If Rudy* is a “hand grenade”*
Why did Bolton* send his aide
To disarm the whole charade
While Bolton lounges in the shade?

Well, that is how his wars are made:
From the safety of Bolton’s brain.


Note: *Rudy Giuliani, former mayor of NYC serving as President Trump’s personal attorney and covert diplomat in Ukraine. *John Bolton was the former National Security Advisor who referred to Giuliani as a *”hand grenade” regarding efforts to force the Ukrainian government to investigate Joe Biden and his son. 

By Rumple Oxbridge, liberal lyricist


Trump has a plan to fix Afghanistan:
more war will do what war has not before.
It is a plan not hard to understand
his “war cabinet” advises–War fails? Try more.
Eventually this war will have to end
but stopping war before we win is like
un-masculine and feminist. Pretend
(riding on a wheel-less warrior-bike)
we’re getting to the peace we want to know.
For one day even though we haven’t got there
(and we’ve been pedaling violently, you know)
we claim that where we are is just like there!
“In the end, we will win,” Donald said.
There’s death in war but war is never dead.

Drawing of the Major General from the programme of the D’Oyly Carte Opera Company’s children’s production of The Pirates of Penzance, 1884. Public Domain in the United States. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File%3AMajGeneraldrawing.jpg

By Rumple Oxbridge, radical rhymer


The president says diplomacy

is “very difficult” so we

may have a “major, major conflict” [war]

(lots of majors, lots of gore)

with Koreans of the North.


As for Koreans of the South,

Trump says they owe us for the clout

of the new missile system “THAAD.”

Besides, our trade agreement’s bad

and we’re tired of being had


announced the president yesterday.

(THAAD costs one billion, by the way.)

And so the South is doubly screwed–

if it’s war, it’s theirs to lose.

And if it’s peace, the bill is due.


(If I were South Korea I’d

return the missiles, flee to China.

And then I’d send a bill to Trump

for any war that isn’t minor.


Not to add to the confusion

but Pentagon says nothin’ to it–

U.S. will pay or maybe will

renegotiate the bill.


South Koreans getting mad;

march with signs that simply say, “Hate THAAD.”

And so we’ve made a major, major mess

likely to get more major, not less.)







Surely it’s time to refute the great American myth our elected representatives in Washington, D.C. so believe in: an armed citizenry and war abroad will protect us from criminal and terrorist violence.  There is a sort of mass mental incongruity going on, a splitting of the political brain in which the epidemic of “mass shootings” is deplored and denounced but ignored while generally bipartisan calls for real action (more war) elsewhere in the world, particularly in the Middle East, grow louder each day. The American motto is simply this: In Guns We Trust.

“Fortress Monroe” by Matthew Brady. By Internet Archive Book Images [No restrictions], via Wikimedia Commons
 At bottom the solution to violence both here and in foreign nations is claimed to be the making of more weapons available (which inevitably fall into the wrong hands) in the hopes that armed “good guys” will entirely eradicate armed “bad guys.”  Every new act of mass violence, whether domestic or foreign, is said to be a brand new, isolated event which must be met, we are solemnly told, with more guns (armed citizens) and violence abroad (war). The result tends to be a lot of killing and dying, including the killing of innocent, unarmed people both in the U.S. and abroad.

Sen. Ted Cruz, for example, wasted no time yesterday trying to link the shooting in San Bernardino, CA to “radical Islamic terrorism” because he wants war:

“Coming on the wake of the terror attack here in Paris, this horrific murder underscores that we are at a time of war. Whether or not the current administration realizes it or is willing to acknowledge it, our enemies are at war with us.”

At this point we still do not know conclusively the motive behind the deaths of those 14 people and the wounding of many others, but whether the suspects were acting out of personal or religiously radical animosities, it doesn’t really matter. They were able to legally obtain some really dangerous weapons, just as did the suspect in the attack on the Planned Parenthood clinic in Colorado Springs, whether he was acting as a deranged individual or a Christian terrorist or both.

Rather than responding reasonably to deranged individual and terrorist violence–you know, reducing access to the most dangerous domestic weapons as most nations with lower levels of gun violence have done and not glorifying and provoking terrorists by waging “war” against them–we are blaming our mental health system for our “mass shootings” and demanding yet another armed invasion of the Middle East. We are being held hostage by a mindlessly distorted reading of the Second Amendment and ancient myths of the justness and effectiveness of war.

In short, In Guns (and bombs, missiles, drones, etc.) We Trust. When domestic “mass shootings” occur, we offer our “thoughts and prayers” in the hope that God will do something (maybe prevent?) anymore such violence. But as for our foreign enemies, all pretenses to prayer and thought and faith in God are dumped in favor of as much mass bombing and shooting as we can militarily muster. Either way, the gun is held sacred, as American movies declare over and over again. No problem or evil we can’t blast our way out of. It’s a dangerous and adolescent myth of unconquerable power which is now the primary American dream we are spreading to the world. Who needs democracy when you can accumulate power and control through weaponry and edict?  This is the “fascism” some of our GOP presidential candidates and voters are flirting with while the Obama administration is continuing the counter-productive, not to mention legally dubious, “targeted killing” and ramping up of more war in the Middle East.

If we want to be a genuine democracy, we will have to learn to trust in something other than guns and bombs. It’s democracy (including civil rights, human rights and humane, reasonable gun control) or bust.


P.S.– More succinctly . . . Can we claim “In God We Trust” when we trust so much in guns at home and abroad?


To coin a phrase, the only thing we have to fear is fear itself and the Republican Party. Or at least those Republicans for whom foreign terrorists and Syrian refugees (and even Muslim-Americans in general) are now the scariest things on earth. That some Democrats are going along even with House legislation to “pause” compassion towards fleeing Syrians and a call for ever greater “war” on terrorists is sadly regrettable, but at least the “dem” in Democrats doesn’t stand for demagoguery.

We know, of course, that, statistically and rationally speaking, the threat to Americans from terrorism of any sort is extremely low, on par with being killed by an asteroid. An American is far more likely to be killed by an automobile or a fellow gun-toting American than by a foreign terrorist.

Donald Trump may be the most extreme of the Republican bunch, a guy even some conservatives say aloud is now in the realm of fascism, but the other leading Republican candidates for president are fearmongering and warmongering (usually the same thing) with gusto. Hawkish demagoguery is now de rigueur, as the French would say, (French and France are currently conservatively-correct) for Republican political leaders.

The thing we have most to fear as a nation these days is not terrorism or refugees but– a la Trump, Rubio, Cruz, Bush, etc.– allowing democracy and democratic values to be undermined by overwrought defenders of “liberty” (for some) and good old American imperialism.


Sounding much like former president George W. Bush after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, French President Francois Hollande quickly declared the coordinated attacks in Paris on Friday night to be an “act of war.” Now Hollande is saying that ISIS must be “destroyed” rather than contained, and Americans are calling for a more militaristic response.  The “war on terror” is being ramped up again, and if you don’t support such war, our belligerent patriots say, you are a fan of “appeasement.” It’s all simplistically black or white. Us or them.

Though France was already participating in the bombing war against ISIS positions in Iraq and Syria,  on Sunday France, with help from the U.S., launched more airstrikes on the Syrian city and ISIS stronghold of Raqqa, dropping 20 bombs, according to reports.  A report from the Syrian Observatory of Human Rights notes that the French bombardment may have done little to stop ISIS but has caused “panic” in the city. So far, no report of civilian casualties in Raqqa from the French attack but the risk of killing innocent Syrians in these retaliatory bombing runs is significant and such bombing attacks sow terror, at the very least, amidst an innocent population.

Declaring “war” on ISIS is, as Noah Feldman argues, a mistake for a number of reasons. Most importantly, an official “war” is precisely what such terrorists are seeking in order to gain prestige, power and more recruits. And once the word “war” is used and accepted, a military response  becomes more likely, and thus a limited, democratic seeking of bringing murderous criminals to justice becomes an all-out and indiscriminate retaliation in which violence escalates into air strikes and armed invasions.

Arguing against military retaliation/intervention is not appeasement or surrender; it is an attempt to limit violence everywhere rather than escalate and provoke more violent extremism–above all, do no harm, do not add fuel to the fire. It is, ironically, a conservative and democratic response–do not get involved in justifying violence and hurting innocent people.

But many Republican politicians and pundits (and some Democrats) in democracy/peace-loving America are calling for yet another full-blown, armed invasion of a foreign nation in order to “destroy” ISIS with war. Just as we were going to destroy al Qaeda with war and bring harmony and peace to Iraq with war. A National Review editorial– “A Serious War Calls for a Serious Strategy“– is representative of this warmongering sentiment:

“Americans are understandably weary of war, but jihadists are still eager to fight, and wars do not end when one side grows tired of battle. Through its fecklessness and appeasement, the Obama administration has taught us all that bitter lesson. Withdrawal emboldens enemies and gives them new life.”

Read more at: http://www.nationalreview.com/article/427088/isis-paris-attacks-war-france-francois-hollande-united-states

In fact, wars do end when one side chooses not to respond militarily; it takes two to tango and two, at least, to make war. What ISIS apparently wants, for some sense of legitimacy, is “war.” But we should treat terrorists, even terrorists as well-armed and organized as ISIS, like the stateless, violent extremists they are, that is, ideological criminals. They should be arrested, if possible, and tried.

When we wage war and war doesn’t work despite mass slaughter, or “works” only through mass slaughter, including slaughter of non-combatants, we then say, “Let’s try more war!” And those that cry the loudest for more war are those that because of age or education are not going to actually fight the war.

Democracy wins when the humane values of democracy–the recognition and practice of human rights– are upheld and asserted even in the midst of violent and inhumane oppression. When we choose war we choose the terms of tyrants and terrorists, even when we try to wage “moral” and legal wars. There are all sorts of ways that people and nations can wage effective nonviolent, democratic resistance against tyrants and terrorists, and we can start by looking at U.S. foreign policy and our failed history of military/covert interventions in the Middle East, as well as our contribution to the availability of all the deadly weapons that threaten the globe.

So our choice is not between war and appeasement: it is between mutual slaughter or brave, nonviolent methods of democratic resistance.

“These are people who had been working hard for months, non-stop for the past week. They had not gone home, they had not seen their families, they had just been working in the hospital to help people… and now they are dead. These people are friends, close friends. I have no words to express this. It is unspeakable. “The hospital, it has been my workplace and home for several months. Yes, it is just a building. But it is so much more than that. It is healthcare for Kunduz. Now it is gone.

Source: Killing Blindly in the Endless War via Common Dreams.org