Are the Best Years of My Country Behind Me?

W.J. Astore

Reflections on a Long-Ago Tour of Los Alamos and the Trinity Atomic Test Site

Also at

I turn 60 this year. My health is generally good, though I have aches and pains from a form of arthritis. I’m not optimistic enough to believe that the best years of my life are ahead of me, nor so pessimistic as to assume that the best years are behind me. But I do know this, however sad it may be to say: the best years of my country are behind me.

Indeed, there are all too many signs of America’s decline, ranging from mass shootings to mass incarceration to mass hysteria about voter fraud and “stolen” elections to massive Pentagon and police budgets. But let me focus on just one sign of all-American madness that speaks to me in a particularly explosive fashion: this country’s embrace of the “modernization” of its nuclear arsenal at a price tag of at least $2 trillion over the next 30 years or so — and that staggering sum pales in comparison to the price the world would pay if those “modernized” weapons were ever used.

Just over 30 years ago in 1992, a younger, still somewhat naïve version of Bill Astore visited Los Alamos National Laboratory (LANL) in New Mexico and the Trinity test site in Alamogordo where the first atomic device created at that lab, a plutonium “gadget,” was detonated in July 1945. At the time I took that trip, I was a captain in the U.S. Air Force, co-teaching a course at the Air Force Academy on — yes, would you believe it? — the making and use of the atomic bombs that devastated the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to end World War II. At the time of that visit, the Soviet Union had only recently collapsed, inaugurating what some believed to be a “new world order.” No longer would this country have to focus its energy on waging a costly, risky cold war against a dangerous nuclear-armed foe. Instead, we were clearly headed for an era in which the United States could both dominate the planet andbecome “a normal country in normal times.”

I was struck, however, by the anything-but-celebratory mood at Los Alamos then, though I really shouldn’t have been surprised. After all, budget cuts loomed. With the end of the Cold War, who needed LANL to design new nuclear weapons for an enemy that no longer existed? In addition, there was already an effective START treaty in place with Russia aimed at reducing strategic nuclear weapons instead of just limiting their growth.

At the time, it even seemed possible to imagine a gradual withering away of such great-power arsenals and the coming of a world liberated from apocalyptic nightmares. Bipartisan support for nuclear disarmament would, in fact, persist into the early 2000s, when then-presidential candidate Barack Obama joined old Cold War hawks like former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger and former Senator Sam Nunn in calling for nothing less than a nuclear-weapons-free world.

An Even More Infernal Holocaust

It was, of course, not to be and today we once again find ourselves on an increasingly apocalyptic planet. To quote Pink Floyd, the child is grown and the dream is gone. All too sadly, Americans have become comfortably numb to the looming threat of a nuclear Armageddon. And yet the Bulletin of Atomic Scientist’s Doomsday Clockcontinues to tick ever closer to midnight precisely because we persist in building and deploying ever more nuclear weapons with no significant thought to either the cost or the consequences.

Over the coming decades, in fact, the U.S. military plans to deploy hundreds — yes, hundreds! — of new intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs) in silos in Wyoming, Montana, North Dakota, and elsewhere; a hundred or so nuclear-capable B-21 stealth bombers; and a brand new fleet of nuclear-missile-firing submarines, all, of course, built in the name of necessity, deterrence, and keeping up with the Russians and the Chinese. Never mind that this country already has thousands of nuclear warheads, enough to comfortably destroy more than one Earth. Never mind that just a few dozen of them could tip this world of ours into a “nuclear winter,” starving to death most creatures on it, great and small. Nothing to worry about, of course, when this country must — it goes without saying — remain the number one possessor of the newest and shiniest of nuclear toys.

And so those grim times at Los Alamos when I was a “child” of 30 have once again become boom times as I turn 60. The LANL budget is slated to expand like a mushroom cloud from $3.9 billion in 2021 to $4.1 billion in 2022, $4.9 billion in 2023, and likely to well over $5 billion in 2024. That jump in funding enables “upgrades” to the plutonium infrastructure at LANL. Meanwhile, some of America’s top physicists and engineers toil away there on new designs for nuclear warheads and bombs meant for one thing only: the genocidal slaughter of millions of their fellow human beings. (And that doesn’t even include all the other life forms that would be caught in the blast radii and radiation fallout patterns of those “gadgets.”)

The very idea of building more and “better” nuclear weapons should, of course, be anathema to us all. Once upon a time, I taught courses on the Holocaust after attending a teaching seminar at the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum. Now, the very idea of modernizing our nuclear arsenal strikes me as the equivalent of developing upgraded gas chambers and hotter furnaces for Auschwitz. After all, that’s the infernal nature of nuclear weapons: they transform human beings into matter, into ash, killing indiscriminately and reducing us all to nothingness.

I still recall talking to an employee of Los Alamos in 1992 who assured me that, in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union, the lab would undoubtedly have to repurpose itself and find an entirely new mission. Perhaps, he said, LANL scientists could turn their expertise toward consumer goods and so help make America more competitive vis-à-vis Japan, which, in those days, was handing this country its lunch in the world of electronics. (Remember the Sony Walkman, the Discman, and all those Japanese-made VCRs, laser disc players, and the like?)

I nodded and left Los Alamos hopeful, thinking that the lab could indeed become a life-affirming force. I couldn’t help imagining then what this country might achieve if some of its best scientists and engineers devoted themselves to improving our lives instead of destroying them. Today, it’s hard to believe that I was ever so naïve.

“Success” at Hiroshima

My next stop on that tour was Alamogordo and the Trinity test site, then a haunted, still mildly radioactive desert landscape thanks to the world’s first atomic explosion in 1945. Yes, before America nuked Japan that August at Hiroshima and Nagasaki, we nuked ourselves. The Manhattan Project team, led by J. Robert Oppenheimer, believed a test was needed because of the complex implosion device used in the plutonium bomb. (There was no test of the uranium bomb used at Hiroshima since it employed a simpler triggering device. Its first “test” was Hiroshima itself that August 6th and the bomb indeed “worked,” as predicted.)

J. Robert Oppenheimer, the “father” of the atomic bomb

So, our scientists nuked the desert near the Jornada del Muerto, the “dead man’s journey” as the Spanish conquistadors had once named it in their own febrile quest for power. While there, Oppenheimer famously reflected that he and his fellow scientists had become nothing short of “Death, the destroyer of worlds.” In the aftermath of Hiroshima, he would, in fact, turn against the military’s pursuit of vastly more powerful hydrogen or thermonuclear, bombs. For that, in the McCarthy era, he was accused of being a Soviet agent and stripped of his security clearance.

Oppenheimer’s punishment should be a reminder of the price principled people pay when they try to stand in the way of the military-industrial complex and its pursuit of power and profit.

But what really haunts me isn’t the “tragedy” of Opie, the American Prometheus, but the words of Hans Bethe, who worked alongside him on the Manhattan Project. Jon Else’s searing documentary filmThe Day After Trinity, movingly catches Bethe’s responses on hearing about the bomb’s harrowing “success” at Hiroshima.

His first reaction was one of fulfillment. The crash program to develop the bomb that he and his colleagues had devoted their lives to for nearly three years was indeed a success. His second, he said, was one of shock and awe. What have we done, he asked himself. What have we done? His final reaction: that it should never be done again, that such weaponry should never, ever, be used against our fellow humans.

And yet here we are, nearly 80 years after Trinity and our country is still devoting staggering resources and human effort to developing yet more “advanced” nuclear weapons and accompanying war plans undoubtedly aimed at China, North Korea, Russia, and who knows how many other alleged evildoers across the globe.

Fire and Fury Like the World Has Never Seen?

Perhaps now you can see why I say that the best years of my country are behind me. Thirty years ago, I caught a fleeting glimpse out of the corner of my eye (Pink Floyd again) of a better future, a better America, a better world. It was one where a sophisticated lab like Los Alamos would no longer be dedicated to developing new ways of exterminating us all. I could briefly imagine the promise of the post-Cold-War moment — that we would all get a “peace dividend” — having real meaning, but it was not to be.

And so, I face my sixtieth year on this planet with trepidation and considerable consternation. I marvel at the persuasive power of America’s military-industrial-congressional complex. In fact, consider it the ultimate Houdini act that its masters have somehow managed to turn nuclear missiles and bombs into stealth weapons — in the sense that they have largely disappeared from our collective societal radar screen. We go about our days, living and struggling as always, even as our overlords spend trillions of our tax dollars on ever more effective ways to exterminate us all. Indeed, at least some of our struggles could obviously be alleviated with an infusion of an extra $2 trillion over the coming decades from the federal government.

Instead, we face endless preparations for a planetary holocaust that would make even the Holocaust of World War II a footnote to a history that would cease to exist. The question is: What can we do to stop it?

The answer, I think, is simply to stop. Stop buying new nuclear stealth bombers, new ICBMs, and new ultra-expensive submarines. Reengage with the other nuclear powers to halt nuclear proliferation globally and reduce stockpiles of warheads. At the very least, commit to a no-first-use policy for those weapons, something our government has so far refused to do.

I’ve often heard the expression “the nuclear genie is out of the bottle,” implying that it can never be put back in again. Technology controls us, in other words.

That’s the reality we’re all supposed to accept, but don’t believe it. America’s elected leaders and its self-styled warrior-generals and admirals have chosen to build such genocidal weaponry. They seek budgetary authority and power, while the giant weapons-making corporations pursue profits galore. Congress and presidents, our civilian representatives, are corrupted or coerced by a system that ensnares their minds. Much like Gollum in The Lord of the Rings, the nuclear button becomes their “precious,” a totem of power. Consider President Trump’s boast to Kim Jong-un that “his” nuclear button was much bigger than theirs and his promise that, were the North Korean leader not to become more accommodating, his country would “face fire and fury like the world has never seen.” The result: North Korea has vastly expandedits nuclear arsenal.

It wouldn’t have to be this way. To cite Dorothy Day, the Catholic peace activist, “Our problems stem from our acceptance of this filthy, rotten system.” Don’t accept it, America. Reject it. Get out in the streets and protest as Americans did during the nuclear freeze movement of the early 1980s. Challenge your local members of Congress. Write to the president. Raise your voice against the merchants of death, as Americans proudly did (joined by Congress!) in the 1930s.

If we were to reject nuclear weapons, to demand a measure of sanity and decency from our government, then maybe, just maybe, the best years of my country would still lie ahead of me, no matter my growing aches and pains on what’s left of my life’s journey.

Not to be morbid, but I suppose we all walk our own Jornada del Muerto. I’d like what’s left of mine to remain unlit by the incendiary glare of nuclear explosions. I’d prefer that my last days weren’t spent in a hardscrabble struggle for survival in a world cast into darkness and brutality by a nuclear winter. How about you?

35 thoughts on “Are the Best Years of My Country Behind Me?

  1. Bill, I’m sure you know about the famous British mathematician, philosopher, logician, atheist, pacifist and public intellectual, Betrand Russell who passed away in 1970. He had a huge influence on mathematics, logic, artificial intelligence, cognitive science, computer science and analytic philosophy in his time. Some still claim he was the greatest intellectual to have ever lived.

    On 20 November 1948, he shocked observers by suggesting in a speech that a preemptive nuclear strike on the Soviet Union was justified. Russell argued that war between the United States and the Soviet Union seemed inevitable, so it would be humanitarian to get it over with quickly and have the United States in the dominant position. He argued, humanity could survive such a war, whereas a full nuclear war after both sides had manufactured large stockpiles of more destructive weapons was likely to result in the extinction of the human race.

    Russell later relented from this stance, instead arguing for mutual disarmament by the nuclear powers. And spent the 1950s and 1960s engaged in political causes related to nuclear disarmament. The 1955 Russell-Einstein Manifesto was a document calling for nuclear disarmament and was signed by eleven of the most prominent nuclear physicists and intellectuals of the time.

    In 1957 he wrote a letter to US President Eisenhower and Soviet Premier Khrushchev, urging a summit to consider “the conditions of co-existence”. Apparently Khrushchev responded that peace could be served by such a meeting. John Dulles, US Secretary of State, replied for Eisenhower. The exchange of letters was published as The Vital Letters of Russell, Khrushchev, and Dulles. I don’t have any knowledge about the content of this exchange of letters. I need to research that.

    In 1958 Russell wrote an article for the American magazine, The New Republic, elaborating his views on world peace. He urged that all nuclear weapons testing and flights by planes armed with nuclear weapons be halted immediately, and negotiations be opened for the destruction of all hydrogen bombs, with the number of conventional nuclear devices limited to ensure a balance of power.

    And of course, he passed away without seeing progress on any of his ideas. Thanks for the great essay today Bill. One of your best.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Other thoughts of Bertrand Russell, Dennis.

      The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, and wiser people so full of doubts.

      Three passions, simple but overwhelmingly strong, have governed my life: the longing for love, the search for knowledge, and unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind.

      Democracy is the process by which people choose the man who’ll get the blame.

      Patriotism is the willingness to kill and be killed for trivial reasons. Patriots always talk of dying for their country and never of killing for their country.

      We are faced with the paradoxical fact that education has become one of the chief obstacles to intelligence and freedom of thought. Men are born ignorant, not stupid. They are made stupid by education.

      The good life is one inspired by love and guided by knowledge.

      The secret to happiness is to face the fact that the world is horrible.

      Advocates of capitalism are very apt to appeal to the sacred principles of liberty, which are embodied in one maxim: The fortunate must not be restrained in the exercise of tyranny over the unfortunate.

      The megalomaniac differs from the narcissist by the fact that he wishes to be powerful rather than charming, and seeks to be feared rather than loved. To this type belong many lunatics and most of the great men of history.

      War does not determine who is right – only who is left.

      The only thing that will redeem mankind is cooperation.

      The degree of one’s emotions varies inversely with one’s knowledge of the facts.

      Collective fear stimulates herd instinct, and tends to produce ferocity toward those who are not regarded as members of the herd.

      In all affairs it’s a healthy thing now and then to hang a question mark on the things you have long taken for granted.

      Right discipline consists, not in external compulsion, but in the habits of mind which lead spontaneously to desirable rather than undesirable activities.

      Thought is subversive and revolutionary, destructive and terrible, Thought is merciless to privilege, established institutions, and comfortable habit. Thought is great and swift and free.

      Liked by 3 people

  2. I read this piece yesterday on TomDispatch. Then I stumbled into a rabbit hole of following links until I ended up on this article:

    The whole article is interesting (especially if you are into the whole transhumanist/posthuman thing), but what stuck out for me was the discussion on multipolar traps. These three in particular after reading your essay:

    Arms races. Large countries can spend anywhere from 5% to 30% of their budget on defense. In the absence of war – a condition which has mostly held for the past fifty years – all this does is sap money away from infrastructure, health, education, or economic growth. But any country that fails to spend enough money on defense risks being invaded by a neighboring country that did. Therefore, almost all countries try to spend some money on defense.

    From a god’s-eye-view, the best solution is world peace and no country having an army at all. From within the system, no country can unilaterally enforce that, so their best option is to keep on throwing their money into missiles that lie in silos unused.

    (Moloch the vast stone of war! Moloch whose fingers are ten armies!)

    Government corruption. I don’t know of anyone who really thinks, in a principled way, that corporate welfare is a good idea. But the government still manages to spend somewhere around (depending on how you calculate it) $100 billion dollars a year on it – which for example is three times the amount they spend on health care for the needy. Everyone familiar with the problem has come up with the same easy solution: stop giving so much corporate welfare. Why doesn’t it happen?

    Government are competing against one another to get elected or promoted. And suppose part of optimizing for electability is optimizing campaign donations from corporations – or maybe it isn’t, but officials think it is. Officials who try to mess with corporate welfare may lose the support of corporations and be outcompeted by officials who promise to keep it intact.

    So although from a god’s-eye-view everyone knows that eliminating corporate welfare is the best solution, each individual official’s personal incentives push her to maintain it.

    Congress. Only 9% of Americans like it, suggesting a lower approval rating than cockroaches, head lice, or traffic jams. However, 62% of people who know who their own Congressional representative is approve of them. In theory, it should be really hard to have a democratically elected body that maintains a 9% approval rating for more than one election cycle. In practice, every representative’s incentive is to appeal to his or her constituency while throwing the rest of the country under the bus – something at which they apparently succeed.

    From a god’s-eye-view, every Congressperson ought to think only of the good of the nation. From within the system, you do what gets you elected.

    What he boils it all down to:
    “A basic principle unites all of the multipolar traps above. In some competition optimizing for X, the opportunity arises to throw some other value under the bus for improved X. Those who take it prosper. Those who don’t take it die out. Eventually, everyone’s relative status is about the same as before, but everyone’s absolute status is worse than before. The process continues until all other values that can be traded off have been – in other words, until human ingenuity cannot possibly figure out a way to make things any worse.”

    Until and unless we can get everyone on the same page (good luck), there is no incentive for one person or country to go it alone. We should all be terrified of nuclear war, and overwhelmingly we probably are at a base level, but as long as some country has nukes, everyone else will think they have to have them too. It’s all or nothing (or a fiery death to us all).

    Liked by 3 people

  3. This is a beyond-excellent post. Glad I turned to it this morning…thank you, sir.

    P.s. I’m 79 yo and more and more often feel relief that I am old…was once an Army enlistee, unquestioning ‘patriot’ et al … no more.

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Thank You, Bill, for yet another excellent thought-provoker.

    i turn 77 this year, and with an additional 17 years of exposure, i can only unequivocally agree with Your conclusion that the Best Years of Your and my Country are most definitely behind us. And behind a whole bunch of other Americans’ nation, country, and homeland, as well.

    And i also agree completely with Your assertion that “It wouldn’t have to be this way” for the same reason You cited Dorothy Day: “Our problems stem from our acceptance of this filthy, rotten system.”

    That is the ONLY reason that America is in the state that it is in: Because a critical mass of taxpaying and voting Citizens are perfectly willing and content to accept whichever politicians for President and Congress ~ along with their promises, proposals, programs, and policies ~ that America’s Ruling Political Class [RPC] chooses to jam down their throats for the current election cycle. And then that same critical mass lets them get away with it by either re-electing those RPC Errand Boyz and Girls, or accepting an RPC-designated substitute at the next cycle.

    i have stated several times here on BV that “A nation and its people get the government that it and they deserve.” To which You have objected each time, declaring: “You deserve better, Jeff. We ALL do.”

    How do You think Dorothy Day would respond to that declaration, Bill? Based on what “We, The People” have actually, really done about what this government has done all over the planet since, first, the end of World War II, and then especially since the end of Cold War I: Do You think that she would think that “we deserve better”?

    [Note: Americans’ fervent calls for Putin to be tried in The Hague as a “War Criminal” for Ukraine is beyond pathetically laughable. It ignores our whole panoply of American War Criminals since Hiroshima and Nagasaki, up thru Indochina, Central America, and our post-9/11 “Forever War” from Southwest Asia to the Middle Est and beyond, to the present day in that same Ukraine. But that is a separate rant.]

    Your solution to this is for America to “not accept” and to “reject” what this nation’s system of government and governance as owned, operated, commanded, and controlled by that RPC has done, is doing, and plans to do. The question then becomes: How to best do this?

    Do You honestly believe that writing the President and/or challenging Congress would accomplish Anything? Especially This President and This Congress? And as mass shootings in America continue to get more frequent and Americans quite reasonably have genuine cause for genuine concern about “Where Next?,” how many Americans are prepared to join a mass protest demonstration, the perfect setting for several mass shootings all in the same place and at the same time?

    And how many Americans would have no problem at all with a bunch of unpatriotic America Hating protestors being gunned down on the streets of Washington, DC, or anyplace else?

    So again, the Question becomes: How can a critical mass of Americans be mobilized to effectively fight against and ultimately prevail over ~ first and foremost ~ America’s Trillion Dollar-Plus War Machine?

    Because unless and until that happens, America’s current “Decline” will continue degenerating into its “Fall.” And a lot sooner than even the bleakest-minded of Realists [as opposed to mere Pessimists] can imagine.

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Caitlin Johnstone’s 5 May piece “The Kremlin Did Not Kill Itself” is very relevant to any discussion about the future of this nation, and begins as follow:

    “Your rulers do not care what race you are. They do not care if you are gay, transgendered or nonbinary. They do not care how many bullets you are allowed to have in your gun. They do not care whether you are allowed to have an abortion or not. They do not care if you are racist, sexist, ableist, ageist, xenophobic, homophobic, transphobic or fatphobic. They do not care about diverse representation in politics or media, and they do not care about any lack thereof. All they care about is that we all keep thinking, speaking, working, consuming and voting in ways which keep them rich and powerful and keep us poor and powerless. And they will happily keep us arguing as intensely as possible about the things they do not care about so that we don’t turn our attention to the things they do care about.

    “This doesn’t mean those other issues aren’t real concerns, and in fact our rulers stand everything to gain by exacerbating the injustices involving issues they don’t care about in order to keep attention in those convenient areas. But the solution to the problems our rulers don’t care about is the same as the solution to the problems our rulers do care about: overthrow our rulers.”

    Continued at

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Thanks for this Bill, and to TomDispatch for featuring it in the most recent TomDispatch
    column–those of us who are loyal and appreciative readers and commenters will do our best to spread the word–my fear and growing despair is that we are all preaching to the choir and our political, religious, and community leaders aren’t listening nor responding in any meaningful way–
    I turn 80 in a couple of months, with a wonderful family, a personal history of surviving a year in Vietnam (Battalion Surgeon with Marines 8/69-8-70), 40 years of practice of Psychiatry with the last 5 years as a VA Psychiatrist, expert in PTSD and TBI but experiencing the wholly inadequate staffing/funding/ clinical care troubles/ disability debacles of the VA. No regrets, most of us did our best, but I think we are a fatally flawed species–Exploiting and fouling our natural environment
    as far back as we can trace, endlessly striving to dominate, control, enslave or kill each other–
    I think we’re toast, and only a slight chance that we can survive long enough for a genetic mutation tha might build something more peaceable

    Liked by 3 people

  7. Good judgment comes from experience, and a lot of that comes from bad judgment.

    The worst thing that happens to you may be the best thing for you if you don’t let it get the best of you.

    I don’t make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts.

    Never let yesterday use up too much of today.

    All I know is just what I read in the papers, and that’s an alibi for my ignorance.

    Everything is changing. People are taking their comedians seriously and the politicians as a joke.

    It isn’t what we don’t know that gives us trouble, it’s what we know that ain’t so.

    Even if you’re on the right track, you’ll get run over if you just sit there.

    If you ever injected truth into politics you have no politics.

    The best way out of a difficulty is through it.

    Liberty doesn’t work as well in practice as it does in speeches.

    Now if there is one thing that we do worse than any other nation, it is try and manage somebody else’s affairs.

    Last year we said, ‘Things can’t go on like this’, and they didn’t, they got worse.

    Thoughts of Will Rogers 1879-1935

    The more things change the more they remain the same!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I am 16 years older than you so not all things considered, what I have left of my genetically determined life span is less than yours. That said I’d prefer it not be cut short by nuclear war before it is cut short by environmental armageddon which seems we are less likely able to prevent. We are undoubtedly winning the war against Nature. What is even more depressing than that thought is the fact that of all the words I’ve read about our existence, none answer the last why we are in conflict with each other and with nature which keeps us on our path of self-destruction. In case you are interested,

    Incidentally I read your article on TD which I have been reading since its beginning, another place I’ve looking for that one article that would keep me from working on mine.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you for the link to your website, Mr Barr. Like yourself, 1970 proved a watershed year that changed the course of my life thereafter. Why and how that transpired eventually caused me to create my own website, The Misfortune Teller, much of it devoted to explorations of rhymed verse as a sort of DIY project in bibliotherapy for imperial-militarism-induced anger and depression.

      Like yourself, Mr Barr, I have managed to accumulate sixteen more years on my Personal Life Calendar than our esteemed blog proprietor has yet to accumulate on his. It would appear, therefore, that — barring some human-life-destroying cataclysm — he has more life ahead of him than we do. Good for him. And good for all the sentient generations yet to outlive us.

      As for those of us facing the increasingly imminent verdict of mortality (and our own pitiful contributions to human history) I like to keep in mind a brief conversation from the Marvel Comics movie, Ironman</>:

      Yinsen : “Did you see that? Those are YOUR weapons… in the hands of those murderers! Is this what you want? Is this what you wish the legacy of the great Tony Stark to be?”

      Tony Stark : “I shouldn’t do anything. They could kill you, they’re gonna kill me, either way, and even if they don’t, I’ll probably be dead in a week.”

      Yinsen : “Then this is a very important week for you, isn’t it?”

      Hopefully, the best days, hours, and minutes of our lives still lie ahead since these are all we have remaining to us, do with them what we will.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. A couple of rhymed verse compositions on the “meaning” of human consciousness, from whence it comes, and perhaps a hint of where it goes — if it goes anywhere — from here . . .

        Unholy Meditation
        (after the style of John Donne’s “Holy Sonnets”)

        Life has evolved, in spite of Entropy,
        Or dissolution into random motion.
        A life one drop of water in an ocean
        Of Space and Time and radiant Energy
        Out of which Chaos comes an Enthalpy
        Assembling to itself attractive Mass
        Exploded stars’ vast clouds of dust and gas
        Collapse. New stars ignite. No Empathy
        Forms planets, asteroids, and comets. These
        Revolve, collide, till through a process blind
        First plants, then animals, then human kind
        Appears. Then Habit, Chance, and Law displease.
        Each brief life passed, dissolved, no more to know,
        To scattered molecules our bodies go.

        Michael Murry, “The Misfortune Teller,” Copyright © 2019

        And another . . .

        Of Ice and Men
        (a slight rearrangement of John Milton’s 7-line stanzas in his “Early Poems”)

        John Donne, or someone like him, must have written
        Of Death and Life, conjoined and relative;
        Depending on which bites and which was bitten;
        Which blame and which the other should forgive;
        Each claims the other smites while it was smitten.
        As long as Life can die then Death will live.
        Such thoughts drain minds, like water through a sieve.

        Or, Milton, as he tried an early hand
        At telling Time to take itself and go
        As if Time needed such a reprimand
        From one so young, embedded in Time’s flow
        Who thought himself entitled to command
        A Universe that he could never know.
        What too much Bible reading goes to show.

        For pure imagination, though unbridled,
        Such flights of fantasy, have their appeal
        As entertainment for the leisure-idled
        Whose unemployment they wish to conceal.
        Up to the edge of sanity they sidled,
        The two Johns choosing “God” their hurts to heal.
        Creative theft of Life from Time – a steal.

        In course of Time, Life bred a thirst for science:
        A gnawing urge not just to understand,
        But to predict. On mind, constrained, reliance:
        Imagination tested on demand.
        In face of the unknown, a fierce defiance
        To falsify or validate the grand
        Suggestions, or dismiss them out of hand.

        The game’s not up, here in the early innings.
        Or so we hope, with Life not nearly done.
        No tally yet of losses and of winnings.
        Too soon the notion of the final gun.
        No talk of endings, rather, bare beginnings:
        Five billion years remain to fuel our sun.
        Death, Life, and Time have still their race to run.

        Michael Murry, “The Misfortune Teller,” Copyright © 2019


        1. I like your construction, and especially your sense of rhyme. The concluding paragraph just above is profound…one might hope that one Donald Trump will somehow read it and acquire a modicum of humility.

          What have you written since 2019? I’ll try to find time to visit your site….


          1. Verse compositions after 2019? Yes, several over the intervening years between then and now. One example, regarding the notorious American capacity for willing submission to “divide and rule” corporate/military mismanagement:

            Assiduously Apathetic
            (after the style of John Donne’s “The Indifferent”)

            I can neither love nor hate.
            At my discretion, this or that need not concern me;
            Who asks for my allegiance; which ones spurn me;
            Who comes too early, and who leaves too late.
            The digital binary either/or
            Demands we pick the ceiling or the floor,
            While more choice waits outside the open door.
            Man can love Mr. and Butch can love Femme
            They do not involve me, and so I not them.

            Why must I name a virtue “vice”?
            The complex world, of course, we simplify
            To comprehend, yet not too simply. Why
            Should not my disbelief, for now, suffice?
            What hurry to conclude a guess?
            Why force the blameless to confess?
            And all to dodge the slightest stress
            That comes to those demanding our compliance
            When their insistence causes our defiance.

            Ares and Athena heard
            Mad cries for war from Athens and from Sparta.
            Long ages later came The Magna Carta:
            Derived, in part, from thoughts the Greeks had stirred.
            Restraints on royal power, raw,
            Which led to parliaments and law
            And constitutions held in awe
            These days by no one with the right connections
            To money – silencer of all objections.

            Why serve as Power’s minion,
            Induced to flog a fable others made?
            Why not, instead, illuminate the shade?
            If polled, we all can answer: “No opinion.”
            We’ll formulate our questions to
            The riddles we’d like to pursue,
            Which matter not to such as you.
            Our business. None of yours, for whom we voted.
            Just count the ballots, then write: “Duly noted.”

            Think me heartless and stone cold.
            Your feelings rest with you and no one other.
            You’ve no call then to censor or to smother
            What you can choose to view as new or old;
            As funny, foolish, or absurd.
            A sentence, clause, or phrase, or word
            Need not compel. A sage concurred:
            In foolish constancy he said we’d find
            The true hobgoblin of a little mind.

            Ralph Waldo Emerson once said
            “Good readers make good books.” And he wrote this because
            The searching mind locates the perfect and the flaws
            Which authors leave for them who can unspool the thread
            That leads through dark and misty haze
            Out of the Labyrinthine maze.
            Misleading Minotaurs he slays,
            That reading Theseus who does his part
            Discovering an equal mind and heart.

            Dialectics (disputatious)
            Bore me with a “logic” “proving” falsehoods true.
            Competing narratives designed to misconstrue
            Deserve their sordid sobriquet,“mendacious.”
            Harangue me with the threat of “war”
            Exhort me to enlist as whore
            For predators whom I deplore
            And I’ll tell you to go pound sand, assuming
            That you can’t tell a beach from gardens blooming.

            Michael Murry, “The Misfortune Teller,” Copyright © 2020

            Liked by 1 person

    2. Please pardon this rather minor observation regarding the banner heading of your website’s homepage, Mr Barr, but underneath the leftmost end of the rose stem the quoted question “What am ?” would seem to require an “I” before the question mark. Just saying . . .

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You are correct. No matter how many time I look at some writing I sometimes miss something. I’ll Have to spend all day tomorrow correcting that over site. Thank you very much. I also thank your for your kind words. I’ll have to come back here after I fix my banner. If you visit my site please let men know with a comment perhaps on my home page. And many thanks to W.J Astore for allowing us to connect on your site. That was very generous of you. 🙏

        Liked by 2 people

  9. On January 3, 1970, in a eulogy at a military funeral in Van Nuys, California for a young American helicopter pilot killed in Vietnam ~ five months after Neil Armstrong’s “One Small Step”; three and a half months before the first Earth Day; four months and a day before four more young Americans were killed in a place called Kent, Ohio; and seventeen months after returning from my second year in Vietnam ~ i asked a question that i have been pondering ever since:

    “Given what Humans know about the Universe, Earth, Life, and Ourselves from our Natural, Social, and Human Sciences; and, given what Humans can do in that Universe, on and to Earth, with Life, and for Ourselves thru our Hard and Soft Technologies: Why, then, is there still Poverty, Hunger, and Disease, Illiteracy, Injustice, and Inequity, Ecocide, Genocide, and Democide, Insecurity, Tyranny, and War?”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. From Principia Discordia:
      Malaclypse: “Everyone is hurting each other, the planet is rampant with injustices, whole societies plunder groups of their own people, mothers imprison sons, children perish while brothers war.”

      The Goddess answers: “What is the matter with that, if it’s what you want to do?”

      Malaclypse: “But nobody wants it! Everybody hates it!”

      Goddess: “Oh. Well, then stop.”

      …Of course we know it isn’t that easy. Or is it?

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I also had the opportunity to tour LANL about the same time…maybe late 1980s. I got the impression they were doing (and are still doing) lots of civilian stuff such as computer technology and chemistry (as Oak Ridge is doing precision machining).
    The course on the making and use of the first atomic bombs….did you use Richard Rhodes’s book as the text? Was there information in your course that is not in that book and, if so, can you point me to the references?
    I had the understanding that the US has fewer nukes than Russia; and while we have more than China, they are rapidly building more, including ICBMs.
    As far as ICBMs, they are clearly unnecessary–at one time, sea-launched missiles were limited in range, payload, and accuracy, but that is no longer the case so we should not be wasting money on a new generation, we should be decommissioning them. But they have a very powerful lobby.
    I worked at Lockheed in Sunnyvale, Calif., and when the USSR collapsed, there were a few–very few–who were unhappy because worried about their jobs and rooted for the coup against Yeltsin. But very few–almost all cheered the end of the Cold War even if it brought us economic uncertainty.
    My great regret and disappointment is that we no longer have effective nuclear arms limitation treaties–between the US and Russia backing out and China not being in, it’s unfortunately an arms race.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello: We wrote an article about the course, but it’s in an academic journal. Here’s the reference:
      “The Origins, Production, and Use of the Atomic Bomb: An Interdisciplinary Undergraduate Seminar,” Journal of Chemical Education, 70 (May 1993), 360-363 (W.J. Astore with Frank A. Settle Jr., Donald Erbschloe, and Donald Thomas).

      We did use Rhodes’s book as a general reference but used a shorter book for the main text.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Trudeau’s son Justin is not a Peace Maker like his father, jumping on the US WAR bandwagon, and placing $20 BILLION in Canadian TAX Dollars in new orders with the US Military-Industrial Complex.

    I moved from Montreal to Ottawa in 1977, and until he quit being PM in 1984, I was in the unique position to talk with Pierre Trudeau Face to Face as he entered or left the Member’s Entrance to the House of Commons as the Spirit moved me occasionally. I never met him in private.

    It’s an historical fact I was questioned at length by RCMP Security on my attitude toward him, and to my surprise, he quit being Prime Minister 2 weeks later, moving from the House of Commons to the CORMIER House in Montreal.

    Trudeau Sr. undertook this PEACE MISSION at my insistence when the US and Russia were shouting at each other in Public.

    Blessed are the PEACE MAKERS, for they shall be called The CHILDREN of God Christ taught. Peace Makers are banned from the MSM, Propagandists for the US WAR MACHINE like a 5th Horseman of the Apocalypse, as they incite for MORE WAR.

    Video of Trudeau arriving in China in 1983

    Liked by 1 person

  12. I might be the young one here, having come of age at the end of the Cold War. We weren’t duck and cover kids, we were however the Red Dawn generation. There was still that fear, but it was more abstract, less the missiles raining down anxiety. The 90’s were a gloriously boring time to be in the military, what with no big wars going on, no massive enemy at the gates. Simpler times. Over the past 20 odd years I watched a newer generation get chewed up in distant desert lands, which I missed by the skin of my teeth having received my DD214 in March of 2001.

    And now here we are again, repeating the mistakes of the past, ginning up a new nuclear showdown, a new age of nuclear fears, combined with War Games on steroids AI technology. I had hoped that my children would see nuclear armageddon as an archaic and antiquated concept that humanity would surely move past. But instead here we go again.

    How do we have this conversation with them? How did people have it with you who grew up in the middle of the Cold War? No one ever really talked to my cohorts about Soviet nukes raining down on our heads, and short seeing The Day After, it wasn’t really a topic brought up. My kiddos seem blissfully unaware of the potential extinction level lunacy brewing, and I find it hard to want to disturb that. Do I fit this in between talks on how to avoid getting gunned down when they leave the house and why every damn pill out there that some other kid is selling at a party is most likely a death sentence?

    “The more things change the more they stay the same
    Ah, is it just me or does anybody see
    The new improved tomorrow isn’t what it used to be
    Yesterday keeps comin’ ’round, it’s just reality
    It’s the same damn song with a different melody…”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. “We are a symbol using class of life. And those who rule the symbols rule us” — Alfred Korzybski

      When Maps Become the Territory

      You can’t do a Wrong thing the “right” way. But sadly,
      a great many think that they can.
      In fact, some do Wrong even worse than just badly:
      they make Wrong the heart of their plan.
      See, “Not Enough Wrong!” explains failure, as madly
      attentions decrease in their span,
      and “Even More Wrong means we win!” they shout, gladly
      predicting the downfall of Man.
      But what’s a Wrong thing, if you ask normal people,
      the venal think perfectly “right.”
      They easily tire hearing groans from the sheeple.
      Of other than wealth they make light.
      Just wave stars and stripes from the TV-set steeple;
      with cheap symbols rule day and night.

      Michael Murry, “The Misfortune Teller,” Copyright © 2023

      Liked by 2 people

      1. From Wikipedia:

        Basically, expletive constructions are phrases or sentences that begin with “There are,” “There is,” “It is,” or “It was.” The verb “to be” is also part of many of these uninspired sentences. They are also called empty words.”

        So, trying to make metaphysical use of available time this morning . . .

        Expletive Deleted

        What am? What are? What is? What be?
        Why us? Why this? Why them? Why me?
        Why grammar and ellipsis joined
        In expletive constructions coined
        To give appearance of a thought
        Where none exists, a practice fraught
        With opportunities for sound —
        as “words” — to puzzle and confound.

        Michael Murry, “The Misfortune Teller,” Copyright © 2023

        Liked by 2 people

          1. Thank you for the kind words. At my age (75+) and after 19 years of trying to compose reasonably structured verse as DIY therapy for political helplessness, I don’t know how much longer I can keep this up. Still, reading a news headline this morning triggered something and Verse Composition 390 began forming itself in the opaque depths of my fevered psyche. I keep telling myself — as many of us “relatively mature” citizens do — that perhaps our most creative efforts still lie before us. Anyway . . .

            From Wikipedia:

            “Perfidious Albion” is a pejorative phrase used within the context of international relations diplomacy to refer to acts of diplomatic slights, duplicity, treachery and hence infidelity (with respect to perceived promises made to or alliances formed with other nation states) by monarchs or governments of the United Kingdom (or England prior to 1707) in their pursuit of self-interest.

            Perfidious Albion’s Precarious Performance
            (after the sonnet style of Alexander Pushkin’s Eugene Onegin)

            Anglo-Saxons up the ante,
            long range missiles to Kiev.
            Thought before-hand rather scanty.
            Hear War’s angry engine rev.
            British do the U.S. bidding.
            Honest Injun. I’m not kidding.
            Haven’t won since World War Two.
            Gunga Din will have to do.
            Still upon occasion handy,
            proxy vassals have their use.
            Authors of their own abuse,
            begging for “protection” candy:
            “U.S. in!” (on cue they shout),
            “Germans down and Russians out!”

            Michael Murry, “The Misfortune Teller,” Copyright © 2023

            Liked by 1 person

  13. Breaking: George Santos Arrested, 534 Members Of Congress Still At Large
    May 10, 2023 ·

    U.S. — Representative George Santos was taken into custody this morning on federal money laundering, theft, and fraud charges. Americans are still on edge, however, as 534 dangerous felons in Congress still remain at large.

    “It’s unsettling,” said local Cathy Mable upon hearing the news. “To think that many thieves, rapists, and degenerate murderers are still walking free in Washington D.C. and throughout the country makes it difficult to sleep at night.”

    “Who will protect us?”

    Sources warned the unarrested reprobate politicians are surrounded by well-armed security details and have unmatched power to pass laws and destroy the lives of American citizens at will. Citizens are being warned to be on their guard, as one of these creeps could attack another unsuspecting victim at any moment.

    At publishing time, Americans grew even more worried upon hearing the news that there are thousands more dangerous villains still on the loose in the FBI, CIA, DOJ, DHS, and DOD.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. TOM AND JANE EAT BREAKFAST by Caitlin Johnstone 051123

    [A breakfast table in America. TOM and JANE are eating breakfast and drinking coffee. JANE is reading the news on her tablet while TOM works on a crossword puzzle.]

    JANE: [Sips coffee, sighs] Another mass shooting.
    TOM: [Not looking up] Mmm, yeah. Des Moines.
    JANE: No, another one.
    TOM: Not the one in Des Moines?
    JANE: No, that was earlier this morning.
    TOM: Ohh, the Chicago one you mean?
    JANE: No that was yesterday, I’m talking about the one in Palm Springs.
    TOM: Ohh, I think I saw something about that on Twitter. The synagogue?
    JANE: No, this one’s a preschool. The synagogue was last night in Baltimore.
    TOM: A preschool? Jesus. What kind of sick fuck shoots up a preschool?
    JANE: One of the kids I guess. There was some dispute about snack time.
    TOM: Oh man. Did they catch him?
    JANE: Her. Live shoot-out with the police right now. They’re having trouble because the girl’s got some kinda machine gun and body armor. They tried to bribe her with some apple juice but the kid’s not having it.
    TOM: Ah, man. Come on kid, give it up, you know they’re sending in the killbots next.
    JANE: [Looks up] I highly doubt a four year-old girl knows about killbots, Tom.
    TOM: Okay well hell, I don’t know what kids know these days. How the hell’s she know how to use a machine gun?
    JANE: Pete was shooting the neighbors’ cats by that age.
    TOM: Yeah, with a rifle! Machine guns aren’t for kids. And you gotta shoot cats, cats suck.
    JANE: I like cats.
    TOM: They’re stupid.
    JANE: They’re not stupid.
    TOM: Yeah they are, they’re idiots. Tell ’em what to do and they just stare at you like a dope. Tell a dog what to do and they hop right on it.
    JANE: That means cats are smarter.
    TOM: Ha! Good point.
    JANE: Who’s smarter, the blindly obedient animal or the one who just ignores your commands?
    TOM: Yup, yeah, you’ve got me there. [Sips coffee.] Dogs are idiots.
    JANE: Dumb, obedient idiots.
    TOM: Crap, I gotta get going. Gotta lay off the entire third floor today.
    JANE: Huh? Why?
    TOM: Dunno, boss told me to.
    JANE: Oh okay.
    TOM: Anything else big in the news?
    JANE: Looks like the Russians are killing babies for no reason and we’re gonna have to go to war.
    TOM: Killing babies for no reason?
    JANE: Yep, just putting ’em in microwaves, feeding ’em to sharks, launching ’em outta catapults. Just killing them.
    TOM: Is that true?
    JANE: It has to be. It’s in the news.
    TOM: Man. I hate Russians.
    [Enter PETE, age 20, clearly miserable.]
    JANE: Well look who it is.
    TOM: Hey Pete, you gonna put in that application I gave you?
    PETE: Nah.
    TOM: What? Why not?
    PETE: Don’t wanna work there.
    JANE: Oh Pete.
    TOM: What’s wrong? You think you’re too good to work at the fish poison factory?
    PETE: Uhh… Yeah.
    JANE: Oh, okay your highness.
    TOM: What the hell, son? What’s your problem with the fish poison factory?
    PETE: They literally manufacture fish poison.
    TOM: So??
    JANE: They’re an aquatic pest!
    PETE: They are not, that’s just some bullshit they made up to sell fish poison.
    TOM: Oh where the hell are you getting this garbage? The internet?
    JANE: Alex Jones I bet.
    PETE: It’s true, fish are a completely harmless animal who make up an important part of the ecosystem. They’ve just created an artificial demand for fish poison by an aggressive ad campaign and got the government to deregulate it after spending millions on corporate lobbying.
    TOM: Oh bullshit! I’ve had it with these conspiracy theories, Pete! I’ve had it with your attitude! Why can’t you just go turn gears at the fish poison factory like a normal young man? You’re a goddamn embarrassment to this family.
    [PETE throws up his hands and storms off.]
    TOM: [Calls after him] You’re gonna feel like a real asshole when there’s a fish infestation and we all get the plague!
    JANE: Such a disappointment.
    TOM: Why can’t he just be normal like us?
    JANE: It needed to be said.
    TOM: Ah shit I gotta run.
    JANE: Get going, handsome.
    TOM: Third floor folks aren’t gonna fire themselves.
    JANE: Grab some fish poison on your way home? We’re all out.
    TOM: You got it toots.
    [They kiss. Exit TOM. JANE goes back to reading the news.]
    JANE: [Sips coffee.] Oh god, those poor Chinese. Glad I don’t live in a backward, crazy country like them.


    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sadly I have had a conversation recently where we had to clarify which recent shooting we were discussing. Which says a lot about our sorry current state as a society. Meanwhile there is a guy down the street who is making a killing* selling bullet proof backpacks for kids. Ain’t capitalism grand?

      But hey, at least we are free**.

      *That’s a little dark. Couldn’t help myself.
      **Free to be gunned down anywhere and everywhere at any time for, um, freedom?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Speaking of “bullet resistant” gear (or “Cool Kit”) for the future-conscript American schoolboy/girl/whatever-else . . .

        On seeing a picture of retired Marine Corps General (and former Trump administration Secretary of Defense) James Mattis modeling a “combat inspired” leather jacket in an attempt to market a rather ludicrous notion of “masculinity.”

        Military Idolatry
        (in the style of John Allan Wyeth’s This Man’s Army: A War in Fifty-Odd Sonnets)

        The old man wears a leather jacket — black —
        to celebrate Fallujah, the assaults
        he led in order to avenge insult:
        The deaths of four Blackwater dogs of war.
        These mercenaries helped make up the pack
        of thieves despoiling Baghdad. Their mad waltz
        provoked the inescapable result:
        Their corpses hanging from a bridge. Therefore,
        Bush sends in the Marines to teach Iraq
        That protesting their emptied storage vaults
        — or “some kid with a vase,” Rumsfeld would say —
        brings on the bloody Mad Dog Mattis cult,
        a “manly” mob of murderers galore
        to trash a city. Such a price to pay.

        Michael Murry, “The Misfortune Teller,” Copyright © 2020

        Liked by 1 person

  15. Another Substack writer I follow: John Varoli, Former foreign correspondent for the New York Times, Bloomberg and Reuters TV. My formal education — U.S. foreign policy expert with a focus on Russia and Ukraine. John Varoli.

    Replying to this article Today, ‘Unrepentant Bully: NATO uses WWII Victory Day to amp up war fervour’
    While Moscow celebrated the 78th anniversary of Victory over Nazism, a hostile Western bloc again agitated for Russia’s destruction. This will only intensify Russian resistance.

    John, this line in your article, “They were certain that Russia was a “giant with feet of clay” is the perfect segue to share this posted online 12 years ago where I wrote the US is the giant with feet of clay.


    The polarization that is being entrenched in American society and Politics these days was foretold long ago in the Book of Daniel written during the captivity of BABYLON 2600 years ago.

    The King of BABYLON had a terrible nightmare that left him shaken to the bone. Fear spread to everyone in his Court. He called in all his Cabinet Secretaries and Ministers, Advisers, Experts, Consultants and Academics to tell him the dream which he forgot.

    No one could tell him what is was, and he ordered all the wise men in BABYLON to be executed. He reasoned he could not have had such a terrible nightmare unless he was being given bad advice.

    That same spirit showed itself again in Cambodia America was secretly bombing, during the Vietnam War.

    Pol Pol came out of that vacuum the US bombing opened, and executed all the so called smart people, known as the Intelligentsia or Experts Today.

    There is no mistaking in the US Today, a large segment of the Population display that anti-Intellectual spirit in it’s early stages.

    Daniel, a Jew of the Captivity and recognized as being a “Dissolver of Doubts,” was able to get a stay of execution while he prayed to his God to have the dream revealed to him. It was.

    What this World needs is more People like Daniel, Dissolvers of Doubts………………….

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Speaking of Best Days ahead or behind, I see where popular Fox News pundit Tucker Carlson has had something of a “Road to Damascus” experience in relation to how he used to view American Imperial Militarism. He even wears a different style tie these days. Now, for a little trip so see Mr Peabody and the Wayback Machine . . .

    Boobie Contract Mercenaries
    (from Fernando Po, U.S.A., America’s post-literate retreat to Plato’s Cave)

    “One rag-head looks like all the rest,”
    The contract Cadmus drawls.
    “To dead-check camel-jockeys takes
    No necessary balls.
    Just pay me my six-figures and
    I’ll shoot him as he crawls.”

    “I’ve got my Ray-Ban glasses
    And I’ve got my SUV;
    And I can tilt my M-16
    To just the right degree,
    Which dainty pose warns bad guys of
    My cool ferocity.”

    The bow-tied cable pundit thought
    He’d get in on the scrum
    And joy ride through Iraq’s mean streets
    With mercenary scum
    To school him in some righteous thrills
    They drove him through a slum

    To get into the swing of things
    They issued him a gun
    So they could rob a petrol stand
    And take their gas and run
    While weary, thirsty customers
    Camped waiting in the sun

    And so as not to have to wait
    In traffic not so fast
    The mercenary hired guns
    Pull out their guns and blast
    Iraqi cars off of the street
    So they can blaze right past

    Of course these bald activities
    Do not endear the goons
    To normal Muslim people who
    Don’t patronize saloons
    So when they get the chance they grease
    These overpaid poltroons

    They love to play at soldiering
    But not for petty cash
    And not for what Sir Winston called
    “Rum, sodomy, and lash”
    But for a chance to dance at some
    Inauguration bash

    Michael Murry, “The Misfortune Teller,” Copyright © 2005

    Liked by 1 person

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