Lebanon: Bellwether, Battleground, and Bastard Child of the Mideast

When I was a kid, "Beirut" became a cultural shorthand for any chaotic and violent urban setting. In the 1990s, my hometown rappers – the Wu Tang Clan – repeatedly shouted out the Lebanese city (plus one of its civil war antagonists, the P.L.O. – Palestinian Liberation Organization); but so did Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, … Continue reading “Lebanon: Bellwether, Battleground, and Bastard Child of the Mideast”

I Was Wrong: Congress Isn’t Cowardly; It’s Evil!

Sometime during my "brief" spell as an imperial-accomplice, zombie-flicks became all the rage. So did tweeting and texting, by the way – which I learned the hard way when a phone bill ran to several hundred bucks after returning from my first failed war-surge. Turns out my data plan was almost as inadequate as the … Continue reading “I Was Wrong: Congress Isn’t Cowardly; It’s Evil!”

The Russians Are(n’t) Coming!: Paul Reveres, the Washington Hawks Are Not

In America’s Emerald City these days, if there’s even a hint of a war-wind-down, imperial-deescalation, or military budget-cuts, Washington’s (non-dribbling) Wizards have a ready response: Russia! Indeed, these military’s magicians have a far-simpler and more effective playbook than the city’s aptly-named NBA franchise. Since President Donald Trump’s election year, basketball’s Wizards are a meager 148-162; … Continue reading “The Russians Are(n’t) Coming!: Paul Reveres, the Washington Hawks Are Not”

All Civilian Lives Are Equal, But Some Are More Equal Than Others

Planet Earth circa 2020: this is Orwell’s world; we’re just living in it. Who better to resurrect in this pandemic-protest moment than a leftist so lefty he ditched a life of relative English privilege to fight Franco’s fascists in the Spanish Civil War – only to turn communist dogma’s fiercest critic and earn the ire … Continue reading “All Civilian Lives Are Equal, But Some Are More Equal Than Others”

Modi’s ‘New’ India: Notch or Knot on China’s Belt (and Road Initiative)

File it in the rapidly-brimming "biggest-stories-of-2020-you-haven’t-heard-about" folder. Amidst the madness merger of pandemic and protests – both of which Trump’s minions have blamed on China – there’s been scant attention paid to a brewing conflict between two of the world’s nine nuclear-armed powers (accounting for some 430 warheads between them). One is a rather flighty … Continue reading “Modi’s ‘New’ India: Notch or Knot on China’s Belt (and Road Initiative)”

International Racketeering: ‘Godfather’ Donald’s Mafia War on the ICC

Free advice: one way for an administration to avoid the ire of an International Criminal Court (ICC) is not to act like a mafia crime family. Appearances and all. Only discretion has never been Donald Trump’s game. The kid from Queens – who built a casino empire in mobbed-up 1980s Atlantic City – thrives in … Continue reading “International Racketeering: ‘Godfather’ Donald’s Mafia War on the ICC”

Sovereignty Mockery: Drone Tyranny at Home and Abroad

Take it from a penitent practitioner of drone warfare: Americans do not want these devices hovering over their cities. Only it’s already a reality. Literally as I type, Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is flying a predator drone over Minneapolis, surveilling people protesting the police execution of George Floyd. Almost certainly, this particular prototype isn’t … Continue reading “Sovereignty Mockery: Drone Tyranny at Home and Abroad”

Serving the Bottomless Kool-Aid: ‘Blame Russia’ Rides Again!

When a nation touts its own exceptionalism, that’s called patriotism. Absolute Americanism so red-blooded that it’s become mandatory for all political aspirants (think Obama’s "belief” with "his every fiber") to prostrate themselves at exceptionalism’s altar. Funny, when an individual believes himself exceptional – that’s diagnosable. Sociopaths afflicted with messiah complexes proclaim their exceptionalism. No one … Continue reading “Serving the Bottomless Kool-Aid: ‘Blame Russia’ Rides Again!”

The ‘New’ American Mercenary: A Pocket History

Though the bizarre story has been subsumed by other events, last month’s aborted invasion of Venezuela should’ve hardly shocked anyone. The United States has long used mercenaries to do its bidding. They have provided Washington distance and deniability for unsavory operations. During the Cold War, the U.S. hoped this would limit domestic and international protest. … Continue reading “The ‘New’ American Mercenary: A Pocket History”

Nefarious Nostalgia: Trump’s West Point Address, by the Numbers

Donald J. Trump pretended to be presidential and the graduating cadets pretended to listen. Such are the life and times of a nation led by a reality television star who’s currently at war with his own military. Presidents regularly deliver West Point commencement addresses, or – on off year rotations to the Naval or Air … Continue reading “Nefarious Nostalgia: Trump’s West Point Address, by the Numbers”