just desserts»:
«If Uncle Sam had pushed the two-state solution,
Our price would describe a clear involution,
But as things stand, Phil, what can I say?
Uncle Sam did nada and now we all pay.»
.
So it seems those Houthis have hit where it hurts,
With prices of everything rising in spurts,
But I still wonder if those three weeks ‘round Horn,
Are really a factor or but a way to see torn
A man from his money so daringly earned,
For shops seem to have the global scam learned.

 

 

 

 

December 18, 2023

Investment Advice for 2024

Talking to a guy who loves to talk money,
And has no care from what hive comes his honey,
I got his advice on what to watch, where to spend,
For the upcoming year will prices up-send:
«Here’s the skinny, Phil, on where your hard-earned to place,
And like me get ahead in this human race.
.
«First up, into residentials put your dough,
But not in Miami or old Barcelo’:
Try Cairo and Amman and midtown Beirut,
As word from Jerus’ is demand’s gonna shoot,
Since a whole nation will soon house-hunting go,
And the low-rent market is looking to blow.
.
«Then add to your list household-stuff makers,
Like plates, cups, spoons, forks, and salt-and-pep’ shakers,
Cupboards, chairs and tables will be in demand,
Mattresses, light bulbs, paint, concrete and sand.
Last, farmers and bakers will capital need:
NGOs can only so many mouths feed.
.
«Moving on, head for Wall Street to sell real short
Stocks of arms firms that do the Uke war support,
‘Cause that’s a done deal, i.e., done to a crisp,
For the conflict itself was but will-o’the-wisp,
Though you should watch out if the Yanks intervene:
Joe’s polls are tanking and he might make a scene.
.
«Lastly give time to some good ol’ oil futures,
‘Cause COP ’24 struck me as just moochers.
If nothing’s getting done till 2050,
Oil’s got legs, gas is looking damn nifty.
Houthis bomb ships, Iran could close Hormuz,
So scarce oil and gas are def’ worth the schmooze.
.
«Where there’s a war there a way, my motto is,
Of making fast cash like a financial whiz,
And since meanies abound and love to throw rocks,
You gotta jump fast when op’tunity knocks,
The worst being Israelis and Wash-town’s Dark State:
May as well cash in on humanity’s fate.»

Look Out World: My Army’s Coming!
December 8, 2023
.
I’ve been thinking of starting my own army,
And before you go thinking that I’m a bit barmy,
Let me explain things, for this idea’s got legs:
Fun, cool and upscale, and without rules or regs.
Pure do-it-yourself, Home Depot nation,
Financials to fit your wealth situation.
.
The Houthis in Yemen are my role model here,
Hiring themselves out as Hamas’s air spear,
Making hay while the sun shines by snatching up ships,
Which pay deliciously in ransom and tips.
‘Bout legalities, countries can beef all they want,
Houthis have the geo and missiles to flaunt.
.
Heck, what is Hamas but ten guys and a gun?
You solder some missiles and let fly the fun,
Stand up to Iz with its tech-soldier e’lan,
Which wears thin in tunnels built hither and yon.
No need for an air force, cool medals or ranks,
Just a big cause and a yen to shoot tanks.
.
Most important of all is to have lots of drones,
Large, Small and Medium, in pastel and earth tones.
Fly ‘em near airports and raise hell with the tower,
Since mighty aircraft before them do cower.
Slip ‘em through windows left ajar at Defense,
Leaving ‘em mulling about from they came whence.
.
‘Cause that’s the great thing about missiles and drones:
We can prosecute war from our very own homes.
Brewsky in one hand, in the other joystick,
And soon you’re a player of real politick.
Why be a loser in the 21st cent?
For pennies, to your inner-Genghis give vent. 

 

For Israelis, It’s Personal

December 24, 2023

You wouldn’t think that two colorful ceramic bowls decorated with painted flowers and leaves would inspire someone’s hate, but these are tense times for Israelis.

A friend of mine who works in an NGO, flew to Jordan to meet with staff there. Having some free time, he went to the West Bank, to Hebron, this a few weeks after Hamas’s October 7 raid in Israel. My friend took a tourist’s walk and, though nearly all of the businesses were closed, he found a potter’s shop open and bought the two bowls in the picture.

Returning to Jordan, he passed through Israeli passport and customs control. The soldier searched his knapsack — lest he was smuggling out Israeli invasion secrets — and pulled out the two bowls.

The soldier spat on them.

The war is not business for Israelis, it’s personal. It’s not captains telling soldiers to shoot, it’s soldiers who are itching to kill their enemy — not even the actual enemy, just any Palestinian standing on what they consider their land. To the surprise of those three luckless Israelis who’d accomplished the amazing feat of escaping from captivity, Israeli soldiers shoot at anything that moves in Gaza.

This explains the Srebrenica-style massacre of Palestinians the other day — the raid on an apartment building, separation of the men from all others, their subsequent execution. The Israelis have taken their lessons from the Serbs, from the East German Stasi, from their guards in Nazi concentration camps, from Hitler’s and Mussolini’s air forces bombing the villagers of Guernika, and — this is Christmas, why not? — King Herod.

It fits with another bit of information I’ve heard about Israelis, in particular the men. From flight crews of both Iberia Airlines and Air Europa, pilots and flight attendants, I’ve heard first-hand accounts of the Madrid-to-Tel Aviv run, which female attendants dread. If they take too long to pick up meal trays, many Israeli men simply drop them in the aisle. And from takeoff to touchdown, the women face a barrage of ugly comments. To Israeli men, foreign women clearly figure in that category of “human animals,” just like Palestinians.

What a term: “human animals.” The Israelis have now coined it, and they’ll never live it down. Their athletes will be booed in every stadium, their businesspeople will never shake a foreigner’s hand without noting a certain look in the other’s eye. Israelis can invoke “self-defense” all they want; nobody but their politicians in Washington will take it seriously.

But to return to the bowls, my friend’s anecdote made me wonder about what provoked the ire of that soldier. Was it the bowls as a symbol of a successful Palestinian sale? Was he angry that the potter had made a few shekels that might make the difference between bread and hunger in the potter’s home that night?

Or maybe it was my friend, a Spaniard. Was the soldier angry with a country that wasn’t wilting before Israel’s self-righteous tantrums? A month after the incident, Spanish President Pedro Sanchez, along with Alexander De Croo, the prime minister of Belgium, made a full-throated plea for the two-state solution, this with the backdrop of the Rafah border crossing. Would the Israeli soldier have spat on the newly-bought bowls of an American?

Looking at the picture, however, I am struck by another thought. Perhaps what bothered the soldier was the simple beauty of the two pieces. In defiance of pitiless oppression, the potter could still celebrate something good and lovely in life. The human spirit was still alive. And what he’d made was one of the few expressions of the Palestinian soul that the soldier was forbidden to bust to pieces.

But he could still spit on it, couldn’t he?

I read that some 470,000 Israelis have left the country since October 7; the ones that remain rejoice in the war their government is waging. The decades of frustration in dealing with a people that lays claim to their land, that occasionally attacks them, that makes them tend to all manner of tiresome security measures — this has boiled over into rage, and its high priest is Bibi Netanyahu.

For the moment, pressure from the families of hostages has stayed his hand regarding the worst measures of the IDF, but after making a gesture or two with prisoner-hostage swaps, he will shrug off the last restraints. For nobody should doubt the implications of Israeli forces shooting Israeli civilians on October 7. The Hamas tunnel complex, though an astonishing construction for a people under relentless surveillance, is as much a deathtrap as a resistance network. Flooding it, gassing it or firebombing it to use up all the oxygen is the task of a day for the IDF. Their real mission is finishing the work Israeli settlers started in 1948.

As with any obsessed person, Israelis will pay no attention to the admonishments, rebukes, resolutions, threats, warnings or recommendations of friends. They have the American government in their pocket and nuclear weapons in Dimona. That is enough. This brash people will once and for all rid their land of Palestinians, and turn their obsession into reality.

Obsession: that’s what that soldier’s spitting meant.

 

 

November 5, 2023

 

Israeli Self-Defense: Theory and Practice

 

I’m getting confused about this self-defense stuff,

I mean, is this attacking or just getting rough?

‘Cause call me a square but I think there’s a diff’:

One thing’s getting floored, another’s getting cliffed.

An Israeli insider, though a bit beery,

Held forth on Self-D, both practice and theory.

 

“Look, if A attacks B, what’s B s’posed to do?

Apologize for messing up A’s new hair-do?

The moment A mutters, ‘C’mon, make my day,’

B has the right to pull out rifle and spray,

Or even if A’s day is looking unmade,

B can fair whack him and save us a raid.

 

“Now let’s say A may some heat be packing,

And B knows he’ll use it, having C’s backing.

B’s in his good right to hit both A and C,

Though would do better to pay D to agree

That C is a creep that should be out-taken,

And save his own energy for when A needs rakin’.

 

“And it gets even worse! Let’s say now that D

Is distracted by F, who’s attacked by E,

And can’t do that much against enemy A.

Why, B should hit E and help F any way,

Freeing D to whack A and ride herd on G,

Who’s in cahoots with that son-of-a-gun C.

 

“And hesitate not to invoke danger in future,

Saying that A, after surgery and suture,

Might pick himself up and dust himself off,

Start over again and on promises scoff,

So kick him when down and spare not the shoe:

You’re dealing with crazies who know not what they do.

 

“Look, Phil, I know this gets pretty complex,

Self-D is an art, like fine wine or good sex,

The point is always to have excuse to kick butt,

For ‘defense’ is cool to both pol and wingnut.

Attack? That’s for amateurs, so twentieth-cent’;

Cry you’re for ‘decency,’ your Volk heaven-sent.”

 

 

October 11, 2023
Believe it or not, These are the Good Old Days
The light still turns on when I flick the switch,
Or clap twice my hands for that cool bit of kitsch,
The water still runs and my i-Phone still perks,
Signal still gliding through vast I.T. works,
Tended by guys who still receive paychecks,
Though most still goes to the kids and wife-ex.
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The bus still makes rounds, from the market comes meat,
It’s mid-October and we still have this heat,
Much mulled by scientists who still warn us all,
We’re in for history’s stickiest fall,
For their models still model, satellites still see,
Telling us the Arctic’s the It place to be.
.
To the dismay of kids, schools still have classes,
Indoctrination for still-ungripped masses,
And their hot lunches still get heated on time,
For their schools still pay bills to very last dime,
So the money still flows from admin to cook,
From cook to the bank to the real estate crook.
.
When G.M. needs half-inch steel cold-rolled,
Still they can call on some supplier of old,
Who a roll can still grab and send it by freight,
Reaching the shop floor by November 8,
‘Cause gas there still is for ships, cranes and trucks,
The worldwide supply chain still lined up like ducks.
.
Base jumpers still jump and odd folks still collect
Football cards, Beanie Babes, old Batmans unspecked.
Fashion still searches for new ways to sheathe skin,
Or unsheathe it to fall an inch short of sin.
YouTube mavens still film white Ping Pong balls
That ping off ten plates into cups which enthralls.
.
How nostalgic will look this time when all worked,
Before that point when at us history smirked,
At us, not at folks who wear turbans or veils,
At us, who buy jeans at the Mall Happy Trails,
Ignoring the signs it’s but Normal’s disguise,
Till gusts blow it off and wide open our eyes. 

 

September 27, 2023

Ukraine’s Collapse: Neocon Artists to the Rescue!

December of 2023, and a cloud has appeared in the neocon sky: the Russians are advancing towards Kiev, and the few Ukrainian soldiers left can only destroy bridges to slow them down or send drones against Moscow banks to destroy their pension plans. As Russian troops pass through villages, old women throw rocks. Two teenagers emptied cans of light-blue and then yellow paint onto a passing tank; the video, of course, has made the evening news from New York to Tokyo, and much commentary exalts the never-give-up pluck of Ukrainians. There are rumors of a putsch in Kiev, however, and to add insult to injury, extra Marines have had to surround the American Embassy because crowds are showing up, the quiet ones desperate to get American visas, but the noisy ones — and they are legion — to bang on pots and pans to protest the U.S. getting them into this mess. Media reports dutifully call them “victims of Putin’s disinformation.”

Something must be done. The neocons have spent 100 billion taxpayer dollars and all America’s political capital on the Ukraine War. But neocons do not do defeat. A meeting with the president is called to turn this hiccup into victory.

It is evening in Washington now, and Victoria Nuland, Jake Sullivan, and Tony Blinken file into the Oval Office and sit down on parallel sofas. Nuland has brought a jar of cookies and puts it on the coffee table. The President turns on a television, which shows the line of heavily-dressed people, some with sleeping children, sitting outside the embassy, waiting to be permitted entrance. The protesters have disappeared.

“Well!” he says with relief, plopping down in an armchair. “That doesn’t look so bad. Those protesters must have shrunk away, embarrassed after all we’ve done for them.”

Nobody mentions that it’s two a.m. in Kiev.

“So what have you got for me?” says Biden, adding with a wave at the silent TV, “Don’t get discouraged by this. Freedom always wins out. Hey, I was thinking: what if we blow up another Russian pipeline? You know, send them a message: ‘This is unacceptable.’”

Blinken: “Really, what we need, first and foremost, sir, is to create a new reality.”

Sullivan sighs. “Tony, can we please not get into reality? Reality exists. It’s like air; you don’t change it or invent it.”

Beside him on the sofa, Nuland jabs Blinken in the ribs.

“We think, sir, the situation calls for a stronger” — he glances at Sullivan — “calibration. If we send in troops now, we can probably — no, surely — hold the Russians well short of Kiev.”

“American boys in harm’s way? No. I’ve said that from the get-go: we will not enter the war. No way.”

“Then we are looking at the Russians in Maidan Square within a week, sir,” says Sullivan.

Biden: “Freedom will out, you just have to have faith.”

Sullivan: “We all love freedom, sir, but think of a Russian flag pulled up a flagpole in Maidan. The visuals are going to be terrible.”

This gets Biden’s attention. “Oh. Yeah. The visuals.” He takes his water glass from the table and sips. “We sure got hung out to dry by visuals in Baghdad. You see those crowds running alongside the transport plane?”

“You mean –” begins Blinken.

“Yes sir,” says Sullivan, with a poisoned look at Blinken.

Finally, Nuland speaks up; until now, she has been eating cookies. “That’s why, Mr. President, in view of the visuals, we must move in American troops.”

Biden: “You really think so, Victoria? I’ve said a hundred times, no more troops in Kabul. That’s a bad place to –”

Nuland interrupts him. “Yes, but ‘no more troops’? What is ‘no more troops’? That’s a very ambiguous phrase, Mr. President. I mean, ‘no more troops’ for what? It’s just a question of how you frame those troops.”

Biden nods uncertainly. “Framing. Framing — yeah, that’s important.”

Nuland: “We’re not ‘intervening in Ukraine’ or ‘taking over the war from Ukraine.’ We just say our troops are defending Kiev — first our embassy, which is under siege, then the city, for example at the request of the mayor.”

“Or just those people waiting outside the embassy,” adds Blinken on an inspiration. “Those people depend on us and us alone not to be put up against the embassy wall and shot by Putin’s men.”

Biden: “Yeah, ya gotta defend freedom.”

Nuland: “We can call it ‘a limited military operation.’”

“Madam Acting Deputy Secretary,” says Sullivan, using her full title, “that sounds way too much like ‘Special Military Operation.’”

“So what?” says Biden, puzzled.

Nuland: “Ah. Point taken. We can call it –”

Biden: “I know! We’ll call it ‘Operation Defending Freedom.’”

Nuland: “Excellent, Mr. President! Wonderful!” She offers him a cookie from the jar. “Here you go. Fresh out of the Kagan oven: oatmeal-raisin.”

Blinken frowns uncomfortably. “The E.U. will raise hell, though. They will absolutely not go in for –”

“Oh, fuck the E.U.. They’re such a lot of wussies.”

“Yeah, ya gotta defend freedom,” Biden mushes around his cookie. “But what’s the plan then, Victoria? You send in our boys, they defend, ah, ah, Kiev. Fine. Doable. What then? Negotiate Ukraine’s surrender? No. Freedom never surrenders.”

“Absolutely not. Nobody’s going to surrender,” Nuland says patiently. “The point is to get our uniforms into the country. But we tell everyone that the troops are only there to defend the local population while Ukraine negotiates peace with Russia. ‘Defend’ — that’s the key word. Defend, defend, defend. Nobody can argue with defense, not if the other guy’s attacking.”

“Yeah, ya gotta defend freedom,” says Biden. “Can I get another cookie? Jeepers, they’re good.” He ate another. “And when the negotiations end, our boys’ll leave?”

Nuland smiles. “In theory, yes.”

“And in fact?”

“In fact they are there for ‘Ukraine, Chapter Two: America comes to the rescue.’”

Sullivan: “That’s the part that — I don’t know….”

“Do you have another way of getting at the Russians?” Nuland asks sharply. “You’re the one who’s been itching to go head-to-head with the Chinese for the past year, though I don’t know why. You don’t seriously believe that a China-Russia alliance can be beaten, do you? Between them and the African continent that’s swaying their way, they’ve got control over two-thirds of the world’s population and resources. Where’s your classical political theory?”

“I’m a lawyer,” Sullivan says lamely.

“And I have a B.A. in Russian Studies. Now, either we take out Russia before we take on China, or we kick back, open the cookie jar, and accept China as the new Big Man on Campus. Are you here for that? I can’t believe you’re that kind of fool, Jake.”

“That was uncalled for.”

“I’m a little lost here, Victoria,” says Biden. He holds up his half-eaten cookie, “Maybe it’s because of these great cookies, I don’t know. Is this, like, I don’t know, some kind of plan?”

“Yes. We ring Kiev with troops, the Russian army stops a hundred miles away, and the locals every day pelt their soldiers with everything from tomatoes to pitchforks. Great visuals there. Meanwhile, in the peace negotiations, Zelensky — if we keep him — tells Lavrov to his astonishment that his demands haven’t changed: get out of Crimea and the new Russian territories. In exchange, we’ll give you a sweetheart ten-year deal on your naval base in Sevastopol. The Russians can’t believe it. They renew their attack, but this time they’re up against Americans.”

“Russians attacking our boys?” cries Biden.

“Right! See, Jake? The President gets it right from the start: Russians attacking our boys! Members of Congress will fall all over each other to give you permission to fight back. Then we take out a few of their ships in the Black Sea, declare a no-fly zone and take out a few of their planes, they retaliate, and, voilà! Now we’re at war with Russia.”

Biden frowns. “War with Russia? I don’t know if the American people will accept that.”

Nuland bites into another cookie, muttering something that sounds like “Fuck them too.” When she’s ready, she says, “No, Americans will not accept a war with Russia, of course not. That’s why we tell them we’re at war with Putin.”

Blinken grabs a cookie and stuffs it whole into his mouth.

Sullivan says sourly, “Oh sure, Victoria: explain to us how we’re at war with Putin without being at war with Russia.”

“Easy. We take a page from Putin’s playbook: Operation Defending Freedom’s objective is limited — limited to pushing Putin out of Ukraine. Russia? We won’t shoot so much as a spitball at Russian territory.”

Sullivan: “Right. Limited, like ‘Special Military Operation.”

“But ‘Operation Defending Freedom’ sounds so much better, doesn’t it?” Nuland says. “The key point is, we’re doing it like Vietnam: in stages. First we’re there to protect our people at the embassy, then Kiev, then we’re there only as long as the negotiations continue, then we’re outraged over Russian retaliation, and then all we want to do is push that monster Putin out of Ukraine — but not attack Russia itself. Absolutely not: we have no bone to pick with poor ordinary oppressed Russians, who if they want to rise up and overthrow him, we’ll be there to help. Like the President says, ‘You gotta defend freedom.’”

Biden: “Damn right. Freedom’s gotta be defended again and again. Still…going to war with Russia. Man, there’s a pain in the butt if I ever saw one.” He looks around, grinning. “Get it? Who ever saw a pain in the butt, right?”

The other three dutifully laugh.

Blinken: “You just have to think of it this way, sir: end of the day, this is like the Gulf War, pushing Iraq out of Kuwait. When a dictatorship invades its neighbor, we free nations of the world must band together to throw out the invaders. With a little finagling, I’ll bet I can even get the Europeans on board with that one.”

“Just twist their fucking arms off, Tony,” Nuland mutters.

“Yeah, the Gulf War. That went pretty well, didn’t it?” Biden says. “Wait…didn’t it?”

“Splendidly, Mr. President,” Nuland assures him. “And best of all, we probably don’t even need our troops to reach the eastern border of Ukraine. We inflict a few bad defeats on the Russian army — the Ukrainians have proven what a bunch of pushovers they are — and Putin will be discredited and removed in a coup, and by Election Day next year their new Boris Yeltsin will be taking dictation from us. You’ll walk all over Donald Trump –again.” She snatches another cookie out of the jar, shooting Sullivan a sharp glance. “And then we take on China.”

Blinken applauds. “Either that, or the Russian elite will be at each other’s throats. The country will be in total disarray, and the army will collapse into civil war.”

“I’m happy either way,” Nuland says, snapping off another bite of oatmeal-raisin. “All the same, Jake, how are your people doing with the first-strike project? It’s always good to have that in our back pocket.”

Sullivan shrugs. “I have umpteen staffs across a dozen agencies working on it; Defense is doing the same. Right now, best they can give me is a 75 percent chance of success. It’s those new Borei-class subs that have everybody pulling their hair: use jet propulsion instead of propellers; whales can’t hear ’em coming. I told them I want 85 percent sure before I even mention to the President about going first strike.”

Biden has dozed off and now awakens with a start. “Yeah, a first strike. That’s what I was saying. Hey, you don’t think Putin would do something nuclear about all this, do you?” he asks Nuland.

“Fuck Putin. He doesn’t make reality. We make it. Sometimes, like in Ukraine, it just needs a little tweaking, that’s all. But all that notwithstanding” — she turns to Sullivan — “75 percent, heck, that’s not bad.”

Biden grins. “What a great team I have. C’mon, guys, take a few cookies on your way. Jill made ’em specially for this meeting — buck us up a little.” He looks around uncertainly. “We have finished, haven’t we?”

Nuland: “More than finished, sir.”

Blinken: “Reality has been righted.”

Sullivan: “Ukrainian freedom will be defended at any cost.”

Biden: “Yeah, freedom. That’s something ya gotta defend.”

 

 

 

September 7, 2023

The Coming American/NATO Phase of the Ukraine War

On a recent trip to America, my first since 2019, I was struck by a lot of changes in American life. The jump in profanity, for one. People who on my last visit rarely swore inevitably used «f*cking» for emphasis. «sh*t» has become synonymous with «stuff.» Women have lost all sense of style and rarely dress with greater elegance than a track suit, their hair pinned up or shaven or left laying around their shoulders like party streamers. Maybe the long periods of home isolation in loose-fitting garb have dumbed down their sense of aesthetics. Or maybe I’m accustomed to Spanish women, who never leave home without checking the mirror.
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And prices! I paid 24 bucks for three ice-cream cones. A glass of restaurant wine went for a minimum of 8 dollars. What’s happened to this cutthroat capitalism that’s supposed to keep prices down?And another change was the even greater sense of indifference to news from abroad; perhaps this too is a result of the cocooning years of Covid. Among educated, well-informed folks I found no interest — no curiosity, no concern — about the war in Ukraine. No anger either: the U.S. could have refurbished much of its dumpy infrastructure with the money it has spent on its ill-fated gambit there. No outrage either: it has destroyed this corrupt but inoffensive breadbasket country in pursuit of questionable geopolitical aims, and even if the reporting on it has been shriekingly one-sided, at least it has been a staple of nightly newscasts. But nobody I talked to knows anything about it or wants to know. The neocons are truly free to run the world.
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Which must be a great comfort to them as the Ukrainian war effort sputters and staggers. Surely by now the willingness of low-level grunts to throw themselves into the meat-grinder is failing. Kiev desperately sends drones (with help) to Moscow, blows up (with help) Russian ships, bombs (with help) the Kerch Bridge, hoping to provoke some type of reaction; Russia simply lowers the bar on civilian attacks. The final collapse of Ukraine’s war effort, probably some time in autumn, is in the offing, and those slick neocons must be sitting around their cocktails with their top buttons undone and their ties much loosened — with apologies to Victoria Nuland, who’s probably baking some extra loads of cookies to take her mind off things, and will send these morale-boosters to the guys in the trenches, Maidan Plaza not being the cool place it used to be.

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What to do? Ted Galen Carpenter, in a recent article, said what many analysts (outside the mainstream media) are thinking: «The apparent failure of Kiev’s current military offensive confirms that future significant gains are improbable. It is uncertain, though, if America’s foreign policy hawks are smart enough to abandon a used pawn.»

 

«Uncertain» is a polite term. Imagine a Ukrainian capitulation and President Biden shrugging and saying, «Well, we tried.» Just to say it aloud shows you how ridiculous that is. The Biden people cannot possibly walk away from Ukraine after spending 100 billion dollars and all their international prestige.

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There’s talk in the mainstream media, as Carpenter mentions, about poor generalship and poor morale and poor effort — this to prepare U.S. public opinion (though as I observed in America, the public has none) for an exit. However, after hyping the obvious bravery of Ukrainians for so long, this excuse is not going to play well in Peoria. And after the debacle in Afghanistan, the Biden people no longer have the stomach to absorb another one.

 

Let’s look at history. What does America do when it finds itself in a foreign-adventure hole? Dig itself out? No, it digs itself deeper. It’s not even worth citing examples.

 

Let’s look at geopolitics. What will happen to NATO if Ukraine goes bust? Nothing good. What will happen to the foreign-policy establishment’s determination to stay Numero Uno in the world? China allied with Russia is an unbeatable foe. Either America eliminates Russia as an important power, or it must accept the new multipolar world with China as co-chair. It’s just that simple. It would take years to develop another severe provocation of Russia — in Finland or the Baltic countries, for example. America doesn’t have the time.

 

Probably the best thing that could happen to the neocons is a new coup d’e’tat in Kiev in which the generals took over, sent Zelensky more-or-less intact to his villa in Italy, and sued for peace with Russia. That would at least save immediate American face, and you can bet the guys with the loosened ties have mulled this one over.

 

But it wouldn’t solve their geopolitical problems: NATO, China, the multipolar world in which America would have one front-row seat among several others.

 

No, their only option is somehow to go to war with Russia. (And this, I believe, is why Putin has gone so slow with the war: he’s needed the time to build up for the inevitable, in terms of men, material, and allies.) The trouble with this option is the need to convince the American public. They might be asleep at the wheel of democracy, but war wakes them up, and they are not morning people. How to do it?

 

As I see it, there are three ways. One possibility is an incremental approach, which we may be seeing in attacks on Russian shipping. From there, one moves to a no-fly zone and attacks on its planes until — whoops! — a Russian commercial airliner gets shot down. (Well, the Russkies were responsible for that KLM flight, weren’t they? So we just got back at them for it.)

 

Another possibility is a classic false-flag event that those creative people at the CIA are so good at; practice does indeed make perfect. The American public would be aroused and angry and ready to send their army — as long as it’s all-volunteer — to shore up Ukrainian defenses and knock off a few of those damn commies (Whaddaya mean they’re not commies anymore?).

 

A third option is more risky, but what is risk to these folks so proud of taking them? After all, the NordStream sabotage went splendidly; the media helped out, and in Europe no one even mentions it anymore. That risk is a surprise nuclear attack. Surprise: the command structure shattered, but someone in charge left to threaten. Something like, «If you stand down now, you’re the new chief of the (bruised) Russia. And we’ll send lots and lots of folks to help you rebuild, and don’t worry about their uniforms, they’re just for show.» But only God and Putin know what their reaction would be.

 

In short, the war in Ukraine is not ending, but entering its second phase. For the neocons will not admit a mistake, a defeat, or a debacle. Remember that guy who said history is over?

 

 

 

 

August 20, 2023

What if the Dems Put Trump in Jail?

 

I see by newcasts, which rejoice in detail,
The odd trials and trib’s from which Don does ail.
An indictment here, an indictment there,
And pretty soon you’re talking about prison fare,
But I wonder, have Dems yet pondered the wail
That his fans will raise if they put him in jail?
.
Those tea parties when Rev. King or George Floyd died
Will be pleasant memories when Don Trump is tried,
And sent to prison in an orange jump suit,
When outside the MAGA guys begin to shoot,
Not the cops or guards, but those telling the tale,
Of what great fun it was to put Trump in jail. 
.
And once they’ve torched CNN and the papers,
They’ll start on the Dems for their wooly capers,
First Dems, then Repubs, all wearing Brooks Brothers:
For revolt tends to blur the features of others.
The Capitol hit? That was but garage sale,
Compared to the roar if they put Don in jail.
.
This can’t happen here? The Bureau has got this?
That’s what they all say who live lives of staid bliss.
But those MAGA guys long have watched police flicks.
They know how cell phones and the Internet tricks,
Know all about cameras and leaving a trail,
But they’ll go a-stalking if Don’s put in jail.
.I s’pose one could call out the Guard and the troops,
But how long and how hard will these confront groups
Who believe like them that enough is enough,
That the country sharp needs a dose of Right Stuff?
Which means not canceling the lead Repub male,
Also known as not putting Don Trump in jail..For among the good things that politics does
Is lend a sales rep to the passions and buzz
Of those whose shake in life hasn’t been great,
And who find a champion for their lousy fate.
But put Don on ice or before bullets’ hail:
Revolt’s what we’ll get if Dems put him in jail.

 

 

 

August 1, 2023

OMG! Barbie or Oppenheimer?

 

I can’t make up mind between Barbie and Opp.

Which one gets my dough and which gets the chop?
I mean it’s a big deal now, selecting a flick,
Since what you plunk down’s a wad two inches thick.
Sure, I’d see ‘em both, but my mortgage needs care,
Lest I end up with no walls but thin air.
.
On the one hand, amidst this bone-shaking life,
Where business is hell and the news full of strife,
I need relief from reality so vile,
I need two hours of eye candy and guile,
So clearly Opp is the selection of choice,
Where saccharined history is given a voice.
.
On the other, there’s Barbie to show us how far
P.R. and green screens can bring up to par
A threadbare plotline and actors constrained
To big-budget acting and dialog strained,
Which for huge cash they accept the come-down,
And hope you’re in mood for a popcorn dumb-down.
.
Then there’s ol’ Tom with another cool Mission,
Full of adventure and big-villain squishin’,
And once again drumming into one’s head
MICIMATT will save us, and high-tech well-spread
Is nothing to fear till your job off it picks,
But then you’ll have time to watch more great flicks.
.
Yeah, it’s tough. Can anyone give me a hand?
Atom bombs, pink cars, or dark danger well-canned?
It’s not every day you get choices like these:
America bared like a Roman wall frieze.
But I’ve had enough of by L.A. being took,
So I think I’ll stay home and curl up with a book.

 

 

July 10, 2023

The New Hot-Button Issue: Air-Conditioned Streets!

 

Worried ‘bout another issue-less election?
Leave it to whiners and their endless confection.
‘Cause now world politics is the purest of bosh:
Ukraine and Palestine will come out in the wash,
The climate’s warmer, freeing the Arctic entrenched,
Turning the Earth into a paradise sun-drenched.

.

Even with that you can’t satisfy the masses,
They complain, they moan like a thick pack of asses.
The new thing they scream for and issue of day?
Air-conditioned sidewalks and far-flung highway!
Controversy will rage: what temp will be right?
Blues and reds roll up their sleeves for the fight!

.

The blues want cool streets and cool piped into homes,
Cool driveways, cool parks and cool graves for our bones.
«If you’re cool I’m cool» — what else? — is their cry,
Which the right derides as «New Age do or die,»
Says it’s government into our lives buttin’
Climate-change crap, much ado about nuttin’.

.

Turning their backs on these «IQ low-fliers»
We find the inevitable cool-temp deniers,
Who say that constancy is best for our health,
High streetside A/C is an attack by stealth
From Gates and Soros and Anthony Fauci,
Whose face with each lie gets even more pouchy.

.

Well! The swords are drawn for 2024,
Just when it looked like the most massive trite bore,
With experts experting on what we could save,
By keeping all cool despite every heat wave:,
New inventions, lives saved, GDP out of sight.
Yes, outside A/C is the nation’s new fight.

 

 

 

June 23, 2023

Putin: So Weak He Can Hardly Stand Up!

 

Vlad Putin, I hear, is weaker and weaker,
Just how weak depends on the speaker,
Really weak, awful weak, so weak he can’t stand,
Shouldn’t he by now have laid down his hand?
The skinny from mandarins at CNN
Is Vlad’s washed up, it’s just a question of when.

 

Still, he looks okay for a guy on last legs,
Scared rebels back to base, went back to his eggs,
Understandably pissed ‘cause they’d gotten cold,
But ate ‘em all the same, being from the school old,
Which says that tough guys leave nothing wasted,
Neither food nor words nor enemy unpasted.

 

High comedy was Wagner’s move on Moscow,
Prigozhin should get his applause and quick bow.
Vlad kind spared him the leg-iron shuffle,
‘Cause Prig once served him that yummy white truffle,
And did dirty work in the places most fraught:
Little things like combat that count for a lot.

 

Nato saw crisis, met gravely like adults,
Left worried and stately without great results,
While the media churned into butter this milk,
Sorry and peeved Russian blood was unspilt.
But as one they reported the cheer of Ukes,
Those hearty strong folks who for us put up dukes.

 

Now all that’s left is to mull Putin’s weakness,
How changing his mind reflects but his meekness.
He destroyed no traitors as he had said,
Allowed them return to their base and their bed,
Which got western pundits blabbin’ and squabblin’,
The living proof of Ralph Waldo’s hobgoblin*.

*A foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, adored by little statesmen and philosophers and divines.
— Ralph Waldo Emerson

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May 29, 2023

U.S. Foreign Policy: the Beauty of Being Unbound

Has there ever been a time like this in American foreign policy? The president is a foggy-headed grandpa, the public is hypnotized by accounts of a monstrous Putin, and best, most lovely, most delicious of all: nobody gripes about anything the administration does abroad. Dissent has fled to the Internet, e-cheek by e-jowl with teenage influencers, tulip hobbyists, and Philip Kraske thrillers, there to do no harm. Way back when, Marshall McLuhan was right: the medium is indeed message. Yes, the high mandarins of foreign policy are on a roll. It’s open bar, playground time, a frat party in high gear.

Embarrass China? They deserved it. Destroy the Nord Stream pipeline? Don’t mind if we do. Arm Taiwan? Think of the sales! Shoot a couple of drones over the Kremlin? Well, let’s let the Ukies give it a shot, and if anyone beefs about attempted assassination, we’ll have the media label it a Russian false-flag op.

Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon must be turning green with envy in their tombs. No opposition! No chanting protesters! From the Times, Journal and Post not a word of criticism — quite the contrary. They’re banging the drums for more, and when some outlying misfit leaks documents showing everyone in government knows Ukraine is going to lose, they help put him in the slammer. They’ve had enough of Julian Assanges and his dreary State Department cables. We’re at war; this is no time to toss a monkey wrench into the works.

The Russians and Chinese watch all this with rising anxiety: it’s easy to detect from their ever-more-strident statements. It’s not that they aren’t prepared or don’t feel sufficiently armed; it’s that the Americans are now unpredictable. Whatever position papers told world leaders in 2021 about what to expect from a Biden Administration, all of that has been tossed into the round file. Xi and Putin must improvise on the fly, parrying Washington’s random thrusts.

Nothing they say wrinkles Washington foreheads, nothing gets their attention: not threats, not fists banged the table, not reasoned positions about legitimate security concerns. Red lines laid down? To Americans they look a very pale pink. China calls new American policy on Taiwan «absolutely intolerable«? The Americans hear «a pain in the neck.» The top people in Russia and China must look at the unfolding drama of blithe recklessness and wonder if anything short of a nuclear strike will bring the Americans to deal seriously with them.

Yes, to Biden’s team, consequences are for the little people. «Among America’s most distinguishing features,» writes Patrick Lawrence in his excellent book «Time No Longer,» [is the idea that] Europe was where history took place. America was immune to history’s ravages. It was changeless.» For that is the subtext of the administration’s ever-bolder punches: at the end, those lovely oceans will halt nearly any foreign riposte, and what gets through our trillion-dollar military will dispatch. Besides, a war would take place either far across the Pacific or in Europe — but war there is so picturesque.

It is also the message they transmit to Americans, who hear about the distant gains and losses in Ukraine as if it were a baseball team having a mediocre season. To the odd informed citizen seriously troubled by developments, they listen in the same inert way one waits for a traffic light to change.

Europeans are more uneasy about Ukraine, knowing in their bones how history can grab a people by the scruff of the neck and give them a good shaking. But even here dissent scarcely exists. Governments and opposition parties alike sympathize, sympathize deliriously, with Ukraine. For they know they’d damn well better. As Caitlin Johnstone notes is the case with Australia in regard to China, politicians here fear America — its media, covert ops, and sanctions — more than they do Russia. In Brussels nobody mentions the Nord Stream matter, though inflation is rising and everyone knows why. The major media here follow the lead of the New York Times and repeat the cliche’s about Putin’s sanity, his totally unprovoked war.

Absent any dissent, Biden’s foreign-policy crew engages in an orgy of, to put it kindly, creativity. Is there a Robert McNamara anywhere among them, agonizing over the these constant provocations of Russia and China? «His friends have recounted that a conscience-stricken McNamara would shut his office door and cry,» recalls RFK, Jr., in his book «American Values.» Can you imagine Biden, Blinken, Sullivan, Nuland, Austin or Burns someday confessing to their hubris? The idea is laughable: they eagerly sacrifice Ukraine — and are working on Taiwan — in pursuit of their second American century. Their moral compass has no needle, their intelligence no common sense. Even Machiavelli would question the wisdom of slapping the faces of powerful — and allied — adversaries.

What will the Biden team try next? To slip Putin a mickey in his vodka? Arrest him at some international meeting and spirit him to the nearest American embassy? Force or shoot his plane down somewhere? Bomb Russian pipelines to China? Hit an oil refinery near a major city? Start a wave of terrorist bombings on the Moscow subway? Let loose another virus on either humans, pigs, or chickens? As the saying goes, «all the options are on the table,» though this table may need a few extensions, and Biden’s crew must drool over it as they browse, their only regret being that they can’t do more than one at a time.

Or…hell, why not? They have left limits behind and have no thought for the consequences of actions. They are truly living that infamous quote attributed to Karl Rove: «We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality.» The trouble is, one’s own reality is a matter of seeing what one believes rather than believing what one sees; like, for example, something streaking overhead at hypersonic speed.

 

June 1, 2023

Should we ship Joe direct to the I.C.U.?

Or are there a few things that he still can do?

Like reading his prompter and signing some bills,

Things that don’t wreak of the stink of time’s ills,

But these days the White House shows the head honch’,

As leader of the free world with almost no paunch.

 

His grayness floweth over, his voice thin as fog,

And makes one think about him marching through bog,

Marching and hearing from a distance quite great

The questions of aides about issues of state.

He’s running on instinct or running on fume:

Is this door the Oval or his own bathroom?

 

But so goes the nation now, more show than tell,

Press freedom and privacy no more than shell,

The cops on the run and companies footloose,

Tax loopholes galore as lobbyists spruce,

Jerusalem’s buddies direct foreign pol’

With input from spooks and hustlers et al.

 

It took Joe to show us there’s really no prez,

But a guy in a tie who plays Simon Says,

And if now and then it occurs to some Trump,

To make real changes or kick Deep State rump,

On the receiving end he’ll fast find himself

Of a media putsch and put on the shelf.

 

Does anyone tell him that’s he’s slowing down?

Does Jill bring his meds with worrying frown?

T’would take a strong man to admit that he’s done,

Move out of the White House to play with grandson,

But as legacies go, that wouldn’t be bad,

An awful term ended with history glad.

 

April 1, 2023

What if Hillary Clinton Had Won?

 

If Hillary Clinton had won the 2016 election, the Establishment would have continued on its path to contain China, but sooner, and would have started the ruckus in Ukraine, but sooner. This little exercise in “What if” throws some interesting light on the neocons’ future plans and maybe on the whys and wherefores of the Covid attack on China. What if is a great tool to understanding What is.

 

Let’s make the basic assumption that the Clinton’s neocons had the same worldview and the same plans as Biden’s. They saw the rise of China as the main problem and decided, adhering to their tradition of foreign-policy myopia, that America must remain the world’s only superpower. This policy has had various names over the past two decades, the most famous being the “Project for a New American Century” and “the international rules-based order.”

 

They see the main trouble with this plan as Russia’s growing coziness with China. The two together, whether they call it an alliance, a friendship or a weekend romance, make a virtually unbeatable combination, controlling almost all of the Eurasian landmass. The neocons decided that Russia was to be taken on first; hence the American-”midwifed” coup d’etat in Kiev in 2014. The Kremlin’s counter-move was the annexation of the Crimea, which must have surprised and angered the neocons, but at least it made the rest of the plan easy: sanctions by the thousand, the marshaling of Europe to the cause, an anti-Putin PR campaign for the edification of the hoi polloi, the robbery of that juicy 300 billion bucks in Russian foreign reserves unwisely held in American banks — and, of course, the war in Ukraine.

 

In a first Clinton Administration, Ukrainian troops would need more time to beef up. Even with a sped-up program of training and arms, it would have taken a Clinton Administration longer to maneuver Russia into war. With greater attacks on the Donbass stirring up Russian public opinion, probably the bear could have been goaded into attacking by the third year of a Clinton Administration, in 2019.

 

Plan A was — is — to use Ukraine to inflict humiliating battle defeats on the Russian army, its generals, and Russian territory and infrastructure, thus leading to either Putin’s resignation or overthrow. The neocons want a more pliable, Yeltsin-like leader to take his place. This means that Plan B, the only logical alternative, is violent conflict with Russia, perhaps even a nuclear showdown: either Putin’s resigns and our man is put in power, or else.

 

If that sounds extreme, consider the neocons’ point of view: either Russia is subdued, or they must accept China as a peer superpower. There’s nothing in between. If Russia and China continue together, the American foreign-policy elite is condemned to accept a new balance of power, accept loathsome multi-polarity, accept that the new American century is no longer a project but a pipe dream. Probably Clinton’s first administration would have been dedicated to clearing Russia from the table so that they could concentrate on China and on customizing a new world order in the second one.

 

The surprise election of Donald Trump upset the Establishment timetable.

 

Trump and his motley crew drove the plan underground; even the sublime Victoria Nuland, who had kept her footing on the slippery decks of State through Republican and Democratic administrations, was out. The best the Clinton crowd could do was to press the Steele-dossier issue, keeping Trump on the back foot with regard to Russia. He could not improve relations with Russia, as he had hoped, without incurring the criticism that Putin was his sugar daddy. In the mainstream media, Russia’s aid to beleaguered Donbass towns was widely ballyhooed. This, at least, provided a broader context for harassing Russia once Biden was elected.

 

In the meantime, however, China continued to sprint ahead. Riding the wave of its economic juggernaut, including two Olympic Games, it won ever-greater acceptance as a new world power. And what if Trump won re-election? Neocon worries must have risen to the panic level. By now, in a Clinton Administration, the plan should have been moving forward. Instead, it was nearly at a standstill. What to do?

 

This is the context in which we understand Ron Unz’s theory that the Covid crisis was really an American bio-attack on China (and Iran, but let’s confine ourselves to China). It’s not worth reviewing; readers of this page know all about it. The theory’s major drawback, as Unz himself recognizes, is that the alleged American planners understood that the attack would have repercussions outside China. For it would take some weeks before the virus was noticed and dealt with by authorities. And this was indeed the case. The virus was probably released in November 2019, but China didn’t begin to take measures against it until January. So there was a window of several weeks in which infected Chinese traveled abroad and infected foreigners returned to their countries. As Unz has also noted, the week-long lag time between infection and symptoms, especially in China’s crowded cities, made it the perfect attack virus.

 

So it is not hard to imagine that somewhere in the darker corridors of American power, amidst rising panic about China, a plan was quickly hatched to throw a monkey wrench into the churning gears of its economy and its political outreach. Yes, the plan would also affect the rest of the world, but something had to be done; time had to be gained until Trump could be ousted. Trump’s people were left well out of the loop: any fool could see the likelihood of the pandemic coming to America, and the last thing Trump needed was a major health crisis, especially going into re-election; the timing of the outbreak is interesting in that sense as well.

 

Anyway, it’s doubtful that the plotters gave a hoot about his opinion one way or the other: Trump and his people would be toast in the next election. A nationwide health crisis — hospitals overflowing, medicine running short, alternate media sowing discord and mistrust — would be a big help in giving him the heave-ho. Besides, even if his people discovered the plotters, what could they do about it? Tell the Wall Street Journal that the worldwide Covid crisis actually started as a CIA plot against China?

 

These are the two lessons of our What If. One, that war with Russia, and probably a nuclear showdown, is in the offing: Plan A against Putin is going poorly, and for the neocons the sine qua non of a second American century is the elimination of Russia as an important power. Two, that the conveniently-timed Covid pandemic was an attempt to slow down China and hurt Trump at a moment when, to those creepy masters of the universe, all seemed lost. And to give credit where due, it worked, both in China and against Trump.

 

 

 

 

March 15, 2023

The New York Times Takes on Sy Hersch

 

I’m starting to wonder if the Times of New York

Is reporting the news or just basic pork,

Churned out by purveyors of deeds quite dark

Who take federal paychecks to hone the bark

Of policy mavens that our world shape,

Like making sure pipelines don’t transport but gape.

 

So now as an answer to Sy Hersch’s shout,

The Times with a tale now weirdly comes out,

And weird is the word, folks, from finish to start,

News without news, an exercise in word art,

Full of “maybes,” “might haves,” and “no firm conclusion.”

Why bother, then, with the story’s inclusion?

 

It says there’s “new evidence,” all fine and well,

But says not what it is, its type or its smell,

But seems to come from the right side of the Balt’,

Where grim Poles, Lith’s and Lat’s do Russia fault,

Though Ukes have no coast, for the Times that’s no prob’:

Those “Pro-Ukraine Groups” can pull off any job.

 

It’s some cool “proxy force” that can also use

All manner of diving tanks a-la Tom Cruise.

Yet one more Mission Impossible feat

Tom would dispatch in little more than a bleat

And with top-secret hush that he’d intuit,

Unlike Prez Big Mouth: “We will bring an end to it.”

 

The Times story says flat of Uke guilt there’s no proof,

Their bigwigs deny all, though Z’s stayed aloof.

Was this Russian false flag, something the pipes ate?

Or true Do-It-Yourself in its purest state?

No, the Times has covered up this one in lint,

Showing what’s not news is quite fit to print.

.
.
.
.
.
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February 10, 2023
The War in Ukraine Will End Soon — With a Bang
.
.

Amidst indignant reactions to ex-Chancellor Angela Merkel’s revelations about the Minsk accords, worry about Americans “advising” Ukrainians en situ, and the back-and-forth of battle lines, it’s easy to forget what the Ukraine War is all about: the struggle of the United States to maintain its status as the world’s only superpower. More exactly, America’s attempt to suppress China as a rival superpower is the center of this tragedy.

China, allied with its back-door gas station Russia, is a nearly unbeatable foe. China’s seaports can easily be cut off if container ships are threatened against docking there. Its back door is another matter. So those hard-eyed folks in Washington, obsessed with the Wolfowitz Doctrine, need to eliminate or take over Russia. That is the sine qua non of the American strategy. Without this step, the strategy falls apart.

 

And the step needs to be taken quickly; already the confrontation with China is picking up momentum.

 

Hence the Ukraine War. As President Biden ad-libbed himself, “[Putin] cannot remain in power.” He later walked back the comment, but the slip obviously reflects thinking in the Oval Office. The nice way to remove him is to cause a Russian defeat in Ukraine and the resignation — or worse — of its president, replaced (neocons hope) by a pliable drunk like Boris Yeltsin. I would imagine that foreign-policy blobbers long ago convinced themselves that they would really, actually, in their heart-of-hearts prefer to do things this way. Because the other way is not nice.

 

Not nice at all: the other option is a nuclear attack. This is the difference with the nuclear standoff that has lasted decades: now Washington needs to attack. Invasion won’t do the trick. Russians would see it coming a mile off. And they wouldn’t stand for a conventional war on their territory because they know they would lose. Nor would they stand for another Yeltsin, nor a foreign ruler that broke the country into ten pieces. Long before the Yankees got to within a HIMARS-throw of Moscow, Russia would resort to nuclear weapons.

 

The savants of Washington know this, as they have always known that Russia could not possibly lose a conventional war against Ukraine: a table-flat country, on its border, with a third the population, and no real war-making resources other than an actor-president who — credit where credit is due — could sell sand in the Sahara. I would give him his bust in the halls of Congress just for sheer chutzpah.

 

A conventional attack being impossible, Washington needs a war right on Russia’s border to use as cover, as an excuse, for a nuclear attack. If you doubt their determination, remember that this reckless gambit in international affairs has been built through four administrations of neocons, who: 1) scrapped the relevant arms-control treaties; 2) overthrew a democratically-elected regime on Russia’s border; 3) pulled Europe apart from Russia, wrecking the European economy; and 4) literally destroyed the NordStream pipeline to make sure that the wreck stayed wrecked. I would imagine that even among older practitioners of U.S. foreign policy — Kissinger, Baker and their lot — those measures must have raised a few eyebrows. Biden’s crew is like fifteen-year-olds let loose in the foreign-policy candy store.

 

There are two ways, as I see it, of the war provoking a nuclear crisis: if the United States and/or Nato enter the war, or if, somehow, the Ukrainians mount a chemical- or biological-weapon attack against Russia, perhaps a dirty bomb. In either case, a crisis explodes, threats are made, and the U.S. has an excuse to unleash a nuclear attack on Russia — maybe with just a minimum of tactical nukes to impose a surrender, for only God and the CIA know what the Americans can actually do.

 

The point is to have a credible excuse for a first strike; without the Ukraine War, credibility would have been problematic — or at least more problematic; I have no doubt that, in a pinch, the same agile novelists who gave us the Kennedy Assassination and 9-11 could come up with a vivid tale. Whatever it is, the public will accept it, for they have been carefully cultivated by media stories about Russia: how Putin has turned into a dictator, how the LGBT community is persecuted, how Russian men fled the country to avoid conscription, and especially, repeatedly, poundingly like the drumming on a heavy-metal tune, that Vladimir Putin is a madman, a megalomaniac.

 

When the first images of blasted-out Moscow appear, President Biden will explain to a frightened world his heart-wrenching decision to strike first: the covers of Siberian rocket silos had been removed, the radio traffic was unmistakable, humint and e-lint confirmed suspicions, the Russian military brass had all suddenly slipped away to command centers around the country, and the crowning touch: President Putin’s recent mental state was “extremely concerning.” His statement need be but the merest window-dressing; the public, though appalled, will breathe a sigh of relief to know that this madman is no more.

 

President Biden would never do such a thing? This foggy-headed grandfather might be fully against World War III, but his foreign-policy team has by now taken the measure of him and knows exactly what to say in order to panic him into acting.

 

The foreign-policy crew fears a nuclear response from Putin? Hardly. They seem to have taken the Russian’s measure as well, and come away satisfied. Putin didn’t react when: 1) Nato expanded again and again; 2) Washington staged the coup d’etat in Kiev; 3) Washington (the only real suspect, either hands-on or not) sabotaged the NordStream 2 pipeline; and 4) when Washington assisted the Ukrainian government’s attack on the Donbass. Indeed, Putin waited through eight years of this violence to finally invade, having exhausted every other possibility to avoid war, and even then launched not a war but a lame “special military operation.”

 

Add all of this to the neocons’ wishful thinking that once Russia is out of the way, China will be a piece of cake that they will eat deliciously smacking their lips; and a nuclear first strike easily crosses into their realm of the feasible. Hitler and Napoleon would understand.

 

How strange that the drive to conquer Russia returns again and again in history; it is the West’s recurring nightmare, and it will be this time as well — though this aspect of the Ukraine story is strictly ignored by our slovenly mainstream media. So I leave the last word to Argentine writer Jorge Luis Borges, who said, “The past is indestructible; sooner or later everything comes back around, and one of the things that come back around is the project to abolish the past.”

 

December 22, 2022
Christmas Gifts that Count
I’ve been looking over my Christmas-gift list,
Making sure I have all and that no one is missed,
And a long list it is, for both naughty and nice,
‘Cause unlike Santa I gift virtue and vice,
Hoping that each will in the box find a treat
That rewards the good and leaves the bad effete.
.
To President Joe I plan to give slippers,
Good thick warm ones with rubber floor-grippers,
To get him thinking that retirement would
Let him get away while the getting is good,
Before the Joints Chiefs need a first strike on V. Putin,
And the world’s in the hands of God and I. Newton.
.
I’ll give to Zelenskyy a calculator,
Not a normal one; he’ll need something greater,
With extra digits to his fortune add up,
Since selling weapons runneth over his cup,
His cup and the cups of his corrupt Ukie friends,
Who find a thief’s solace driving Mercedes Benz.
.
For ex-President Trump my gift is a file,
Not the Top Secret kind he swiped from the pile,
But a diamond-edge model, forged super-stiff,
Guaranteed without sweat to cut bars in a jiff,
Plus a putter and ball ‘cause he’s a golf jock,
(Which turn into a grenade and 9MM-Glock).
.
For European leaders heroin and coke,
Anything to get them to stand up awoke,
And stop them behaving like Uncle Sam’s dogs,
And object as one and throw into his cogs
A monkey-wrench by saying Europe counts too,
And has no interest in a new World War Two.

 

 

Banksy Makes a Splash in Ukraine
(Public Domain)
.
.
Banksy’s latest work, in Ukraine, must be a great lift to Ukrainians. He makes fun of President Putin being flipped by a kid and pictures an old granddad in his bathtub. In pictures of two gymnasts painted on bombed buildings, he contrasts human capacity for beauty with human capacity for destruction. But when Banksy finishes his artistic sojourn through Ukraine, I hope he’ll visit Washington and spray a few pictures on the walls of its white buildings, which would make a perfect canvas. Here are a few ideas for paintings.

 

For the wall of the State Department, a work entitled «The Negotiators.» We see the pre-war negotiations between the United States and Russia. On one side of the table, we see Sergey Lavrov, Russian Foreign Affairs Minister, leaning forward on the table, a very serious expression on his face, his hands outstretched with the palms upwards: a gesture that verges on supplication. On the other side of the table, we see Secretary of State Antony Blinken grinning at his cell phone and showing something on its screen to the fellow beside him, who is cracking up laughing.

 

For the wall of The Smithsonian National Museum of American History, a work entitled «The Plotters.» Here we see an extraordinarily large work for Banksy, rising nearly two floors high. He seems to want people to take in some detail. It’s a mural with a jagged line in between its two subjects, indicating, as comic books used to, a telephone connection between them. On one side is U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Victoria Nuland, though she looks several years younger here. On the other is former U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Geoffrey Pyatt, also a few years fitter and trimmer. Both are talking on cell phones. Nuland is sitting at her kitchen table with a fat plastic cup of a soft drink in her hand, straw sticking out, and we see a bit of the golden arches peeking from between her fingers. The lifeless wrappings of a Big Mac lay on the table before her, and beside that a pile of her famous homemade cookies. She is speaking at this moment, Pyatt listening, and we definitely see the letter F puckered on her lower lip. Pyatt is in an office chair in his study, legs crossed and propped on his desk, and he holds a martini — yes, with olive — daintily by the glass’s stem, the very image of the elegant diplomat.

 

For the wall of the Pentagon, a work entitled «You idiot!» Here we see a three-star general talking on his desk phone, body launched over his desk, mouth jagged with rage. In the background, we see sections of the four NordStream pipelines. Two have one hole each, from which methane is bubbling out. A third has two holes, and the fourth is intact. We can understand his dismay.

 

For the wall of the White House Briefing Room, a work entitled «Dictator, Dictatee.» We see two reporters, a man and a woman, in three-quarters profile. On one side of the picture we see the stage and the lower few inches of the White House press officer’s lectern. The reporters are very intent on taking down quotes from the speaker; their fingers blur over the keyboards of their laptops. They are both in their early thirties, wonderfully good-looking, but what strikes us is how alike they are; they could be twins. The fellow’s hair parted on the side, and the woman’s hair falls lushly over her shoulders and curls together below her chin. Both wear watches, the man’s a little fatter than the woman’s. The man wears a tie, the woman’s lapels are open, and both wear white shirts with tall collars and suit jackets of a dark color. And now we notice in the background, looking along the rows of reporters, that they are all repetitions, mere echoes, of those two reporters. That old rascal Banksy sure knows how to make a statement.

 

Lastly, for the wall of the White House, a work entitled «Greatness.» Here we see President Kennedy giving his inaugural address, Vice President Johnson seated and squinting behind him. This painting has a caption, rare for Banksy: «Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate.»

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

October 15, 2022

The Coming Nuclear Strike on Russia

Did you notice how oddly Russia’s recent use of drones against Ukraine was reported in the media? They weren’t any old drones, but “Iranian” drones. Every single headline I could find mentioned that they came from Iran. Either Acme Iranian Drones has the best PR people in the world, or every single editor on earth took their cue from American news outlets. Probably the latter, and now in western public opinion, those hairy, cantankerous ayatollahs are solidly fixed to the Russian side of the conflict. If the war widens, those chauvinist creeps are going to get nailed as well. This is a woke war.

 

This small detail of war propaganda shows how little opposition exists to America’s and Nato’s promotion of the conflict. Coverage is uniform and unwrinkled. No matter if Ukraine passes laws against the use of Russian language, no matter if they backed out of fruitful negotiations with Russia last March, no matter whatever. Ukraine wears the white hat, and Russia the black. America’s Deep State wants a long, juicy war in Ukraine, and it has organized a full-court press on public opinion to get it.

 

Not even the Nordstream pipeline sabotage troubles the patter of our news anchors. Against all logic, they insist that it was a Russian job. Among conservative commentators, Pat Buchanan is an admirably rare voice insisting that it was surely not the work of Russians:

 

“Why would Russia sabotage two pipelines it helped to construct, which give it lasting leverage over the prosperity of NATO Europe? Why would Putin sabotage his own strategic assets?”

 

He also makes the rarely-heard point that a Ukrainian victory over Russia might well provoke a Russian nuclear response:

 

“If Kyiv, with U.S. weapons and support, pushes the Russians out of Crimea and the Donbas, Kyiv pushes its war with Russia closer and closer to a nuclear war.”

 

This, Buchanan says, runs counter to the American interest in avoiding nuclear war with Russia.

 

Or does it?

 

Why has the reckless foreign-policy crew in Washington shoved, jabbed and steered Russia into a war and backed Ukraine with billions in arms? For Ukrainian wheat?

 

No, the goal is to see Vladimir Putin replaced as president by a discontented ruling class or the military. The clear trouble with this plan is that nobody knows what kind of successor will take his place. America got lucky with Boris Yelstin, but the next leader might well figure, like Putin, that he ought to put the interests of his own country first.

 

A surer way to get rid of Putin and his ilk is through a nuclear strike. If Russia finds itself losing badly, with Ukrainian troops overrunning what they consider Holy Russian territory, its response may well be nuclear, just as Buchanan says. This is just what the Washington mavens are waiting for: not a nuclear strike, but the clear prospect of one that allows the U.S. to justify its own first strike.

 

On the other hand, if Russia starts beating the tar out of Ukraine, then the possibility of a Nato entry into the war increases. Or as NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said last week, “Russia’s victory in the war against Ukraine will be a defeat of NATO. This cannot be allowed.”

 

Once Nato intervention has started, Russian threats regarding its response would also justify an American first strike.

 

Not that justification need be any more than window-dressing. The western public is so thoroughly drenched – steeped, marinated, glowing — in anti-Putinism that citizens will accept it. The media will play its jester’s role of amplifying, embellishing, and sweetening the attack. The president will talk about how hard the decision was, how his wife opposed it, how he prayed after giving the order, how carefully and surgically the missiles were delivered, how quickly our forces rushed in to care for the survivors. No doubt a Hollywood pudding will quickly come out to celebrate American humanity. In time the horror will be ground down to a little nub of history, the public convinced that “Putin deserved it.”

 

Of course, there’s the tricky matter of a Russian counter-strike, but this scarcely clouds the plans of these daring young men on the foreign-policy trapeze. They have discounted it. They think Putin is soft. Over twenty years, his response to Nato expansions was little more than a shrug. His invasion of Ukraine was half-hearted, and only came after eight years of ethnic cleansing of Donbass Russians. Even the invasion’s objectives — “denazification”? — were limited. Putin may consider the demise of the Soviet Union a disaster, but he has not lifted a finger to rebuild it — with the exception of Crimea, which is about the size of Vermont. If he resembles Josef Stalin, it is in domestic politics, not international.

 

Yes, the “Blob” has Putin marked down as a pushover. They knocked over the pro-Russian regime in Kiev, placed middle-range rockets in Poland, targeted his generals, and surely sabotaged the Nordstream pipelines. More recently, they casually dismissed his alarm about a Ukrainian “dirty bomb” as if Russian intel were a doddering grandfather with Alzheimer’s. Blobbers figure his response to a nuclear attack would be meager and in any case would have to run the gauntlet of America’s fully-alerted defenses. Oh, this is totally dope win-win: Red Bull and high-fives in the Situation Room.

 

And they’ve got the whole political base behind them: neo-cons, neo-libs, Democrats, Republicans, the media, the Europeans, the Israelis, and the public long tantalized with the delicious prospect of Vladimir V. Putin sputtering his defense before an international court. You cannot fault the foreign-policy mavens on thoroughness: they did their homework and now have an unimpeachable mandate for conquest, or as they like to put it, “defense of the rules-based order.”

 

And with Russia neutralized, they can move on to the real prize, which is the subjugation of China. The one-China policy has been flung aside as the half-measure of wimps, and provocations grow more serious with each week. Which means that Russia, China’s gas station, must be taken in the coming months. Winter promises to be busy.

 

To watch international politics these days is to live in dread. It’s to remember the uneasiness of German and Polish Jews watching Hitler’s Nazis gain a little more with each election. It’s to stand in a North Vietnamese rice patty and hear the thudding of helicopters. It’s to listen to fleeing Rwandan villagers describe massacres against their tribe. It’s historical human dread replayed time and again. Only the skin color of the victims changes, and the bangs get louder.

 

 

 

 

September 30, 2022

How Mistakenly Nuclear War Will Begin

I’m glad that Putin finally issued a threat:

“You mess on my lawn and you’ll get what you get,”

If he’d said that before he might have thrown ice

On a lot of bold plans and made folks think twice

‘Bout blowing his pipelines and bombing his bridge,

Which must have troubled the czar just a smidge.

 

But Putin remained quiet for years on end,

While Nato expanded and Yanks placed a friend

On the throne of Ukraine and urged an attack

On the provinces east where folks felt bushwhacked

By the swift coup d’etat that chucked out their prez,

And installed a puppet who played Simon Says.

 

And so the soup bubbled for eight bloody years,

The Donbass getting bombed to discreet western cheers.

Here the reporters didn’t question attacks,

But asked only if Russia was sending half-tracks.

T’was only when Ukes massed to finish the job

That Russia stirred: a “limited military” lob.

 

But you can’t take your girl to a “limited” lunch,

And you can’t win a fight with a “limited” punch.

Well, maybe those work when you’re prez of repub’,

But people just laugh in their Wash-town posh club,

And plot yet another sweet target to hit,

Knowing they’re dealing with a Kremlin nitwit.

 

Now at last Vlad Putin has figured it out:

And is aiming his blows at both gut and snout,

But the damage is done: they’ve taken his measure,

And figure he’s chicken and will at their pleasure

Push the Bad Button and tick off a new box,

And prepare to put China up on the blocks.

 

 

 

 

September 20, 2022

The Coming Nuclear War: Pros and Cons

 

My foot’s gettin’ itchy, my hands a bit hot,
Thinking as I am about having but nought,
A cupboard as empty as A. Blinken’s eyes,
No honey for my toast or ketchup for fries,
Yes, the time has come to start freezing some beef,
Before nukes fly for our Geezer-in-Chief.

 

‘Cause fast in a corner is he puttin’ Putin,
With no choice but to start scrappin’ and shootin’,
This to the applause of the media mainstream,
Who think the cornering of Russia a scream,
And can’t get enough of Zelensky’s tough talk,
Since it’s his soldiers who must walk the tough walk.

 

This just needs a spark, it’s a question of time
Till the balloon goes up and rockets do climb,
And because in the West in this we’ve no voice,
Our media just baa and the pols give no choice,
The average fellow must for himself shift,
By the ton store canned food, if you get my drift.

 

Such great ramifications ram far and wide:
On finishing college or becoming a bride.
If the world’s gonna end, to paraphrase Woody,
I paid too much for my Ralph Lauren hoodie.
As to the mortgage, I may as well park it,
Since my fellow man’ll be out of the market.

 

On the upside, global warming won’t worry
Because CO2 trends will fall in a hurry;
No more hassling with social distance and masks,
Or painting the house or dull Saturday tasks,
Or curing addictions, paying the piper,
Since for one’s health one needn’t get hyper.

 

Yes, after centuries of the Age of Reason,
We’ll get to see live the last ep of the season.
Unlike our descendants who it all have missed,
We’ll know who’s the culprit and who gets kissed,
Have front-row seats on the Second Coming of Christ:
And know if it was true or just a cheap heist.

 

 

 

September 15, 2022

Why Did Trump Keep Those Papers?

 

You have to wonder why Trump kept those papers.

To show to his grandkids? To re-live old capers?

He’s greedy as hell but a klepto he’s not,

More like Diogenes with burgeoning pot,

Who like the syndrome never throws stuff away,

And lives in squalor that’s cleaned up every day.

 

Or maybe Melania had inspiration

Of papering walls with TS designation,

Which is now all the rage on the Upper East Side,

Where Cold War secrets are displayed with smug pride,

And if you wonder about Twin Towers destruction,

A Park Ave playroom will complete your instruction.

 

Did Trump choose the files, like “take this and take that”?

Whole boxes of papers: “Take the lean but not fat”?

And then there’s the one on President Macron

And the one on clemency for Roger J. Stone,

What purpose would they retain in Trump’s old age:

To give him a laugh or his resentment assuage?

 

But maybe we complicate this story too much,

Imagining revenge and blackmail and such.

It may be as simple as Sally’s seashell,

Like a guy towel-swiping from his hotel:

You don’t really need ’em, you have five or six,

But for prices like that they should throw in Netflix.

 

So the Soap Opera Trump continues to play,

Scheming Dems determined to put him away,

‘Cause they know they can’t beat him in ‘24,

Unless they run Tulsi with whom they’re all sore.

But now The Donald has himself his foot shot,

And with luck will avoid a cold cell and hard cot.

 

 

 


June 5, 2021

The Grassy Knoll Flu Conspiracy

I’d always given bats some credit for smarts,
Catching their dinner using radar black arts,
But their foisting on guys and gals a bad flu
Struck me as somewhat beyond their purview,
Not that they don’t have a few beefs with mankind,
Who shrinks their habitat, a species Palestined.
.

The perfect flu, though, that’s a get-back too far,
A flu so well made, among flues it’s a star:
Infects without symptoms, kills only a few,
Harsh enough to your economy screw,
Makes folks so nervous they wash hands to the bone,
Wear masks that fog glasses in China quick-sewn.
.

Bat-infection, though, is now getting short shrift,
As among learned folks appears a new rift
In thinking with me that bats are too batty,
And don’t have the stuff to do something catty,
So now our thoughts turn to the Theory Lab-Leak,
From Wuhan, of course, since our labs are too chic.
.

But ‘round this theory wafts political con:
The very first hit were Chinese and Tehran.
Yankee intel had the first whiff of disas’,
Months before Wuhanites were coughing en masse,
And coming on top China’s SARS and MERS prob’,
Might sly bio-warfare be on the Yank hob?
.

If that’s the case, we just received an update
Of the panic boiling amidst the Deep State,
Of the envelopes pushed, the flu Grassy Knoll,
All planned to ensure that the good times still roll,
Which must make the Chinese dust off their Sun Tzu,
And focus their minds on the Washington crew.

May 15, 2021

War, The National Pastime

There are odd sayings that clothes make the man,
And empires are lost in the dust of Afghan’,
Though if you look close you can see what was lost
Is what could be called opportunity cost:
Investment in Kabul instead of Kentuck’,
Where lots of good people are down on their luck.

Down on their luck and quite willing to pardon
A defeat in Afghan’ if it means a garden
Of their own to hoe and a job that pays bills,
And sometimes attention to life’s aches and ills.
It might calm the shame of the army’s defeat
If it could be met in a house with some heat.

Yet lest our mighty Ruling Classes do fret
That shame will result in a nation upset,
I urge them to on the bright side consider
That the war has hardly been but a glitter,
A news brief, a blurb, blip sandwiched between
Kim K’s divorces and the need for vaccine.

Nor need they fret deep that it’s ‘Nam 2.0,
Since there hasn’t been much as far as I know
Of protest, pain, country-wide angst, despair,
Nor wistful speeches asking why we were there.
No, the country’s taken Afghan’ in its stride
Plenty complacent with the thought that we tried.

Anyone remember the Second World War?
Now there was a tussle with stories and lore:
If you needed to slip through enemy lines,
Why, you just changed your hat and took the name Kleins.
The bad guys were creeps and aggressors to boot,
Bombing Old Blighty, swiping Paris art loot.

Although then fought by all, a national quest,
Now war’s a pastime or a sideshow at best,
Fallen as it has from defense of democ’,
To reasons for feeding the Pentagon’s flock,
And woe is the country of which it falls ‘foul,
‘Cause ‘round here, win or lose, nobody will howl.

April 25, 2021

So America’s not Going to Rescue Ukraine — Right?

I’m assured far and wide, from every smart quarter,
By savants with arguments longer and shorter,
The U.S. and Nato won’t come to the aid
Of a Ukrainian hand so god-awful played
That attacking the Donbass provokes the ire
Of Vladimir’s troops and his jet planes and fire.
.
T’would be dumb, I’m told, and stupid to boot,
Just not in our interests nor for decent loot,
Illogical, ill-doable, and ill-conceived,
A slapstick scheme from the Three Stooges thieved.
Yanks and Nato supporting that kind of gaffe?
Get outta here, get a life, don’t make me laugh!
.
Fine and well, guys, and I try to feel better,
But I see some things that do my nerves fetter,
Like President Joe who fresh out of the gate
Insults the Chinese, and the Russkies does bait,
Like Tony the SecState who doesn’t quite say
Just what we’ll do if Ukraine makes a play.
.
Plus I see CNN looking for trouble,
Prepping the public for its hate to double,
And the Army looking for something to do,
With Afghan a bore and Iraq all a-hoo,
Contractors looking for the newest new thing,
R and D budget and the cash-box to ring.
.
And it’s long sunk in that we’re falling behind,
A fact in itself that’s a new axe to grind,
Promoting realists who say, «It’s now or nev’:
We can stay on top or can go down forev’,
And the first place to strike before taking on Xi
Is China’s gas station, which is run by Vlad P.»
.
So experts can write that Ukraine’s on its own,
And how at most we’ll vouchsafe them a drone,
And how all-fired dumb it would be to invade,
Be illogical, ill-doable and truly ill-made,
But what d’you expect of a hologram prez,
Who listens to Blinken and does what he says?

March 25, 2021

With Covid Where Will We Be in a Year?

With Corona where will we be in a year?
I look ahead wary if not with some fear,
For rare is a «normal» not shackled to «new»
To describe a state where there’s still much to rue,
Despite lines of cars and those willing sleeves rolled,
Our faith in high-tech so thoroughly sold.

.

The idea is when enough folks are jabbed,
And life without mask is finally rehabbed,
We can all go back to traveling on planes,
Screaming at refs and conversing on trains,
Kissing our honey and before going home,
Kissing another, since you know how lips roam.

.

It’s all fine and well, though I can’t repress frown:
Will Corona really take this lying down?
It ain’t called a virus because it’s a bum,
But because it dodges and ducks on the run,
And despite there being vaccines in clover,
Covid can’t figure the party is over.

.

‘Cause here and there you find folks twice infected,
Though in stats you rarely see this reflected.
Your cool new antibodies, some experts say,
Might not be enough or just get in the way
Of helping your defenses fight new infec’,
New strains thus getting a nice big blank cheque.

.

No, this ain’t over, despite all the hubbub,
More «new» than «normal» despite all the hand-scrub,
New strains, new dangers, and new rules and regs,
Hospital supply rooms stripped down to the dregs.
Covid ain’t stupid and will keeping throwing darts,
And making humanity use all its arts.

 

 

 

February 15, 2021

 

Imagine the Scrooges all sitting around,

Wondering from where could new profit be found,

Or new ways to contort the life of the earth,

With post-Crash business having used up its mirth,

And too much flowing to small restaurants and shops,

So how to give pipsqueaks a bust in the chops?

 

Another recession? New crash on the Street?

Been there, done that, and it was all too discreet,

But a virus, now there’s an idea with legs

To get us right down to the small-profit dregs,

And make people stay home and buy from Saint Jeff,

Bankrupt the little guy and buy up what’s lef’.

 

Political fallout might sink the Blond Jerk,

But who ain’t tired of his mouth and his quirk?

Yes, a worldwide virus might just be the thing,

To juice the balance sheets and give life some zing,

And how nice it’d be to see China take hits,

And feel what it’s like to be down in the pits.

 

From Taiwan to Texas, t’will be mask on mouth,

The Sudanese muzzled, both north and South,

The virus results will be A, B, and C,

And the whoopees for us be One, Two and Three.

Simple as that, tell us what could be cooler

Than a trill’ in the bank, Covid as ruler?

 

Can it be true this was all planned just that way,

The Masters of U thinking Fate held no sway?

There are theories, some smart, that such was the game,

And dishing on poor Chinese bats is a shame,

Or maybe with Covid the Masters jumped fast,

And molded events and as usual laughed last.

 

 

 

January 25, 2021

If There’s no Trust, the Social Contract Goes Bust

Still standing intact Joe made the inaug’

Took oath like a man and parade on the jog,

While networks proclaimed democracy did work,

Overlooking the odd electoral quirk

And that poor ol’ Bernie again got the shaft,

This Wile E. Coyote of Democrat graft.

 

 

Big Tech chipped in splendidly, keeping at bay

Skeptics decrying that Trump votes went astray,

Then doing a dark on Don’s social accounts,

Though hurting their own advertising amounts,

A gesture of patriots if ever there were:

Preparing our Trump-less future for sure.

 

 

The coiffured MSM did their part as well:

“Joe’s past and pres’, why, they’re clear as a bell.

Hunter, all right, the boy trampled some roses,

It’s all out of context, a question of poses.

Who hasn’t cashed in on the name of their dad?

Ask Ivanka and Jared if that’s a big bad.”

 

 

Joe was sure right to call for new unity,

And remaking ties within community,

But always unity depends upon trust,

Without which the social contract goes bust,

And what Trumpists see is called “The Big Skew”:

The Deep State working to give Trump a hard chew.

 

 

And it’s going to get worse in this year alone,

As researchers throw to the Trumpists big bone,

And Democrats race to lock domination,

And Twitter decides who keeps commentation,

And the media insists our democracy’s cool,

And if you don’t believe, champ, you’re just a fool.

 

 

 

 

January 10, 2021

The Capitol Invasion: Is This Who We Are?

“This ain’t who we are” is what I keep hearing,

Regarding that crowd carousing and jeering,

That with aforethought malice stormed our Bastille,

And the Speaker’s cool podium picked up to steal.

Don Junior and Prez Joe proclaim this ain’t us,

Like kids caught smoking at the back of the bus.

 

If not us then who? is what I’d like to ask,

Are Cubans the ones to be taken to task?

The riot crowd looked like the guys at the bar,

Caps and chin-grass, dirty jackets ajar,

Philosphers who’ll bet you two shots of rye

That Trump gets rated with Abe Lincoln as high.

 

They’re guys who’ve grown up with Clint E. as Harry,

Who figure fast justice as work quite merry,

Best left to a man with his dame and a dream,

Not cops who arrive at the end of the scene,

Guys who cut crap and get a dirty job done,

By showing damn lib’rals a Magnum fat gun.

 

No, t’would be tough to find a better selection

A better sample or closer cross-section

Of Americus Politicus doing his thing,

Be it the hard rightist or loony left wing,

Looting a Walgreen’s to protest police states,

Raiding a Congress because Pence accepts slates.

 

Get used to this, folks, ‘cause it’s who we are,

People who riot or wish to from afar.

This is what happens when the rich get so rich

That squeezed good people will attend any pitch

That points out gov’ment as the cause of their plight,

So some of them double their fists and go fight.

 

 

December 27, 2020

What Does ’70 Percent More Contagious’ Mean?

 

Lately I’m reallocating my worries
To give just enough to all ugly flurries
That threaten existence on dear planet earth,
Like nukes and warming and the growing great dirth
Of water and fish and a mouthful of food
For all buckaroos of man’s mighty brood.
.

I hear Covid 19 now has a new cuz,
That gives the same symptoms and does what it does,
Yet clocks more contagious by 70 percent,
And thus in my budget for worry makes dent.
But before I skimp on big glaciers adrift,
I want to be sure I’m not giving short shrift.
.

I’m like, “70 percent” — what does that mean?
All right, less than 80, but 60’s too lean?
Is my walking down 70 streets less enough?
Am I still a marked man on the 30 I scuff?
Will 70 more folks in a hundred get C,
70 percent more space keep all virus-free?
.

70 percent less I suppose I could talk,
Though a blow to my friends and huge Facebook flock,
Do all my shopping in 30 percent time,
Or make others do it with Amazon Prime,
Leave the cinema before the last reel,
And miss Dirty Harry plugging the heel.
.

This 70-percent stuff sure wrinkles my groove.
I’ll bet it’s fake news or some shrewd Deep State move
To push the sheeple to do hands, face and space,
Or distract from the fact that Trump won the race,
Or keep us from joining the protesting spree,
‘Cause 70 per’ more are gunning for thee.

 

 

 

December 1, 2020

When I See Pundits in Full-Court-Press Mode….

I’ve been watching Joe Biden assemble his crew,
Happy of course the Blond Wonder is through,
His complaints laughed out of every court in the land,
Despite affidavits that fill Rudy’s hand,
Though sometimes a reluctant judge his wish grants,
And gives me electoral ants in the pants.

There’s rumor, allegation, statistical beefs,
Folks who saw giggling ‘tween electoral chiefs,
4 A.M. vote geysers for Joe in Wiscons’,
With hardly a squirt for Prez Don in response,
And that business of folks who gave votes to Joe,
But to down-the-list Dems the good old heave-ho.

Meanwhile the media insist it’s all clear,
The election is over, nothing to see here,
And get hot and bothered and give the bum rush
To those who assert any systemic hush,
But when I see pundits in full-court-press mode,
Methinks the full truth has still something owed.

Yes, I’m glad Don’s out and will much be relieved
When Electors give Joe the votes he received,
Though I’ve a feeling some many will carp,
And on Trumpist heartstrings play their sad harp,
’Cause the belief’s out there, far and wide, fore and aft,
That this time the Deep State gave Trump the shaft.

November 5, 2020

An Election as Empty as a Beggar’s Pockets

NOVEMBER 5, 2020
AN ELECTION AS EMPTY AS A BEGGAR’S POCKETS

I’ve heard of “a nation divided in half,”
And with fear and trembling watch sundry graph,
Imagine broad streets where the right comes to rumble
And whack lefty chanters and give them a tumble,
Or food courts downtown that erupt in food fights,
Brokers v. janitors in defense of their rights.

But now I’m thinking this divide fifty-fifty
Might just be explained in terms far more nifty.
‘Cause I really don’t think most folks are extreme,
Nor voted for more than just one problem-theme,
Or gave wider thought to the issues of day,
But filled out their vote with a shrug “What duh hey.”

They lacked but a quarter to in the air flip,
Since between candidates big difference was zip,
With the exceptions of each one’s style and flair,
Joe’s pleasant smile versus cloud of blond hair.
The choice beyond that was like Pepsi or Coke:
You voted your guy and got back to your yoke.

T’was more referendum than anything great,
A thumbs-up or thumbs-down on Donald Trump’s fate,
An election as empty as the pockets of poor,
Of which in his admin. we see more and more,
But thanks to Prez Don the extremes are inspired,
So it’s just as well that we’ve told him “You’re fired.”

November 1, 2020

THE CAMPAIGN FROM SPAIN LOOKS LIKE A PAIN

To watch the American elections from Spain is like watching your neighbors two houses down bickering over the back hedge. You’ve known them for years. Neither man is a dummy, but their egos are easily bruised. They aren’t bickering about anything in particular; they just don’t like each other and are really just complaining that fate has thrown them together. In different circumstances they could drink some amicable beers together.

Ten days till the U.S. election, nine days, eight days….Yes, we have the countdown here in Spain too, and the same desperation of reporters to report something — anything — different from the previous day. The president again campaigns without a mask on, and Joe Biden proudly wears his. Here’s the president at a rally, here’s Joe Biden leaving a hospital or factory after talking concernedly with the workers and learning about their problems. The chic Melania steps up to the mic here, and Jill Biden there, both women fighting for their men and American democracy.

In Spain, politicians have no glamour. Nobody cares much about their personalities or private lives. Hardly ten Spaniards in a hundred could tell you the name of the president’s wife. The couple has small children, I believe, but they are unknown. Spain has no cool Sashas and Malias.

That is one of the great strengths, however, of having a king: the president can remain a political hack who simply runs the government; all of the personal side of politics is absorbed in the monarchy. King Felipe’s wife, Queen Letizia, is a much-examined beacon of fashion, and their two daughters, now in their early teens, are endlessly analyzed for their hairstyles and clothes. It was recently noted that young Princess Leonor, heir to the throne, wore high heels for the first time, though her younger sister, Sofia, beat her to this milestone by a month.

In Spain, politics is pure ideology — more leftist, more rightist — but in America, campaigns are supposed to be all about The Issues, and it is a recurring mystery that American campaigns come and go without anyone talking about them. The real issues candidate, Bernie Sanders, could not overcome the blob candidate, having made the bad mistake of presenting himself as a democratic socialist, and the moment a candidate mentions “socialist” or “social” or even an inadvertent “sosh,” he’s doomed.

Biden’s stands on the issues are known in about the same proportion as Spaniards know the president’s wife’s name. Biden was just supposed to be the Democrat who could beat Trump. I wonder if that’s true. The Dems always lose when they put up a “normal” candidate, and Joe is as normal as cinder brick.

Another important oddity that strikes one from this distance: scandals don’t mean much anymore to the American electorate. Here in Spain, the previous president was brought down on a no-confidence vote when the titans of his party, though not himself, were found guilty on corruption charges. But in America, scandals flit across the TV screen like flies through the house, and people just shoo them away. Biden’s intervention in Ukraine in favor of his son — he bragged about it — would have disqualified him twenty years ago. Likewise, Trump’s calling Mexicans rapists is taken with philosophy by his followers.

Trump was absolutely right when he said he could shoot someone on Fifth Avenue and his people would still vote for him. Say what you like (or hate) about Trump, you have to admire that kind of acumen, and this from a guy who’s always lived thirty stories up in the air and rarely talked to anyone below the twentieth floor or the $250,000 tax bracket.

Political campaigns here in Spain are defined by law to last just a couple of weeks, though there is a certain amount of electioneering in what is called tongue-in-mejilla “the pre-campaign” period. But Spaniards don’t get to election day sick and tired of it all — well, maybe a little.

American politicians could emulate this practice: hold the election right after the conventions — say mid- to late-September — and inaugurate the new president on New Year’s Day. After all, can there be a single voter in America who has not already formed an opinion about President Trump? And all those “undecided” voters: when do they actually decide? According to advertisers, they often vote as suggested by the last ad they saw before leaving the house. Ninnies, if you ask me.

But finally The Day has arrived, though this time around we might not know the victor for a day or two. President Trump has decried this delay as being a big reason not to allow voting by mail. Me, I think it’s healthy. An exercise in public patience is not a bad thing, especially when the flu virus is making life miserable, and a remedy is still a long ways off.

October 13, 2020

WOULD THE FOUNDING FATHER WANT TO CHANGE THE CONSITUTION?

What would the Founding Fathers think of us now?
They’d look this mess and no doubt utter “Wow!”
Israeli lobby keeping Congress in check,
Government deficits and finance a wreck,
Deliberation given way to the merest ad-lib,
Though one thing’s eternal: political fib.

How they’d revile our foreign-policy sewers!
Kept from the eyes of civilian good-doers,
Designed for the dreams of the masters of U,
Who just like Alexander and Napoleon too,
Lust for the world, for entanglements galore,
Thousand bases abroad with room for some more.

The Founders’ great farmers to finance have turned,
The making of wheat, corn and buggies now spurned
In favor of numbers that tumble and swive
In a world in which two plus two can make five,
Or six or eight if the leverage you push:
Depending on how much you risk your sweet tush.

What would they make of surveillance domestic?
Of Clapper’s NSA or spy-drones majestic?
Sure on censoring news reporters they’d frown,
But what would they make of our papers dumbed-down,
Where news ain’t just news but opinions a-mix,
Sources unnamed to the few facts better fix?

But what diff’s it make if from all types of sites
Folks get the news or just check games and fights?
Watch Harry and Meghan, hear rock or Stravinsky,
Watch music vids or on TED Talks Lewinsky,
Get Reddit just for news that holds them in thrall,
Though such a people ain’t a people at all.

The U.S. Constitution was no doubt a good call,
But the Founders would sure read the writing on wall:
After 200 years we must adopt the new new,
And stop letting billionaires the poor to screw,
In the high-tech life of a disparate nation,
It’s time to question and change its equation.

 

August 30, 2020.

Kyle Rittenhouse Shows Us Why Guns Should Be Banned

I read both Mike Whitney’s and Spencer Quinn’s defenses of Kyle Rittenhouse, but I have another interpretation of events: the trouble was not so much Rittenhouse, but his gun.

For the record, my information relies on videos of the event and on the New York Times careful reconstruction of events, which Mr. Quinn calls “fairly evenhanded.” Be that as it may, here is my analysis of this awful episode.

Mr. Rittenhouse started the evening with other gunslingers guarding a car lot but unfortunately got separated from the others and some time later found himself in another car lot, which is where his troubles started.

He was clearly the focus of much wrath from others present, though I’ve seen no speculation as to why Rittenhouse inspired such anger. As he says in one video, his intentions — laudable — were to protect property and, as en EMT, aid the injured. His rifle was for self-defense. So why did so many people all at once turn on him? Did he punch or insult someone? Unlikely: this well-spoken young man doesn’t seem the type. Could it be his white skin? No, his assailants were white as well.

No, it was surely the rifle he carried: no grouse-hunting pea-shooter but an AK-47 worthy of an Hawaii-5-0 episode. It symbolized something that the others reviled, which was someone who had taken it upon himself to keep them in line.

And then the fateful concatenation of events: a shot fired, Rittenhouse whirls, a man runs forward throwing something at him, Rittenhouse shoots four times, and not at the fellow’s leg. He tries to call someone — a friend, according to reports — and then runs away.

The next sequences available show Rittenhouse still running, and lot of people are after him. But now it’s different: Rittenhouse has just murdered a man and, to any impartial onlooker, seems to want to put plenty of pavement between himself and the crime. People bravely try to stop this rifle-toting youngster. One woman carrying her handbag runs up behind him and swats him in the head. Rittenhouse would have done well to shout that he was trying to turn himself in to the police up the street, but again that massive gun would have hurt his credibility.

And then the climax. Rittenhouse falls, and from a sitting position shoulders his gun. It is not clear to me that he gets a shot off. But no matter: a pursuer overruns him, knocking him backwards. Another guy — not a pursuer — runs up from behind him and whacks him with his skateboard. Rittenhouse is now lying prone on his back. If it had been me in that position, I would have grabbed the guy’s leg, brought him down, and given back as good as I’d got. But Rittenhouse had his hands full — of an automatic rifle, with his finger on the trigger, the safety off and the bullets already bought and paid for. So he shot the man in the chest.

Then another fellow comes running up with a handgun, clearly to shoot this dangerous and panicked young man, but he draws too slowly and Rittenhouse puts an admirable shot through his gun arm. The others wisely scatter after this.

With great satisfaction both Whitney and Quinn note that all three men Rittenhouse shot, two fatally, had criminal records. If they hadn’t — if the third man had been a Marine captain with four tours of Iraq under his belt — this would have tarnished the story. But the three were what they were: dispensable scum whose deaths had no more importance than a fly’s, much like the baddies in, for example, Hawaii 5-0.

I sympathize with young Rittenhouse. He is obviously a decent guy but with a twisted idea of public responsibility. He can’t possibly be declared innocent, but his youth and the circumstances certainly extenuate his murders. He was clearly as much a victim of that gun he carried as the people he shot, both because it made him a target and because it conferred on him the idea that it was his only defense, rather than his voice, his wits and his fists. Which is a commonality among gun-carriers: skewed judgment. That weighty chunk of steel inevitably brings out the indignation, arrogance, and power in a person. Officer Rusten Sheskey had a right to pull his gun on Jacob Blake — which started the Kenosha riots — but then he put seven bullets in Blake’s back when one in the foot would have done the trick. There’s the rub.

Rittenhouse is a perfect example of why guns ought to be banned. Other shots are heard in the background of those videos of him, and I’m sure lots more will be heard in videos to come. Probably someday soon everyone will come to those riots packing a piece and a couple clips for good measure, and then it’ll be just one big jolly free-fire zone, Second Amendment guys on one side and “anarchists and communists” on the other, a final showdown between Right and Left, a video game come true. I’m looking forward to it — but I live in Spain, where guns are largely banned, the future of the white race is of no concern, and we watch with sadness while America descends into chaos.

 

August 1, 2020
.
.

The Ultimate Racial Fight: “Standard American English”

Haven’t had your fill yet of hot racial strife?
There’s lots more on the way to sweeten your life.
I’m talking this fall when the schools open doors,
And into their hallways a multitude pours,
This multitude consisting of girl and boy
And those whose pronouns are a trick to employ.

But more to the point, kids who speak different ways,
Like saying «We speaks» and use sundry odd phrase,
Which for sure cause Teacher to flash her red pen,
And let Johnny know this is fine for grown men,
Who swish long three-pointers while talking their trash,
But alas, the book rules: «we speaks» is too rash.

So to school does Johnny’s mommy come striding,
Indignant indeed and on high horse riding,
To point out to Teacher «we speaks» is correct,
And if she don’t think so she’s going to regret
The day she elected her worthy profession,
Which is also known as culture suppression.

Thus dinner is served for the folks who love fights
And consider «we speaks» as one of their rights.
The principal’s pulled in, and then the school board,
Which holds its next meeting before a great horde
That demands admission of «we speaks» as right,
And God help the objector whose skin is too white.

«Standard American English» is thus in the dock,
A committee quick formed to re-write its full stock,
Pitting top-hatted Defenders of Proper
Against those promoting an English of pauper,
Amidst accusations of bias of race,
For when push comes to shove, out fast comes that ace.

You think the George Floyd matter stirred the Big Pot?
Wait till our language is the center of plot.
Few knew poor Floyd but every George can fine speak,
And thoughts does have ‘bout what’s right and what’s freak.
So tune up your grammar, friend, cinch your vocab’,
What’s coming up soon is the final mob grab.

 

July 5, 2020
Putin Paid Bounties to Have Governors Misinformed about Covid-19

 

Those guys at the Times, they wouldn’t know a fact

If it walked up to them and their faces smacked,

I refer, of course, to the recent Big Ish:

That Russkies paid bounties to give Yanks the swish,

Cash on the barrel for Taliban slayers;

Single-shots only, guys, no Uzi sprayers.

 

As usual nary a word of it’s true,

As usual it’s all a big misconstrue,

Forced interrogation gone wrong from the start,

Ka-boom propaganda performed with some art,

But Dave Sanger et. al. just couldn’t resist,

Since big allegations are what long persist.

 

Allegations! Ya just gotta love ’em to bits,

When circulation blues have folks in the pits.

You say the story’s not true? Who in hell cares?

The point’s to keep hot those Vlad Putin scares,

‘Cause bounty he’d happily pay for a lark:

Compared to him, Covid’s a walk in the park.

 

Hah! The real story, which the Times overlooked,

Is the money Vlad paid to have governors shnooked

Regarding the dangers of easy infection,

Which if you’ve noticed has caused great inflection

In the number of cases where gov’s have relaxed,

And said only homeboys go ’round with face masked.

 

Yup, a snake in the grass, that President Poot’.

Betcha he planted the Talib’s tale of loot:

T’was just a distraction from his real intention

Of making our country one big detention,

So’s no one can vote come Day of Election,

And we’re stuck with Don, the Russky’s selection.

 

A brilliant prison escape, or really an FBI espionage operation?

A presidential election is gamed by one person who, despite exposure and national humiliation, goes on to become a national icon.

A businessman reunites by chance with a girl he gave advice to on a short plane ride 7 years earlier. She took his advice: now she's the star of a Broadway dance show.

A massive banana-plantations strike in Ecuador brings out the best and worst, the comic and the tragic, in American scheming.

My last novel. A false-flag operation in New Jersey may turn into war.