Saturday, August 15, 2015

Times Square

Not far from
the Port Au-
thority then.


                     .. I worried that a great
       love might make everything else an exile.
       It turned out that being together
       at twilight in the olive groves of Umbria
       did, indeed, measure everything after that.



Jack Gilbert
The Dance Most of All
  Living Hungry After
Alfred A. Knopf, 2010©
op. cit.

Louis Stettner
Times Square

Friday, August 14, 2015

Exodus from Chinatown?

A Friday morning think-about,
to clear the air for the week-
end. We've seen enough now to
go through the checklist of a
unified opposition to the arms
control accord with Iran, why
opposition is focused on the
United States, and why opposi-
tion will fail in the United
States. This is a sorry tale 
of transparent cynicism, man-
ipulating unreasonable fear
for power grabs, willing to
ignore the national interest
in rational conduct. Once out
of the Cold War, we remember
how frantic the Right was to
transfer its reliance on pan-
ic to a new hitching post. It
is, after all, how it feeds.

In recent days a crescendo of
co-ordinated invective has fo-
cused upon the President's
speech at American University,
exposing these underpinnings.
Our most warlike newspaper,
The Washington Post, while al-
ready grudgingly approving 
the pact, has lent the loud-
est chorus of columnist par-
tisans to these consolation
prices of the Right Wing. No
curious person has bothered
to examine the conduct of
Fox News in the matter. It
takes a respectable paper
to sustain a sordid system.

All of this invective is
focused on obtaining a high
domestic political price, for
a settled certainty that this
accord will be implemented. 
The participation of the gov-
ernment of Israel in the ca-
bal has been disturbing, but
widely advertised and there-
fore discounted, as our own
social climbing money bund-
lers, burgling our politics. 

The realities have sunk in:

1. The sanctions régime has
succeeded in producing an
accord of unprecedented 
stringency and triphammer
"snap-back," and it natur-
ally expires, as gainful
yeasts of fermentation.
Humpty-Dumpty has rightly
come to a good but certain
end. The Right, of all in-
terests, knows this better
than anyone. Business with
Iran will resume, with or
without the United States,
but at devastating cost to
world stability without the
United States. Every econ-
omy on earth has positioned
itself accordingly.

2. There will not, we know,
be any resumption of negotia-
tion with Iran. There would
only be an accord America ab-
rogated, to the peril of the
rest of the world, including
its nearest and dearest ally
in the region. What angers
Likud is not this pact, it's
that its resistance to inter-
national demands for coming
to terms with Palestine has
isolated its voice. Is this
why Thomas Friedman at The
Times was seen to be trial-
ing a balloon of military 
trinkets and renewed blood 
oaths to palliate the beast?
That can only fail, where a
a right wing's molecular ne-
cessity (gaudily touted as
Existential) is hypertension.
The beast cannot abide the
very guarantees it demands, 
because it can never declare
what it needs.

3. No wonder, then, Democrats
who must prosper by opposing
the pact come forth dripping
in profiles of piety and pro-
jections of treachery. The
chance that any of them will
permit the over-ride of the
President's veto of a resolu-
tion of disapproval is nil.
They just want a good price,
and the more powerful among
them snatch it for themselves.
Odd tributes, when you think
about it, to a lame duck.

The President's Party ought
to begin to figure out how
to live with triumph. Cuba
should have helped, climate
regulation further showed
the way. This is larger than 
leaving Mobile, and its Mem- 
phis blues behind. If not an
exodus from Chinatown, it's
a damn fine rinsing of our

Roman Polanski

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Dust on the myth

A number of commentators -
even apart from Stephen
Colbert - have figured out
that the season's enchant-
ment with Donald Trump is
something of a mirror to a
political culture which is
comically debauched. Only
a few have observed - Paul
Krugman, pre-eminently -
how well he exposes what
Mr Murdoch's news hounds
portrayed, when given the
chance to moderate a polit-
ical debate, that a whole
Party and its machine do
not want to concede, they
haven't a sense of such a
thing as the public inter-
est. It looks like Twain,
Flannery O'Connor, and
Hunter Thompson, yet it's
Summer Liebling, isn't it.

We recognize the Summer of
2015 as the Phony War, re-
visited, with all the con-
testants looking ridiculous
for not engaging each other.
Uniforms are being adorned,
still, tactics being mapped;
and appetites gaining reso-
lution to complain of peace.
No wonder, they just aren't
ready for it.

Monday, August 10, 2015


The out-of-context excerpt is al-
ways properly suspect; but we ab-
sorb almost everything we trust
in pieces, and we are continuous-
ly approached by pieces. 

I was revisiting Seamus Heaney's
Station Island and found again,
pieces, which defy a last look.
How they turn.

    'I at least was young and unaware

    that what I thought was chosen was convention.
    But all this you were clear of you walked into
    over again. And the god has, as they say, withdrawn.

    What are you doing, going through these motions?

    Unless you are here taking the last look.'
    Suddenly where he stood was bare as the roads
    We both grew up beside, where a sick man

    had taken his last look one drizzly evening
    when steam rose like the first breath of spring,
    a knee-deep mist I waded silently

    behind him, on his circuits, visiting.


    As if the prisms of the kaleidoscope
    I plunged once in a butt of muddied water
    surfaced like a marvelous lightship

    and out of its silted crystals a monk's face
    that had spoken years ago from behind a grille
    spoke again about the need and chance

    to salvage everything, to re-envisage
    the zenith and glimpsed jewels of any gift
    mistakenly abased ...

Seamus Heaney
  Station Island 
  final fragment
  first fragment