Life & Island Times: Manchester

Editor’s Note: I am traveling and walked in from drinks last night just in time to see the cascade of horror from the UK. This is Marlow’s take on the latest savage act of wanton terror.

– Vic

We in quiet corners all over the world are suffering another war time loss of family and friends very dear to us. Long ago this war’s battlefields moved from foreign valleys and caves to our homeland. Our streets, transportation, athletic events and entertainment venues are where the enemy’s targeting efforts are focused.

Our hearts go out in sympathy to the families who are enduring these cruel losses of their young. There are many households that have been struck to the heart.

This most recent attack at a youth pop music concert revealed that this enemy is now targeting our children. And why? Surely you must have asked yourselves this question.

Why, in all conscience, should these be the ones to suffer?

Children, young people at the height of their promise. Why these? Are these our soldiers? Are these our fighters? Why should they be sacrificed? I shall tell you why.

Because this is not only a war of soldiers in uniform. It is a war of the people, of all the people, and it must be fought not only on the battlefields, but in the cities and in the villages, in the factories and on the farms, in the homes, and in the hearts of every man, woman, and child who love freedom.

As we have bury these newly dead, what will be our response to this escalating tyranny and terror that threatens to strike our children down? This is a people’s war. It is our war. We are the fighters. How shall we fight it?

Missing teenagers (from left) Olivia Campbell, Martyn Hett, Chloe Rutherford and Liam Curry

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Copyright © 2017 From My Isle Seat
www.vicsocotra.com

Arrias on Politics: McGuffey and the Federal Reserve

Editor’s Note: Arrias takes on the bureaucracy this morning.

– Vic

McGuffey and the Federal Reserve

Without looking it up: what are the differences between Alexander Hamilton’s and Thomas Jefferson’s perspective on the role of the federal government?

Pundits often question the efficacy of Pentagon strategies, whether it’s Vietnam, tanker escort operations in the Persian Gulf, containing the Soviet Union, liberating Kuwait or fighting Islamic terrorist. And as a participatory democracy they have every right to question the DOD.

In fact, such questioning is important, and editorial remarks have caused meaningful review of strategies. Sadly, there is much less of this kind of questioning taking place outside the national security arena.

I was involved in discussions this past week that suggested that such questioning is long overdue across government. Consider 3 topics (though there’s a long list of possible subjects): the War on Drugs, Education, and the Federal Reserve.

President Nixon declared the War on Drugs in June 1971, after concerns were voiced about the rise in drug use on college campuses, as well as concerns about the number of GIs returning from Vietnam with severe addictions.

A University of Michigan study showed that, among high school seniors, 31% had used illicit drugs in 1975, this peaked at 39% in 1979, dropped steadily to 15% in 1992, then climbed to 25% in 1996 and has remained at approximately 25% since.

Various drugs came into and out of fashion during the past 46 years; cocaine use, for example, peaked in the 80s, fell steadily through the 90s, leveled off in the last dozen years, and now may be on the verge of increasing again; recent reports note the rise in opioid usage across the US. Since 1999, according to the CDC, drug poisoning deaths from illegal drugs has climbed from 8,000 to 32,000 – 11,000 from new opiates.

The US is currently spending (per the Drug Policy Institute) $51 billion annually on this “war,” but we seem no closer to winning now then we did in 1975.

What about education? The Department of Education was founded in 1979 to improve student performance. And, in 1981, for the first time in 18 years, average SAT score didn’t decline. But, by 1992 the average SAT score was still 5% lower than in 1960, though it’s risen slightly since 1992.

An American Institute for Research study in 2005 showed that 20% of college graduates had “only basic quantitative literacy,” meaning they would be “unable to estimate that their car had enough gas to get to the next station.”

Yet, the US spends more on education than any other nation, and also spends more per capita than any other nation. Since 1980 the average cost of a US college tuition has risen 1120% (as of 2012), twice the increase in healthcare costs.

What about the Federal Reserve?

Following bank panics in the late 1890s and early 1900s, the Federal Reserve was created to provide stability in bank credit, the goal being that by so doing, there would be fewer panics and value of the dollar would stabilize.

Between the founding of the republic and 1834 (58 years) there were 11 recessions, lasting on average just over 2 years. From 1834 until 1913 (79 years – there was no national bank), there were some wide swings in credit, and there were 20 recessions, each lasting a bit under 2 years. Since 1913 (104 years) there have been 17 recessions (the two worst in the nation’s history) lasting on average a bit over a year.

However, the value of the dollar, which grew fairly steadily from 1776 until 1913 has been falling since, and has lost some 90% of its value in the last 100 years.

The point is this: the United States has spent a great deal of time and effort – and money – on these three endeavors: illicit drug usage, education, a stable economy. The general goals are sound: end illicit drug use, improve education, and stabilize the economy. There are similar grand goals for every federal department and agency. But, as with DOD strategies, each should be questioned as to their output. It’s a grand idea to improve education. But maybe the federal government is the wrong organization to tackle the problem. What we’ve been trying for the last 40 years isn’t working. Maybe it’s time we try some different strategies.

As for the question at the beginning of the article: it’s in essence the heart of the ongoing debate in American politics. And it was a question on the 6th grade “graduation test” from McGuffey’s Eclectic Reader from 1836.

Copyright 2017 Arrias
www.vicsocotra.com

Life & Island Times: Rock the Donny

Editor’s Note: Marlow, Sage of the low country, lets fly once more.

– Vic

Rock the Donny

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Voted for him when he ran
Supported him when he played with the fire
Russian thing knocked Donny outta the trees
Now he’s on his knees
He asking for cover “Please, hey”
Donny, Donny, Donny
Didn’t you know you were gonna get rocked, Donny

He foxed the foxes
He ratted the rat
He aped the apes
We all knew about that
There is one thing we’re now sure of
We can’t take any more
“Darlings, don’t you Donny the Donny, hey” he cries
Donny, Donny, Donny
Didn’t you know you were gonna get rocked, Donny, hey, hey
Rock the Donny, hey yeah

(Donny) Tweets keep us churning
(Donny) Something’s burning
(Donny) Don’t like it but we guess we’re learning

Rock, rock, rock
Watch the Donny get it, Donny
Rock, rock, rock
Watch the Donny get it, Donny

Staff tries to cover him when he sleeps
Cover him after he speaks
He throws his pearls before us swine
the Donny thinks we’re deaf, dumb and blind
Cover me, he screams, please, hey
Donny, Donny, Donny
Didn’t you know you were gonna get rocked, Donny, hey, hey
Rock the Donny, hey yeah

(Donny) Too much at stake
(Donny) Ground beneath us shakes
(Donny) And the news is breaking

Rock, rock, rock
Watch the Donny get it, Donny
Rock, rock, rock
Watch the Donny get it, Donny

Rock the Donny
Rock the Donny
Rock the Donny hey hey
Rock the Donny

Twitter the Donny back to life
Rock the Donny

Rock the Donny
Rock the Donny
Rock the Donny

Twitter’ll rock the Donny to life

Copyright © 2017 From My Isle Seat with deepest apologies to Peter Gabriel
www.vicsocotra.com

What On Earth

I stayed in last night. I have been feeling unsettled- some vague nausea that kept me away from happy hour like usual. I was watching TV up here, since the satellite connection down at the farm is on the fritz, and I was down a quart on whatever the latest scandal of the century. I was listening to the economist who worked for Ronald Reagan, Arthur Laffer, who invented the “Laffer Curve,” among other things.

He has been in the politico-economo business for more than a half century, so he understands politics. He seemed a bit bemused by the toxic emanations from the Swamp that is fiercely fighting being drained. I certainly understand it- I was part of the dark green water for most of my professional career. With that said, I agree with Dr. Laffer. I have never seen anything like this circus-horror show.

With that, we still have to pay attention. Otherwise the cascade of emotion is going to be totally wasted. I give you my weekly slide that attempts to quantify what is going on.

Of course, we are now in a strange place where the regular ballet of media and government has been disrupted. The scandals and alleged scandals are now so thick that the litigation surrounding them is liable to last beyond our lives. Slower to sort out, but happening in a sort of avalanche of real and false data that an ordinary citizen could spend all day worrying about it.

Or just shrug and hope that somehow a grown-up is going to show up and sort this all out- and send the bad children to their corners for a time-out. Figure those odds.

I dare you.

Vic

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Copyright 2017 Vic Socotra
www.vicsocotra.com

The Copper Fish on Monday

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(The bar in the back of the Copper Fish. We had the three stools to the right).

So,

Jake sent me a note on Sunday, asking if I was in Culpeper to have lunch yesterday with him and his lovely wife. I suggested the Copper Fish at noon on Monday, since the flagship restaurant on the block (“It’s About Thyme”) is closed Mondays. I arrived a little before they do, and rather than sit at one of the high-top dining tables, I strolled back to the bar after being greet by Chrystal, one of a half-dozen attractive and personable servers.

Being the bar was Kristen, mother of a student at James Mason University who will graduate this week, part of the rhythm of the end of Spring and the beginning of the summer. I got a glass of crisp Chardonnay to sip while I waited, and began to engage Kristen in a spirited dialogue about life, education and winding up in Culpeper. She had a raspy smoker’s voice and brassy, confident personality. We had a riot- much more animated than I normally am until happy hour.

Jake and his wife arrived within a few minutes and we decided to stay right at the bar and talked up a storm about the nature of retirement: “Monday. The new Saturday!’ I declared and decided to have another glass of wine and the lunch special- pizza cooked in the little pizzeria-deli that separates The Fish and Thyme- and through which the three family-owned restaurants share kitchen space. It is a pretty slick operation, and what started the renaissance of Davis Street in the historic core of town twenty years ago.

It is still going on as we transition from being a sleepy rural County to something that is beginning to look ominously like Loudoun. But when I parked the Panzer, always pleased that two-hour parking was free, even right downtown. I noticed that there was more and welcome change. The old Hazel River Inn had closed last year, and finally a replacement start-up had moved into the historic block that George Washington had surveyed, the Culpeper Minutemen might have met there during the Revolution and the basement of which was used as a prison for both Union and Confederate forces. The Grass Rootes is at 195 East Davis Street in the historic building. According to Kristen at the Copper Fish, the place offers a wide variety of food, but offers it with a certain southern flair and emphasis on Kansas City style slow-cooked barbecue.

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I am always pleased when new BBQ comes to town- and offers something more than the vinegary North Carolina version.

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(The Exchange Hotel and former hospital in Gordonsville).

They were headed down to Gordonsville, home of the Exchange Hotel museum, one of the Exhange, named for the old hotel and Civil War Hospitalthat looms above it. It is one of the better BBQ joints in the region, and is a proud if somewhat battered relic transportation hub back in the days when Rail was king.

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(The food is better at the BBQ version of The Exchange).

In fact, our Irish family worked on the Alexandria & Orange, the rails that led from the port at Old Town down to the junction to points west and east. Which is how the family wound up in Nashville, and all the crazy stuff that came from that. The war is always still with you in this part of the Old Dominion.

Anyway, we were fairly moderate in our approach to lunch, and eventually we bade farewell to our new pals. The Copper Fish is a great place for lunch, and a reason to be in Culpeper on a Monday, though I would not try to navigate back north without a nap back at the farm first. It was a perfect day for that, too, but I imagine it is time to drag my butt out to the car and head north to get back with the program and look interested.

Copyright 2017 Vic Socotra
www.vicsocotra.com

Life & Island Times: A Fantasia on the Trump White House

Editor’s Note: To some degree, we are all a little disoriented by the state of politics. This is Marlow’s take.

– Vic

A Fantasia on the Trump White House

Even if we live 200 years, we’re never gonna figure out what’s going on inside today’s White House. Its real nature. We might be able to comprehend the universe, but not the truth about 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Never.

The American people are sullen. They’ve been clobbered on all sides by the endless Global War on Terror, the Great Recession, Globalization and so on. They turned off, opiated up, social networked but nothing helped. Along came someone who articulated their rage for them. They wanted angry action. Now — not later. They didn’t want conventional but anti-establishment.

What they got on the surface was what they wanted but . . . DC deals in illusions. None of it is true. But we the people sit there day after day, night after night watching it all. We believe the illusions they spin there. We think that the nightly news portrays reality. But none of it is the truth. At its best it is circus, carnival, high wire acts, storytellers, sideshow freaks, and celebrities. They’re in the boredom-killing business.

After the past few weeks of beltway melodrama, I had a revelation. In several years this could take place.

– Marlow

PS I am not a cynic by nature.

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Green Room? Who knows? This was the scene in the Senate chamber during the impeachment trial of President Bill
Clinton in 1999, Chief Justice William Rehnquist presiding. 45’s hero, Andrew Jackson, was also impeached but not convicted (courtesy Wikipedia).

The heavy pancake makeup faced, mussed, champagne colored, mop topped, glory-seeking serial Twitterer. already impeached, looked about to be convicted according to the polls. He considered the coming verdict “a mega news-event” that would be his greatest accomplishment and believed that his legend would grow, not just live on.

Earlier that day he had tweeted, “Some of my fans may have wanted me impeached but only my enemies want me convicted . . . . This may be my final curtain call — the most theatrical and consequential moment of my life.”

He then delivered an astonishing, live, pre-verdict monologue as if it were some Hollywood award “acceptance speech” via a Snapchat story video during the verdict’s final vote tabulation, calling the Senate chamber his green room in another tweet. In an unknowingly prescient speech on the uniquely American cult of media celebrity:

“I’d like to thank all the wonderful people that made this great moment in my life come true. My daughter, who was wrongly convicted and jailed in order to further my career. My wife and ex-wives who should be here with me today. All my fans who died so gallantly when ObamaCare collapsed. And especially all those wonderful people who were kind enough to follow me in the newspapers, the internet and watch me on the television news shows. Without all of you, I, er we, could never have gotten this far.

“Have I learned anything about life? Yes, several things. The body, not the mind, has all the fun; but, it’s where all the germs are; so carry and use Purell. Don’t be bitter, get even. Do not spend time with bores like insurance and used car salesmen.

“Some of you might be thinking, ‘Selfish to the end, aren’t you? Thinking only of yourself with nary a thought for the country . . . ‘ Well, I’ve always had a weakness for our now once again great country. We are no longer alone and helpless. Heaven help anyone, should they attack our fully walled country.

“I’m not asking my supporters to forgive me. I’ll never understand or forgive myself, since there’s nothing to forgive. Just remember that we’re all alike — unselfish, driven yet shrewd and able to look folks and things in the eye and call them by their right names.

“Even if I had done something, what am I doing apologizing to my enemies? Why have I been hounded to always apologize to those little bastards? For three long years, my staff has been apologizing to them (he makes air quotes with his hands), without there ever being any reason. I never did anything wrong – why can’t we quit apologizing? They’re the ones who oughta be sorry.

“It is you, my fellow countrymen and women, that I burn for and it is you that I was impeached and may be convicted for! Please remember, I love all of you fuckers!

As the last few key Senators announced their votes, “Well, that’s about it for me, folks; but, it’s not goodbye.”

As his eyes scanned slowly side to side, he softly said, “I can’t let it go. I can’t. There must be some way to get this all back. I’ll go crazy if I don’t. I’ll come up with something by tomorrow. It’s all that matters . . . (voice rises, eyes directly fixing on the camera) Trump Tower! Home. I’ll go home, and I’ll think of some way to get it all back! After all, tomorrow is another day and news cycle!”

Copyright © 2017 From My Isle Seat
www.vicsocotra.com

Life & Island Times: Intel. Dumpster Fire

Editor’s Note: Marlow calls them the way he sees them this morning. I confess, I have never seen anything like this in my life.

-Vic
Intel. Dumpster Fire

Author note: I wrote this early this past week, while our imperial city started spinning out of control. It was so disorienting that I searched the past for some context. What I discovered were portents.

——

Three months ago to this very day, we were twittering about the new President’s relationships with the nation’s Intelligence Community. All of the following occurred during a single 24 hour period:

President Trump was complaining about its leaks and unmasking. Deservedly so.

A Wall Street Journal story trumpeted that the Intelligence Community wasn’t sharing the good stuff with the new guy. This was really bad, if true. Sort of a return to the old days where the White House was kept in the dark on many sources, methods and detailed reporting.

A counter punch article in response was based on the Director of National Intelligence statement saying the WSJ story wasn’t so.

During an impromptu press conference, the President referred to a Russian intelligence collection ship operating off the east coast:

“The greatest thing I could do is shoot that ship”

Trump claimed that the American people would think it was “so great” if he ordered an attack on the Russian spy ship reportedly loitering off the coast of Connecticut but that he wouldn’t because he wanted to try to preserve U.S.-Russian relations.

February 16 2017 seems oh so long ago. Today the earth is standing still.

America once had the world’s preeminent intelligence organization. We now have in its place a train wreck bordering on constitutional crisis. We now seem to have a beltway full of leakers both authorized and unauthorized, elected and unelected, career and appointed, all doing what they conceive is their duty or at least their agenda. It sure looks and smells like a stinky dumpster fire.

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North Korea missile tests, mom of all bombs, laptop bombs,
Streaming murders, Facebook Live, Trump vs. the FBI
Leaking lips sink ships, get more stock . . . large blue chips,
Travel ban, germ-a-phobe, good God, there’s another probe
Repeal, replace, discount trips to outer space
Wanna Cry, Ransomware thieves can’t spend bitcoin currency
Onion rings, endless Game of Thrones inside the West Wing,
Clinton whining, finger pointing, Billy Joel song bastardized!
Codeward leaking, Israelis queasy, internet hoaxes drive policy

We didn’t start this dumpster fire
Should have seen it coming when Trump started tweeting
We didn’t start this dumpster fire
No one can believe it, we’re doomed to repeat it

Wikileaks, Comey this, Comey that, lock ’em up, ratta tat tat
Russian probe, Supreme Court justice, grinding ISIS, still no market crisis
They go low, we go high, Is America is “great again?”
Mike Flynn, mortal sin,
Zika virus, Al Qaeda ‘s back, Russian hacks
Stock market rise, 400 ppm, France got a new PM
Hashtag obsessed, news cycles and our minds compressed

We didn’t start this dumpster fire
Should have seen it coming when Trump started tweeting
We didn’t start this dumpster fire
No one can believe it, we’re doomed to repeat it

Drain the swamp, build a wall, Brangelina’s tragic fall,
Immigrants matter, ACA fail, nothing happens, country’s in the pail
Trump didn’t win the Nobel Prize, supporters wonder why
Trigger warnings, free speech is dead, Trump’s scary big head
Epic superbowl, no more birth control

We didn’t start this dumpster fire
Should have seen it coming when Trump started tweeting
We didn’t start this dumpster fire
No one can believe it, we’re doomed to repeat it

Taping system, memos for the record
Look at the mess they’re both in
Where the hell is old Mike Flynn
Crumbling credibility, kiss tax cuts goodbye

We didn’t start this dumpster fire
Should have seen it coming when Trump started tweeting
We didn’t start this dumpster fire
No one can believe it, we’re doomed to repeat it

We didn’t start this dumpster fire
It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start this dumpster fire
No, we didn’t light it
But we tried to fight it

What else do I have to say?
Summer’s here so I’m out the door
I can’t take it anymore!

We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
But when we are gone
It will still burn on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on, and on
We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
No, we didn’t light it
But we tried to fight it
We didn’t start the fire
It was always burning
Since the world’s been turning
We didn’t start the fire
No, we didn’t light it
But we tried to fight it
We didn’t start the fire

Copyright © 2017 From My Isle Seat/Billy Joel
www.vicsocotra.com

Arrias on Politics: Gas Attacks and Cyber Hacking

Ypres, April 22nd 1915: the Germans launch a gas attack on the Western Front. Germany had twice attempted to use gas (October 1914 and January 1915), but both efforts failed to produce the desired results. At Ypres results were consistent with German hopes; along the 4-mile front where chlorine gas was used effects were so severe the Germans were shocked and failed to fully exploit the results.

After Ypres both sides used gas, and equipped their troops (eventually) with gas masks; all-told some 30,000 thousand died, and perhaps 500,000 were exposed. But gas didn’t turn the tide.
Screen Shot 2017-05-14 at 2.52.14 PM.png
During WW II all belligerents had gas stockpiles, but troops also had protective gear. The nature of combat – fast tactical operations covering large areas of terrain – also militated against gas and there was little use (Italy in Ethiopia, Japan in China). The Nazis gassed millions in the death camps, an evil beyond imagination, the one horrific exception.

Since then, except in three cases (Yemen – 1960s, Iran – Iraq War (1980-88), Syria’s civil war), gas hasn’t been used; for most of the world the threat of gas attacks has faded away.

Why?

The Geneva treaty of 1925 outlawing its use didn’t eliminate gas warfare; Italy and Japan both used gas in combat in the 1930s, as did others later (noted above). What changed was the two-fold realization that: 1) using gas against a well-prepared adversary would be of little overall tactical benefit, and 2) using gas would receive universal opprobrium. Even as Germany collapsed in 1945, they wouldn’t risk using chemical weapons against Allied troops.

They understood, intellectually and viscerally, that using chemical weapons would mean the nation, and the generals and politicians who ordered its use, would be held collectively and individually responsible. Use in combat had effectively ended; deterrence had worked. When deterrence failed, it was because the governments involved thought the world community would ignore them, or that they could hide their own involvement.

What has this to do with Cyber Warfare?

Actually, everything.

The recent large-scale malware attack affected people and organizations in at least 99 countries, with scary consequences; in England, for example, hospitals suspended admissions and in some cases delayed operations.

Interestingly we’ve had recent pronouncements from members of the national security community, to include leadership of the Intelligence Community, calling for cyber deterrence.

But that waters-down the concept of deterrence. Deterrence is NOT about proportional and “like” response; effective deterrence is a product of disproportional response. Deterrence works in a fairly simple way: “If you do ‘X’ to me, I’ll do X, Y and Z and maybe A, B and C to you.” You must demonstrate the capability and the will to do far more to the other guy than he can possibly do to you. He controls only the initial action, he does NOT control the nature or scope of the response. You must ensure he understands that your response will far exceed any benefit he might ever hope to receive.

In cyber that means that, whether a dozen Leninist radicals or a nation-state, if someone conducts a cyber attack against the US, the US will respond with:

1) A larger and more aggressive cyber attack, and

2) Something else: freezing their bank accounts, seizing all foreign holdings, perhaps 12 Tomahawk cruise missiles into their headquarters, perhaps some SEALs visiting them in the night; perhaps all four.

What can we learn from Ypres?

1) We need an international agreement that says simply cyber attacks will not be tolerated; the potential disruption from cyber is so severe that any group or nation that engages in such attacks, except under a declaration of war and inside the parameters of the accepted laws of war, is the enemy of all.

2) We need a stated policy: the US will retaliate against any cyber attack – swiftly and massively, far beyond the scale of the attack.

3) We need to make the investments to protect our key infrastructure from attack, just as nations equipped their armies with defenses against gas.

4) We need to make the investment in intelligence to provide rapid and reliable identification of the source of any cyber attack.

The various malware and cyber attacks we experienced in the recent past are the tip of the iceberg of what’s possible. We can protect the nation. But we need to stop studying the problem – as we have for the last 10 years – and act, and act now.

Copyright 2017 Arrias
www.vicsocotra.com

Life & Island Times: The Good Life at “One Flew South”

Editor’s Note: Marlow is a real person. Don’t forget! But man, I love Key West!

– Vic

Author’s Note: After five brief but fun-filled days seeing old friends who still reside on our former island stomping grounds, we returned back to Savannah on Wednesday. This short piece describes an oasis we found that offered a respite from the perils of our modern American odyssey.

– Marlow

The Good Life at “One Flew South”

Screen Shot 2017-05-12 at 10.50.25 AM

Alanta, surrounded by travelers
we found a corner table alone
and ordered old fashions and sushi
others sat down,
and talked while looking at newspapers and streaming video boards across the way,
about the latest horrors in the Capitol City
they went on and on
with what-ifs and indignation
look, my man, said they to the waiter,
we don’t want anything to drink, we don’t drink,
but we could sure use
coffee, and haven’t we seen you someplace before?
give us another round I whispered to the
waiter. We drink, and we’ve never seen you
before.
the waiter came back with their coffee
and our drinks, and we sat there eating fabulous sushi
while the others sat there
twirling their spoons in their cups,
clink clink clink
and we told the waiter, this is great sushi
and ordered the bourbon pound cake dessert
it was superb, but the next one is going to be
better, and we lifted our old drink glasses and drained them,
and then drank some from our fresh glasses,
while clink clink clink
went the news feeds and the spoons against the cups
and one of the TV talkers coughed
everybody on the TV screen was not happy.
but we were

Copyright © 2017 From My Isle Seat

Life & Island Times: Gong Show

Editor’s Note: This just in. Marlow lives in the city I used yesterday as the poster child for the charm of Washington as we leave it behind to live on New York Time. Oh, important correction to yesterday’s screed.: Bill Clinton was the last President to fire a Director of the FBI. President Clinton fired FBI Director William S. Sessions in July of 1993, ending a six-month drama during which the former federal judge refused repeated requests from administration officials to resign. Dick Nixon’s offense was to fire the Special Prosecutor, Archibald Cox, in 1973. Sorry- fake news is everywhere.

– Vic.

Gong Show

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Americans don’t know what political cataclysm is – –
someone getting fired can set them to shrieking
like monkeys —
someone clearing out his desk after a private jet trip back home
a cushy pension, board memberships, a book contract,
and cable talking head contract awaiting . . .
6 AM
we sit in our cars
we’re all driving around – –
where are we going?
a little excitement has broken into our
artificially flavored lives as the radio drones on about the horror
we stand next to strangers
chattering nonsense about
our faux fears
righteous graveyard humor snickers . . .
our country . . . it, the constitution . . . oh my, the tax cut . . . maybe,
our stock and bank accounts
this is just another tickler
a baby bird tuft of a feather
and the newsies can’t bear it . . .
suppose a real enemy invaded or bombed the Imperial City
as it and NY were bombed?
not with nukes or missiles
but with ordinary gravity bombs
day after day,
every day
as happened in London
and other cities of the world?
if the rest of the world could truly see Americans today
as we clench our panties into smaller and tighter wads,
their laughter would bring them to their knees
and even the ground beneath us would tremble from their guffaws
and chase our minds away to where we do belong
wherever that is,
and who cares where it is
as long as it’s somewhere far away from
this Gong Show

Copyright © 2017 From My Isle Seat
www.vicsocotra.com