As we prepare for an excursion beyond the reaches of Inner Blogolia, to strange realms and undiscovered countries from whose bourne no traveller returns -- for at least a few days -- we direct your attention to the musings of a youngish man known only as "The Grey Shield." Said Shield scampers in God's domain at the website Magnificent Valor, where lately he has entertained himself -- and, er, ourselves -- with an homage to the Master, S.J. Perelman.
So scoot on over there and give Mister Grey a gander. After all, in these petty, piping times, do we not need all the magnificent valor we can get?
The AmericaForever Corporation is proud to announce the latest winners of the Mr. and Mrs. America Contest: Pippy and Poppy Longdawdle of Rumsfeld, Ohio! They’re a thoroughly modern couple grounded in traditional values, upholding the best of American exceptionalism in the most exceptional way!
Like all real Americans, Pippy and Poppy are entrepreneurs to the core, bootstrapping their way to personal fulfilment and financial freedom. The happy couple are the hardworking proprietors of Longdawdle Mental Ministries, Inc., dedicated to eradicating the scourge of depression that has unaccountably settled over our God-blessed land like a thick, mephitic cloud of bovine methane. As Pippy herself puts it:
“We know a way to counter that old evil eye — with the latest edition of Pippy and Poppy’s Positive Power Pack! This patented method of mental manipulation has been specially culled and curated just for you by Pippy and Poppy! Drawing on the latest top neurocognitive brain researchings by top brain researchers and the time-tested techniques and insights of such top historical mental giants as Sigmund and Froy, Carl Young and Dee Porkchoppa, Pippy and Poppy’s Positive Power Pack is guaranteed to chase away your blues, put pep back in your step and dissipate the noxious emanations of negative thinking which congregate in demonic battalions along the the alleyways of your basal ganglia.”
Poppy adds : “You can download a free sample of the last two pages of the first three chapters (plus a special bonus page picked at random by our hard-working algorithms!) of the brand-new upgraded Pippy and Poppy’s Postive Power Pack 2.0 at our website,www.americandream.com. Or you can skip the taster and go for the whole feast for only $124.55 (sales tax and profit margin not included). So go on and give that evil eye a big old poke — of perkiness!!!”
Pippy and Poppy founded their Mental Ministry in 1995, after Poppy lost his job as an engineer for a machine-tool company in Cleveland and Pippy was “downsized” from her job as a county mental health professional. But like the perky, plucky couple they are, they kept on plugging, and now oversee a publishing/online/seminar/merchandising empire worth more than $2.5 billion.
Although some couples find it hard to work together, Pippy and Poppy have enjoyed every minute of the journey … even though, to hear them tell it, they’re just like chalk and cheese! “Poppy’s a Republican and I’m a Democrat,” Pippy confides. “But we both share the same love of our great country, the same belief in the values that make America great. As I told him just the other day, ‘You know, Poppy, no matter which way America votes, we still get the same benefits: a big, bristling military to protect us from all the evil ones abroad, a conscientious intelligence establishment that uses the latest technology (most of it made in America!) to keep us safe at home, bailouts for our hardworking banks, tax breaks for wealth creators (like us!) and the constant, comforting knowledge that we are citizens of the greatest country that has ever existed or ever will exist on the face of the earth!
“Of course, Poppy’s not that happy about gay marriage and I sometimes wonder if running death squads out of the White House and drone-bombing innocent people all over the world is perhaps maybe not the most excellent thing to do — but the important thing is that it all comes out in the wash! Whatever the vote, whoever wins, nothing ever changes in America … except to get better, of course!”
AmericaForever (a subsidiary of Alibaba.com) is delighted to present Pippy and Poppy Longdawdle — Mr. and Mrs. America!
The murderous absurdity of the new American-led war in the Middle East almost defies commentary, although I'm currently working on a piece that tries to thread through the obfuscation. In the meantime, below is something I wrote about one of our earlier wars in the region — but as we now live in a state of permanent war, it remains sadly apt for today … and no doubt far into the future.
The questions in the lines are aimed chiefly at all those who give their support -- however grudgingly, reluctantly, with great sweatdrops of blood and wringing of hands -- to the continuing series of military attacks by Western powers in the Middle East, East Asia and Africa for the ostensible reason of quelling terrorism. For after each such incursion, the question comes again: are you free now? Is it better now? Are you free from the fear of terrorism (a fear so expertly and copiously stoked by our elites)? Is it better now? Is it over now? Have our violent attacks made us -- or the people in our target nations -- freer, safer, prosperous, at peace? Even when there is "victory" -- Saddam ousted, the Taliban ousted, Gadafy ousted -- has this brought peace and freedom to anyone ... or simply more and more and ever more conflict, extremism, chaos and blood.
And now the fear has come round again: another war, more mountains of dead, more cities in ruins, more hatred spread, more extremism created. Yet even if ISIS is forced back from the territory it now occupies in Syria and Iraq (thanks to the hellholes of chaos and instablity that Western actions have induced in both those countries), the question will be hanging in the blood-flecked mist: are we free now?
At the London Review of Books blog, Omar Hamilton outlines the many confidence-building efforts being undertaken by Israel to construct a just and lasting peace in the Holy Land, following the recent spat in Gaza. Below is Hamilton's piece in full, but do see the original for links detailing the flowers of peace that Israel is planting amongst its Palestinian brothers and sisters.
On 26 August a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas was agreed, bringing a fragile end to a war that killed 2150 Palestinians (mostly civilians) and 73 Israelis (mostly soldiers). Since then Hamas has not fired a single rocket, attacked an Israeli target, or done anything to break the terms of the ceasefire. Israel has done the following:
1. Annexed another 1500 acres of West Bank land 2. Seized $56 million of PA tax revenue 3. Not lifted the illegal blockade (as required by the ceasefire) 4. Broken the ceasefire by firing at fishermen on four separate occasions 5. Detained six fishermen 6. Killed a 22-year-old, Issa al Qatari, a week before his wedding 7. Killed 16-year-old Mohammed Sinokrot with a rubber bullet to the head 8. Tortured a prisoner to the point of hospitalisation 9. Refused 13 members of the European Parliament entry into Gaza 10. Detained at least 127 people across the West Bank, including a seven-year-old boy in Hebron and two children, aged seven and eight, taken from the courtyard of their house in Silwad – and tear-gassed their mother 11. Continued to hold 33 members of the Palestinian Legislative Council in prison 12. Continued to hold 500 prisoners in administrative detention without charge or trial 13. Destroyed Bedouin homes in Khan al Ahmar, near Jerusalem, leaving 14 people homeless, and unveiled a plan to forcibly move thousands of Bedouin away from Jerusalem into two purpose-built townships 14. Destroyed a dairy factory in Hebron whose profits supported an orphanage 15. Destroyed a family home in Silwan, making five children homeless 16. Destroyed a house in Jerusalem where aid supplies en route to Gaza were being stored 17. Destroyed a well near Hebron 18. Set fire to an olive grove near Hebron 19. Raided a health centre and a nursery school in Nablus, causing extensive damage 20. Destroyed a swathe of farmland in Rafah by driving tanks over it 21. Ordered the dismantling of a small monument in Jerusalem to Mohamed Abu Khdeir, murdered in July by an Israeli lynch mob 22. Continued building a vast tunnel network under Jerusalem 23. Stormed the al Aqsa mosque compound with a group of far right settlers 24. Assisted hundreds of settlers in storming Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus 25. Prevented students from entering al Quds University, firing stun grenades and rubber bullets at those who tried to go in 26. Earned unknown millions on reconstruction materials for Gaza, where 100,000 people need their destroyed homes rebuilt. The total bill is estimated at $7.8 billion