One wondering what would take the situation in Ukraine (now featuring a Russian aid convoy on its way to Eastern Ukraine which, as Brother Dmitry observes, will likely be delayed or outright barred from entry while the Ukrainians figure out how to shake it down) off of the front page, might think, "the situation in Gaza."
There, of course, a tentative cease-fire seems to be holding, as both sides may have achieved their respective political ends from pummeling Palestinian civilians (or in the case of Hamas, getting them pummeled), fulfilling Clausewitz's famous axiom that war is just politics by other means. But what could take that off the front page?
Perhaps events in Iraq, where long-time
unreliable American puppet Iraqi prime minister Nuri al-Maliki finally resigned amidst pressure to have someone else take that role, as the "Islamist State of Syria and Iraq" or "ISIS" (sometimes known as ISIL, sometimes known as the latest group of Saudi/Qatari-backed extremist nuts to overrun an already bad neighborhood) as the humanitarian situation worsens.. and American airstrikes, air drops (which Brother Dmitry notes will hopefully help the Devil worshippers) and shit.. which will probably help our friends in Kurdistan.
Now that seems awfully impressive... I wonder what could take the possible reentry of this country into a war in Iraq off the front page?
Of course: big celebrity news, specifically, Mortis Mork (apparently, at his own hand). While I liked Robin Williams just fine, his suicide wasn't, in my view, even the premier celebrity death of the moment, notwithstanding that in terms of media coverage, it utterly and totally blew away the death of the much more culturally important Lauren Bacall (our old neighbor in Greenwich Village, btw) just a few weeks short of her 90th birthday.
But hey... being disposable is the highest American value is it not? And hence... rock star smashes scissors and the front page of the paper! (We'll have to do something to keep Ferguson, MO out of the papers and air-time soon too... while martial law demonstrations, such as last year's Boston Marathon
false-flag attack terrorist bombing and the resultant lock down of the nation's tenth largest metropolitan area are useful in their own right... we don't want to make it too obvious for the rubes.)
Anyway, you didn't think our highest value was breathable air, did you? My own lungs are finally filling up with crappy American air again after a brief lungs-clearing sojourn to our neighbor to the North, to compete in my first international event, Saint John, NB's Marathon by the Sea (running it being the easy part, compared to the 11 hour drive each way).
Oh well... this has been Rock [star] paper scissors. Now back to you, Wolf Blitzer!
It's (my college classmate) President Barack Obama's 53rd birthday... I hear he's keeping a low profile for the occasion.
Given the way things are going... understandable move.
Regarding the most recent Malyasian Airlines disaster (maybe God just doesn't like that airline?)... as he does with so much going on in our world, Brother Dmitry explains it all for you, in this brilliant thought experiment. Bottom line: now that we are safely thirty years beyond 1984, aside from everything being "doubleplusgood"... we apparently no longer need ask for "evidence" from those purporting to "report" the "news." We are simply provided the regime's narrative, and voila, everything is settled for us. No further thought needed. In this case,
we are at war with Eurasia; we have always been at war with Eurasia John Kerry tells us that Putin and Russia are eeeeevil, and have now taken their eeeeevil to shoot down a civilian airliner, either at their own hands or at the hands of their allied separatist rebel friends in Eastern Ukraine near Donetsk... the only problems with this are the various pieces of evidence (i.e., the "pro-Russian separatists" lacked the means, motives, opportunities or MOs to do this, whereas the Ukrainian regime had all of the above)...
Dmitry himself suggests his own explanation is but a thought-experiment, and you (whomever you are), should consider the evidence on your own terms. But alas, John Kerry's job (as it was Hillary Clinton's before him) seems to try to draw Russia (or someone) into some kind of broader war that, hopefully, will become the kind of (magically non-nuclear, or at least nuclear where "our side" wins) World War that completely distracts our addled (and, as recent events show, clearly not very bright) population from their domestic woes (an ongoing economic contraction, an income/wealth distribution that would make most banana republics gag, health-care costs exploding even as health care "outcomes" continue deterioriating, the full brunt of "Obama-care" ostensibly finishing off any possibility of growth in full-time employment, etc., etc.). Thus far, at least, thankfully, Mr. Putin and his minions, somewhat addled themselves as they are by recent developments, still apparently refuse to take the bait.
BTW... in a similar note, we should probably recall that the current Israeli incursion into Gaza originated in a stepped up assault by Israel against Hamas in supposed retaliation for the murder of three Israeli teenagers... but you'll excuse me if I don't recall any "evidence" linking Hamas (or for that matter anyone in particular) to the murders of the three teens. No question that Hamas was suspected... indeed, that organization may well have had the means, motives, opportunities or MOs to do it... but I have still not seen any evidence linking Hamas to the deaths of Naftali Frankel, Eyal Yifrach and Gilad Shaar... although, without doubt, the stepped up assault on Hamas (razing of buildings, arrests of officials, etc.) did seem to coincide with Hamas engaging in stepped up rocket fire towards Israel, which has culminated in the current Israeli assault against Gaza (which has now managed to kill hundreds of Palestinians, and, for a change, a couple of dozen deaths on the Israeli side as well) ... has anyone noticed how uncritically we have been trained to accept the premise that Hamas was somehow responsible for the (supposedly) precipitating event, the specific murders of three Israeli teenagers? It's now a reflex. (As with the Ukrainian situation above, I join Dmitry in suggesting "consider the evidence yourself"... Hamas may well have been responsible for the murders and pro-Russian separatist responsible for downing the airliner... I'd simply rather not take these things completely on faith, which is how they are being presented.)
Kind of how, oh, uncritically we have accepted the guilt of men held at Guantanamo Bay, notwithstanding that, so far at least, none of them have been tried or found guilty of anything specifically associated with the 9-11 events (and of course, all but a handful have never been charged, let alone tried, for anything at all... and yet, their guilt is simply assumed.)
God knows, as we quickly approach 100 years since the commencement of the Great War... which, to this day, the full causes of the First World War remain in dispute, it was agreed that it was "a series of unfortunate events" (many of which were completely half-assed, including a belief by everyone involved that any conflict would be quick and decisive)... maybe it's time we recalled that "our betters" didn't know what the f*ck they were really doing then... and we have no reason (let alone "evidence") that they do now.. and maybe we should start using our own minds for a change, and demanding actual evidence for premises before accepting them... particularly when the consequences are likely to be grave and catastrophic?
Do not look at anything like Jon Rappoport's blog here, because as we all know, none of us have any power, let alone power over our own imaginations, to do anything at all (let alone pursue actual happiness or fulfillment).
Best we take in things like a horrifying plane crash in Ukrainian airspace that Russian and Ukrainian officials seem hellbent on blaming on each other (along with other horrors associated with an ongoing insurrection in Ukraine), or for that matter, a horrifying conflict in the Gaza Strip that both Israel and the Palestinians on blaming on each other, or the horrifying recent developments in Iraq which the United Nations wants to blame on someone or other, or even legislative leaders suing executive leaders, blaming them for failures of something or other, and not ask too many questions.
Do these (and innumerable other) signs of discord (amidst various other declines, such as overall health of our economies, environments, populations, moral soundings, etc.) tell us something... perhaps we are failing at something as a collective (community, nation, species, planet, etc.)?
Perhaps this is all just
some kind of failure of imagination, individual, collective or otherwise something we'll have to live with.
Happy 4th of July. This, from a bygone era, while still the official public narrative, is now just a nice piece of Clinton-era nostalgia... for those actually nostalgic for the Clinton-era... hmmm....
The Grey Lady's Charlie Savage just gives us the (redacted) memo itself of the Justice Department's stated justification for the state-sanctioned murder of U.S. citizen Anwar al-Awlaki by the United States government in a targeted drone strike. The memo was released as part of a court decision by the U.S. Second CIrcuit Court of Appeals in New York. Wapo has a bit more (including a citation to the wrong amendment). And for the usual spot-on analysis we get from Marcy and the gang, try this and related posts from empty wheel.
Amusingly, the author of the memo was former DOJ official David Barron, who is now serving (with life tenure) as a federal Circuit Court of Appeals Judge in Boston, joining such other luminaries as "torture memo" signer Jay Bybee in the capacity of federal appellate judge.
Well, well. I don't know whether I am more offended by the targeted killing of specific human beings by their own government (which I suspect is nothing really new), or by the attempt to argue it is legally justified (which I suspect is quite new, with its antecedents in the Bush White House and John Yoo's famous "torture memos.")
This new attempt at legal whitewashing of the unspoken and unjustifiable brutality associated with war, as usual, misses the point (presumably that being "change we can believe in" by "constitutional scholar" Barack Hussein Obama). So I'll make the point: the Fifth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution provides, simply,
No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a Grand Jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the Militia, when in actual service in time of War or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation.[emphasis the dog's].
How hard is that? Due process of law. No, that does not mean a determination of political expedience by politicians acting in secret, which is presumably what happened with Mr. al-Awlaki, seeing as those "proceedings" remain secret. Not to mention that due process is probably offended by the treatment of al-Awlaki's teenage son, also summarily murdered by a drone strike.
Alrightie then. Entering wars on completely false pretenses, duly whitewashed by politically cowardly toadies-to-lobbyists? Check. Torturing the prisoners sold to us during the course of said wars? Check. Detaining anyone we feel like, citizen, legal resident or alien alike, on any terms we like, "constitution" be damned? Check. And now... liquidate enemies of the state, citizen or otherwise, anytime we want, on whatever (secret) grounds we want? Checkaroony.
Seems that 9-11 changed quite a bit-- if not "de facto", certainly "de jure"... And we have to learn about it through the teeth-pulling of a lengthy freedom of information litigation, resulting in a highly-redacted release (among the redacted subjects being the specific determination associated with al-Awlaki himself, and why his actions warranted summary execution).
Ah.... so much going on with this story... so none of it boding anything good...
As we encounter our first full day of summer, I give you... a Mermaid Parade image from New York's Mayor Bill DeBlasio and family, featuring King Neptune Dante DeBlasio and Queen Mermaid Chiara DeBlasio. Having dragged my own family to said Mermaid Parade (in Coney Island) on enough occasions... nice to see Familia DeBlasio in the spirit.
Nope... nothing snarky to say here folks... move along. Too nice a day for that sort of thing (just back from the Queens 10-K... in more or less the usual time... long trip for a short race...) And perhaps Team USA will prevail in World Cup Soccer... maybe... Again... too nice a day for snark... just enjoy it...
I am a tad troubled that I find myself rooting for "the traitor" [Edward Snowden] and against the minions of "our side" (assuming my college classmate [President Barack Obama] is even on "our side") in this WaPo retrospective on just how extensive the efforts of the Obama Administration were to nab
any and all defenders of freedom all dissidents Mr. Snowden. Of course, these efforts were monumentally futile. All it took to thwart them was anyone who had any intelligence whatever (and Mr. Snowden seemed to have oodles of intelligence in every sense of the word.)
In particular, there is a lengthy discussion of the forced landing of the Bolivian Presidential jet in Vienna, which the article confirms (via its express denial) that it was the White House that brought this about. That plane was, of course, carrying Bolivian President Evo Morales, who suggested during a visit to Moscow that he might grant Snowden asylum... The heavy handed forced landing came about even though (1) Snowden would probably have had the benefit of sovereign Bolivian protection, (2) the Austrians were not likely to commit the kind of kidnapping and/or piracy that our government has become so noted for (largely because of our ham-handednes) and (3) there was no evidence Snowden was even on the plane (which took off from another airport than the one Snowden found himself jammed up in).
While publicly, President Obama suggested that he wasn't going to use "military assets" to get at "a 29 year old hacker"... I don't think that there's any doubt whatsoever that had Snowden not put himself on territory where any American action (other than loud diplomatic begging) would have likely started World War III (Chinese Hong Kong followed by Russia)... if not an outright killer drone (my bet), certainly a team would have been sent to
murder him liquidate the enemies of the state bring Mr. Snowden to "justice."
But Snowden had the good sense to plant his feet on the soil of nations somewhat hostile to the United States in possession of nuclear weapons. It is unfortunate that Mr. Snowden concluded he could not get anything resembling a fair trial here, let alone, fair treatment... even more unfortunate that Snowden happens to be correct about this, of course (see "Manning, Chelsea f/k/a Bradley," "Assange, Julian" and for that matter, "Swartz, Aaron").
In the end, what I take out of the WaPo piece is the ultimate futility of the Obama Administration-- even in trying to trample upon and then urinate over any semblance of Constitutional values by trying to capture the intrepid fool who disclosed the full extent of just how psychotically
evil extensive the Obama Administration's surveillance efforts actually are (and yes, boys and girls, these are the programs that John Ashcroft once refused to sign off on... Ashcroft, who announced the arrest of American Jose Padilla while he himself was in Moscow!). The same futility in misplaying Bowe Bergdahl as some kind of "national feel good moment," or in so many other misplays (see "Guantanamo, close within one year;" "Iraq," "Syria" and "Ukraine."
And so, when our allegedly liberal democratic government schemes to behave like the most ruthless of Stalinists... I get kind of mildly amused when an actual former KGB colonel seems to end up outplaying it... at virtually every turn. Ah, the irony, that someone standing up for the most basic of American values... obtains asylum in Vladimir Putin's Moscow. The one on the Volga.
Isn't "you're welcome" what we're supposed to say to the people we've "liberated," whenever the inevitable results of our magnanimous intervention in their affairs results in a gift from Wonder-Working providence? One such case is Iraq... featuring the fall of Mosul, Iraq (as well as, previously, Fallujah) to Islamist Sunni insurgents called "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" ("ISIS"). One would think that, perhaps, an American embassy garrison force of some kind-- and a hell of a lot of
mercenaries security contractors-- might be of some assistance... but evidently, the Iraqis are, ahem, on their own, by and large. Presumably, this is the sort of shape of things to come-- as a spent American military that has already overstretched itself breaking things is simply in no position to even attempt trying to patch them back together...
Meanwhile, of course, as world's third-largest-oil-producer Iraq is racked by an insurgency, our relations with numbers one and two (that would be Russia and Saudi Arabia-- the order is unclear these days)... aren't so good. Russia might be a little pissed about lots of things, such as our pissing in its cornflakes over Ukraine, or perhaps our apparent preparations for nuclear war (that sort of thing might piss off China too... not to mention anyone on Earth with a brain... or a pulse...) And our relations with Saudi have been somewhat hampered by... Syria...
Iran... and perhaps Iraq, now... even as we fantasize (as in "pipe dream".. or pipeline dream) of being the Saudi Arabia of fracking, or some such nonsense...
Anyway, we are being outplayed diplomatically everywhere, and honestly, while one never thinks a seemingly minor (albeit visible) plenipotentiary like "Secretary of State" matters that much, it seems replacing Hillary's Brain in Search of a Haircut with John Kerry's Haircut in Search of a Brain... has been a huge net loss for the United States... in every conceivable way.
Oh well... Does anyone remember the "Pottery Barn Rule" often espoused by Colin Powell and RIchard Armitage, to the effect of "you break it, you buy it"... referring specifically to Iraq? Well, we sure as Shell or Chevron broke it... funny how we seem to be avoiding the bill though.
Ordinarily, I would think that anything that gets a captured American service-member released, and simultaneously reduces the population of one of the most notorious prisons in the world (yes, you know I mean Guantanamo) by about 3% is a "win-win." Nonetheless, I can only question this action. I'm troubled that at a place where nearly half the prisoners have been "cleared for transfer" for many years, why arguably the few dudes who might actually be dangerous (mind you, not that they've been charged, tried and found guilty or anything so "pre-9-11" as that) (a senior U.S. defense official confirmed Saturday that the prisoners to be released include Mullah Mohammad Fazl, Mullah Norullah Noori, Abdul Haq Wasiq, Khairullah Khairkhwa and Mohammed Nabi Omari) are the ones being released. The rest continue to be held in horrific, and seemingly never-ending, incarceration. At GTMO, of course, this is an "ever thus" thing-- fairness, let alone "justice," has always been in short supply.
In some sense, I'm shocked at how inexpensively we recovered Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl: just five Taliban prisoners. I remember on several occasions the Israelis trading a thousand or more Palestinian prisoners in exchange for a single captured Israeli soldier... indeed, the last time Israel traded something like only five prisoners for their soldiers... their soldiers were dead.
To be sure, the Taliban-- who I credit with being smart enough to realize that, with perhaps the exception of the five dudes they just got released, have concluded that Guantanamo Bay is more valuable to their cause if it remains an open and continuing fecund source for new extremists-- really have little use for the other 140 or 145 or so unfortunates still hanging on as prisoners at GTMO,and apparently, now that the United States has more or less announced its draw-down to a manageable 9,800 or so troops in Afghanistan after this year, apparently the Taliban concluded that they didn't have much continuing use for Sgt. Bergdahl either.
Over the years, I've talked to dozens of people about GTMO (the interviews are all linked to at the end of my most recent interview)... and I've assisted Candace Gorman, an attorney representing two GTMO detainees, one former and one still held there... and the only conclusion, from the accounts of former detainees, of former military members, of journalists and of dozens of lawyers (including former Guantanamo war crimes prosecutors) is that, with very few exceptions [which may or may not include the five of whom have just been released... as if this were even remotely relevant in propaganda-world!] we're holding a bunch of nobodies there who did nothing other than being in the wrong place and time, and they continue to be held as victims of political posturing, and little more. These men have been failed by the judiciary, by Congress, by the military, by the executive, and frequently, by their own countries, and unquestionably, by the American public, which, with all too few exceptions, is not even aware that Guantanamo is still open, and if it is, assumes that everyone there has probably already been tried and found guilty, rather than the miserable reality that more men (nine) have died at GTMO than have been convicted in its military commissions (eight).
I have come to realize that actual facts and figures really don't sway anyone; to some degree, it's human nature, but it is also quintessentially American. "Reality" such as it is must be contextualized in an established narrative: if the "new fact" fits neatly in the narrative, it is easily digested; if it conflicts with the story of the world that we have set for ourselves, it will be found disconcerting, and very likely discounted or dismissed. It's that preexisting story that matters-- we are programmed to fit everything we observe into the context of that story-- not to adjust the story to "reality." And so the "worst of the worst" story still persists for most-- even as they merrily tune out every last detail of what's happening in front of them and eat what they're served (such as, you know, Kim/Kanye's wedding plans.)
I'm not suggesting for a minute that the exchange of five ex-Taliban for one U.S. serviceman will shatter anyone's background narrative and world-view: alleged progressives will continue to believe that their sainted hero Barack Obama kept his promise and closed Guantanamo Bay within his first year in office, while alleged conservatives will believe that the place houses nothing but hardened terrorists who deserve everything they've had coming to them. I just wonder if the propagandists themselves, from the White House (whose press officer, perhaps fatigued from having to spout this sort of propaganda horseshit for so long, just announced his resignation) will eventually realize that they are largely talking to each other, and just might, you know, give it a rest.
That's not how you bet, of course: our "leaders" (in finance and in "the military-industrial complex") believe GTMO is useful-- as a demonstration project that we can do it, as an interrogation and torture laboratory, as a wedge against a legal system not completely controlled by them-- or for some other reason. And so... the story as it is... will go on... even as its propaganda basis [that would be "protecting us from the most hardened terrrrrorists on Earth"] is falling apart right in front of us.
It seems in this, the middle of
George W. Bush's fourteenth Barack Obama's sixth year in office, that fatigue is setting in. Hence, after another seemingly dangerous and expensive diversion so that the President can "support our troops" by showing up in Afghanistan for a much-needed photo op, the (on?) crack Obama Administration advance team outed the CIA's station chief in Kabul, Afghanistan.
The WaPo piece makes clear that the alleged Fourth Estate caught the
own goal mistake, and issued a "corrected" list of persons who would be present at a briefing with the President not including the name of the CIA station chief (identified as "chief of station"), and besides... everyone important in Kabul probably already knows who the CIA station chief is anyway so there... but it was a reporter from WaPo... the newspaper... that pointed this out to the White House in the first instance, questioning whether this was intentional.
Say this for the Bush Administration: when they out a CIA agent, they mean to do it.
In this era of Orwellian nightmare surveillance technology and an Administration committed to not only using it to eavesdrop on virtually every communication on this planet, but also committed to the personal destruction of any and all who dare out the wrongdoings of government by whistle-blowing (and to the assassination of citizen and non-citizen alike in the name of battling "terrorism"), one might see the humor in this kind of amateur-hour dumb-assery. Then again, it took me a while to realize that this piece about an expensive weapons program being protected by Congress notwithstanding its ineffectiveness... was actually from the Onion.
The Obama Administration just wants you to know that your government is not merely committed to killing terrorists and, of course, hope itself... but seemingly, humor as well.
Consider that job well done. One of the few things this Administration can say that about.
Evil is alive and well in the form of... could it be... Satan? At least this is what some observers are gleaning from the commentaries of new "moderate darling" Pope Francis. There is a renewed interest in exorcisms, and the new pope (who, of course, might have some level of familiarity with evil himself from a prominent role in Argentina during "dirty wars" and other unpleasant periods there) likes to talk about the Devil... a lot. [Some accuse a Pope who has been a public relations boon to the Church thus far of risking all that goodwill by what they see as an unfortunate return to superstition... you think?]
Which, when you get right down to it, makes perfect sense. He won't talk about, oh, the atrocities going on in Argentina back in the day, or the present atrocities members of his own Church seem to have been committing, in the form of never-ending pedophilia scandals.
And so... when one is not willing to express any kind of, oh, introspection... scapegoats are wonderful-- and Old Nick is as good as it gets, being, you know, the embodiment of evil incarnate.
Seems to me Old Scratch is back in prominence (in Papal parlance and God knows where else) as many other things are going to hell: the post-cold War "unipolar" thing was hopelessly squandered by the alleged "good guys" (that would be "the United States") to make a few more bucks for Goldman and Grumman, a once-in-eternity opportunity to take an energy legacy in the form of easily extracted liquid petroleum which could have been used to set us up for sustainable prosperity was instead squandered to build out suburbia and make a few more bucks for Mobil and Morgan, and the most amazing educational and social advancement opportunities in the form of telecommunications (radio, t.v. and the 'net) were... you get it... commoditized in the most parochial, crass way imaginable.
And so, finding ourselves amidst the commercial detritus of decades of bad decisions (which have made us individually unhappy as we are isolated from each other, and from nature, or from any kind of common culture)... many will lash out in search of anything or anyone... and "Satan" or "the Devil" will do wonderfully. Eventually, of course, we might be able to replace "Satan" with "witches and heretics." No, I'm not accusing this Pope of defining those terms (as Churchmen of the past certainly have) to include Jews, Muslims, non-believers, old women with property, perhaps Protestants, and so forth... but, hey... stick around.
Not even that I expect any of the atrocities of the future (except for pederasty, of course) to emanate from the Church itself, but when you tell people that something "out there" is evil, and they can, you know, draw their own conclusions... just wake up... and smell the boiling oil.
I'm just having a hard time remembering what it was.
Maybe it was about Americans' seeming (on a comparative basis) non-concern with issues climate-change, even as said climate-change bites them on the ass.
Or at the moment our Supreme Court seems to be enjoying a rebound in popularity...
Not quite sure where I was going. Doesn't matter so much, as no one seems to be reading. Much has happened in the 12 1/2 or so years since this "the talking dog" exercise got going (or the two and a half decades or so since "the world wide web" came on)... but just as television proved that what could have been the greatest opportunity for education and cultural enlightenment proved instead a very useful way to anesthetize an addled factory (and lately, "service sector") work force while selling them beer and cosmetics and pepsi and doritos (and lately, viagara and reverse mortgages)... so the internet, which has several orders of magnitude more potential than even television for... education and... cultural enlightenment... is instead... largely used to... sell shit...
To go all Tyler Durden on you, the internet has just managed to accelerate (and put it in everyone's hands all the time via "mobile-devices") the preexisting trends to work jobs we hate (assuming we can even get those jobs!) to buy things we don't need to impress people we don't like. With the ability to access almost any periodical on Earth in English (if not almost any other language... not to mention the ability to learn just about any other language)... instead, we choose to passively consume what we are served.
I admit that blogging was somewhat more fun back when I had a (non-bot) audience. I also admit that thanks to a combination of allergies from hell turning into a seeming flu, and weather that just will not give me that clear signal to "plant now" that it did so consistently my first two or three years of roof gardening, I continue to put off my annual seedling and seed installation, even though I really enjoy it (and the few fruits and vegetables it yields)... all this gets later and later as "spring" becomes ever more tenuous here (and I write this on a spectacularly nice day in Brooklyn).
Here's Jan's tribute to the 60th anniversary of Roger Bannister's cracking of the four-minute mile six decades ago... and Jan's tribute to the "Mission Accomplished" speech of one decade ago.
Somewhere in the stream of consciousness, I was trying to say something... maybe that there are a few basic things going on-- try to improve the quality of your lives in a physical sense, in a spiritual sense, have a few people whose presence you actually value... I don't know... I had a good idea somewhere in there...
Utterly hilarious... when the nominal leader of government yuks it up with the nominal leaders of the media... all of whom work for the great big brotherhood of
man money and power that a recent Princeton/Northwestern study found result in this nation being... wait for it... an oligarchy and not a democracy.
Better late than never, I suppose, that one reaches that state of realization. Yes, boys and girls, the political machinations of "Democrat vs. Republican"... don't mean
much anything: at the end of the day, them what has gets in our system. And so, our nominal leader in a tuxedo making fun of well, us rubes... and having quite a laugh at our expense... well... just hilarious. Hey-- I didn't get a harumph out of you! [Give the President a harumph!] Harumph!
It's been nearly ten years since Jim Henley and I trotted along in the 2004 Marine Corps Marathon, with Jim inventing a "pick me up" cheer whenever either of our energy levels flagged... we would just scream "Meb Keflezighi" at the top of our lungs. And dozens of marathons later (or even on other occasions), I sometimes still do.
Maybe it's not "fair" that the premier American marathoner of our time is technically imported-- none other than Eritrean-born Meb Keflezighi, Olympic silver medalist in Athens, winner of the New York City Marathon and now, the first American winner of the Boston Marathon in over thirty years. And an American wins Boston, in this, the year after the finish line of the storied Boston Marathon itself became the site of a deadly bombing, with much poignant recollection.
Meb, who will turn 39 in less than a fortnight's time, represents the best of America. Not just that he is, at the moment, its finest distance runner... but that this nation, of which I am not infrequently quite critical, still takes in those yearning for freedom, be they my own forbears from Eastern Europe, or a refugee from the war-torn region of Ethiopia that became Eritrea, America opened her arms, and by and large, has been pretty cool about it. (We might mention another immigrant from Africa, whose son is now President of the United States). And, of course, we're religiously tolerant (or at least had been until recently). And we have talented painters, too.
Meb Keflezighi. You are my hero.