“You canines sure are a mixed bag,” I told my dog. “Here it is in the news today: Ten month old baby killed by the family dogs. That was in North Carolina. Their Rottweilers mauled the poor kid to death! Some of you canines are grossly savage, bro. Domesticated dogs too. What the hell, man. And don’t tell me the people should have been watching over the baby closer, of course they should, but the family dogs, a couple of Rottweilers, shouldn’t be savaging any babies anytime, dammit.”

“First of all,” my dog said, rolling his big brown eyes, “those of us who are more peaceful breeds, or in my case mixed breed, cannot be responsible for what some asshole Rottweilers do. They’re Rottweilers. I wouldn’t trust them near my dinner or my puppies or human slaves.”

“Wait–‘human slaves’?”

“Er, I misspoke. I meant my human owners. That’s the ticket. That’s what I meant. Anyway, some Rottweilers are lunatics, unstable, because originally they were bred for violence. They’re attack dogs. Now who bred them that way? Let’s see. Do we know? Oh that’s right, humans did! Also they were evidently not well trained enough. Who failed to train them right? Oh that’s right–their humans!”

“Okay, fine, so you’ve got a point. But–“

“And by the way, which species is the most violent, human or canine? Who carries out world wars? The most we do is fight over territory now and then with our teeth. Closest we have to wars. Do we make nuclear bombs, man? Machine guns and nerve gas and shit? Hell no. Also do we keep human beings in cages in China and then kill you in horrible ways and eat you? Nooooo–that’s human beings in China who do that to dogs! Now let’s talk abour your cage fighting and your child murderers and your child rapists and–“

“Okay okay! You win, you made your point! We suck!”

“And don’t forget it. Now–you going to get my dinner, or what?”


The Department of Meme Toxicology has issued a new report warning of AYN RAND POISONING. Causes of Ayn Rand poisoning include reading Ayn Rand’s novels & the rants of Austrian School of economics fanatics, & the rhetorical drippings of Ron Paul. Indications: hypertrophic selfishness, radical lack of empathy, indifference to poverty and human suffering, a willingness to elevate the law of Survival of the Fittest over all humanitarian concerns, an inability to perceive the consequences of environmental pollution, an extreme reaction to the presence of unions, blindness to social benefits of taxation, eg their own use of tax-supported programs. Prognosis, the death of civilization.


I got this poem through the Poetry Foundation email list; a list which I recommend. As the poem was powerfully written and moving and trenchant, here it is. It’s by Blas Manuel De Luna.
Bent to the Earth By Blas Manuel De Luna
They had hit Ruben
with the high beams, had blinded
him so that the van
he was driving, full of Mexicans
going to pick tomatoes,
would have to stop. Ruben spun

the van into an irrigation ditch,
spun the five-year-old me awake
to immigration officers,
their batons already out,
already looking for the soft spots on the body,
to my mother being handcuffed
and dragged to a van, to my father
trying to show them our green cards.

They let us go. But Alvaro
was going back.
So was his brother Fernando.
So was their sister Sonia. Their mother
did not escape,
and so was going back. Their father
was somewhere in the field,
and was free. There were no great truths

revealed to me then. No wisdom
given to me by anyone. I was a child
who had seen what a piece of polished wood
could do to a face, who had seen his father
about to lose the one he loved, who had lost
some friends who would never return,
who, later that morning, bent
to the earth and went to work.


Someone somewhere must have pointed this out, but I haven’t seen it. Let me start out by just saying it, straight out. Benjamin Netanyahu, Prime Minister of Israel, is escalating the fight with Hamas–may have even provoked it–so that he can stay in office. He is perfectly willing to see a great many people killed– Palestinians, Gaza residents, women and children, journalists, and Israelis killed in retaliation to the escalation–simply because he was in great danger of losing his job. A new government was about to be formed, as in the Israeli system, and it was likely he would not be able to keep the job of Prime Minister. Here’s a quote from CNN dated eleven days ago: “Benjamin Netanyahu’s hold on the Premiership of Israel looks a little less secure after a deadline to build a new government passed at midnight”. He didn’t want to build a new government. It’s quite possible that with one of the best intelligence services on Earth, the Mossad, Netanyahu knew that an attack was expected. So why not wait for it, and escalate the ensuing conflict? Will Israel remove him from power in the midst of a war? Probably not. Unwise to change horses in mid-crisis. And if he shows his strength and demonstrates he will do anything to protect Israel, he’s likely to keep power even after it’s over.

This escalation is opportunism. Netanyahu was busted for corruption. He was losing control of government. He does not want to give up power, and have to crawl away in ignominy. Perhaps face jail for his corruption. As long as he’s Prime Minister, after all, he probably won’t be seriously pursued by prosecutors. He won’t be cuffed and hauled off to jail. His salivation for power will continue to be followed, every day, by feasting on power.

So he’ll do anything he can to stay in power, whatever the cost, whoever it hurts. Escalate, escalate. Refuse a cease fire. Let the blood run in the streets–just so long as Benjamin Netanyahu can stay in power.


“It’s just so amazing, so…well, miraculous, really!” the Republican politician said, in the locked congressional caucus room. He glanced at the door to make sure it was closed. The ten other congresspersons in the room looked too, as he went on, “It’s so miraculous I think that God must have ordained it! We have learned…” He gasped, the others tittered, and nodded encouragingly. “…that you can lie, and lie big, and you can stay with the lie, and you can ignore whatever people say about the lie, and…it still…works!”

“YES!” the others said, high-fiving.

“It’s obvious to me that God wants us to lie! I mean, when Trump started in on that stuff I thought, well, that’s the end of him. But then the internet, uh, support came. From…you know. And Fox fell in line, and Carlson and Hannity and…thousands of websites! And the Oath Keepers came along and…they all said, ‘YES!’ …And people just opened their mouths and they took it in and they swallowed it! It’s so…incredibly…astounding! We can now say ANYTHING we want! And if we repeat it enough…it’s real! We can say the election was fake!” He glanced at the door once more to make sure it was, yes, still closed. “And we can know it wasn’t — and it does…not…matter! If enough people just accept and repeat it, it’s like…like it becomes real! We can make the lie alter its very substance and…it becomes the truth! It’s no longer a lie! I mean — in people’s minds! If people believe it’s true — then isn’t that a reality?”

“Didn’t George W. Bush float something like that?” said another Republican, scratching his head.

“Oh sure, but…he didn’t persevere! And he didn’t have Trump to make thousands of people chant the lie in a rally!”

“And Qanon! That too — it’s just so amazing!” said the other Republican. “They’re on our side and they have the power to make people believe anything, the most incredible…” He glanced at the door, lowering his voice. “…bullshit!”

Everyone laughed and high-fived again .

“…and millions of people still believe them! Even crazy numbers of Japanese people!”

“True! If it’s said in enough websites that spread ‘alternate news’ — then people believe it! ‘The vaccine is a mind control conspiracy!’”

Everyone roared in laughter at that. They’d all made sure to quietly get a Covid vaccine.

“I’m just saying,” the politician went on. “It’s a miracle! God has given us the gift of changing reality! If we lie over and over again and kinda keep changing up the excuses we can take over the country, and run it the way we want, and no one will care!”

“We’ve got to get rid of Liz Cheney,” someone put in grumblingly. “She’ll spoil everything.”

“Oh, we’re on that. But just think — all this time we thought that obvious lies were toxic. That we couldn’t get away with them. But it’s just about…doing it together! It’s a chorus of lies! That changes everything! If only we’d known!”

“Oh but the internet, and the collaborative news media, and the Russians — we didn’t have all that till now,” said the Republican politician.

“Now — we are empowered! God has given us the power to make any lie we repeat enough…true! And…it’s all…” He licked his lips and looked around at them, his eyes widening. “…going to make us…” They hung on his every word. “…RICHER THAN WE EVER THOUGHT POSSIBLE!”

A tired janitor, pushing a vacuum cleaner down the hall outside the door, heard the entire caucus squealing in unison with giddy insane jollity, and muttered, “Those people are crazy. Someone should lock ’em all up before they hurt someone…”


It’s been clear to me for years that conspiracy theories are addictive. I don’t mean this figuratively. In the case of conspiracy theories it has to do, I think, with hormones released in the brain, under the influence of powerful fantasies about the real world–probably similar to what was felt by followers of Hitler. Thrilling, stimulating hormones arising entering stimulating psychological frameworks: frameworks of titillating falsehoods. To me, Qanon is to the usual addiction to conspiracies as crack is to cocaine. It’s a more powerful blast, a more efficient delivery system than standard cocaine use. It’s even more addictive.

A very famous chess player was a believer in anti-Semitic conspiracies. How could this happen to so intelligent a man? I’ve noticed that people prone to bigotry and conspiracy theories, regardless of their IQ, will eagerly set their reasoning faculties aside, as well as a common sense grasp of what is wildly improbable, in order to get their “hit”, their reward for believing. And they get another hit for defending their belief no matter what evidence you offer to the contrary. A corollary is found in heroin addicts; they are surrounded by evidence that the drug is destroying their lives. They are able to fence it off, to fend it off, to argue that they have it all under control–and yet they’re often quite innately intelligent people. People will cherry-pick facts, they will ignore the evidence, to justify their pleasures. And make no mistake, the illusion of being the keeper of secrets, the excoriation of some scapegoat–Big Government, “Antifa”, liberals–is deeply satisfying. It doesn’t matter who their scapegoat is. All that matters is how their ritualistic verbal sacrifice of it makes them feel. Like powerful little gods.