Trumpian xenophobia expands to include smart, well-funded foreigners:

Trump Antipathy Towards Foreign College Students Digs US Economic Hole Even Deeper

By Allen Baker President Donald Trump’s belligerence toward China and his administration’s heartless and ill-thought-out Executive order to throw out foreign college students whose colleges, for health reasons, opt for another semester of on-line classes, could cast another wrench into the already clanking engine of the US economy. US colleges enroll around 1.1 million foreign …

Chief Executioner Trump:

‘Let the Fish Fry Proceed!’

By Rip Rense             Let’s see, let’s see. . . A million point two total infections in Uncle Sam Land. Seventy-five thousand-plus brand spankin’ new corpses. With those cute rigor mortis grins and blind dry eyeballs. Hospitals little more than clearing houses for the Great Beyond. Or probably not so great. Refrigerator truck doors bursting open …

Notes on viral separation

Gimme Shelter

  Contributed to ThisCantBeHappening! by Rip Rense It’s lurking. It’s salivating. It’s breathless, waiting in the pandemic quiet. And at first opportunity, it will step out, roaring, spitting fire, devouring free will yet again as it commands you, you, you, and you to consume, consume, consume. All in the name of “returning to normal.” Well, I …

It’s coming so stay calm but get ready!:

COVID 19 Could Kill at the Same Rate as the 1918 Flu, But There Are Ways to Protect Yourself and Others

By Kris Neuhaus, MD, MPH If you’re like me, you probably take advice from experts with the proverbial “grain of salt”. That is just part of our midwestern heritage. As often as not, the warnings turn out to be over-blown, or at least seem to be when viewed from the rear window. Think Y2K bug, …

What happens when people no longer want our money?

Papering the World with Benjamins

  By Allen Baker Benjamin Franklin was a prolific inventor and a brilliant thinker. But even he would be amazed at the vast profits that arise simply from printing his portrait on the U.S. hundred-dollar bill. Here’s how it works: Each year, the U.S. Bureau of Engraving and Printing rolls out roughly a billion crisp …

A poem for Independence Day:

Boom!

July the Fourth
Sallies forth
And people blow up gunpowder devices
Indulge all cheapshit vices
Gobble down cows and pigs
Smoke clouds of pot and cigs
Fornicate and regurgitate
Bloviate and crepitate
Making America great again
Increasing sewage rate again
Trash landfill refill
Plastic bottle overkill
Rivers of wrappers and
overflowed crappers
Run to the ocean
Crippling wave motion
Paralyzing currents
Making you wish that you weren’t
Living among buffoons
Sending earth to doom
So lift a can of American beer
To still being here
In the land of the me
and the home of depraved
Where all is instant gratify
‘Cause pretty soon, in the bye-and-bye
Jesus gonna fly you home
Where nobody got to moan
About houses you can’t afford
and being fired and being bored
And kids and teachers blown apart
By some alt-think punk upstart
With a forty-seven AK

Book review:

A Review of Gary Lindorff’s ‘Children to the Mountain’

Children to the Mountain by Gary Lindorff (Hiraeth Press, 2018)
 

Most so-called poetry today is the detritus of narcissism, and banal, vulgar narcissism, at that. Every other tattooed poseur of no particular ability, skill, insight merely declaims primitively, idiosyncratically about his/her suffering, perceived injustices, hatred, betrayals, (usually pornographic) affairs, with requisite denunciations of politically correct targets, and then lays claim to “poet.” It’s wretched, it’s pathetic, it’s embarrassing, and it’s epidemic.

It is also, of course, stoked by the Machiavellian corporate machinations of the so-called popular culture, which found an industry in creating and exploiting self-interest, self-adoration, self-glorification. Me sells. Coupled with avaricious dumbing down of culture, using the fake pretext of populism to mask profit motive, this has given way to outright sneering at actual intellect, study, reflection, hard-won accomplishment. Trump and the “alt-right,” of course, are the sneerleaders.

The idea of working at poetry, at investing thought of weight and consideration, of attempting to express an idea artfully, heartfully, in order to move, elevate, inspire, is uncommon to the point of freakish; almost to being dismissed as the arcane pursuit of stuffy old intellectuals. It’s so 20th century!

Which is why I find it ironic, and a bittersweet privilege, to tout a just published collection of poetry by Gary Lindorff, (poet in residence at ThisCantBeHappening.net).
 

    We are
    breaking the little bones of earth
    (bones of coral, bones of red wolf,
    bones of bat and bee,

    bonobos, their little fingers) . . .
    Now that all the bigger bones have been broken
    to extract the marrow,
    we are breaking all the little bones . . .

    to make ourselves powerful
    to defeat our enemies in battle. . .

      — from “Sucking the bones of the bee.”
 

To read the poetry of Lindorff in his new collection, Children to the Mountain (Hiraeth Press), is to understand that the pastoral poet is not dead. Lindorff is, in part, the 21st century spiritual descendant of Spenser, Shelley, Milton, Andrew Marvel. Like them, he “retreats from the trappings of modernity,” as the cheat-sheet definition goes, but unlike them, he does not merely rhapsodize over nature. He celebrates it, loves it, but chiefly mourns its degradation, while ruminating with the distillation and almost scientific eye of, say, Annie Dillard, or encoding in haiku-like condensation, or expositing in prose-poem. It’s a major theme in his work, along with temporality: the destruction of ecosystem by humans. As he says: “Living close to the forest means everything to me.”