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Pandemic, lockdowns, riots, disappeared jobs, collapsed businesses, empty fridges, closed borders, weird explosions and, just now, Beirutshima, so 2020 is already a horror show, but wait, it’s actually a mousy prelude to the endlessly crashing cymbals, just ahead. Many more ambulances will howl down streets. The empire will only exit with a bang.

Meanwhile, all is still relatively calm in most places. I hear a child singing outside my basement window. Each afternoon, kids play in my building’s narrow courtyard, then disperse just before five, to head home for dinner.

To reach the front door the other day, I had to sidestep four boys playing cards. As I fumbled with the key, one kid looked up, frowned and said something that sounded like a correction. I ignored the pipsqueak, only to understand immediately that he meant, “It’s already open, dumbshit.”

To fuss over trivia is a peacetime privilege, or curse. Here in Serbia, they squirt ketchup on pizzas! Italy is nearby, but so what. Everybody and his Kalashnikov waving grandma have their own way of doing things. South Koreans eat pizzas with corn, and dill pickles on the side.

Yesterday, I met a 70-year-old architect whose name translates as Lucky Darling. Nearly every morning, Sretan can be seen outside a beauty salon. Since its owners are two striking beauties, it makes sense for the old fart to park himself there. Sitting at a table, Sretan sips coffee, looks at traffic and waves at neighbors. Around 11, he wanders to Kafe Parkić.

“You should go there. Garden. Very nice.”

My spot is Dzidzi Midzi, where, perched on the balcony overlooking the sidewalk, I’m quite visible to passersby. Alien to a place, you won’t recognize anyone, but they all see you.

Although Serbia has reopened for tourists sans conditions, few have entered, and in Hadžipopovac, I’m the only Martian. It’s cool, though. Staring hard at me, a girl of about three smiled and waved, which brightened her mom also.

Despite their fearful reputation, Serbs are quite mellow, I’ve found. Yes, there is an edge here, as expressed by the graffiti, for example, with fans of Red Star and Partizan cancelling each other out all over town, and each time they clash, a riot is almost inevitable. Walking for miles across Belgrade, however, I’ve not felt anything like the tension or even menace that’s become banal in American cities, with each morning’s newspaper yawningly reporting last night’s carnage. My landlord never locks his house or car, he told me.

Vietnamese, too, are generally not aggressive. Save your butchery for when it really matters, tough guys. Queers strut.

In Busan, my friend Jung-min said, “We Koreans have all been in the military, so we know how to use weapons, but when it’s over, we forget about it. When there’s a war,” he chuckled, “we can be quite brutal.”

Sretan’s English is not bad. His wife is a career diplomat. Together, they spent two years in Tokyo, three in NYC and four in New Delhi.

“New York is fantastic. We lived in the middle. Sutton Place.”

“Very expensive!”

“Yes, very expensive, but my wife is a diplomat. I didn’t have to do anything. I just walked around and looked.”

“Did you go to other American cities?”

“Washington. We were there for 15 days. I didn’t like it. Washington is like a village. New York, great.”

“Are there many Serbs in New York.”

“No. Chicago.”

“I’ve heard. Did you go to Chicago?”

“No, but I know. Many Serbs there.”

When young, Sretan’s passion was karate, so Japan was particularly fascinating. Still, he disapproved of their lifestyle, “Japanese, all they do is sleep and work. No life.” He shook his head.

Opening a plastic container, Sretan offered me a baklava. “You like? No pressure. You like?”

It was excellent, “This is very good, and the coffee too.”

“I told you. I don’t lie. Turkish coffee, but Serbian style. She knows how to make.”

Sretan on Russia, “We are close. Russians, Serbs, same people. Slavs.”

“But Croats are also Slavs.”

“Ah, but… Between Serbs and Croats, there’s a complex. If I look at you and have a complex, then I hate you, but it’s nothing. It’s in my head, my imagination. People have complex.”

Like all who grew up in poorer societies, Sretan’s teeth are not perfect. Mine are fourth world.

Sretan on America, “They put pressure on every country. They bomb. Yugoslavia, your country. Saddam Hussein…”

“Iraq.”

“Yes, Iraq. Destroyed his whole family. Gaddafi… Libya, Syria, Yemen. No good. America must change. The cosmos will make America change. History, the cosmos. There are two new powers. Russia, Kina. America will change.”

Kina is China, of course. I picked that up just from walking around. Kineska robna kuća is a store selling made-in-China household goods. Kineski restoran is a monosodium glutamate factory.

There’s a Chinese department store, Panda, with two branches in Belgrade. Well-made and elegantly proportioned, Serbs can wear burlap bags and still look good, so they’re fine in bargain Chinese fashion.

Seeing a slim lady in black and white horizontal stripes, framed by body hugging red, I immediately thought, This is why you left your room today. She’s like an upright zebra crossing for sleepy lizards.

The many used clothing stores are dressed up with the English “Second Hand,” often coupled with Butik. When I was in Ukraine in early 2016, used clothing was sold in huge mounds, for shoppers to dig through. Haven’t seen that here.

In Kiev, I saw beggars kneeling under snowfall, heads drooping, behind soggy cardboard signs. They had just been color revolutionized by Uncle Sam. In Belgrade, beggars aren’t nearly as abject. Many are gypsies.

In plastic sandals and pink sweat pants, a scrawny teenage girl meandered into a pizza joint to mumble at each table. It’s called Poncho, oddly enough. Offering no burritos or tacos, it does have cacti painted on its walls. Its logo is a Mexican with a bulbous nose, handlebar moustache and a sombrero sagging over his eyes.

There are many gambling parlors here, an index of desperation, and even more Western Union outlets. Folks in each neighborhood need to easily collect cash from relatives overseas.

Like all of Eastern Europe, Serbia is hemorrhaging people like there’s no tomorrow. At least seven hundred thousand Serb live in Germany. Moldova has lost a third of its population since 1989!

 
• Category: Culture/Society, History • Tags: Serbia 
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1

I’ve moved to a new neighborhood.

Choryang-dong was instructive, delicious and hospitable, but like visas, passion or time itself, everything winds down. Thanks to the coronavirus, I felt a bit trapped there, so I’ve inched over to Hadžipopovac.

Entering South Korea on February 28th, I thought there was a good chance I wouldn’t be able to return to Vietnam for a month or two, but this didn’t bother me, for I could just fly to Laos, Cambodia or Thailand, or take a ferry to Japan, where I could visit friends and roam a bit, before slinking back to Southeast Asia.

I ended up hanging out in K-poplandia for four months and three weeks, nearly all of it at a Busan guesthouse. The One Way became my home. I said to its manager, “Yo Jayden, you can only check in here. You can’t check out! I’m going to die at the One Way.”

Though in a rather seedy part of town, with enough whores and homeless, Choryang-dong was perfectly safe. Even with plenty to steal inside it, the guesthouse’s door was never locked. Five minutes away, there was one of the best dumpling joints anywhere, and cheap, too. There was also a great Uzbek restaurant. The subway station was around the corner.

There was a communal kitchen in the One Way’s basement, but I never used its stove, only the hot water dispenser to fill a large bowl of instant noodles, which I’d cover with a plate. That’s my cooking. Paired with a can of Spam or tuna, I had a balanced meal. Sometimes I used the microwave to heat up instant rice or rice gruel.

Eating out, though, was economic enough. In a nearby subway concourse, I could get a hot meal with meat, and a variety of kim chis, of course, for only $4. For just over $7, I could feast at Mos Burger, a Japanese chain. For under ten bucks, I could pig out on an entire fried chicken and drain a beer.

I stayed long enough to get a customer’s loyalty card at a café. Every seventh cup was free. Giving it to me, the proprietress sometimes exclaimed in English, “Congratulations!” What a beautiful lady.

On July 4th, a handful of American soldiers invaded the One Way. Drunk all night long, they made so much noise, I couldn’t sleep, but I never knocked on their door to say, “Yo guys, can you calm down a bit?” I was young once, and America won’t enjoy too many more birthdays, I don’t think.

At the One Way, foreign guests can exchange labor for room and board. They clean, vacuum and change sheets. Though I didn’t have to resort to this, many others did. They were all young people, from all over. I met Gustavo from Brazil, Sasha from Belarus, and Tracy, a Korean-American from Los Angeles. I was the resident old man.

Sasha is a microbiology major in Bruno, the Czech Republic. She came to Busan to study English at a university, from Korean professors. Though this sounds rather suspect, Sasha was very happy with her instruction, until the coronavirus struck. Her English was already pretty good. Seeing her typing away at the One Way’s café late into the night, I initially thought that perhaps Sasha was a writer.

Gustavo came to improve his Korean, which he had learnt in Sao Paolo. His English was even better than Sasha’s. When a Spanish guest left a copy of Borges’ Historia Universal de la Infamia, I tried to interest him in the master, but Gustavo wasn’t interested. He was immersed in Harry Potter. Multilingual, Gustavo manned the One Way’s reception desk.

When Tracy returns to the US, she’ll buy a van and travel the country.

“But the country is no longer the same,” I said to her. It will only get worse, and perhaps not even safe for someone like Tracy to be cruising around. A bloody balkanization lurks.

Just before I left, a 40-year-old Korean showed up. Jung-min had owned a seven-room hostel nearby, but thanks to coronachan, it croaked, forcing him to move into a dorm room at the One Way.

A tireless traveler, Jung-min once took a year and a half to bicycle from Singapore to London, where, exhausted, he stayed for a year. Nearly each evening, he vegetated at The Gunners, downing pints. Now, he was waiting for Vietnam to reopen so he could fly to Hanoi. “I don’t care if I have to be in quarantine for two weeks.” It’s his favorite country.

With no crossable land border, South Korea is a de facto island, and its super-efficient trains and buses make the country feel even smaller. With its lush fields, hills and low mountains, the landscape is beautiful enough, but lacks contrasts. There are no dramatic peaks, as in, say, Japan. South Korean cities are similarly new. With bright, colorful signs everywhere, they contain few buildings from even half a century ago. Sprung, guys like Jung-min go berserk from the exhilarating variety of the larger world.

Busan was comfortable, but it wasn’t home, even somewhat, so nearly each day, I checked to see which countries had reopened, so I could get baffled by everything, all over again, from another angle.

At Travel Off Path, there was a helpful article, “Countries without any Restrictions or Travel Requirements,” but by July 15th, it could only list Mexico, Maldives, Northern Macedonia, Serbia, Albania, Turkey and Tanzania. Since three of those were in the Balkans, and Turkey was just a quick hop away, it made most sense to head to that cluster, so I pulled the trigger.

On my last evening, I got on an unfamiliar bus to go wherever. Soon enough, we left the bright commercial strips to climb into a poorer neighborhood, with its shabbier houses, darker streets and empty sidewalks. One by one, everyone got off until it was just me and the driver lumbering, like exhausted refugees, into a rather grim bus depot. In the dark, I trekked back down to the sweetest city I won’t likely see again. Thank you, Busan!

2

In 1937, Rebecca West got here by train, “Then I slept a little and woke up in a little town where there was not a minaret, where there was no more trace of Islam than there would be in a Sussex village. We were, in fact, in Serbia. We went and stood on the platform and breathed the air, which was now Serbian air. It is as different from Bosnian air as in Scotland the Lowland air differs from Highland air; it is drier and, as they say of pastry, shorter. Anybody who does not know that it is one pleasure to fill the lungs up at Yaitse or Loch Etive and another to fill them down at Belgrade or the Lammermuir Hills must be one of those creatures with defective sensoria, who cannot tell the difference between one kind of water and another.”

So Serbian air, water, dirt and smell, etc., are all different from those of Bosnia, Croatia, Slovenia, Albania, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Kosovo, Srpska and Krajina, etc.

Arriving from South Korea, with a layover in Abu Dhabi, the differences I encountered were much, much more striking, of course, starting from the airport, which was modest. Of the poorest ten European countries, seven are in Balkans, but who can blame any of them? There has been so much turmoil here.

Belgrade has been razed 44 times. In the 20th century, it was bombed thrice. In World War II, hundreds of thousands of Serbs were mass murdered by Croats, an undisputed fact still little known.

From the taxi into town, I was reintroduced to the concrete housing blocks that are typical of the former Eastern Bloc. Belgrade’s few high-rises are left over the 1970’s, perhaps the worst decade for architecture ever. Its gorgeous buildings from the late 19th and early 20th centuries have been crumbling for decades.

 
• Category: Culture/Society • Tags: Balkans, Korea, Serbia 
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On June 24th, Trump said, “I think many of the people that are knocking down these statues don’t even have any idea what the statue is… Now they’re looking at Jesus Christ.”

Actually, both the iconoclasts and their backers know very well what they’re destroying, and who they’re humiliating, deracinating and subjugating. Though often messy, their process has been laser focused and methodical.

Though Trump avoided naming his trigger, it was clear he was responding to Shaun King, who had tweeted on June 22nd:

Yes, I think the statues of the white European they claim is Jesus should also come down.

They are a form of white supremacy.

Always have been.

In the Bible, when the family of Jesus wanted to hide, and blend in, guess where they went?

EGYPT!

Not Denmark.

Tear them down.

And:

All murals and stained glass windows of white Jesus, and his European mother, and their white friends should also come down.

They are a gross form white supremacy.

Created as tools of oppression.

Racist propaganda.

They should all come down.

Who’s Shaun King? At his website, there’s this self-description, “As a magnetic element of the Black Lives Matter movement, King helps us see our present place in the larger current of American history. He’s adopted social media to rally and unite people of disparate backgrounds and has now become one of the most followed activists in the world.”

Kings naturally speak in the third person. Here’s more, “Shaun King is one of the most experienced, accomplished, skilled speakers in the nation. He has been the keynote speaker in every venue with every type of audience imaginable over 1,000 times since he was just 17 years old. He has been a full-time speaker his entire adult life.

“His ability to weave humor, compassion, meticulous research, and grave seriousness into one presentation is unmatched. In his new events, he integrates photos, charts, graphs, and videos to help make his most essential points stick. A master of his content, Shaun shocks event organizers by not using any notes or guides.”

It’s curious that King’s incitement for mass destruction of private properties has incurred no censure from the mainstream media, and we’re not talking about dollar store flower pots here, but the most sacred icons of Western civilization, many of which have historical and/or artistic values.

At the National Gallery, there are three Madonna and Child’s by Raphael, The Crucifixion by Grunewald and The Last Supper by Dali, etc. At the Met, there is The Crucifixion by Fra Angelico; The Adoration of the Magi by Giotto; The Crucifixion and The Last Judgement by Jan van Eyck; Christ Healing the Blind, Christ Carrying the Cross and The Adoration of the Shepherds by El Greco; and The Denial of Saint Peter by Caravaggio, etc.

Each of these masterpieces flaunts a white Christ. Some have his European mother or even white friends. As a gross form of white supremacy, tools of oppression and racist propaganda, according to King, they should all be torn down!

Iconoclasm must be nearly as old as icons. Just a second later, perhaps.

Yahweh certainly digs it. “Thou shalt not bow down to their gods, nor serve them, nor do after their works: but thou shalt utterly overthrow them, and quite break down their images.” Exodus 23:24. “But ye shall destroy their altars, break their images, and cut down their groves.” Exodus 34:13. “Then ye shall drive out all the inhabitants of the land from before you, and destroy all their pictures, and destroy all their molten images, and quite pluck down all their high places” Numbers 33:52. “But thus shall ye deal with them; ye shall destroy their altars, and break down their images, and cut down their groves, and burn their graven images with fire.” Deuteronomy 7:5.

“The graven images of their gods shall ye burn with fire.” Deuteronomy 7:25. “And ye shall overthrow their altars, and break their pillars, and burn their groves with fire; and ye shall hew down the graven images of their gods, and destroy the names of them out of that place.” Deuteronomy 12:3. “Ye shall make no league with the inhabitants of this land; ye shall throw down their altars.” Judges 2:2. “Declare ye among the nations, and publish, and set up a standard; publish, and conceal not: say, Babylon is taken, Bel is confounded, Merodach is broken in pieces; her idols are confounded, her images are broken in pieces.” Jeremiah 50:2.

Sanctioned and inspired by such passages, Christians have destroyed countless idols. At times, they’ve smashed their own during internal squabbles, as under Constantine V during the 8th century, or, even worse, during the Beeldenstorm and similar outbreaks during the 16th. One of the crowning achievements of Western Art, van Eyck’s Ghent Altarpiece, had to be dismantled and hidden to save it from the rampaging mob.

Down the centuries, it’s been stolen seven times, in whole or partially. Germany filched it twice. Only one of its 17 panels has never been recovered, however, so it’s resplendently restored to Saint Bavo, just waiting for Black Lives Matter to come charging in.

In Camus’ The Fall, the missing panel turns up in an Amsterdam apartment, “By the way, will you please open that cupboard? Yes, look at that painting. Don’t you recognize it? It is The Just Judges. That doesn’t make you jump? Can it be that your culture has gaps? Yet if you read the papers, you would recall the theft in 1934, from the St. Bavon Cathedral of Ghent, of one of the panels of the famous van Eyck altarpiece, The Adoration of the Lamb. That panel was called The Just Judges. It represented judges on horseback coming to adore the sacred animal. It was replaced by an excellent copy, for the original was never found. Well, here it is.”

Such a quaint question, to ask someone about possible gaps in his culture! That’s all we have nowadays. After decades of miseducation and mass media dumbing down, even a “learned” man has so many gaps, their edges blur right into each other, so that his culture is nothing but a hacking and spitting crater of boiling bullshit, with here and there a bobbing misunderstanding, which he will militantly misquote, to prove he has culture.

Pardon me, hmong sir, but permit me to squeeze in, edgewise, a slight and undoubtedly malnourished assertion about oil painting. Since it is pigment in slow-drying linseed oil, hue, tone and line can be fine-tuned to an infinite degree, unlike, say, ink on paper. This unprecedented exactitude teaches not just the artist, but his entire culture, to look more carefully, reverentially and even scientifically, a conditioning that spills into every other aspect of said culture. This edification was further jacked by the dissemination of the graphite pencil (17th century) and rubber eraser (18th century).

Yo dude, go check out, in person, if possible, any pencil drawing by this whitey, Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres. Sharp, eh? Cracker did crank out a super racist, white-supremacist Jesus Returning the Keys to St. Peter, however. I mean, come on! There’s not even one token African-American in the entire picture, not even a shadily shadeless one like Shaun King, so pale he was listed as white on his birth certificate, so tear it down!

America’s current eruption of iconoclasm is not spearheaded by blacks, however, but antifa, a mostly white coalition of Communists and Anarchists, with their red and black flags. This coupling of Communists and Anarchists is farcical, by the way, for they have diametrically opposed ideologies.

 
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In a recent article, “Smashing Culture,” I briefly described a scene in Philadelphia from 30+ years ago. Sitting in McGlinchey’s, I was drinking Rolling Rock.

This trivia triggered a most curious yet telling response from a commenter, “Rolling Rock? – really? Were you listening to the Eagles too? Nice street cred attempt, but it’s either ‘While knocking back a few beers’ or ‘While drinking a Guinness’ – Rolling Rock just makes you sound like, well, another pretentious art fag.”

It never occurred to him I was simply telling the truth. To establish “street cred,” I should have come up with something way cooler. It’s all about one’s image, you see.

With social media, everyone is a microscopic celebrity, the undisputed global star on his own cellphone, so online preening has become a universal obsession. Compulsively, they make duck faces while quack quacking bon, not really, mots.

Enjoying such a fabulous virtual life, they miss out on a real one, however, so “street cred” must be established, to mask the fact that they’re never on the streets, even when they’re on the streets.

Occupy Wall Street erupted in New York on September 17th, 2011. Four days later, I took a Chinatown bus from Philly to see what’s going on, and for the duration of this movement, I kept a pretty close eye on it. Besides the Occupy camps in Manhattan and Philly, I also visited those in Harrisburg, Trenton, Atlantic City, Washington, Raleigh, Savannah and Orlando.

Living in tents like urban savages, these protesters suddenly had a tactile and smelly existence inside a community, so despite the cold, rain and absence of indoor plumbing, they were soothed. Night after night, there were no brick walls between their bodies.

Their movement fizzled out, however, because it degenerated into an endless display of narcissistic posturing, with everyone making self-important speeches about his or her pet cause, to an audience of fifty, tops, which is not how a revolution is ever made.

Had Samuel Adams showed up, he would have had to squeeze his truncated speech in between, say, an animal right manifesto and a black reparation sermon.

Still, it was fun to fancy yourself a Mao, Che or Comandante Zero, even if your thundering cosplay was immediately canceled by the next, completely unrelated yet equally forgettable, performance.

Sitting on a striped blanket, a glum, balding guy went on a hunger strike to protest “UNEMPLOYMENT, POVERTY AND CORPORATE GREED.” Ignored by all, he disappeared after a few days, apparently to stuff his face greedily.

Conceived as not just an indictment but siege of Wall Street, Occupy became a sad, stinking and incoherent skit that increasingly annoyed nearly everyone who had to work, do business or transit around their messy camps.

Though government infiltrators undoubtedly helped to fragment Occupy, most protesters gleefully went along with their own gelding, because, to them, it was never about rallying the 99% towards common goals, as they vaguely claimed, but airing minority grievances. Most importantly, they could look cool doing it.

With visual evidence uploaded onto FaceBook, Tumblr and Instagram, etc., soy boys from strip malled subdivisions could accrue street cred.

Since “Occupy Everything, Demand Nothing” became Occupy’s rallying cry, it achieved literally nothing, predictably. A month after all tents were cleared from Zuccotti Park, Time Magazine anointed “The Protester” as Person Of The Year, so for being symbolically homeless for two months, the sans cazzo got a participation lollipop from the bossman.

Since then, unscathed and smirking Wall Street has only amped up its state-of-the-art shell games, punctuated by bailouts. What’s left of the country’s wealth keeps flowing to the top.

Although Occupy Wall Street exposed widespread discontent, it was deftly tamed by the state, without addressing any of the issues raised. Worsened economic malaise is papered over with fake news and statistics. Unable to afford even an efficiency, the young and not so young resignedly or bitterly move back home. I’m sure you know a few.

Beneath each basement, there’s another, even darker and danker, Americans kept discovering, so they just had to suck it up and simmer on, when not overdosing on opioids. It’s the new normal.

Occupy Wall Street protesters were mostly under-35-year-old whites, with at least some college education. Now, the same demographic is back on the streets, but instead of chanting for economic justice and representing, at least in theory, the 99%, they’re fighting Fascism and racism. With their inclusive definitions of such sins, however, they’re warring against most of the country.

It’s never been easier to be tagged as a Fascist. If you don’t think or feel correctly on all woke issues, you’re a Fascist, and of course, you’re a Fascist to the degree that you’re against antifa.

When it comes to sex, binarism is evil, for there’s no male or female, just endlessly calibrated genital transmogrification, if only in your gender fluid, intersexual mind, but with politics, binary thinking is uber kosher. If you’re not up-to-date woke, you’re a Fascist.

On August 14th, 2018, CNN reeducated us, “There is no national antifa group. It is mostly made up of people who are far left of center, who make it their mission to battle Fascists, racists and alt right extremists.” It’s a grassroot, homegrown resistance to hate, that’s all. “Behind the masks are people from all walks of life, artist, mom, ordinary American, as well as anarchist.” Four most gentle faces were shown.

On June 16th, 2020, CNN reemphasized that antifa was a belief system that unified all anti-Fascists, whatever their color, age or background, so how could you be against it, unless you’re a Fascist?! A burly, genial black man explained, “It basically means that you are against Fascism. If you are against Fascism, then you are antifa.”

In a BLACK LIVES MATTER muscle-T, a white wuss added, “Antifa is not a group. It’s not like everybody sits in, like, some basement, talking about how to overthrow the Fascist regime. I walked around picking up trash yesterday, behind the protesters. That’s what antifa looks like.”

Burly black guy, “White people have to be involved in fighting racism, in fighting white supremacy […] But if you are a white ally, remember that you still have to follow the lead of people of color.”

 
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Near my guesthouse in Busan, there’s a Mongolian restaurant, Chinggis Khaan. On its sign, there’s a portrait of the conqueror, looking stern, with a lineup of archers on horseback, behind him.

Though I had walked by Chinggis Khaan many times, I never entered because I thought it was probably some jive joint, run by Koreans. Located in a basement, it offers no clues to what’s inside.

Seeking a respite from kim chi, I finally entered Chinggis Khaan yesterday, to discover that it’s practically a shrine to Mongolian nationalism.

Soon as I opened the door, I saw the baddest man ever staring back at me, and flanking Genghis were eight other khans. On a side wall was the Mongolian flag, and a television playing Mongolian music nonstop.

Rap, heavy metal or hard core, most songs were clearly nationalistic, for they featured images of Genghis Khan, warriors on galloping horses, heroic looking archers or modern soldiers spitting rhymes.

One had “Chinggis Khaan, Chinggis Khaan” as its refrain. With so much rousing, badassed music, it was impossible to focus on my mutton. I just felt like standing up on metal stirrups to shoot arrows at anything that moved.

One of Mongolia’s top bands, The Hu, derives its name from Hunnu, or Huns. In the accusatory “Yuve, Yuve, Yu,” they growl:

Though born with your ancestors’ destiny,
You sleep deeply and can’t be awakened.
How strange, how strange!
[…]
Why is it hard to lift up our nation?
How strange, how strange!
Hey you traitor, kneel down!
[…]
Destined to unite nations, Chinggis Khan
Announced himself on earth
He’ll come back, will come back.

In Mongolia, Genghis Khan is back all right. Just outside the capital is a 131-foot equestrian statue of the man, and Mongolia’s highest honor is The Order of Genghis Khan, of which only one is awarded yearly. The Hu is its latest recipient. It wasn’t long ago that Mongolian scholars of Genghis Khan were killed by the Soviets. Their crime? Nationalism.

For Genghis Khan’s 800th birthday in 1962, Daramyn Tomor-Ochir authorized a celebration. As the second highest member of the politburo, he felt secure, but just like that, Tomor-Ochir was kicked out of the party, jailed, sent into internal exile, given only lowly jobs then finally murdered in 1985 with an ax, his killers never caught. As a rising Communist, Tomor-Ochir had denounced Byambyn Rinchen, a leading scholar and writer, for his nationalism.

Internationally, the Great Khan is also enjoying a revival, though in 1992, Time Magazine still listed him as the worst villain of the last millennium, with Tamerlane coming in second. Is there an anti-Mongol/Turco/Central Asian/nomadic bias here? Someone alert the Anti-Defamation League and National Association for the Advancement of Colored People! Yellow horde lives matter! At least Attila the Hun didn’t make the top ten.

In 1995, however, the Washington Post simply crowned Genghis Khan as Man of the Millennium, period, beating out Christopher Columbus.

In an often cheeky editorial, Joel Achenbach rhapsodized, “Genghis Khan was a doer […] Genghis Khan reached out and touched countless lives. Ended them, in fact […] Like Columbus after him, Genghis Khan shrank the world […] He and his descendants created a vast free-trade zone across Eurasia and greatly enhanced the linkage between the civilizations of the East and West […] The Mongols […] pioneered global communications seven centuries before the invention of the Internet.” Genghis Khan was a pioneer of globalism, in short.

In his 2004 book, Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World, Jack Weatherford elaborates:

In American terms, the accomplishment of Genghis Khan might be understood if the United States, instead of being created by a group of educated merchants or wealthy planters, had been founded by one of its illiterate slaves, who, by the sheer force of personality, charisma, and determination, liberated America from foreign rule, united the people, created an alphabet, wrote the constitution, established universal religious freedom, invented a new system of warfare, marched an army from Canada to Brazil, and opened roads of commerce in a free-trade zone that stretched across the continents. On every level and from any perspective, the scale and scope of Genghis Khan’s accomplishments challenge the limits of imagination and tax the resources of scholarly explanation.

Unlike a wealthy, slave-owning planter like Thomas Jefferson, Genghis Khan had been a slave, and he beat the American by nearly six centuries in establishing the rule of law and religious freedom. Granted, dude wrote nada, since he couldn’t write, but he porked many more babes than the philosophical Jefferson, for sure, and it’s doubtful he bothered with courtship. Where’s #Me Too on this? According to Oxford University, Genghis Khan has 16 million descendants.

Already in 1260, Ata-Malik Juvayni observed, “Of the issue of the race and lineage of Chingiz Khan, there are now living in the comfort of wealth and affluence more than 20,000. More than this I will not say… lest the readers of this history should accuse the writer of exaggeration and hyperbole and ask how from the loins of one man there could spring in so short a time so great a progeny.”

In the 21st century, Genghis Khan has been the focus of celebratory exhibitions in New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, San Jose and Kansas City, etc. In Raleigh, he’s described as “an innovative leader and statesman who brought unity, stability and religious tolerance to most of Asia and parts of Europe.” In Bozeman, MT (pop. 49,000), museum goers were invited to discover “the real life of one of the world’s greatest civilizers—the man who gave the West passports, pants, paper money, forks, and much more.”

You’ve got to step back and see the big picture, eh, not reduce a civilizing immortal to a blood drinking ogre who made Beijing streets “greasy with the fat of the slain,” according to an eyewitness, or a demon who led “an immense horde of that detestable race of Satan,” to quote Matthew Paris, a 13th century English monk.

As Genghis Khan becomes a god again on his home turf, another historical giant has been knocked down with dizzying speed, and Thomas Jefferson is even denounced at the University of Virginia, which he didn’t just found, but lovingly designed.

Among his many accomplishments, Jefferson was the father of the American college campus, but from these sheltered villages of learning, sophomoric mobs are now howling for his scalp!

Jefferson kept over 600 slaves during his lifetime, they’ll tell you, and he had black boys as young as ten-years-old whipped, when they couldn’t pound out nails fast enough for his business. Jefferson separated slave families, sometimes as punishment, but more often just to make a buck.

 
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At the start of French Revolution, Bertrand Barère declared, “The revolutions of a barbarous people destroy all monuments, and the very trace of the arts seems to be effaced. The revolutions of an enlightened people conserve the fine arts, and embellish them […]”

Soon after, though, thousands of French statues were wrecked, and many heads tumbled into baskets. Barère, “The tree of liberty grows only when watered by the blood of tyrants.” The Anacreon of the Guillotine was lucky to escape with his own noggin.

Again, the defeated must watch impotently as their heroes are decapitated or come crashing down. At least they still have their own necks, for the moment, at least.

Washington, Jefferson, Grant and Francis Scott Key have been toppled, and even a likeness of Cervantes had red paint splashed on its eyes. “BASTARD” was scrawled on its pedestal. The woke vandal didn’t know that here was no conquistador or slave owner, but a slave of five years, not to mention a seminal writer in the Western canon.

Ah, but “seminal,” “Western” and “canon” are evil words now, you see, so maybe he did know, for this is, at bottom, an assault on every pillar, brick, cornice and baseboard of Western civilization. Burn it all down, for it is uniquely racist, sexist, genocidal and transphobic. I mean, for thousands of years, evil whites absolutely resisted the installation of all-gender shit holes.

Shut up already, and listen to Susan Sontag, “If America is the culmination of Western white civilization, as everyone from the Left to the Right declares, then there must be something terribly wrong with Western white civilization. This is a painful truth; few of us want to go that far…. The truth is that Mozart, Pascal, Boolean algebra, Shakespeare, parliamentary government, baroque churches, Newton, the emancipation of women, Kant, Marx, Balanchine ballets, et al, don’t redeem what this particular civilization has wrought upon the world. The white race is the cancer of human history; it is the white race and it alone—its ideologies and inventions—which eradicates autonomous civilizations wherever it spreads, which has upset the ecological balance of the planet, which now threatens the very existence of life itself.”

Later, Sontag regretted offending cancer patients with her poor choice of metaphor.

It’s essential that we be exorcised from “dead white men.” I remember when this idiotic term started to circulate. I had just dropped out of art school. While drinking Rolling Rock in smoky McGlinchey’s in Philadelphia, I told another art fag that he should know his art history, for how can you do anything if you have no idea what’s been achieved? Leering, this cipher smugly growled, “They’re just dead white men, man!”

In 2015, I taught for a semester at Leipzig University, so nearly each day, I’d walk by a hideous building that crudely approximated the destroyed Paulinerkirche. Built in 1231, this church survived all the vicissitudes, upheavals and wars down the centuries, only to be dynamited by Communists in 1968. So what if Martin Luther had officiated there, and Bach was a musical director? Of course, its rich history only made it more delicious to blow up, for iconoclasm is the orgasm of “progressives,” and that’s why I’ve never identified as one.

There’s one Leipzig neighborhood, Connewitz, that’s famous across Germany as the center of progressive politics, most notably the antifa movement, and guess what? It is thoroughly defaced with graffiti that are often anti-cop or anti-Germany. During clashes with police that Connewitzers instigate, shop windows are gleefully broken not just at multinationals, but mom-and-pops, because, you know, once you go berserk, it’s hard to stop. Reflecting on this in 2015, I knew it would only escalate and spread beyond Germany, and it has. Seeing photos of Seattle’s Capitol Hill Autonomous Zone, I immediately thought of Connewitz.

When I wrote recently about the need for liberated zones, I meant, first of, the defense of your own communities, as happened in Philadelphia’s Fishtown and Italian Market, where locals banded together to block an invasion of vandals and looters.

Here in South Korea, local monuments and mores are safe. Here in Busan, there’s a huge statue honoring General Jeong Bal, who was killed by Japanese invaders in 1592. Losing with dignity is worthy of remembrance, though some contend he actually ran away. Historical debates are healthy.

More interesting to me are five sculptures of war refugees by Lee Hyun-woo, near the 40-Step Stairway. It was a shanty town during the Korean War, when Busan was a temporary capital after Seoul was overrun by Chinese and North Korean troops.

Depicted without hokiness, these are admirably realistic figures of a mother breastfeeding her baby while her naked son stood by, crying; two girls carrying water, one with a shoulder pole and the other with a jar on her head; two boys covering their ears as a man makes popcorn with a bomb-like contraption; a fedora-wearing accordionist, sitting on a bench; and two exhausted porters at rest. As public sculptures, they’re perfect, for they’re gracefully inserted into the environment as they dignify local history. Informative and fortifying, these bronze ghosts mingle with contemporary Koreans.

Across a Japanese-built bridge not far away, there’s a statue of Hyeon In. You can sit on a stone bench next to the smiling, suited singer, and hear his songs eternally broadcast from a bible-sized speaker.

In 1949, he made every man, woman, child and dog sob with his rendition of “Seoul’s Night Music.” “Walking through Chungmuro under a spring rain / Tears flowing down the window panes.” Oh, stop, stop! You’re murdering me! I can’t take it! A true legend.

As a refugee in Busan, Hyeon In wrote “Be Strong, Guem-soon.” It’s a message to his sister to stay strong until they meet again.

 
• Category: Culture/Society, Ideology • Tags: Antifa, Political Correctness 
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A guy with who once pointed a gun at the belly of a woman during an armed robbery was actually “a gentle giant,” according to ABC News. It quotes one of his buddies, “Anybody who knows him will tell you he’s not confrontational.” At George Floyd’s funeral, the mayor of Minneapolis, Richard Frey, knelt by the coffin and sobbed for a full minute, his body shaking.

For over two weeks, riots have erupted across America, and it doesn’t look like they will stop soon. Protesters and cops have been killed. A black man has just been shot by police in Atlanta, triggering another riot.

Reading about all this turmoil, I think back to my one visit to the Twin Cities, in 2014. Arriving in Saint Paul on a train from Williston, North Dakota, I checked into a motel, and was on the streets by dawn. It was July 4th!

Wandering around haphazardly, I ended up at Langford Park, where there was a large picnic. Old people relaxed on lawn chairs, kids ran around and the Pig’s Eye Jass Band was swinging to Gershwin’s “Strike Up the Band.” Having been to many cities in at least 35 states, I had never encountered such a wholesome and tranquilly joyous gathering. It was as if I had stumbled into a vast Norman Rockwell painting, or time traveled to an America of half a century ago.

Though there were some blacks and Orientals, almost everyone there was white. Still, I never felt unwelcomed. I chatted with a middle-aged gentleman who gave me a fascinating primer on the Iron Range. Pasties I already knew about, from my time in England.

Later that day, I went to downtown Minneapolis. On Nicollet Mall, I reentered a more familiar urban America of pants slung below butt cracks, eyebrow piercings and neck tattoos. A gaunt white guy had small oil paintings sewn onto his black coat. I passed about ten members of the Israelite Church of God in Jesus Christ. Most were in tasseled and embroidered white robes, with two red Stars of David on their chests. The bodyguards wore all black. I have seen the same group in Philly, Washington and Atlanta. Their membership is limited to blacks and browns, for whites are sodomizing devils who deserve to be enslaved or exterminated.

Although Nicollet Mall was just six miles from Langford Park, what I saw were two entirely separate Americas. In Philly, crossing a single street can land you in a different world. Often, whites have simply given up and abandoned their neighborhoods, complete with the large churches or synagogues they so lovingly built. That’s not racism, but fleeing for your life, and blacks have done the same, the first chance they get.

In black ghettos across America, I’ve marveled at the ruins of once magnificent houses of worship, as well as formerly beautiful homes, now charred, just for the fun of it, or boarded up. If it’s a majority black neighborhood or city, as in Gary or Jackson, you can be sure it’s a disaster, but of course it’s all the fault of fudge packing white devils.

As incompatible Americas again collide, cities are looted and burnt, leading many to think it’s a rerun of racial riots from the 60’s. Others believe it’s an intensification of the resistance against Trump, racist cops, the patriarchy and/or Capitalism. It’s a new beginning, they hope.

To better understand what’s happening, though, we should reexamine Mao’s Cultural Revolution. Lasting a full decade, it destroyed much of China’s cultural heritage and tore that society apart, all in the name of getting rid of the “Four Olds”: old customs, old culture, old habits and old ideas.

It was a reign of terror against man, civilization and China itself, but it had to be done, for there was a socialist utopia at the end of the blood splattered tunnel, said Mao.

Mao’s shock troops were high school and university students, woke idiots, in short, with their little Red Book. They denounced professors, intellectuals and artists, torched temples and monasteries, burnt books and paintings, smashed art objects, tore bits from the Great Wall and vandalized the 2,400-year-old cemetery of the Kong Clan, where Confucius himself was buried. Digging up one of his descendants, they hung the naked corpse from a tree.

Mao had stipulated that Red Guards could travel on trains for free, so they roamed to even the most remote areas, to destroy.

At the end of the Cultural Revolution, Mao rewarded his loyal and ardent zealots by sending them to distant farms, for they had outlasted their usefulness and become a political liability. Standing in mud, buffeted by cold winds and far from home, they could further reflect on being woke.

Mao unleashed his Red Guards on all of his potential or even imaginary adversaries. Ruthless, calculating or just paranoid, he even turned on loyal comrades who had been with him on the Long March, but that’s just how tyrants roll. It was an extreme power play.

Today, Americans are also caught in a power play. It’s all too inevitable, for they’ve been under siege for decades, with everything about them systematically discredited, deformed or attacked. In a 1997 lecture, Joseph Sobran elucidated:

The modern state has to police more and more of our lives, because it has set itself against the normal. It defines normal acquisition as greed, normal group preferences as bigotry, and normal morality as hate. Consequently it has to watch over us at all times to make sure we aren’t too assertive about our normality, while it caters to our abnormalities.

Treason used to mean the subversion of the state. But the state itself now works the subversion of society. In other times, including Shakespeare’s, it has been understood that the state’s whole justification for existing is to support and protect normal life against the criminal, the savage, the perverse. Even tyrants never questioned this assumption.

Just like Mao’s Red Guards, then, American rebels running amok do not threaten but serve a ruling clique. Look at their targets. They are destroying middle- and working-class stores and communities. They’re tearing down Main Streets.

 
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On June 4th, Common Dreams’ lead story is titled, “‘This Isn’t Going Away’: Defying Curfews and Police Brutality in Relentless Push for Justice, Uprising Over Killing of George Floyd Keeps Growing.”

The same day, I received a mass email from Jee Leong Koh, a Singaporean poet living in Harlem. In an 800-word statement about the ongoing protest, riot and looting, there’s this passage:

The destruction of property during this American uprising is not at all senseless. Born out of unheeded rage, it is actually very purposeful. If you are systematically excluded, exploited, or discriminated against in the economy, it is logical that you would smash shop windows in order to be heard and set police cars on fire in order to be seen.

If Koh or his family owned a store that had been looted, I doubt he would find such destruction so logical and purposeful.

On May 28th, ESPN’s Chris Martin Palmer quote tweeted a photo of a six-story building in flames, “Burn that shit down. Burn it all down.”

On May 31st, Palmer tweeted, “They just attacked our sister community down the street. It’s a gated community and they tried to climb the gates. They had to beat them back. Then destroyed a Starbucks and are now in front of my building. Get these animals TF out of my neighborhood. Go back to where you live.”

Checking the news from Philadelphia, my old city, I found out a Rite Aid was looted for 15 hours straight. The local ABC newscast aired a FaceBook rant by Rashan Howard, “I need somebody to please explain to me how this represents getting justice for George Floyd. And you want to know why they don’t put supermarkets in black neighborhoods! This is why.”

That sort of bluntness almost never makes it on air, and unsurprisingly, the online version of the story omits the bit about supermarkets in ghettos.

In Kensington, a tiny drug store was also targeted by looters. On ABC, owner Catherine Tiang said, “I haven’t cried yet, it’s been really stressful.”

Her employee, Donna Knowles, added, “I thought about our patients. Oh my God, what are they going to do to get their medication? They depend on us.”

Block captain Hank Meleski Jr. summed up, “We try to stay together. We want to keep it as nice as we can here ’cause we live here.”

I’ve written about Kensington repeatedly, and know it reasonably well. (When a Philadelphia Inquirer reporter wanted to profile a Kensington bar, she asked me to guide her.) With its factories in ruins, many houses boarded up and junkies nodding on sidewalks, Kensington is a neighborhood that scares even those from Camden, NJ.

People only live or do business in Kensington because they can’t afford anywhere else. They’re the downtrodden you’ve heard so much about, and yet, their takes on race, blacks and cops don’t conform to what you’ve learnt from your Marxist professors.

Most non-black urban poor love cops! And not from some weird sentimentality, ideology or perversion, but because these donut chompers protect them, daily, from criminals, of which way, way too many are black.

These poor live near or work with blacks, ride with them on buses, and, compared to the middle and upper classes, are much more likely to date, marry or have black relatives. They know blacks from direct experiences, so treat them like individuals.

By contrast, too many of the more affluent and refined see blacks as just helpless victims of white racism, so even their worst acts, murdering, raping or, just recently, pummeling old white men and women at a nursing home, can be explained away as natural consequences of this injustice, which isn’t just systemic, but likely eternal, for whites are naturally racist, you see. They’re born guilty.

Three of the last five Philly mayors were black, and over a third of Philly cops are black, including the one who broke up a mugging against me, near the corner of 11th and South in 1992. Dude had a hammer, but I stalled him long enough to not get brained. After the conviction, the cop thanked me, “We’ve had him in here seven or eight times, but this is his first conviction.”

The street violence across America has hardened attitudes on all sides, so there are no winners except for America’s rulers, and I mean the real ones, not their political puppets. No matter how many bricks are thrown, windows broken, stores looted and people injured or killed among protestors and cops, they and their stock portfolios are safe, or so they think.

The current mayhem is not just spontaneous, but elaborately planned out, with bricks delivered, hidden weapons placed at intervals, communication across conflict theater via walkies talkies, scouts and even supply lines.

While some of this sophistication may be grassroots, it’s sensible to suspect there are also deep pockets and professional organization behind it, and unless the state investigates this angle, I will speculate that it is the culprit.

Generating chaos and hatred, America’s rulers reinforce all the worst charges against their divided subjects, such as blacks are lawless, cops are racist psychopaths and disgruntled young people are Antifa terrorists. As for the destruction of the country, this too is consistent with their long-term plan.

I’ve said that Mexico needs the wall more than the US, to prevent panicking Americans from fleeing into it, so short of escaping, Americans should organize and prepare themselves to stake out liberated zones. Those who don’t think they’re in a war are dead meat.

The following coronavirus missives come from Vung Tau, where I’m still hoping to return, and Philly, which I might just see again.

 

Jim B., a 63-year-old American expat since 1982, working in oil and gas. Originally from Little Rock, Ark, he has lived and worked in the UK, Norway, Australia, Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam.

I flew into Tan Son Nhat from Kuala Lumpur on the 16th March, not realizing the shit storm that was enveloping the world. I got through the medical check by the skin of teeth without being forced into quarantine in an Army barracks. Apparently that happened later in the day. I spent a nervous few days waiting to be hauled out of my apartment where I was self-quarantining, but they never came for me although I was on the CV19 database.

After that Vung Tau was pretty much like everywhere else with social distancing and the like. Still going out with masks and stocking up on booze which got me through the boring times. There were also a couple of times I was cursed as a Tây [Westerner] as at one point it was perceived that most of the new cases were from tourists coming in from other countries. That has all quieted down as it has been demonstrated that even repatriated Vietnamese are bringing it in as well.

 
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[the below will be translated into Farsi and published at this website]

The Iranian people would like to know how would you interpret Floyd’s death: an isolated case of officers mistreating criminals or a sign of systematic anti-black racism?

-As we can clearly see in the film, Floyd was murdered, for an officer knelt on his neck as he was lying face down on the ground, handcuffed. He posed no threats to the cops. Although you may attribute his killing to racism, and there is plenty of it in the US, one must also remember that American cops kill a lot of whites, browns and yellows, too. Blacks are more often the victims of police brutality because cops have more run-ins with blacks. They commit more crimes.

Keep in mind, also, that American cops have become more militarized in recent decades, most notably after 9/11, and they’ve become more Israelized. Thousands have been sent to Israel to learn police tactics, which is curious, for Israel has the absolute worst record for police abuse in the world. Trained by Israelis, many American cops return home to treat Americans like occupied Palestinians. Kneeling on people’s face and neck is an Israeli staple.

During the last couple of years, we have frequently heard of pro-black protests in the US. Are we witnessing a surge in pro-black activism? If yes, then what’s the reason?

-As long as there are blacks in the US, there will be black activism and protests, because blacks will always feel aggrieved. Even in black run cities, where the mayor, police chief and district attorney are blacks, blacks are angry at “the system,” simply because they don’t compete as well as other races in that system. They open fewer businesses, make less money and fail more at schools. Generally speaking, black run countries also don’t fare as well in the global system, and by saying all this, I’m not defending any system or saying it should a measurement of one’s worth.

Black resentment, though, is constantly stoked by the American media and many politicians, and they do this to divide and conquer the country. When blacks commit outrageous crimes against whites, browns or yellows, it’s downplayed or completely ignored by the media, which causes the victim’s group to feel resentment and anger. The ruling class wants a constantly seething population, and so far, it’s been very successful at having citizens always enraged at each other, instead of being united to fight against those who are actually kneeling on their necks.

Some US officials lamented the tragedy and the officer responsible for Floyd’s murder is to be put on trial. So why don’t the protesters give up?

-The protesters won’t be appeased even if the entire Minneapolis Police Department is convicted of first-degree murder, with every last officer executed on television. They’re not just angry at racism or police brutality, but mostly because they’ve been systematically disenfranchised, going back decades, so that they’re lucky to have a lousy job and a crummy and overpriced apartment, far from their worksite. They’re also angry because they’re socially isolated, a factor that’s almost never mentioned. Americans are among the loneliest people in earth. They don’t live in communities, but cells, with their cellphones their boon companions.

It was easy to predict the rioting, looting and street violence you see now. George Floyd’s death is a trigger, but also a pretext, for nearly every kind of American to unleash his anger. Even before the economic collapse that’s set off by the coronavirus, America was in serious decline and in deep trouble.

In contrast to the images of affluence and ecstasy beamed out by America to the rest of the world, American cities and towns were not happy places, for they’re filled with too many shuttered stores, ruins of factories, dull faces and misshapen bodies, from a lack of purposeful activities. Drug and alcohol abuses were rampant. I personally know young Americans who’ve died from heroin overdoses. Despair was already widespread, but 40 million more people unemployed and countless businesses abruptly destroyed, the anger and frustration will erupt for many more months. This is just the beginning.

Did Donald Trump act as a responsible president? What’s the buzz about his tweet?

-Trump is not a responsible president, but none of his recent predecessors has been either. Obama sounded better, but was just as complicit in the corruption and criminality of the US government. American elections are shams.

Five months before Trump was “elected,” I wrote, “In 2008, Obama was touted as a political outsider who will hose away all of the rot and bloody criminality of the Bush years. He turned out to be a deft move by our ruling class. Though fools still refuse to see it, Obama is a perfect servant of our military banking complex. Now, Trump is being trumpeted as another political outsider.

“A Trump presidency will temporarily appease restless, lower class whites, while serving as a magnet for liberal anger. This will buy our ruling class time as they continue to wage war abroad while impoverishing Americans back home. Like Obama, Trump won’t fulfill any of his election promises, and this, too, will be blamed on bipartisan politics.”

This, when many commentators thought the deep state would sabotage Trump’s candidacy or even murder him, but no one becomes a US president without the approval of the deep state. As for the mechanism of American “elections,” it is a joke, for it’s done mostly with machines that cannot be audited. They are as responsive to your wish as the slot machines at casinos.

How do you assess the behavior of the US corporate media? Did they provide their audience with fair, realistic coverage of the developments?

-As a nonstop brainwashing machine, the US corporate media can’t tell the truth about anything. It will often set up minor or false arguments to distract you from real issues, which are never addressed objectively or in depth.

With this coronavirus crisis, the corporate media report on Trump signing a $484 billion relief bill “to boost small business, hospitals and testing,” but they say nothing about the $6 trillion that were given to banks, large corporations and investors.

Though they talk endlessly about serving Main Street, American politicos are only loyal to Wall Street and Israel, but the American media, which are dominated by Jews, will never expose this. They’re in cahoots to serve Jewish interests.

As for American “intellectuals,” they know what topics to stay clear of if they don’t want to be demonized, ostracized and hounded out of a job. Like American newscasters, American “intellectuals” are also habitual liars. In such a climate, no truth can surface.

For several years, I was a commentator for Iran’s Press TV, so I was on dozens of YouTube videos, but suddenly they were all erased, along with all Press TV videos. Since 2015, I’ve written for Unz Review, so I’m humbled and honored to be featured along with Gilad Atzmon, Kevin Barrett, Laurent Guyenot, Whitney Webb, Paul Craig Roberts, Michael Hudson, the Saker, Pepe Escobar, Philip Girardi, Ron Paul and Ron Unz himself, etc. I mean, these are all top-notch public intellectuals, but suddenly, Unz Review was banned by FaceBook and suppressed by Google, so its traffic has dropped tremendously. There is not a healthy debate about anything in the USA.

The American mental landscape is absolutely surreal, for just about everything you’re allowed to see, hear, smell or touch is bullshit.

How does the police treatment of the protests compare to similar protests in other countries? Is the US well placed to lecture other governments on how to treat the opposition?

 
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On April 29th, an American friend wrote from Spain, where he’d lived for 20 years, “The government announced new (legal) abilities to track and monitor people’s telephones. My youngest [son] asked if we could go to the U.S. if Spain moves towards communism. I didn’t know how to respond! Frightening where this could go.”

I replied, “Last thing you’d want to do is move to the USA. It’s a very angry and divided country that will erupt soon. Stay in Spain.”

As triggered by the filmed death of George Floyd, the nationwide rioting, looting and violence against authorities have begun. Since the entire 99% have been disenfranchised, relentlessly provoked and humiliated, every aggrieved group is out on the streets causing mayhem. Plus, there are likely hired berserkers, dispatched by hidden hands, to stoke further confusion and division among the populace.

Blacks, whites, browns, yellows, far left, far right, conservatives, liberals, nativists and immigrants are all pointing fingers at each other, but the engineers of this societal implosion are entirely unscathed and mostly unmentionable, as usual. Kicking back, they must be enjoying this sick show.

On May 18th, Mike Whitney asked, “Is the lockdown the greatest policy disaster in U.S. history?” but maybe it’s all planned out, for it serves our rulers to have mass impoverishment, increased social fragmentation, abject dependency on the state and a destructive anger that’s misframed and misdirected by paid politicos and the brainwashing media.

As the little guys go bankrupt, die and kill each other off, the big boys will swoop in for bargains of all kinds, from buildings to babes. They’ll whoop it up like loaded tourists in any broken down, fourth world hell hole.

So who are the boffo bosses in what’s left of America? Those who control our money and information flows, of course, the smug smirkers who indebt us all and warp our perceptions, at will. Raping our wallets, they bugger our minds.

For decades, they’ve wrecked Main Street to enrich Wall Street, so what’s happening now, including the $6 trillion stealth giveaway to banks, corporations and investors, is only an intensification of what they’ve done all along.

As for American politicians, they’re all bought, bugged, honey trapped or browbeaten by their masters, which aren’t “the people,” for sure, or are you that naïve? When Jeffrey Epstein was killed or disappeared, a hurricane size exhalation of relief whooshed from inside the Beltway.

Kevin Barrett speaks of the “Zionist-dominated usury banking cartel that rules the West,” and for a decade, Gilad Atzmon has stressed that “we are all Palestinians,” since we aren’t even allowed to name our oppressor.

We’re penned in a world where the grossest Jewish crimes draw less condemnation, if any, than the mere coupling of “Jewish” with “crime,” as if the concept itself is the worst sin imaginable. To utter it in any context is to become an instant Nazi who wishes to delouse every last Jew, we’ve been led to believe.

Whatever the destruction of the coronavirus, it is fleeting and miniscule compared to what has been wrought by Jewish parasites, and I’m not talking about Mrs. Neff and her chopped liver special, obviously. She, too, is dispensable.

Here’s hoping these sinister playas have finally overplayed their hands, for viruses can’t survive without a live host. From a dead America, fresh organisms will spring, even if many of us won’t be around to witness this flowering.

Meanwhile, we’ll have to tolerate, resist, stake out or defend new norms, on top of scrounging for meals. As the below correspondent articulates, “We are all in deeper trouble than most anyone’s experience, alive, is at all prepared to handle,” and the man’s no softie. A Vietnam vet, he’s weathered some horrors.

 

Richard F., a retired 69-year-old American, living in Indianapolis

Here in Indianapolis, IN, my daily life has changed in rather small, social ways as a result of the virus panic. A Vietnam veteran, with seven years army (four in Korea—Seoul and Pusan) and an army brat to boot, I retired thirteen years ago in the Washington, DC area, where I had worked, as a general contractor doing federal contract construction work, and raised a family, since the late 70’s. Post retirement and children’s education, brought separation from my 2d wife and three years in a cabin I’d built in West Virginia. Solitude and no amenities/utilities bought me a more solid sense of self sufficiency, but some loneliness for female companionship.

I left and traveled, by truck and train, all around the country for the next several years, using my eldest daughter and husband’s home in Littleton, CO as a home base. I bought property east of Denver to build a house on, then I met a woman from Indianapolis online. We got on well, met several times and in 2012 I deeded the property to my daughter and relocated to Indianapolis to be with my new-found love. I have no family anywhere in the Midwest and had never set foot in Indiana, but for driving through. That relationship lasted 5 1/2 years.

I moved, with my dog, Finn (had him since birth in 2009), into an apartment in a modest senior community on the north side of the city and sold my truck. I chose the community carefully for its walking and biking proximity to grocery stores, a library branch, the local, old railroad bed Monon trail and easy access to city bus stops, in order to get to the large VA hospital downtown as necessary and elsewhere. It worked out damn well, in all respects, until this spring.

The first of the year brought the news of the virus, and forever suspecting the worst of our fearless leaders’ intentions, at all levels and persuasions (Indiana is saturated with very common, law-abiding Republicans at all levels and a population that does nothing better than acquiesce and toe the line as directed), and the legitimacy of this latest of scares, I began stockpiling necessities with daily, often-times twice daily, walks and/or bus trips to the local Kroger, Target, Fresh Thyme, Chinese, Thai and Vietnamese groceries. I bought a lot of beer (and continue) too, storing what I didn’t drink casually under my bed and in the closet. I was earlier than most and made quick business of it. It continues, but at a much lesser pace. These forays have brought me, on a few occasions, face to face with various ‘Karen’ types who have elected to chastise and shame-attempt me over my non-mask wearing ways. These instances I have found interesting and challenging, in responding to in as calm and faux-magnanimous manner as I’ve been able to muster.

I had befriended any number of people (even a few questionably eligible women) here since arriving. As fate would have it, though, two of my best friends are and have been two black (I’m not) women, one in her early 80’s and the other in her late 70’s, who had gone out of their way to introduce themselves to me and make me feel welcome when I first arrived. Neither is local to Indianapolis either, but have children and other family here whom I have since met and developed other, separate and favorable relationships with. Out of those two friendships began regular brunch and birthday gatherings, help with little projects and most everyday communications on health and other normal, friendly, neighborly matters.

 
Linh Dinh
About Linh Dinh

Born in Vietnam in 1963, Linh Dinh came to the US in 1975, and has also lived in Italy and England. He is the author of two books of stories, Fake House (2000) and Blood and Soap (2004), five of poems, All Around What Empties Out (2003), American Tatts (2005), Borderless Bodies (2006), Jam Alerts (2007) and Some Kind of Cheese Orgy (2009), and a novel, Love Like Hate (2010). He has been anthologized in Best American Poetry 2000, 2004, 2007, Great American Prose Poems from Poe to the Present, Postmodern American Poetry: a Norton Anthology (vol. 2) and Hopeless: Barack Obama and the Politics of Illusion, among other places. He is also editor of Night, Again: Contemporary Fiction from Vietnam (1996) and The Deluge: New Vietnamese Poetry (2013), and translator of Night, Fish and Charlie Parker, the poetry of Phan Nhien Hao (2006). Blood and Soap was chosen by Village Voice as one of the best books of 2004. His writing has been translated into Italian, Spanish, French, Dutch, German, Portuguese, Japanese, Korean, Arabic, Icelandic and Finnish, and he has been invited to read in London, Cambridge, Brighton, Paris, Berlin, Reykjavik, Toronto and all over the US, and has also published widely in Vietnamese.