Aug 102023

Priest and scribe Ka-aper ca. 2465-2323 BC


Ukraine Defeat Ominous to Team Biden Admitted by US Press (Sp.)
US Stokes Tension in Persian Gulf as It Loses Control, Needs More Wars (Sp.)
West’s ‘Neo-Colonial Geopolitical Crusade Against Russia’ Is Doomed – Moscow (RT)
US Told Pakistan To Remove Imran Khan From Power – Intercept (RT)
US Regime Change Karen Wants To Speak To The Manager In Niger (Marsden)
All-Africa War Possible – Ex-Presidential Aide (RT)
GOP Memo: Hunter Sold ‘Biden’ Brand for At Least $20 Million As Joe Was VP (Sp.)
Trump: Biden ‘Petrified of China’ Because They Pay Him Millions of Dollars (Sp.)
Search Warrant Was Issued For Donald Trump’s Twitter Account (BBC)
Critical Mineral Shortage to Put US Energy Security at Risk (Sp.)
Shakespeare Banned In US School Districts Over ‘Sexual Content’ (RT)
The “Magic Negro Of The Billionaire Industrial Complex” (ZH)






RFK Dore








“CNN is telling it as it sees it, in its own limited way. “

Ukraine Defeat Ominous to Team Biden Admitted by US Press (Sp.)

Having lauded the Kiev regime’s resolve and the Ukrainian military’s resourcefulness for quite some time, the US mainstream press has suddenly changed its tune, being forced to admit that the well-advertised Ukrainian counteroffensive has failed. Some established American newspapers went even so far as to report that the US military tactics had proven almost useless on the Ukrainian battlefield. “After two months of the Ukrainian counteroffensive, the US press is finally waking up to the fact that the offensive is going extremely poorly,” Daniel Lazare, an independent journalist, author, and writer, told Sputnik. “Ukraine has made minimal gains due to very dense Russian defenses, including mines and drone swarms, which are completely changing the battlefield equation. This is devastating news for the Biden administration, which after the disastrous retreat from Afghanistan in August 2021, is now two years later facing an equally dangerous situation in Ukraine.”

As of August 4, Ukraine had lost more than 43,000 soldiers and over 4,900 units of various weaponry, including 26 planes, nine helicopters, 1,831 tanks and other armored fighting vehicles, including 25 German-made Leopard tanks, seven French-made AMX wheeled tanks, and 21 US-made Bradley infantry fighting vehicles (IFV), as well as 747 field artillery guns and mortars, since the beginning of Kiev’s counteroffensive, per Russia’s Ministry of Defense. Thus, Ukraine’s attrition rate is so high it could hardly be ignored by Western politicians and corporate press. “These articles are not a ploy. That’s not how the US mass media works. They’re honest,” Lazare said. “CNN is telling it as it sees it, in its own limited way.

And after months of pro-Pentagon propaganda, where CNN essentially toed the Defense Department line all the way, essentially now it realizes it can’t do that much longer because the facts are running strongly against it. So CNN, The New York Times, Politico, etc., are forced to recognize the reality of what’s happening in Ukraine. And it’s extremely negative from a US perspective. I think it is a sobering-up process. They are alerting their readers to how dangerous and negative the situation in Ukraine is becoming in terms of American strategic interests. And therefore, they are preparing them for worse to come. But it’s honest in the sense that no one is bribing CNN and it has no ulterior motive in mind. It simply is telling the truth in its own half-witted, politically distorted fashion.”

Still, those who have followed the Ukraine conflict from the very beginning have already noticed that the US media’s prognoses don’t work. So, for them the Ukraine counteroffensive failure was hardly surprising, per US independent journalist and geopolitical analyst Max Parry. “There is no way anyone could follow this conflict closely without noticing Western corporate media’s continuous pattern of failure in its predictions about the outcome of the war in favor of Kiev and then backtracking each time only to come up with excuses as to why its prognostications have been wrong,” Parry told Sputnik. “As a result, it has only revealed the incompetence of Washington’s military strategists and NATO, whose forces have trained Ukraine, and the media’s own role as a propaganda arm of the US.”

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“..its coveted superior role of “being the world policeman that the laws don’t apply to” slipping from its grasp..”

US Stokes Tension in Persian Gulf as It Loses Control, Needs More Wars (Sp.)

The Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz, which plays a crucial role for global trade, have yet again found themselves in the focus of the US military, as Washington has accused Iran of “seizing and harassing” civilian vessels – a practice that the Islamic Republic has resolutely denied employing. The United States realizes that it is losing control, and cannot maintain it without creating more wars, which explains why it is stoking tension in the Persian Gulf, Laith Marouf, a broadcaster and journalist based in Beirut, Lebanon, told Sputnik. With increasingly more countries rejecting the US-driven so-called “rules-based order,” and America feeling that its coveted superior role of “being the world policeman that the laws don’t apply to” slipping from its grasp, Washington is desperate to fan hostilities in the region, Marouf underscored.

According to the US press, thousands of US Marines and sailors have been brought to the Persian Gulf by the USS Bataan and the USS Carter Hall, as part of a buildup ongoing for months. On August 4, unnamed US officials told the press that the Pentagon was considering putting armed personnel on commercial ships traveling through the Strait of Hormuz, as a part of an intensified response from Washington to the allegedly destabilizing activity caused by Iran’s “harassment and seizure of merchant vessels.” The Iranian Foreign Ministry dismissed the US’ claims as untrue. “In the last two years, we saw multiple ships confiscated by the United States – some in international waters – that belong to Iran,” Laith Marouf pointed out, adding:

“It seems like the United States wants to police the world, and in this situation, they want to become a valet service for these international shipping companies that are looting oil from the Gulf… The more the United States acts in such pirate ways, the more we will lose control of the situation.” Reports of more than 3,000 US military personnel having arrived in the Red Sea on board two warships following Washington’s allegations of Iran “seizing” several civilian ships in the waterways is a dangerous escalation, Mazda Majidi, long-time antiwar and social justice activist from Iran, told Sputnik. “It’s really an escalation that’s not really called for by actual developments on the ground,” the activist said, underscoring that it was pretty much a “war footing.” Washington accuses Iran’s Navy of no less than 20 such incidents involving commercial vessels over the past two years.

“The average, accordingly, is less than one a month,” underscored Mazda Majidi, who has written extensively on the nuclear deal and other issues pertaining to Iran and the Middle East. He added that, like the Iranian Navy has said, some of the instances were a reaction to a distress signal, when they went in to see if they could help. “But in the bigger picture, the ongoing problem is the continual US seizure of Iranian oil tankers around the globe. And while the US claims that these are based on the sanctions on Iran, that sanctions that the US has placed on Iran. Those sanctions do not apply to international waters. In other words, the US Navy has no legal right to seize Iranian oil tankers anywhere it sees fit. So in that sense, the Iranian reaction is related to what the US has been doing to tankers carrying Iranian oil,” Mazda Majidi said.

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“Russia will achieve peace on its own terms.”

West’s ‘Neo-Colonial Geopolitical Crusade Against Russia’ Is Doomed – Moscow (RT)

The West is treating Ukraine the same way it treated Georgia, as a proxy against Russia to be used and abandoned, Moscow’s deputy envoy to the UN Dmitry Polyansky has said. August 8 is a “sad day in Georgian history,” Polyansky tweeted on the anniversary of the 2008 conflict. “It’s very hard to rectify the bloody mistakes of [the] Saakashvili regime which acted in 2008 as a puppet of the West. Now Saakashvili is in prison in Georgia but his poisonous legacy is still felt.” The “Kiev regime is doing a far more nefarious mistake right now naively hoping that the West will not abandon it after NATO’s proxy war with Russia until the last Ukrainian,” Polyansky added. “And Washington and its allies are still bringing death and devastation to the post-Soviet space in their futile neo-colonial geopolitical crusade against Russia.”

Mikhail Saakashvili became the president of Georgia in the US-backed ‘Rose revolution’ in 2003. In August 2008, as the world’s attention was on the Beijing Olympics, he launched an attack on the breakaway region of South Ossetia, hoping to overwhelm the Russian peacekeeping battalion stationed there since the 1990s. Moscow’s quick reaction surprised both Tbilisi and Washington. Georgia’s Western-trained military was dismantled within five days. Saakashvili lost the 2012 election and went to the US, then to Ukraine after the US-backed coup in Kiev. Russia’s president at the time, Dmitry Medvedev, also commented on the anniversary of the conflict. In a Telegram post, he said that Saakashvili had been a proxy of the West, “which was trying to stir up the situation in the immediate vicinity of Russia’s borders even then.”

Washington and its vassals are “once again waging a criminal war by proxy” against Russia, Medvedev added. “Just like in August 2008, our enemies will be crushed, and Russia will achieve peace on its own terms.” The US and NATO have sent over $100 billion worth of weapons, equipment and ammunition to Kiev, as well as cash to keep the Ukrainian government afloat, while insisting they were not a party to the conflict with Russia. Earlier this year, they supplied modern Western tanks to the Ukrainian military, with the expectation of a grand spring-summer offensive that would push the Russians into the sea. Kiev launched the offensive in early June, but has achieved little while losing 5,000 vehicles and 43,000 soldiers, according to Russian Defense Ministry estimates. Earlier this week, senior US and Western officials told CNN that it was “extremely, highly unlikely” the Ukrainians could make progress on the battlefield that could change the balance of the conflict.

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Smells like Nuland around here.

US Told Pakistan To Remove Imran Khan From Power – Intercept (RT)

The US State Department pressured Pakistan to remove its popular prime minister, Imran Khan, last year over the latter’s neutrality regarding the conflict in Ukraine, The Intercept reported on Wednesday, citing a secret diplomatic cable obtained from a Pakistani military source. The cable documents a meeting between US State Department officials and Pakistan’s ambassador to the US on March 7, 2022. “People here and in Europe are quite concerned about why Pakistan is taking such an aggressively neutral position” on Ukraine, US Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of South and Central Asian Affairs Donald Lu warns his Pakistani counterpart in the cable, blaming the PM alone for the offending policy.

While Ambassador Asad Majeed Khan attempts to correct the American, pointing out that Pakistan’s position on Ukraine is shared across the government, Lu counters that it is the PM’s behavior that is the problem, but that “if the no-confidence vote against the Prime Minister succeeds, all will be forgiven in Washington.” “Otherwise, I think it will be tough going ahead,” he threatens, adding that Europe will follow the US’ lead in the “isolation of the prime minister.” Ambassador Khan reflects in his notes that the threat seems to be coming directly from the White House and suggests a strong diplomatic response. Khan, who apparently obtained a copy of the cable in the weeks following the meeting, pointed at the US as the director of his ouster after he was removed following a no-confidence vote last April – just as Lu had suggested.

His successor, Shehbaz Sharif, admitted the cable existed and that some of its messaging was inappropriate, but stopped short of acknowledging its confirmation of Khan’s claims. Washington has categorically denied pressuring Islamabad to remove Khan. While the document obtained by The Intercept does not technically constitute a direct order, it attaches strongly-worded threats to noncompliance, hints at rewards for obedience, and confirms both were viewed as coming directly from President Joe Biden. Immediately following Khan’s ouster, Pakistan reversed its neutrality on Ukraine, demonstrating its fealty to Washington by supplying copious amounts of weapons to Kiev.

Its military was reportedly rewarded with a defense pact covering “joint exercises, operations, training, basing and equipment.” While polls have suggested Khan would easily win an election were he permitted to run again, he was sentenced to three years in prison last week on corruption charges, blocking him from contesting elections expected to take place this year. He has been charged with numerous crimes since his ouster, from insulting state officials to terrorism, and last month it was announced he would be prosecuted under the Official Secrets Act for revealing the contents of the cable documenting the conspiracy to oust him.

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I meant Karen.

US Regime Change Karen Wants To Speak To The Manager In Niger (Marsden)

France has been kicked out of Niger by its new military government, by extension placing US interests there in peril. Who would ever have thought that the US footing the bill for training Nigerien soldiers would result in a net gain for Russia and China? Apparently not the US State Department. Enter Victoria Nuland with demands to speak to those in charge. Officially the acting US deputy secretary of state, Nuland should really change her title to ‘Regime Change Karen’. In modern parlance, a ‘Karen’ is a middle-aged woman “who uses her privilege to get her way or police other people’s behaviors.” Karens can often be spotted at the customer service desks of big box stores demanding to speak to the manager – or in this case, the military leaders now in charge of Niger.

Nuland rocked up to Niger and demanded to speak to the ousted president, but was refused the opportunity. Instead, she got to meet with one of the coup leaders – the new army chief of staff, Brigadier General Moussa Salaou Barmou, who not only trained at Fort Benning and at Washington’s National Defense University, but was photographed alongside US Special Operations in Africa Commander Lt. Gen. Jonathan Braga just a few weeks ago at a US drone base in Niger. In a State Department teleconference on Monday, Nuland said that she was in Niger “because we wanted to speak frankly to the people responsible to this challenge to the democratic order.” That didn’t actually require a foreign trip, though. She could have just stayed home and called a staff meeting. You made this mess yourselves, guys. “The benefit from the joint mortar training event is twofold – providing Nigerien soldiers with a tangible skill, while also bolstering the partnership between US and Niger forces,” the Pentagon said in 2021 of a joint training exercise. Looks like all those skills came in handy when it came to kicking out US-allied France.

“We met with the self-proclaimed chief of defense of this operation, General Barmou, and three of the colonels supporting him,” Nuland said. “I will say that these conversations were extremely frank and at times quite difficult because, again, we were pushing for a negotiated solution.” Interesting how peace and negotiations suddenly appear on the table when Washington loses its foothold, finds itself in too weak or precarious a position to start dropping bombs, and needs to buy some time to regain the upper hand. Such was the case with the Russia-Ukraine Minsk agreements of 2014 and 2015, which used peace as a pretext for better arming Kiev against Moscow as Western allies trained and supplied Ukrainian neo-Nazis at Russia’s doorstep. Nuland not so subtly hinted at Washington’s priorities when she said that she “had a chance first to sit with a broad cross-section of Nigerien civil society,” describing them as “long-time friends of the United States.” In other words, to better shore up the in-country proxies to defend US interests.

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Not what Russia needs right now. That’s why it’s happening.

All-Africa War Possible – Ex-Presidential Aide (RT)

A military intervention in Niger could set off a broader war, Antinekar al-Hassan, a political adviser to the ousted President Mohamed Bazoum, told RIA Novosti on Wednesday. “I don’t think ECOWAS will make the mistake of intervening militarily in Niger, because if they intervene militarily, that means all of Africa will be at war,” al-Hassan said. Bazum was arrested on July 26, by a group of Nigerien military officers led by General Abdourahamane Tchiani. The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) has threatened to deploy troops unless he was restored to power, but their ultimatum to Niamey expired on Sunday. In the meantime, the bloc has closed borders and stopped all trade and transactions with Niger. Al-Hassan said he was against these sanctions, calling them “illegal and illegitimate.” “We’re against the sanctions. They will hurt the people of Niger, not the junta,” he said.

The new military government has refused any talks with the ousted president, who has no intent of stepping down, according to al-Hassan. “He did not sign anything and is not preparing to resign. He would rather die than resign,” al-Hassan said. In an op-ed supposedly written from prison and published in the Washington Post on August 4, Bazoum had appealed to the “US government and the entire international community to help us restore our constitutional order.” ECOWAS military chiefs reportedly finalized their war plans last Friday, but noted the actual intervention requires a political decision by the bloc’s governments. Chad and Guinea have opposed both sanctions and intervention in Niger, while Burkina Faso and Mali said they would regard any military move against Niamey as a declaration of war against both of them as well.

According to the French broadcaster RFI, which was banned in Niger, ECOWAS was mustering a force of about 25,000 troops, most of them from neighboring Nigeria. The new military government in Niamey accused France on Wednesday of setting free terrorists so they could attack a military camp in Niger and violating the country’s airspace as part of a campaign of destabilization. Paris denied that any terrorists were set free, or that any attack took place, and insisted the French aircraft were operating in Nigerien airspace under a military pact with Bazoum’s government. France refused to recognize the generals’ repudiation of the deal last week, and vowed to keep some 1,500 troops in the Sahel country.

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How much more proof is required? Asking for a friend.

GOP Memo: Hunter Sold ‘Biden’ Brand for At Least $20 Million As Joe Was VP (Sp.)

Companies related to the Biden family received a whopping $20 million from foreign nationals during Joe Biden’s vice presidency, as per the GOP-led House Oversight and Accountability Committee. On August 9, the Committee on Oversight and Accountability Majority Staff released a third bank records memorandum within the framework of the ongoing investigation of the Bidens’ alleged influence peddling schemes. The committee identified over $20 million in payments from foreign sources to the Biden family and their business associates during Joe Biden’s vice presidential tenure. Per House GOP investigators, Biden family members and partners routinely collected money from Ukrainian, Kazakh, Chinese, Russian, and Romanian nationals in exchange for protection, assistance, and access to then-Vice President Joe Biden.

“Joe Biden was ‘The Brand’ sold around the world to enrich the Biden family and he was used to ‘signal’ their access, influence, and power,” the congressional memo reads. “Then-Vice President Biden met – in person, for significant periods of time – with those individuals or their representatives. Then-Vice President Biden joined approximately 20 phone calls on speakerphone with Hunter Biden’s foreign business associates and attended dinners with foreign oligarchs who paid huge sums of money to Hunter Biden. Joe Biden, ‘the brand,’ was the only product the Bidens sold.” The memo also referred to the change of the White House’s narrative regarding Joe Biden’s apparent involvement in his son’s business dealings.

While, previously, Team Biden had claimed that Joe was unaware of Hunter’s financial activities and never discussed them, now they say that the “President was not in business with his son.” Still, the White House staff refuses to comment about this departure from previous statements, the memo noted. Commenting on the release of the third memo, Committee Chairman James Comer opined that the data obtained by the committee confirms the assumption that the Bidens, including Joe, were involved in “pay-for-play.” Comer particularly drew parallels between bank records and Hunter’s partners getting access to then-Vice President Biden, including two dinners in April 2014 and 2015 at Washington, DC’s Café Milano.

Most recently, US renowned legal scholar Jonathan Turley brought focus on the discussions surrounding Joe’s visits to Café Milano. The lawyer noted that the testimony by Devon Archer – Hunter’s longtime business partner – indicated that the elder Biden had indeed spent time with his son’s clients and was aware of Hunter’s business schemes. “Then-Vice President Joe Biden dined with oligarchs from around the world who had sent money to his son. It’s clear Joe Biden knew about his son’s business dealings and allowed himself to be ‘the brand’ sold to enrich the Biden family while he was Vice President of the United States,” Comer emphasized.

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By the balls.

Trump: Biden ‘Petrified of China’ Because They Pay Him Millions of Dollars (Sp.)

Former US President Donald Trump said Wednesday that he believes incumbent President Joe Biden is “so petrified of China” because they are paying him “millions and millions of dollars.” “I believe we have a compromised president. I believe he’s so petrified of China because they know how much money has been given to him, and they know where it is,” Trump said during an interview with US media. “As of today, I think $32 million that went into his accounts, the various accounts of the family. That’s a tremendous amount of money. And nothing was done for it. It was just a bribe … I’m amazed nothing was ever done.”

Trump added during the interview that Biden “is so afraid of China, and the reason he’s afraid is because I believe they paid him a tremendous amount of money, and he doesn’t want people to find out about it.” The former US president claimed that he believes China paid the Bidens “a lot more than that.” “You look at the University of Pennsylvania, you take a look at what’s going on over there, where China pays millions and millions of dollars at Biden’s center. I guess they’re paying him a million dollars a year, or I think they have it at 999,000 dollars a year.

That way you don’t have to maybe reproach because it’s under a million,” Trump claimed. The former commander-in-chief claimed that all signs point to China paying Biden “a fortune” because he has not seen “anyone so weak on China” before. Trump went to reference Beijing’s influence in Cuba and South America over the last three years. At one point during the interview, Trump went so far as to describe Biden as a “Manchurian candidate,” otherwise known as an individual who has become a puppet for a foreign nation. Trump later shifted and called on congressional lawmakers to undertake impeachment proceedings against Biden over evidence gathered by the House Oversight Committee regarding the Biden family’s business dealings.

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Michael Tracey: “Amazing: Jack Smith tried to impose a gag order on Twitter by arguing Trump was likely to “flee from prosecution” if it came out that his account had been seized. DC district court then *affirmed* the validity of this claim. Later, the claim was mysteriously retracted as “errant”.

“..may have included unpublished posts..”

Search Warrant Was Issued For Donald Trump’s Twitter Account (BBC)

The US special counsel investigating Donald Trump obtained a secret search warrant for the ex-president’s Twitter data in January, unsealed records show. Jack Smith requested “data and records” relating to Mr Trump’s account which may have included unpublished posts. After initially resisting the warrant, Twitter eventually complied, but missed a court-ordered deadline by three days. The delay resulted in the company being handed a $350,000 (£275,000) fine for contempt of court. The existence of the search warrant and the legal fight over it was revealed in court documents unsealed on Wednesday. According to the unsealed ruling, which still includes some redactions, Twitter’s lawyers did not object to the warrant itself, but disputed the nondisclosure order which kept it secret.

The company, now known as X under the ownership of Elon Musk, argued that it should be allowed to notify customers whose accounts are subject to search warrants. X handed over the data in February, but appealed the fine. Its case was rejected by a US appeals court last month. There is little indication in the documents about what exactly Mr Smith was seeking, with the court filing noting that only that the warrant directed the company “to produce data and records” related to Mr Trump’s account. The US congressional panel investigating the 6 January 2021 Capitol riot found that Mr Trump had drafted – but never sent – a tweet urging his supporters to come to Washington. It said: “I will be making a Big Speech at 10 a.m. on January 6th at the Ellipse (South of the White House). Please arrive early, massive crowds expected. March to the Capitol after. Stop the steal!”

The @realdonaldtrump account, which has 86.5m followers, was suspended after the riot. It was reinstated in November 2022 after Mr Musk ran a poll asking users whether the former president should be allowed back on the platform. Mr Trump has not posted on X since being reinstated, instead preferring to use his own Truth Social network. Experts have noted that his Truth Social business contracts mean he potentially stands to lose millions if he resumes posting on X. Mr Trump responded to news of the search warrant on Truth Social, writing that it was a “major ‘hit’ on my civil rights… These are DARK DAYS IN AMERICA!”

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Casus belli?

Critical Mineral Shortage to Put US Energy Security at Risk (Sp.)

Last week, the US Department of Energy (DOE) in a new assessment expanded its list of critical materials, defined as those indispensable to the clean energy transition with high supply risks, adding six new elements in 2023. The DOE warned the list will only grow bigger amid the global race to net-zero emissions and underscored the importance to energy security of establishing reliant and robust critical mineral supply chains.
Nickel, platinum, and silicon carbide join lithium and magnesium as critical in the medium term (2025-2035), while graphite, terbium, and iridium join cobalt, gallium, dysprosium and neodymium as elements considered critical in both the short and medium term (from now until 2035).

The DOE raised the status of copper and aluminum from non-critical to “near critical” in the medium term largely due to their importance to electrification across a wide spectrum. The report, citing International Energy Agency (IEA) data, said critical mineral demand will have to grow by up to 600% by 2040 if the world is to achieve net-zero by 2050. The demand for critical minerals is being driven by a surge in the adoption of electric vehicles, which the IEA says could account for 60% of all auto sales by 2030. The swift growth in EV sales and green electricity networks boosted demand for vital components such as lithium-ion batteries and rare earth magnets, the report noted. The report was released just as the US-China trade war escalated even further, with Beijing’s export controls on gallium going into effect, unveiled last month in retaliation to Washington’s restrictions on Chinese technology.

The US, and many Western allies, have invested heavily in trying to achieve supply chain independence from China. The Biden administration intensified efforts last week in discussions with Mongolian officials about “creative ways” to extract rare earth minerals from the landlocked country, which neighbors both China and Russia. The US faces a daunting task in breaking its mineral dependence on China. For example, China is the leading producing nation for 30 of 50 minerals the US Geological Survey classified as critical to the economy with vulnerable supply chains.

Jonathan Poston, a business strategy consultant for Artax Consulting, shed more light on the implications involving China’s dominance of key critical minerals, most particularly, rare earth elements. “Rare earth elements are a group of 17 elements that are essential for a wide range of clean energy technologies, including magnets, batteries, and catalysts,” Poston told Sputnik. “China is the world’s leading producer of rare earth elements, along with graphite – critical to lithium-ion batteries – and there are concerns about China’s control of the global supply chain.”

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To be replaced with Barbie.

Shakespeare Banned In US School Districts Over ‘Sexual Content’ (RT)

Multiple Florida schools leery of running afoul of a controversial new law banning books with sexual content are dropping Shakespeare plays from their curricula, the Tampa Bay Times reported on Wednesday. Hillsborough County public schools will only be assigning excerpts from the works of Shakespeare during the coming academic year, district officials revealed. While they told the Times they had altered their instructional guides for teachers because of “revised state teaching standards and a new set of state exams that cover a vast array of books and writing styles,” district spokeswoman Tanya Arja admitted the decision was “also in consideration of the law,” referring to Florida’s Parental Rights in Education Law.

Better known as the ‘Don’t Say Gay’ law, the measure took effect last month, requiring schools to suspend access to reading material alleged to contain pornography, depictions or descriptions of sexual conduct, pending resolution of any complaints from parents or the state. “I think the rest of the nation – no, the world, is laughing at us,” Joseph Cool, a teacher at Gaither High, told the Times on Tuesday, pointing out that “taking Shakespeare in its entirety out because the relationship between Romeo and Juliet is somehow exploiting minors is just absurd.” Because of uncertainty over what constitutes forbidden content, school districts have been preemptively removing books from their libraries in order to avoid parental challenges while trained “media specialists” screen the contents for anything that could potentially run afoul of the law.

If the specialists flag a book, a district-level panel is required to review it and make the final decision on whether it remains in the library. Parents may also file a complaint about any book on the school district’s website, requiring the district to pull the title within five days and keep it out of libraries until it can be reviewed. Local CBS affiliate WJAX found earlier this week that Duval County had removed 19 titles from its shelves ahead of the 2023-2024 school year, while St. Johns County had dropped 31 books and Clay County pulled 115.

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Zero Hedge lifts out a reference to Obama’s presumed homosexuality, but the David Samuels interview for Tablet Magazine with David Garrow has a lot more.

The “Magic Negro Of The Billionaire Industrial Complex” (ZH)

“I also found the Cuba thing deeply puzzling and offensive,” Garrow said. “It’s a fucking dictatorship that imprisons all sorts of truly progressive, creative people.” Many of the regime’s political prisoners are black but in the style of Frank, Obama is basically uncritical of the regime’s all-white Stalinist dictatorship. But then, as David Garrow says, the composite character is not a normal politician or human being. In one of his first actions, Obama canceled missile defense for U.S. allies Poland and the Czech Republic, and Garrow laments his “failure to object to Russia taking Crimea and the Donbas.” “For Barack, everything has to be a success,” Garrow explained. “Everything has to be a victory.”

And on his own terms, Obama may be the most successful president ever. He transformed the nation into a place where the outgoing president picks his successor and deploys the FBI and DOJ to help Hillary Clinton and harm candidate and President Donald Trump. “From the first time I saw it,” Garrow said, “I realized that Christopher Steele’s shit was just complete crap. It was bad corporate intelligence, even. It was nonsensical.” Samuels is also concerned. “A new milieu had been created consisting of party operatives, the people in the FBI and the CIA who are carrying out White House policy, and the press,” Samuels explains. “That’s something people still seem loathe to admit, even to themselves, in part because it puts them in a state of dissonance with this new kind of controlled consensus that the press maintains, which is obviously garbage. But if you question it, you’re some kind of nut.”

The interview keeps returning to Dreams from My Father, which biographer David Garrow exposed as a novel, infuriating the president. “There was something about this fictional character that he created actually becoming president,” contends Samuels, “that helped precipitate the disaster that we are living through now.” The nation has been transformed into a “Gilded Age oligarchy” by Obama, the “Magic Negro of the billionaire industrial complex.”

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Mar 082021





I can’t NOT do something with a piece my long time friend Jim Kunstler wrote recently, see below, since he so completely encapsulates the ghost of our time. I can’t, because this goes to my heart. It started out a year ago with people wanting to tear down statues, and now we have progressed to world literature, and even Looney Tunes. Jim turns to Winnie the Pooh because he’s sort of the ultimate anti-bad guy.

I mailed Jim to give him my compliments for the piece, and tell him of Automatic Earth commenter V. Arnold’s “That Kunstler piece is just…just…just…just incredibly excellent… I never in my life read such an excellent piece of literature…aimed at todays world… Kunstler rules…Thanks Ilargi…”, and he replied: “Raul – Why thank you for that lavish compliment. I felt a little insecure about the Winnie burlesque. Very reassuring to hear that it was appreciated.”

What I said about the statues “cancelling” when it happened was that it would be endless, and therefore useless. But literature is way worse. Literature, books, made me who I am, just like watching Rembrandt and van Gogh, and listening to Mozart and Bach, and yes, people may have had different views 400 or 2,000 years ago, but this is our history, this is where we come from, this is who we are. And trying to deny who we are won’t make us any less so.

I’m not particularly in favor of erecting statues of Hitler, or Stalin, or Mao, but trying to erase the worst of mankind from our memories won’t make them go away. A slaveholder will still always be the first president of the United States, and its capital will also still be named after him. And this is repeated in a million places and names around the world, and perhaps we should leave all those things and aim to do better today, instead of cancelling and erasing yesterday, because that may well increase the risk that such acts will rise again, and we’ll have nothing left to remind us.


But I care more about literature than I do about statues of US civil war generals. Though at the same time I do wonder what it would take to lead some people to start questioning Michelangelo or Leonardo da Vinci, or Rodin, and then we would be back at square one anyway, this thing is truly endless. And there’s always something that people in the past have said or thought or done that someone in 2021 can find fault with. And that may leave them to find fault in 2021, when black and brown girls and boys are still bombed into oblivion.

In essence, it’s simply a question of nobodies trying to cancel the work of geniuses, until we’re all nobodies. Art is the ultimate expression of what the human mind is capable of, other than love and compassion. What we’ve recently seen “attempting to be cancelled” are fantastic works like To Kill a Mockingbird, Odyssey, Dr. Seuss, and you wonder when they’ll get around to Shakespeare and the Bible. They will.

And yesterday we see the cancel culture targeting Pepé Le Pew. Good golly, Batman, once you start going through the Looney Tunes catalogue, it’s hard to see how any of it would survive. And how about Disney? Meanwhile, today’s kids are playing “Grand Theft Auto” and “Call of Duty”. How lost are we? Do I want my MTV, or do I want my Dostojevsky? Well, I want it all. And the classics, and the Bard.

And I don’t want you to cancel culture any of it away from me. Because it’s what made me who I am. And I know what’s good about it, and what’s not. I can think, and I don’t need or want you to think for me. This is so important to me that I find it hard to find both the rationale and the emotion to express it. Cut it out. As I said the other day, there’s no difference between book banning and book burning.


From his site,, here’s Jim Kunstler’s ultimate, brilliant take on it:





The Trial of Winnie the Pooh



A solemn silence turned collective gasp in the District of Columbia Woke Circuit courtroom as two bailiffs entered the door beside the jury box with the small cream-colored bear suspended between them, his stumpy hind legs wheeling fruitlessly to seek purchase in the unavailing air. The Queen of Hearts, presiding, banged her gavel as the little bear was seated at the table for the defense beside another rather small, darkish, furtive figure.

The Queen of Hearts peered over her half-glasses at the defendant and snarled, “State your full name and residence.”

“Winnie-the-Pooh,” the defendant said. “From the Hundred Acre Wood.”

“What is your personal pronoun?”

The bear looked perplexed. “Oh, bother,” he said. “Nobody I know has such a thing?”

“Of course they do,” the Queen said.

“Perhaps it’s ‘the’,” the bear said.

“That is a definite article, not a pronoun!” the Queen barked. “Are you an imbecile?”


“I’m not sure. Maybe it’s ‘dear’”—

“That’s enough out of you!” the Queen said. “And let’s have no more impertinence! Do you have counsel?”

“Why, yes,” the bear said. “Mr. Kafka, who is seated beside me.”

“You are mistaken,” the Queen said. “That is a cockroach seated beside you, and the court is displeased to see it. Bailiff, please remove that disgusting cockroach from my court.”

Mr. Kafka, gesticulating in protest with all six arms and legs, had to be dragged out.

“First witness!” the Queen screeched. “Counsel for the prosecution….”

“Calling Uncle Remus,” said the prosecutor, Andrew Weissmann, famous for his exploits in the Enron case and with The Mueller Team in the old Russia collusion days.

An elderly gentleman-of-color with white beard and a kindly face limped forward and took the witness stand.

“Do you know this bear?” Weissmann asked.

“I knows a Brer B’ar,” Uncle Remus said. “But he a black b’ar. Dishyere one a white b’ar.”

“Exactly!” Weissmann said. “Dismissed.”

“Dat all?” Uncle Remus asked.

“It’s plenty,” Weissmann retorted and smirked at the jury, composed of members from the United Federation of Teachers, the Southern Poverty Law Center, and Antifa, who all nodded amongst themselves.

“A white bear!” Weissmann repeated for emphasis, shaking his head. “And not a polar bear, either. A white bear. From England. Think about it…!”

The jurors emitted growls of opprobrium.

“Next witness,” the Queen cried.

“Calling N-Word Jim,” Weissmann said.

A strapping middle-aged gentleman-of-color, dressed in ragged clothes, strode to the witness chair.

“You reside in libraries all over the world, is that correct?” the attorney asked.

“Yassuh, dat is so. But I’se originally fum Hannibal, Missouri.”

“Are you acquainted with the defendant?”

“I done seen him on many a shelf ‘round de worl’.”

“How much shelf space does he occupy compared to you?”

“Well, fur as I knows, ‘bout double.”

“Does that seem fair to you?”

“Way I sees it, he in mebbe twice as minny books as me and Huck.”

“Huck! Who is this Huck?”

“White boy I done made a journey down de ribber wif one time.”

“What is your experience with white folks, Jim?”

“Well, dey runs mos’ everything, I ‘spect. Leas’ as fur as I kin see.”

“Exactly!” Weissmann argued. “Is it not white privilege to — as you say — run everything?” he added, shaking his head gravely. “Hegemonizing and colonizing literature everywhere you look.”

“Say, what…?” the witness rejoined and pulled his chin.

“You can go back to your raft, Jim,” Weissmann said. “Dismissed. Calling Mr. Christopher Robin.”

A very old man, bent and trembling, shuffled forward to the stand, leaning on his brass-headed cane.

“You’ve been acquainted with the defendant for how many years?”

“Oh, yes, many, since…let’s see… uh, nineteen hundred and twenty-six, I’d say.”

“In all those years, did he ever… touch you?”

“We held hands. And hugged frequently.”

“I see,” Weissmann sneered. “And this ‘touching’ started when you were, what? About five years old?”

“I suppose. Yes. It was a very long time ago.”

“Do you recall an incident involving the defendant, a person named Piglet, and a broken balloon?”

“Yes… yes, I do!”

“That was not really a balloon, was it, Mr. Robin?”

“At the time, I thought…”

“You thought!” Weissmann barked. “We all think, don’t we? Sometimes maybe a little too much! I’ll tell you what I think: I think the jury can see exactly what was going on between you and the defendant, this very privileged bear. And if they think the way I do — that is, as a normal person with healthy morals — they’ll think that this was depraved behavior on the part of this bear, routinely abusing a five-year-old boy, year after year after year!”

The jury members all nodded avidly and buzzed between themselves.

Christopher Robin looked up at the bench.

“Balloon, indeed!” the Queen snorted, wagging her finger at both the bear and Christopher Robin. “I think we’ve heard enough.”

“No! I have one other witness,” Weissmann said. “Calling Peter Pan….”

A figure wearing a leaf-green tunic and tights, and a feathered cap, flew across the room and landed in the witness seat.

“You’ve had occasion to work at the Disney Studios with the defendant, have you not?”

“I would see him around the lot on lunch breaks,” Pan said. “But we weren’t on the same pictures — except one time for a TV Christmas special where we all did cameos.”

“And what was your impression of this bear?”

“He made a crack about not believing in fairies. I didn’t know if he was kidding or not.”

“Were you hurt by that remark?”

“Not personally, but I saw what it did to my sidekick, Tinkerbelle. Her light almost went out.”

“Your honor, ladies, gentlemen, and non-binaries of the jury, We have definitely heard enough.”

“The defense rests!” the Queen of Hearts screeched. “Mr. Pooh, you have led a life of disgusting racism, colonialism, hate-ism, white supremacy, and depravity. I am directing the jury to find you guilty as charged and sentence you to be cancelled.” She pounded the bench with her gavel.

“Oh, bother,” Winnie the Pooh said, still perplexed and bewildered.

“Take him out, burn all those wicked books of his, and put him on top of the fire.”

“Lawks a’mercy,” Uncle Remus cried from the back of the room.

“See you up in sweet Beulah-land, Pooh, honey,” N-Word Jim said.

“Next case!” the Red Queen yelled above the commotion. “The people versus Robin Hood and his so-called Merry Men.”

Roll credits.

Fade to black….




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Mar 192019

Leonardo da Vinci First anatomical studies c1515



Sometimes we find ourselves merely pondering, not so much solving big problems. Is there playing out, in the world at large, or at least the world of men, something akin to the Kondratieff cycle in economics, a larger cycle, a force, a tide, an energy, that we mostly ignore, but which drives our ‘affairs’? Dr. D. thinks there may well be. But if so, what happens to free will?

Dr. D.:



Dr. D.: I seem to have taken a dark and grumpy turn lately.  Probably the winter, but as I get older, I find the present state of the world more and more frustrating.

I fear with the present madness it’s just de rigor to 1) label people as something they’re not, even the OPPOSITE of what they are, 2) furiously fight that strawman and 3) not care.  I have no explanation for it, but there are times and tides in the affairs of men (as Shakespeare would say) which flood you out and cost a fortune.  …Or something like that.

And it’s certainly flooding in Europe right now, as darkness falls as the shutters of censorship and totalitarianism are bolted up everywhere, every bit as clear and methodical as was done in 1935, even with a call for a shiny new army.  …To use on no one, of course, because we all know broke nations fund and create armies for no ill intent whatsoever.  But these things happen regularly.

“If…any person had told me that there would have been such [chaos] as [now] exists, I would have thought them a bedlamite, a fit subject for a madhouse.”
– George Washington, 1786 (after a fiat money blowoff in the states)

My belief is that these things happen from forces outside ourselves and are sadly predictable, as “the lesson of history is that no one learns anything from history.”  There may be the “Fourth Turning” of generations, but a 4th-of-4 turning is some 200 years, the next cycle, the next fractal up, and things crack quite a bit wider. 

As this follows exactly the weather, earthquake, and volcanic cycles, it suggests far more its external origin, the way birds grow senselessly restless and flock in fall, or animals are agitated and predict earthquakes.  In this case, my guess is the human nervous system is very sensitive to the fluctuations in the sun, or possibly further, the wing of the galaxy we fly through like sand ripples 240 years apart.  What else could it be to affect men, weather, and volcanoes all at once?


But I suspect the additional energy flooding into all men gives them a very hard time, hyping them up, and those who don’t know how to shed and direct the energy appropriately — which is most of us — become manic and unthinking, and to some extent collectively go mad.  As events on the ground direct them, so it can be channeled into grandeur, like the industrial revolution, or into a suicidal bloodbath like Jacobin France.

We appear to desire the latter right now, where the most astonishing, easily falsifiable accusations are made, and followed through just as thoughtlessly by the mob.  They attack and hang one man one day, then the next his accuser comes under scrutiny and is hanged in turn, yet no one makes a call to sense and order, but rather to more ghosts, more bogymen, and more panic that chases them in turn like the devil of Sir Thomas More. …Thankfully merely murder-by-reputation so far, but it would be shocking indeed if that lasted long.

I also believe men know this, and far from stopping it, prefer to make fortunes by going with the tide and pushing it along, tirelessly undermining nations they can short, and then supporting the kings rising on the wheel of fortune and hitching to their star until in the next cycle they will be undermined in turn. 

Unfortunately, it is Europe and America’s time down on the wheel, and they are doing everything they can — spending trillions, directing Facebook and the Guardian, buying ministers and judges, undermining every pillar of our society, economic, social, moral — in their quest to drive us down, and therefore buy us up cheap in “Disaster Capitalism.”  And being in the lowering tide, we don’t need any additional help.


However, with such sturm und drang, there’s just shouting man to man everywhere, sheer bedlam, and otherwise good people get caught up in it, accusing you, accusing me, and exhausting and ruining themselves at a time we most need to pull together, make forgiveness, and apply what limited forces we have to the task of saving ourselves and our values.

So what do we do? Well if indeed we are each being over-energized and overloaded as it seems, we need to calm and ground ourselves in deeper principles that are unchanging — a thing far easier said than done. 

However, if we can see that all of us are in the same dilemma, we are all ill-at-ease, and it’s not the other guy, it’s ourselves too that is short tempered, short-sighted, jumping to conclusions — in a word: short — then we can go through the day and this time better, and address it better, redress it better, and make more accurate, more practical and productive responses than if we didn’t know where our new trouble and new agitation is coming from.

Because history shows these things happen, and we’re in it now and it’s clearly happening to us. Perceiving all this years ago, I took myself to a humble place and planted trees, as the Stoics at the fall of Rome retreated to walled gardens and enjoyed what life they could, and although it’s a hard life and everyone’s answer is different, these things pass and all men have troubles and die even in the best of times.

So while I find it as frustrating as anyone, to be outrageously accused, to not be heard day after day, I try to keep perspective as well.  It may not be a help to them, but it’s a help to me at least, so I can possibly answer the call to help someday, should any someday come.

But I don’t think so.  Like Robespierre or Washington, I expect it to vent its madness on me and on us all with little restraint instead.  My job is to weather it as I can and wait for better springs to come, which they will, but decades from now.


“There is a tide in the affairs of men, Which taken at the flood, leads on to fortune.”
– Julius Caesar Act 4 Scene 3



Apr 172018

Charles Sprague Pearce Lamentations over the Death of the First-Born of Egypt 1877


In Matthew 12:22-28, Jesus tells the Pharisees:


Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand.

In 1858, US Senate candidate Abraham Lincoln borrows the line:


On June 16, 1858 more than 1,000 delegates met in the Springfield, Illinois, statehouse for the Republican State Convention. At 5:00 p.m. they chose Abraham Lincoln as their candidate for the U.S. Senate, running against Democrat Stephen A. Douglas. At 8:00 p.m. Lincoln delivered this address to his Republican colleagues in the Hall of Representatives. The title reflects part of the speech’s introduction, “A house divided against itself cannot stand,” a concept familiar to Lincoln’s audience as a statement by Jesus recorded in all three synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke).

Even Lincoln’s friends regarded the speech as too radical for the occasion. His law partner, William H. Herndon, considered Lincoln as morally courageous but politically incorrect. Lincoln read the speech to him before delivering it, referring to the “house divided” language this way: “The proposition is indisputably true … and I will deliver it as written. I want to use some universally known figure, expressed in simple language as universally known, that it may strike home to the minds of men in order to rouse them to the peril of the times.”

On April 12, 2018, the Washington Post runs this headline:

We need to go big in Syria. North Korea is watching.

The WaPo is undoubtedly disappointed that James Mattis prevailed over more hawkish voices in Washington and the least ‘expansive’ attack was chosen.

Then after the attack, Russian President Putin warns of global ‘chaos’ if the West strikes Syria again. And I’m thinking: Chaos? You ‘Predict’ Chaos? You mean what we have now does not qualify as chaos?

Yes, Washington Post, North Korea is watching. And you know what it sees? It sees a house divided. It sees an America that is perhaps as divided against itself as it was prior to the civil war. An America that elects a president and then initiates multiple investigations against him that are kept going seemingly indefinitely. An America where hatred of one’s fellow countrymen and -women has become the norm.

An America that has adopted a Shakespearian theater as its political system, where all norms of civil conversation have long been thrown out the window, where venomous gossip and backstabbing have become accepted social instruments. An America where anything goes as long as it sells.


In an intriguing development, while Trump pleased the Washington Post, New York Times, CNN and MSNBC, his declared arch-enemies until the rockets flew, his own base turned on him. While the ‘liberals’ (what’s in a word) cheered and smelled the blood, the right wing reminded the Donald that this is not what he was elected on – or for.

Can Trump afford to lose his base? Isn’t the right wing supposed to be the side that calls for guns and bombs? It’s unlikely that he can do without his base, it would weaken him a lot as the Lady Macbeths watch his every move looking for just that one opportunity, that one moment where his back is turned.

As for the right wing not being the bloodthirsty one, that is quite the shift. Not that it’s a 180 on a dime, it has been coming for a while. It’s not just interesting with regards to Trump, there are many war hawks who -will- see their support crumble too if or when they speak out for more boots in deserts. Maybe John McCain should consider changing parties?


So yeah, what does North Korea see? Should it be afraid? Will it have become more afraid? Kim Jong-Un will have watched for China’s reaction, much more important to him that what the US does. And China has condemned the attack. It would do the same if America were to attack North Korea, and a lot stronger. Therefore Kim Jong-Un doesn’t believe Washington will dare attack him.

An interesting line from Chinese state run newspaper Global Times illustrates how China sees the world, and the US in particular, at present:


“A weak country has no diplomacy. As a hundred years have passed, China is no longer that [weak] China, but the world is still that world.”

That is how China, and in its wake, North Korea, see America. And so does Russia. Americans may -and do- think that they are still no. 1, and the most powerful, economically, politically, militarily, but that’s no longer what the rest of the world sees.

Is the US still mightier than China militarily? Probably, but not certainly. Still, how do you conquer 1.3 billion people and keep them subdued? Xi Jinping is very aware of that, and he bides his time.

Is the US still mightier than Russia militarily? Almost certainly not. To quote Paul Craig Roberts once more (and he’s no amateur):

The Russians know that they can, at will within a few minutes, sink the entire US fleet, destroy every US airplane & ship in the ME & within range of the ME, completely destroy all of Israel’s military capability & wipe out the military of the two-bit punk state of Saudi Arabia.

I’ve written this before in the past: there is a big difference between how America sees and treats its military, and how Russia does it. A difference that explains how Russia can, with one tenth of American defense spending, still be militarily superior, or at least make any wars against it unwinnable.

That is, in the US the focus is not on making the best weapons, it’s on making the most money on weapons. Boeing, Raytheon, Lockheed will develop those weapons that are most profitable, not those that are most effective. The interminable story of the development of the Joint Strike Fighter is perhaps the best example of this, but there are many others. The Pentagon is a money pit.

Americans can perhaps still make the best weapons for the least money, but they don’t do it. Russia does. For Putin, the best weapons are a matter of survival. Russia has been under American threat as long as he can remember.

While Americans believe so strongly in their supremacy, and have grown so accustomed to the idea, that they no longer see having the best weapons as a matter of survival for the nation. They have come to see their superiority as something automatic and natural.


The attack on Syria is seen as a sign of weakness. Because there was no need for it. Because the evidence is flimsy at best. Because the world has international bodies to deal with such issues. Because there is no logic in allowing the blood to flow in the Gaza and Yemen but cite humanitarian reasons for bombing alleged chemical facilities elsewhere.

What the world sees is bluster emanating from a deeply divided nation (and we haven’t even tackled Britain). It sees that less than 48 hours after the airstrikes, a former FBI chief talks about his former boss in terminology that nobody would dare use in most countries, and throughout most of history,

James Comey is beyond Shakepeare. And in America, the issue is who’s right in the Comey-Trump conflict. In Russia, China et al it’s not. They see a house, a country divided. A weak country has no diplomacy.

That’s how all empires end. Complacency and division. That is what North Korea sees when it watches America, what China, and Russia see. And they may even know how Jesus put it. He didn’t just say a kingdom divided would become less powerful or wealthy, he said:


Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation.



Jul 232017

Ford Madox Brown King Lear and Cordelia c1851


Mea culpa. Yesterday I wrote Scaramouche, Scaramouche, will you do the Fandango?, and not long after publishing it, I figured I missed the target I was going for. Not 100%, and it’s not all bad, as people’s reactions have confirmed, but…

The thing is, Trump’s nomination of Anthony Scaramucci as White House Communications Director was not the main point of my piece. Tempting, because everybody knows the Queen song, but not the main one, and it certainly shouldn’t have been the title of the piece.

So, sorry for that, and let me try to correct. The much stronger point, in my ever so humble view, that I hit on yesterday is the connection between Donald Trump and William Shakespeare. In fact, I think that from now on we should all see Trump in that light. Simply because it fits so … fittingly.

Not because I would call Trump mad, that is far too easy a view. But because his story, both as it unfolds today and in its history, has so many classic Shakespearean elements. And when we look at our world through the glasses of the ‘Old Bard’, we will see it in a different light. As in: Trump could be a man in the process of going mad. Or he could not.

Not that it’s just about Trump. Richard Nixon looks, if anything, way more Shakespeare material than Da Donald. Though, admittedly, we can oversee Nixon’s entire history, while Trump’s is ongoing (he has promise), and Shakespeare is all about development, about what happens to people as they go through what happens to them.

Macbeth and King Lear describe the trappings -and much more- of power. How power corrupts, and not only absolute power. How sociopathic character traits make people seek power, and how it -often- destroys them. But also how outside forces influence them, in -just as often- highly destructive ways.

That’s not to say that Shakespeare, if he were alive today, would have written a play about Trump. I don’t know that, we don’t. I do think he would have found it hard to stay away from Nixon, but that’s just a guess, even if Tricky Dick seems to have all the required boxes ticked off.

The Bard of Avon might have opted for Hillary Clinton’s story instead of Trump’s. Hers has most if not all of his ingredients, power, corruption, murder, treason, trust -and the lack thereof-, madness -inborn, inbred and developing-, gossip, innuendo, conspiracies, scheming, backstabbing, the lot. That’s not trying to single out Hillary, it’s just saying that all these power-seeking tragedies have the same elements.

Shakespeare situated Macbeth in Scotland, Hamlet in Denmark and King Lear in Britain, while the latter play was highly influenced by Sophocles’ Oedipus (Rex), which is set in Greece. Location is for once not essential -sorry, real estate guys-, power corrupts everywhere, and in more or less the same ways and sequences.

Apart from the entire list of people in his camp, some of which get thrown out from time to time, the Trump narrative also relies to a great extent on all the outside people trying to bring him down. It’s hard to see how Shakespeare could not have loved that. Fair is foul and foul is fair, but now with the three witches in Macbeth’s opening part -the media, the commentators?!- having chosen sides from the beginning.

Hillary as Lady Macbeth? Again, tempting, but we’re not Shakespeare -or Sophocles-. Putting too much emphasis on any of the specific traits of characters from 400+ or 2000+ year-old plays doesn’t look like the way to go. For one thing, Shakespeare wouldn’t have wanted to repeat himself. It’s the overarching themes and characteristics that count. What the hunger for power did to people then, and what it does to them now.

If only we had someone to write today’s stories, today. But those writers, the ones that can gaze inside their own narratives, don’t come around very often. And when they do, they write about long-ago narratives and conspiracies. Good thing we can learn from them regardless because many things about our species never change. In a few words: what the ancient Greeks and Shakespeare and many others taught us is that Power equals Tragedy. And that’s eternal.

Moreover, since our media is failing us in unprecedented fashion, Shakespeare looks like our best bet if we want to understand what is happening in Washington. Or Brussels, Berlin, Beijing. Think entertainment value. What else are you going to do? The Bard’s original audiences reportedly threw eggs and tomatoes at the stage.



Jul 222017
 July 22, 2017  Posted by at 1:18 pm Finance Tagged with: , , , , , , ,  14 Responses »

Hieronymus Bosch Adoration of the Magic c1472


So sorry to see Sean Spicer go, even if I never watch TV, so I only got snippets of his acting performances -and Melissa McCarthy’s. One of the very few SNL and other ‘comedy’ shows skids that was actually funny, in the same way that very few of the New York Times and Washington Post ‘articles’ on Trump have been actually news.

As I wrote to a friend earlier today, sure Spicer’s gone, but there’ll be other entertaining characters to replace him. Say what you will about the Trump administration, but never a dull moment. Having Mike Pence become president would kill all the fun.


Scaramucci is a great start to phase 2. Or is that 22? The guy’s a Wall Street pawn who badmouthed Da Donald not long ago. Moreover, says a Daily Beast headline, “Anthony Scaramucci Loved Hillary, Gave to Obama, and Deleted Anti-Trump Tweets”.


Now I know the White House should not really be a theater, but hey, it already is, so we might as well make the best of it. And the name Scaramucci alone carries so much promise. Not only because of the Queen line from Bohemian Rhapsody, but also because of, as Wikipedia puts it:

Scaramouch. 1660s, name of a cowardly braggart (supposed by some to represent a Spanish don) in traditional Italian comedy, from Italian Scaramuccia, literally “skirmish,” from schermire “to fence,” from a Germanic source (cf. Old High German skirmen “defend”); see skirmish (n.).


Scaramuccia (literally “little skirmisher”), also known as Scaramouche or Scaramouch, is a stock clown character of the Italian commedia dell’arte. The role combined characteristics of the zanni (servant) and the Capitano (masked henchman).

A cowardly braggart! There is so much promise there. And theater, tragedy, drama, entertainment. Look, that’s what Shakespeare made of politics, and many others did too, so maybe we should just get used to it. It’s not all that new, kings and queens and power hungry sociopaths have been the subjects of plays and worse for ages. When you see anything Trump, think Shakespeare. Give it the proper historical context.

Think Macbeth. Think King Lear. Think Trump.


I see a little silhouetto of a man
Scaramouche, Scaramouche, will you do the Fandango?
Thunderbolt and lightning, very, very fright’ning me
(Galileo.) Galileo. (Galileo.) Galileo. Galileo figaro magnifico
I’m just a poor boy, nobody loves me
He’s just a poor boy from a poor family
Spare him his life from this monstrosity..