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Carnival Deception: While Mitt and Barry Posture, the Imperial Beast Plods On

Behind the all-consuming, overheated hypermania of the presidential campaign – Romney! Taxes! Swiss banks! Bain, Bain, Bain! – the dull-lidded behemoth of empire continues to trudge its way back and forth across the earth, knee-deep in human blood. Those who pray and pump and polemicize for the re-election of the behemoth’s current commander have to repeatedly gouge out their own eyes to avoid seeing the rank corruption and carnage their champion empowers and inflicts on the vulnerable and the defenseless. We write here frequently of Honduras – the land where Barack Obama made his bones as hemispheric hierarch with the

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The Nightingale’s Nest: Lamenting the Soul’s Enclosure

George Monbiot writes, and writes well, of one of my favorite poets, John Clare. Dirt-poor, little educated, ensconced deep in an ancient agrarian world that was being broken and transformed before his eyes, he made himself into one of the great English poets of the 19th century — although much of his best work was written after he had been committed to an asylum, for decades, and was not rediscovered until the 20th century. Another of my favorite poets, Robert Graves, was instrumental in rescuing Clare from oblivion, championing his work and making it much more widely known in the

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Blaming the Sky: Postcards of the Homeland

It’s become a sordid place, hollowed by money, by fear, by a meanness bred in the mud of lies, in fever-swamps of self-regard and relentless self-deception. For a long, long time, the energy of beginning, like the flush and fire of youth, gave a glamour and a momentum that could mask the many toxins feeding on the flame of life to grow more virulent, more corrosive. But youth is gone now, energy spent; the mask is tattered and hides nothing. Here the last extracted, blood-flecked exhalation of the slave and the native are hanging in the ashen mist of sundown.

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Scoundrel Time: Patriot Acts and Political Platforms

Below are a couple of refrains to mark this the day when we remember our freedoms. (And we certainly do have to remember them, like mourners at a funeral; most of them aren’t here any more.) First we have a brief precis on political platforms in this election year, then a song in honor of one the very few patriots who have actually acted on behalf of their country in recent years: Bradley Manning, who tried to end our nation’s damnable atrocity in Iraq by exposing the reality of imperial war. Unfortunately, he overestimated the moral character of his countrymen,

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Idle Pleasures: Rousing the Age-Old Dream of the Heavy-Laden

When I was growing up, the “four-day work week” was considered a viable political and social goal: the next logical step after the long and often bloody struggle to win a five-day week for most working people. Like “full employment,” this idea was sometimes actually built into the public platforms of serious, broad-based parties and political movements. Yes, children, before “wealth creators” and other masters of the universe were held up as worthy models for their 80-hour weeks and unstinting dedication to squeezing every single minute ever more tightly for a few more bucks — before those of us who

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The Naked and the Dead: Raw Hubris is Still the Rule

Every few weeks, we hear another story on the great danger posed to the security of the Republic if there is even a miniscule reduction in the rate of growth in the Pentagon budget. With wringing hands and furrowed brow and tones of stern alarum, they say the spigot must remain at full spate — must even be increased — if the shining city on the hill is to have the slightest chance to hold off the Yellow Peril, the Persian Menace, the Muslim Horde and all the other unknown unknowns that threaten our sacred way of life. This is

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Counting Coup: As Progressives Cheer, Hell Grows in Obama’s Honduras

While progressives pop firecrackers in celebration of the great victory for Barack Obama’s ACA (Advancing Corporate Authority) program — which forcibly delivers customers to some of the most horrendous and inhumane companies in the land and fills the coffers of these heartbreak cartels with public loot — another one of the president’s landmark achievements continues to build up an enduring legacy for his visionary leadership. We refer, of course, to the living hell he has helped make in Honduras. In one of the early foreign policy successes of his illustrious administration, Obama helped midwife a brutal coup by Honduran oligarchs, who

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Clash of Civilizations: The Great God Pan is Dead

Plutarch writes that during the reign of Tiberius Caesar, an Egyptian pilot, Thamus, sailing to Italy, was called by a strange voice, which cried out to him: “Thamus, when you reach Palodes, tell them that the great god Pan is dead!” Following certain portents, Thamus did as he was told; Plutarch writes that a great lamentation rose from the shore at this news. The story has long been seen as a symbolic representation of the death of the Classical world and its replacement by Christianity — a process which actually occurred, with much strife and agony, over the next few

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Grand Tradition: Obama Does it the Old-Fashioned Way in Honduras

Overthrow the constitutionally elected democratic government. Install willing stooges, backed by local oligarchs, in its place. Send in your own troops to take part in the crusade du jour (anti-communism, anti-terrorism, the “War on Drugs”) and establish your iron dominion over the lesser breeds south of the border. Repeat as often as necessary. It’s a tried-and-true formula, a traditional remedy, as American as apple pie, Chevrolet and murdering wedding guests and funeral-goers by remote control from a comfy chair in a secure fortress 10,000 miles away. And Barack Obama — who is nothing if not a genuine American Traditionalist —

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Echoes From the Future: Perspectives of Imperial Reality

Below is a reprise of a piece I wrote some years ago: a work of “political fiction” (in the strict sense of the term — not a euphemism for the slagheap of lies pouring out of Washington and other world capitals every day). In some respects, it chimes with themes currently being explored in a new series by Arthur Silber, who is using historical material to put our present day in a different, and disturbing, perspective. The piece below incorporates some direct quotes (with slight alterations) from our modern-day imperial apologists. As Faulkner once said: the past is never dead;

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